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Stop Fear & Failure: Why Worry Makes Misery Bigger

Those who are not a source of annoyance to anyone and who in turn are not agitated by anyone, who are equal in pleasure and distress, and are free from fear and anxiety, such devotees are very dear to Me - Bhagavad Gita 12.15

We have also read in our last blog the clarion call from Swami Vivekananda:

"Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvellous work. The moment, you fear, you are nobody. It is fear that is the great cause of misery in the world."

Stop Fear & Failure: Why Worry Makes Misery Bigger

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Misery is the Size of Fear

An interesting story from Mahabharatha on the maxim, fear is the cause of misery:

Once Lord Krishna and Balram were walking through a forest and the night fell before they could reach their destination. They decided to rest in the forest until the crack of the dawn. They agreed between themselves to take turns to keep vigil in the ensuing night. While one would sleep, the other would watch over for wild beasts, taking turns between them. Balram insisted that he would start the vigil first taking the responsibility as the elder. Krishna slept soon. Balram smiled to himself as he watched Krishna sleep when he suddenly heard a scream.

Startled, he looked around and saw a demon about his height watching him with fiery look. Balram was scared looking at the demon and with a quiver in his voice asked, “Whhhooo aaarree yooou?”

The demon laughed and said, “I am the size of your fear!” As he was saying this, he started growing bigger. Balram was petrified. The more afraid he was, the more the demon kept growing. The more the demon grew, the more panicked Balram was. The demon grew to almost three times Balram’s size. Balram could not take it any further and fainted shouting “Krishna….”

Krishna woke up on hearing his name and saw Balram lying next to him. Assuming he was asleep, Krishna got ready to take over his turn of the duty, Krishna noticed the demon when he settled down to sit under a tree. The demon watched him with the same fiery eyes. Krishna watched him without much interest.

Unable to take such apathy, the demon asked, “Don’t you know who I am and are you not afraid of me”.

Krishna said, nonchalantly, “You would reveal anyway” ignoring the question.

The demon said, “I am the size of your fear!” Krishna laughed hearing this. And the demon started becoming small. The more Krishna chuckled to himself, the tinier and tinier the demon became, until it became the size of a miniature doll. Krishna picked him up and put him in the bag to show to Balram the next day.

When Balram woke up the next day, he narrated his terrible experience the previous night to Krishna. Krishna with a smile upon his lotus lips, removed the doll from his bag and asked, “Is this the demon you saw yesterday?”

Balram was confused and said, “Yes – it looks like him. But he was humongous and dangerous when I saw him last night. How did he become so tiny and so placid!”

Krishna said, “He looked so huge because he was able to scare you. He was the size of your fear. I couldn’t help but laugh when he tried to scare me, and he kept shrinking. He would have disappeared, but I wanted to show him to you – hence I have kept him!”

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Fear » Failure, Worry » Misery

This story might sound funny but is a very thoughtful story. The demon in this story is our miseries and failures. Size of our misery is the size of our worry and probability of failure is directly proportional to the size of fear. More we worry more we suffer. We can do marvelous things if we can shun fears. Fear leads to failure.

Faith & Fear Do Not Coexist

Just as our miseries grow proportionate to our worries, our object of faith also grows based on the size of our faith. Faith does not come instantly. Faith grows stronger and stronger based on our experiences and practice. When faith reaches the peak, we can move mountains, literally.

Just the way the room cannot be dark and lit at the same time, faith and fear cannot co-exist among us.

“The problem with some of us is that we have faith in our doubts and doubt in our faith.”

Dhridharasthra in Mahabharatha is the personification of the postulate “Miseries are proportional to the worries”. Dhridharashtra used to constantly worry about the supremacy of Pandavas over his sons. He did not take any counter action for this except worrying and that has resulted in miseries. On the other hand, Pandavas took their miseries positively with faith and their miseries vanished like dew in front of sun.

Risk Mitigation vs Worrying

Is it possible to live without any worry at all? Is ‘Not worrying’ means not bothered about anything that could happen in our life.

Is ‘Risk Assessment and Management’ also a form of worrying? No. Risk Management is taking proactive actions to mitigate possible future issues whereas worry is the fear of the future without taking any mitigating action. Risk Assessment without mitigation could result in worries.

Bhagavad Gita has lot more to talk about Fear. We will see a few in the next blog.

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Jaganathan T
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jaganathan T
CiO Klub - President of Chennai Chapter, Managing Trustee - FutureCalls Charitable Trust, Author, Exemplar Global Certified ISMS Lead Auditor
Subjects of Expertise: Technology, Cyber Security, Management Development
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jaganathan T
CiO Klub - President of Chennai Chapter
Managing Trustee - FutureCalls Charitable Trust
Author
Exemplar Global Certified ISMS Lead Auditor

Subjects of Expertise

Technology
Cyber Security
Management Development

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