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Exhortations against Fear of  Yoga

Indra kindled the fire of yoga (इन्द्र इद्धयोः[1] 1.007.2). In spite of Indra’s efforts at popularising , there seems to have been a wide spread fear of yoga. Presumably because it means a loss of self. The sage pleads: We bow to the God of war, Bull! (स नो वृषन्नमुं).[2] He asks him to clear a doubt: though you are there: always granting, unwearied, protector friend (सत्रादावन्नपावृधि), our fear is unrestrainable (अस्मभ्यमप्रतिष्कुतः)[3] (1.007.6). In a later verse, he calls Indra: ईशानो  अप्रतिष्कुतः (1.007.8), i.e., Master of the unrestrainable, implying that he had conquered fear.

Vaisvamitra talks of hidden fears and how to tackle them:

वीळु चिदारुजत्नुभिर्गुहा चिदिन्द्र वह्निभिः | अविन्द उस्रिया अनु || (1.006.5)[4]

Be strong; (use) intelligence to break hidden fears; even Indra feared fire; On account of fears, one fails to get illumination.

On account of fears, one fails to get enlightened (अविन्द उस्रिया अनु). With regard to fear, Vaishvamitra has three advices to offer. Be strong (वीळु). Use intelligence to break hidden fears (चिदारुजत्नुभिर्गुहा). Finally, by way of encouragement, he adds that even Indra feared fire (चिदिन्द्र वह्निभिः)

In another verse, he speaks of the widespread fear:

जेषः स्वर्वतीरपः सं गा अस्मभ्यं धूनुहि || (1.010.8.2)[5]

Even on gaining heaven on the shores of ocean (bhavsagar) seeing the enclosure, we are shaken with fear even now indeed.

Interestingly, the verse refers to heaven in the term: स्वर्वतीरपः, which means: heaven (स्वर्) ocean (वः) shore (तीर) guarding (पः). This suggests that the idea of heaven lying across an ocean, on its shore, was current even then. This reference to ocean, corresponds to the idea of bhavsagar (भवसागर) current among Hindus.

He tries to goad the listeners:

नहि त्वा रोदसी उभी ऋघायमाणमिन्वतः | (1.010.8.1)[6]

If you tremble, neither heaven nor earth, are for you. In order that you don’t, honour knowledge (ascertainment or realization).

So inner knowledge is advocated as a means of fighting fear. The word used for knowledge here is ण, which also means ascertainment. Hence, it is inner knowledge or realization that the sage is speaking of.

There are other verses on fear as well. The sage mocks the fear of the unknown that deters seekers. Facts should not frighten one into keeping away from sages, into running away:

परेहि विग्रमस्तृतमिन्द्र पृच्छा विपश्चितम् | यस्ते सखिभ्य आ वरम् || (1.004.4)[7]

To run away because (परेहि) stars break up, change form, and the night is dark (विग्रमस्तृतमिन्द्रं), from inquiring from sages (पृच्छा विपश्चितम्): It is better that you endeavour to make friends with fear (यस्ते सखिभ्य आ वरम्)!


[1] Indra (इन्द्र) kindled (इद्ध) union (यः = योः) (इद्ध-यः = इद्धयो)

[2] God (स) war (नः) bull (वृषन्) bow down! (नम्-उम्)( वृषन्-नम्-उम्  = वृषन्नमुं)

[3] Our (अस्म = अस्मद्) fear (भ्यम् = भ्यस्) unrestrainable (अप्रतिष्कुतः) (अस्म-भ्यम्-अप्रतिष्कुत = अस्मभ्यमप्रतिष्कुतः)

[4] वीळु चित्आरुजत्नु – भिः – गुहा  चिद् – इन्द्र वह्नि – भिः | अविन्द उस्रिया अनु ||

(Be) Strong (वीळु) Intelligence (चित् = चिद्) breaking (आरुजत्नु) fears (भी = भि) hiding (गुहा) (चित्-आरुजत्नु-भः-गुहा = चिदारुजत्नुभिर्गुहा) Even Indra (चिद्-इन्द्र = चिदिन्द्र) fire fear (वह्नि-भी = वह्निभिः) | Not finding (अविन्दत् = अविन्द) light (उस्रिया) on account of (अनु) ||

[5] जेषः स्वर् – वः – तीर – पः सं गा अस्म – भ्यं धू – नु – हि ||

Gaining (जेषः) heaven (स्वर्) ocean (वः) shore (तीर) guarding (पः)(स्वर्-वः-तीर-पः  = स्वर्वतीरपः) enclosure (सं) see (गा) we fear (अस्म-भ्यस् = अस्मभ्यं) shaken (धू) even now (नु) indeed (हि)

[6] नहि त्वा रोदसी उभी ऋघायमामिन्व्अतः |

Surely not (नहि) you (त्वा) heaven and earth (रोदसी) both (उभ = उभे) tremble (ऋघाय) in order that not (मा) knowledge (ascertainment) (णः) honour (मिन्व्) therefore (अतः)

[7] परेहि विग्रमस् – तृ – तम् – इन्द्र पृच्छा विपश्चितम् | यस्य – ते सखि – भ्य आ वरम् ||

To run away because (परे-हि) divide (विग्र = विग्रह) change form (मस्) star (तृ) darkness (तम = तमस्) night (इन्द्रः = इन्द्रं) inquiring (पृच्छा) sage (विपश्चित् =विपश्चितम्) | To be endeavoured thou  (यस्य-ते = यस्ते) friend fear (सखि-भ्यस् = सखिभ्य) just (आ) it is better that (वरम्)

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