To Be Fearless

Durga_Mahishasura-mardini,_the_slayer_of_the_buffalo_demon,_GermanyLord Krishna exhorts Arjuna to be fearless. Some of us were surprised by the idea that fearlessness is considered the most important factor in spiritual progress. We talked about how most religious teachings stress moral piety, cleanliness of mind and body, self control, discipline and humility, but never really emphasize courage as a precursor to wisdom.

But when we thought about it, it made perfect sense. If Arjuna in the battlefield represents all of us who do battle daily with life and all its challenges, then surely courage is crucial. If the enemies are not only external in terms of hardships, challenges, loss and injury, but internal in terms of greed, anger, sorrow, attachment and weakness, then surely we need a tremendous amount of of bravery and fortitude to withstand the onslaught and to fight back and conquer each one.

As women, we tend to be passionate about our families, obsessive about our children, and we often suffer over real or imagined slights.  For me, food becomes a crutch to handle frustration and the stress of putting everyone else first,  and eventually resentment boils over into anger, while my body suffers from overindulging in the wrong foods. All of us have our own flaws and we need to identify them and then fight them.

I think the real courage comes from knowing that the enemy cannot be vanquished overnight. To wake each day, knowing that our vices and our flaws still lurk on the horizon, waiting to overwhelm us at the slightest sign of weakness, and yet not give up, to dust ourselves off each time we succumb and to keep fighting, is truly heroic.

No wonder then, that Lord Krishna urges Arjuna to be brave, to arise, and to fight. This week, we resolved to be courageous, to face our fears, and to do battle.

Image: Raja Ravi Varma [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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