ABHAYAM – FEARLESSNESS
The essence of Vedanta, particularly Advaita philosophy is fearlessness – ABHAYAM, because there is no dual to be afraid of. Pure soul alone exists; rest is the ideation of that existence. Somewhere inside every individual, such thoughts of fearlessness are present. But they are covered by fearful thoughts and our fearless nature is not manifested in action.
Self-confidence brings fearlessness. To be self confident, knowledge about self should be clear. It is a common mistake to interpret ahamkara as the self. Ahamkara, is ego. It is a feeling of ‘I sense’ mixed with imaginary thoughts, about our own self, either positive or negative. Thoughts of ego do not convey our inherent divine nature. Whereas, the self is the pure soul, without any thought or impression. Self is infinite, omnipotent and omniscient. Ahamkara (ego) varies from the real self. If the confidence is on ego, and when the ego is disturbed, confidence will fade away. If the confidence is on the self, the Atma, then it will make a person brighter. In Advaita philosophy it is called “Athmic confidence”. That is, the confidence that ‘I am Atma’ and I am not this body or mind. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad emphasises this fact as “AHAM BRAHMA ASMI”, that is I am Brahman, the supreme consciousness. Chandogya Upanishad emphasises the fact as “TAT TVAM ASI” that is, You are That, ‘That’ denotes Brahman. When we believe and have confidence in these phrases, we will automatically become fearless, because it is the truth. Atma can neither be created nor be destroyed.
Mind is no more than a group of impressions, and it has to feel and believe the fact, that its presence is in Atma. Mind appears, exists and dissolves in Atma. The impressions are formed by the actions and reactions, experienced by an individual. Negative reactions and influences from other mind, can affect a mind, if it is not strong. But a strong mind will ignore others negative influence. To have a strong mind, the mind has to experience its presence in Atma. Then the mind will become independent; and it will not expect favour from others. Such an independent mind is highly appreciated. Rishis and Sages of India had this type of mind. Nothing else can help a mind to survive, other than its own base, the Atma.
Mind exists in Atma and it operates through a body. This implies that, each individual is independent, and their only support is Atma. This does not mean, that a person can become arrogant for his independent nature. Philosophy says that each individual should be confident of the fact that, their support is the infinite consciousness, Atma. This confidence brings a lot of positive changes in a person’s life. It will help to have a positive attitude in negative circumstances. The knowledge and confidence about the ‘Truth’ makes a person regain strength, and rise high in trying situations.
A fearless and self confident person will not disturb others. A confident person is the most humble person too. One of the most humble and confident persons in modern times is Mahatma Ghandhiji. He stood for his rights, and led his life according to the principles in Bhagavad Gita. He valued his own values, and this made many to follow his values. He was brave enough to face his death with Athmic confidence.
A fearless confident person can help to solve others’ problems. Such a person is more intelligent and wise.
Fear is a negative trait and it leads to non confident thoughts. Fear of criticism, failure and disbelief in their own talent, makes a person more introvert. They prefer to remain in shell like the oyster. Hesitation and fear, suppress our thoughts and ideas. Healthy criticism should be accepted and non healthy criticism should be ignored. A criticism is healthy, only when it helps us to improve. Some criticism will affect us badly, and make us weak. Such criticism should be rejected, without opposing the critic. Each individual has the freedom to express his/her views. Similarly, each individual has the freedom to accept, neglect or reject others views on him/her.
Non-success experienced on the path of goal, should be taken as positive guidance. Sometimes non-success shows us the correct path. Repeated act makes any act perfect, then where is the fear of failure! Hesitation to face the public, cripples our personality. Hesitation is caused due to our own negative imagination, about ourselves. Feeling free is strength. Swami Vivekananda repeatedly urges us to think about strength. Because, ‘we are, as we THINK’. Hesitation will not allow us to express ourselves, at the needed situation. It is the responsibility of an individual, to express their views, at the appropriate situation.
Advaita philosophy makes us understand that, everything is the manifestation of that ‘infinite intelligent existence’. The whole universe is built on intelligent, omniscient and omnipotent principle, but with different ideas and expressions. The difference is in the manifestation, but the principle is same. This is “Unity in Diversity”. People who followed this principle were brave and they were able to lead the rest.
When the differences in the manifestation are ignored, the fear is gone, because everyone is equal. This underlying principle of Advaita philosophy, makes a person free and fearless.