In my last posting I covered five out of the nine Navarasas for which I received lots of positive responses. I thank all those took time to send me appreciative words. In this episode I am covering the most important Rasa “Bhaya (Fear)” in greater details. Earlier, I was planning to write a separate blog on “Fear Management” in my Kindle Life series to share my wisdom on Fear, which has great significance in our life. It may be appropriate to cover this topic under Naverasa as it will stay in your mind for many more years to come and kindle you to use this wonderful emotion nature has bestowed on all living species.
Fear (Bhaya) a New Paradigm
Fear is one of the well-known Rasa for all of us as it almost appears in our transactions on a daily basis in one form or the other. We know only the negative effects of Bhaya Rasa as that is the first experience in our formative years and an impediment for our growth there after. Fear has its own positive effects, which needs to be understood.
What is Fear (Bhaya)?
Fear is one of the basic instincts Nature has incorporated in the brain of the very first form of life that appeared in this planet. Instinct is one of the operating systems, which governs the behavior of any living organism. Studying the anatomy of our brain Science says, there are two parts in our brain namely Limbic brain and Amygdale located at the lower part of our skull at the end of the spinal chord which stores the instincts in which Fear (Bhaya) is one of them. Control – Alt – Delete is not possible to get rid of this emotion!!
Why Nature provided Fear (Bhaya)?
Nature created this universe as a “Spontaneous organization” which means it is “Self-reliant and self-sustaining”. A simple example of this concept is a rain forest and planetary motions, which regulates it without any external controller. When Nature decided to upgrade its species from Minerals to Plants and then to animals it had a peculiar difficulty of this self-sustenance! The lower versions namely minerals and plants are simpler models staying in a fixed place and hence needs simpler instincts as compared to the animal, which are mobile. The plants also have certain intelligence, which is very evident when we see them germinating when the seeds are placed beneath the earth and are moving towards the sun for making their food! I presume the plants don’t have Bhaya as their instincts!
When the nature made a more complex gadget called animal, it has to enhance the operating system with more features. It incorporated “Self-preservation” as one of the instincts which means that the animal must try to survive from its predators! Fear apparently is the emotion the nature chose to incorporate which will take care of the self-preservation needs of the animals. That is why when an animal encounters another species, it estimates first whether that animal will eat it or it can eat that? After this assessment, the animal is found to have “Flight or Fight response”.
In summary, we are the next generation models of the animals and during up gradation the Nature retained Fear, as it was needed for our survival. You may argue that we no longer live in forest and hence this Bhaya as an emotion can be deleted. Although this argument may be right in a way, still we need Bhaya for regulating us to prevent doing certain things, which will endanger our survival.
The Effects of Fear
As I mentioned earlier there are positive and negative effects of Fear. The positive effect is it prevents us from doing foolish things in the name of courage and putting ourselves in a problem. The negative effect is it intimidates us from acting in our life and there by we are not known to the rest of world.
The Types of Fears:
There are several types of Fears, each one of them having different effects in our life and I wish to deal with each one of them along with the Strategy to control them from intimidating our progress. The more frequent occurring Fears worth our attention are:
- Fear of Strangers
- Fear of ill-health (disease)
- Fear of Public speaking (standing in front of people.
- Fear of Death
1. Fear of Strangers:
Fear of Strangers have its genesis from childhood conditioning when our parents have warned us from the danger a stranger could inflict upon us. We are sub-consciously programmed that any new person we meet in our life will be dangerous and should be avoided. The moment we meet a stranger our auto response says we must avoid them. Unfortunately all opportunity comes from meeting and negotiating with many people whom we don’t know.
The only way we can overcome this fear response is re-educating our mind constantly that stranger we are meeting is as good as any human beings we already know. In fact the stranger is less harmful than the familiar people as they have no bias about us! When you meet a stranger, be sensitive to watch the fear response in you and stay with that and accept it. The moment you witness the fear response and stay with it coolly, it automatically subsides. Tell your mind the new person you are meeting is going to get added to your contacts and will become your friend and well wisher.
2. Fear of ill- health:
In the modern era one of the fear that robs our peace is the fear of loosing health. One of the reasons for this is the health campaign in the media always trying sell products using our fear as the emotion such as the sun flower oil to avoid heart attack and so on. If you look at closely the data of the time duration a human being is well as compared to the duration of illness, you will find 99.99% of the time most of us keep reasonably good health. This reveals the fact that plan of nature is “healthy by default” and not sickness. If that is the fact, why worry?
Look at the animal kingdom, they are always keeping good health as compared to human beings; we don’t find all those disease that exists in our domain like tooth decay, diabetics etc are not found in them. The reason is the animals live exactly as per the plan and law of nature where as we violate all those laws and become un-natural.
Whenever the fear of ill health haunts you remind your mind “by default you are healthy & all that you feared in the past have never happened”. Whenever some one tells you that they have a health problem, don’t get into self-pity saying “If it happens to me…… etc”. Merely watch the mind harboring the fear of ill health and don’t cooperate by visualizing a bad time for you. Instead pray for that person for getting well soon which will be more valuable than your self-pity.
2. Fear of Public speaking
There are several books written on this topic; however let me add two cents worth of wisdom to it! Why are we afraid of articulating ourselves in front of a gathering either in an official presentation or in a public speaking? This fear is the basic response of our animal instinct where our system is triggering the “Fear of attack”. Who is the attacker here? In this context our Limbic brain treats the audience as the Predator and us as the pray!! The response is “Flight or fight”. If you understand the genesis of this fear it becomes easier for overcoming it. Here are the way I control this response as a consultant and a trainer.
Whenever I start my presentation few minutes before this fear starts and slowing rises in my bosom. When this fear response comes (it always comes irrespective of my experience) I observe it as though I am observing traffic flowing while I seeing from my balcony. I take a long breath and tell my mind I am not going to succumb to its menace. The moment I observe it looses its power on me.
I tell my mind that the audience is not the predator and I am not the pray. The fact is that they are afraid of me and I am afraid of them too!! This is ridiculous and fun knowing it. The moment this fact is told to my Limbic brain, it eases out and drives me to become the Predator instead of pray!
I tell my mind that I am the teacher and they are the students irrespective of the scenario be it a marketing pitch, CEO presentation or training to the senior level management etc. They have come to listen to me since they don’t know the subject what I am going to talk.
One of the expectation of the mind is How the audience is going to assess? – the fear of ridicule or rejection! I re-educate my mind saying that, it is immaterial for me whether they appreciate or denounce. It is my karma to deliver what I have to deliver and my fulfillment is coming from my delivery than the result! This attitude puts me in a strong stature and flow.
3. Fear of Death:
One of the strongest fears we all suffer privately in our bosom is “Fear of Death”. To overcome this unproductive brain drainer we need to get certain perspective about death. What is death? There are several masters have written volumes and science investigated “near death experiences” and reported many facts. Death is the end of one cycle to begin another!
The day we have born one thing we are certain is we will die some day. Among many other things nature has planned death is one among those, which governs this spontaneous organization. If we don’t learn the art of leaving our body, we can never master the art of living. Overcoming the fear of death is the most important necessity for making good use of life.
Death is one of those mysteries of nature and is unknown. Getting worried about an unknown is foolishness. If anything is inevitable accepting it is the wise decision than confronting it. The day died and night has born, childhood died and youth has born and so on. All that ended has lead to the birth of something new.
Try and complete your life in full with good relationship and clearing all passion as much as you can. Death is fearful only for those who did not live their life fully well. If you have lived well you will embrace death gracefully.
The balance Rasas in the next episode. Wish you a fearless life ahead.