Fearlessness (अभयं)

Fearlessness (अभयं)

Fear is one of the most primal emotions that drive us, touching every aspect of our lives. According to the Yoga sutras of Patanjali, Fear is born from ignorance (Avidya) and Asmita or I-am-ness, which causes us to misidentify our real self with our physical self that is subject to birth, death and decay. In fact, fear of death (Abhinevesha) is one of the fundamental Kleshas or afflictions that affect the human mind.

Fear drives us in so many tangible and intangible ways and is the source of mental and physical pain and illnesses, including anxiety and depression. It is the underlying emotion that causes so many other afflictions, including Raga (attraction), Krodha (anger) and Dvesha (aversion), which we all encounter at some time in our lives.

Our sacred Scriptures provide the profound knowledge that not only helps us to understand the source of fear but also provides us with the means for overcoming fear and protecting ourselves against such negative emotions.

The Atharva Veda, Book 15, Chapter 5 has 6 verses, all aimed at this subject matter of fear (anxiety, depression, etc.). These verses instil the belief that no weapon, enemy or challenge can prosper against those who are so determined and blessed. Indeed, these verses create an armour of protection against any contributor of fear. 

The Verses in this Chapter recognise many specificities from which we derive fear and depression. These include fear of health issues, fear from friends, foes, failure, and other factors. Fear leads to depression, sickness and, therefore, the inability to attain and appreciate success in life. These verses, therefore, allow us to focus on the cause of depression and failure. Such recognition strengthens our ability to reconcile our fears and deal with them, and, to add to it, prayers help to boost our emotional and spiritual strengths.

The devotee who can recognise his fears and deal with them can also pray and build inner strength. No weapon, enemy or challenge – whether known or unknown – can be successful against those protected by God.

इन्द्र ामहे ततो अभकृधि
मघवञ्छग्धि तव त्वं ऊतिभिर्वि द्विषो वि मृधो जहि ॥

Yata indra bhayaamahe
tato no abhayam kridhi.
Maghavan-chhagdhi tva tvam na
Urutibhirvi dviṣho vi mridho jahi.

By the Grace of that Almighty God, any force of fear is removed, and we enjoy liberal blessings. Never give power to your fears, and never give power to your enemies by letting them control your mind/thoughts. Build your mental defences, discard and ward off negative thoughts, and build confidence that you can triumph over any battle.

तः that by which इन्द्र Almighty lord, protector ामहे very fear, trepidition ततः that us अभम् fearlessness कृधि do, doing मघव् liberal, bountiful, possessing and distributing gifts शग्धि give power तव you त्वम् own, your ऊतिभिः defenses द्विषः hater, hostile, enemy, foe वि especially, specifically मृधः battle, fight जहि discard, victory विमृध warding off enemy विजय triumph, victorious

इन्द्रं वमनूराधं हवामहेऽनु राध्यास्म द्विपदा तुष्पदा।
मा ेना अररुषीरुप गुर्विषूचीरिन्द्र द्रुहो वि ाशय ॥

Indram vayam-anuraadham havaamahe
‘Nu raadhyaasam dvipadaa chatuṣhpadaa.
Maa nah senaa ararooṣhee-roopa
gur-viṣhoochir-indra druho vi naashaya.

We invoke, worship and adore the Almighty Lord. may his blessings continue to flow all around us. Let no weapon, no force, no threats from any creature or person, nothing in hiding or disguise, no treachery and disloyalty ever cause ruin or destruction for me. May the protection of the Almighty be all around me constantly.

इन्द्रम् Almighty One, protector वम् we अनुराधम् happiness, causing happiness, causing welfare हवामहे call, invoke अनु continuously, unceasing राध्यास्म we achieve, we worship, succeed द्विपदा with two feet तुष्पदा with four feet मा not us ेनाः forces, army, military अररुषीः greed, avaricious, weapon उप गुः hiding place, cannot be reached विषूचीः equally, spread इन्द्र almighty द्रुहः treachery, disloyalty, वि ाशय destroy, ruin, erase

इन्द्र्त्रातोत वृत्रहा पर्फानो वरेण्यः।
रक्षिता मतः मध्यतः पश्चात्स पुर्तान्नो अस्तु

Indras-traatota vritrahaa
paras-phaano vareṇyah.
Sa rakshitaa charamatah sa madhyatah
sa paschaatasa purastaanno astu.

