Dispassion Key to Fearlessness
In enjoyment, there is fear of disease; in family reputation, there is fear of falling; in wealth, there is fear of kings (the rulers); in prestige, there is fear of humiliation; in power, there is fear of enemy or adversary; in beauty, there is fear of old age; in scriptural erudition, there is fear of learned opponents; in virtue, there is fear of wicked vilifying person; in body, there is fear of death. For human beings, everything in this world is coupled with fear. Vairāgya (dispossesiveness, not clinging to enjoyments) alone bestows fearlessness.
Points for Introspection:
Everybody wants to be joyful and happy in this world. However, such a state is rarely had as life is full of anxiety, tension and fear. If we look into ourselves we find how the mind is fearful every moment regarding even small and insignificant matters. A student is fearful of getting scolded by the parents or teachers about not being able to perform well in studies. A house-wife is fearful whether the children will be brought up well or even whether the relatives will appreciate the food she has cooked. A professional is fearful of interaction with colleagues, boss or subordinates.
Our life is full of a number of desires and expectations. We want to possess the things we desire. Not only wealth or property, but fame, position, appreciation, importance, and so on. Whatever we possess, we become attached to those and fear of losing the possessions, life becomes more and more filled with anxiety every moment.
This shloka points out how everything in life is laden with fear. If we have things to enjoy, may be plenty of whatever we desire, still we are not happy. Because associated with those is the fear whether we will have the health to enjoy. Even if we get very good food everyday, with a weak stomach we cannot enjoy that.
If we are proud of our lineage, then there is fear of losing that reputation. Family members may misbehave or become immoral and spoil the reputation. Suppose one has acquired a lot of property, the fear will be that the King (or the Administration) may confiscate the property. If it is not the fear of the King or Administration, it will be the fear of being robbed by thieves and dacoits.
If one has prestige or fame, there is always the fear of being humiliated. If we are powerful, then we will be scared of the enemy who might be even more powerful. If we are proud of our beauty, then we are afraid of old age. How much time and energy people spend in protecting their beauty and youth!
In scriptural erudition, there is fear of getting defeated by another scholar. In having merits and qualities, we have the fear that some wicked person may vilify us. Above everything, as long as we have the body, we are afraid of death.
So, what is there in this world that is not associated with fear? Where lies peace then? How to get rid of this fear? Is there any state where we will be free of fear?
This shloka tells us where lies that abode of fearlessness. It says, fear arises only when we have a sense of possessiveness, when we hold on to things as ours. All fear is about losing the possessions. So, to be fearless one must have vairāgya – dispassion. What does dispassion mean in essence? Dispassion means desirelessness. Know that nothing belongs to us. Know that every possession is fleeting, transitory. Know that the sense of possession causes fear and anxiety. So, the redemption from fear (abhaya) lies in getting rid of possessiveness.
This is a very powerful shloka. When chanted repeatedly concentrating on the meaning of the words, it generates intense dispassion towards the ordinary worldly desires, revealing the transitoriness and perishability of all worldly gains. It lifts us up to the realm of fearlessness and freedom.
भोगे (bhoge) = in enjoyment; रोगभयं (roga-bhayaṃ) = fear of disease; कुले (kule) = in lineage; च्युतिभयं (cyuti-bhayaṃ) = fear of down-fall; वित्ते (vitte) = in wealth; नृपालात् भयं (nṛpālāt bhayaṃ) = fear of kings; माने (māne) = in prestige; दैन्यभयं (dainya-bhayaṃ) = fear of humiliation; बले (bale) = in power; रिपुभयं (ripu-bhayaṃ) = fear of enemy/adversary ; रूपे (rūpe) = in beauty; जराया भयं (jarāyā bhayaṃ) = fear of old age; शास्त्रे (śāstre) = in scriptural erudition; वादिभयं (vādi-bhayaṃ) = fear of learned opponents; गुणे (guṇe) = in virtue; खलभयं (khala-bhayaṃ) = fear of wicked vilifying person; काये (kāye) = in body; कृतान्तात् भयं (kṛtāntāt bhayaṃ) = fear of death; सर्वम् (sarvaṃ) = all; वस्तु (vastu) = things; भयान्वितं (bhayānvitaṃ) = filled with fear; भुवि (bhuvi) = in the world; नृणाम् (nṛṇāṁ) = of mankind; वैराग्यं (vairāgyaṃ) = non-expectation, disattachment; एव (eva) = alone; अभयम् (abhayaṃ) = fearlessness;
भोगे रोगभयं, कुले च्युतिभयं, वित्ते नृपालात् भयं, माने दैन्यभयं, बले रिपुभयं, रूपे जराया भयम्, शास्त्रे वादिभयं, गुणे खलभयं, काये कृतान्तात् भयम् । नृणां भुवि सर्वं वस्तु भयान्वितम् । वैराग्यं एव अभयम् ।
bhoge roga-bhayaṃ, kule cyuti-bhayaṃ, vitte nṛpālāt bhayaṃ, māne dainyabhayaṃ, bale ripu-bhayaṃ, rūpe jarāyā bhayaṃ, śāstre vādi-bhayaṃ, guṇe khala-bhayaṃ, kāye kṛtāntāt bhayaṃ. nṛṇāṃ bhuvi sarvaṃ vastu bhayānvitaṃ. vairāgyaṃ eva abhayam.
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