Corporate musings

Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita 10 – Fear


Through the Bhagavad Gita, I feel Lord Krishna tries to remove the two biggest fears that human beings have – the fear of death and the fear of the unknown. In several verses, he keeps re-inforcing the message of the soul being immortal and just the body dying. This is verse 20 of Chapter 2 –

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचि
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूय: |
अजो नित्य: शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे || 20||

na jāyate mriyate vā kadāchin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śhāśhvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śharīre

na jāyateis not born; mriyatedies; or; kadāchitat any time; nanot; ayamthis; bhūtvāhaving once existed; bhavitāwill be; or; nanot; bhūyaḥfurther; ajaḥunborn; nityaḥeternal; śhāśhvataḥimmortal; ayamthis; purāṇaḥthe ancient; na hanyateis not destroyed; hanyamāneis destroyed; śharīrewhen the body
The translation is – The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die; nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal, and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body is destroyed.

The link to the page is – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/20

The biggest fear of the mortal man is his mortality…. we cling to life but do very little to live it. Mystics, Scientists, quacks and everyone else in between is trying to find the elixir of immortality. Death is a reality and its good that there is death, just imagine a world full of immortal beings !! Death cleans up the old and makes way for the new. Fear in small doses is much needed. Fear of death has led human beings to finding cures for fatal diseases… cancer was unconquerable a couple of decades ago. Today many types of cancers can be overcome and people go on to live their full life.

I have always felt that fear is tiny doses works wonders, the operative word being “tiny” doses. If fear overwhelms you then it renders you into a helpless being. The soldier (except the Gorkhas) also feels fear and it keeps him alert. That he overcomes his fear and goes to defend his country, knowing fully well that he may sacrifice his very life in the process is why he is to be celebrated.

There are different fears that people have – fear of irrelevance, fear of heights, fear of certain colors, fear of insects, fear of public speaking etc etc. While they all stem from the basic fear of death, they all impact the individual deeply and many times irreparably. If we are able to overcome our fear of death, only then are we  truly alive. This verse clearly tells Arjuna and to all of us, that since the soul is immortal, “YOU” really don’t ever die. The mind grasps it but till you really “know” it in your bones, its not a reality for you.

Organizations must fear death – because that fear spurs them to be on their toes, watching the changing world and changing before the market place changes or atleast changing when it does. Krishnan and I went to a bookshop two days back after nearly a year and suddenly I realised that, brick and mortar bookshops will soon be a thing of the past. We bought a couple of books of Osho’s because not all of them are available online. Our entire library has nearly shifted to the Kindle app. So bookshops and writers need to adapt and change to the new reality.

Have you ever contemplated about the things you would do if you were truly fearless ? Would you be more alive? Would you take more risks? Would you, like the Starship Enterprise, go where no man has gone before ?

Well – what if you are guaranteed eternal life ? Lord Krishna just guaranteed it – now just be fully ALIVE.

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