O Almighty Lord, please give us your utmost protection against any fear. May we be victorious over any challenge, and may our success be continuous. May there be no fear or anxiety from anything around me or within me; May no fear or anxiety overcome me; no fear from any forces, be they at the front, back, above, below, middle or anywhere else.

इन्द्र Almighty त्राता protection, protected उत and, or वृत्रहा antagonism, victorious पर्फानः protect, enhance वरेण्यः acceptible, excellent, best among ः he, she, it रक्षिता protected, maintained मतः at the end मध्यतः in the middle पश्चात् from behind, afterwards पुर्तात् in front अस्तु be it so

उरुं लोकमनु ेषि विद्वान्त्स्वर्यज्ज्योतिर्व्ति
उग्रा त इन्द्र ्थविर्य बाहू उप क्षयेम शरणा बृहन्ता ॥

Uru no lokamanu neṣhi
vidvaant-svar-yaj-jyotir-abhayam svasti.
Agraa ta indra sthavirasya baahoo
upa ksheyam sharaṇaaa brihaṇtaa.

May prosperity and bliss be with us as we seek shelter from you, O Lord. May we become learned and inspirational in our overcoming of fear and depression. May there be no fear in us, whether from wide spaces or specific places. May no storm or anger cause us to be fearful. May no fear, anxiety or depression find its abode in us. May our shoulders and mind be strong to withstand any challenge, regardless of how large it may be.

उरुम् wide, spacious us लोकम् in place अनु ेषि leads continuously विद्वान् learned ्वः good, genial, pleasurable त् ज्योतिः shining अभम् fearlessness ्व्ति well-being, prosperity, bliss उग्रा stormy, fierce, angry तेइन्द्र almighty ्थविर्य firm, strong बाहू shoulder, both arms उप take refuge क्षयेम we remain, reside, abode शरणा shelter बृहन्ता large, huge

अभ करत्यन्तरिक्षमभ द्यावापृथिवी उभे इमे
अभपश्चादभं पुर्तादुत्तरादधरादभ अस्तु

Abhayam nah karaty-antariksham
abhayam dyaavaa pṛithivee ubhe ime.
Abhayam pashchaad abhayam purastaad
uttaraad adharaad abhayam no astu.

Let us be fearless and free of anxiety and depression. Let us not have an undue and unnecessary fear of the atmosphere or wider space; no fear or anxiety of anything behind or ahead of us, no fear of what is past or what is yet to come and no fear of anything in any direction – be it front, back, left, right, above or below.

अभम् fearlessness us करति do अन्तरिक्षम् atmosphere, above, air, space द्यावापृथिवी heaven and earth उभे both इमे this पश्चात् west, behind, at the back पुर्तात् east, to the front उत्तरात् north, to the left अधरात् south, below अस्तु be it so

अभयमित्रादभयममित्रादभयं ज्ञातादभयं पुरो यः
अभयनक्तमदिवा नः र्वआशा मम मित्रं भवन्तु

Abhayam mitraad abhayam amitraad
abhayam jyaataad abhayam parokshaat.
Abhayam naktam abhayam divaa nah
sarvaa aashaa mama mitram bhavantu.

Let us build hope and fearlessness instead of worry, anxiety and depression. May we have no anxiety or fear, whether from friends or foe, from the known or unknown, be it night or day, whether in darkness or in light, whether awake or asleep. May no fear or anxiety be with us.

अभयम् fearlessness मित्रात् friends अमित्रात् foe, enemies, strangers, unknown persons ज्ञातात् known पुरः in front यः this नक्तम् night दिवा day नः us र्वाः all आशाः hope, directions मम my मित्रम् friendly भवन्तु be