Fear

The Gurmat (Wisdom, Giaan, Upadesh or Way of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS…) cures mental diseases. It perfectly diagnoses the subtle diseases of our minds and offers the right treatment!

A case in point is “fear” (ਡਰ, ਸਹਮ, ਭੈ, ਖੌਫ, etc.).

Before we consider it’s treatment or cure, first, let’s ask the Gurbani about the root cause of “fear”.

According to the Divine Doctor in the Gurbani, the root cause of “fear” is doubt (Bharam-“ਭਰਮੁ”, ignorance).

In other words, if the mind is doubt-ridden, it will be fearful. This simply means that once the doubt (Bharam-“ਭਰਮੁ”) is eradicated, “fear” departs:

  • ਹਮਰਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਭਉ ਭਾਗਾ ॥: With the departure of my doubt, (my) fear has fled away (sggs 655).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨਿ ਗਵਾਈ ॥: Within is the ignorance, pain and doubt; it is through the Guru-given Wisdom that one is rid of these. (sggs 1291).
Fear is part of the mind — “ਭਉ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਇ”

Therefore, the battle (ਜੰਗ) is within the mind. When this battle with the mind is won, the outside battle stands won — “ਮਨਿ ਜੀਤੈ ਜਗੁ ਜੀਤੁ” , conquer the mind, conquer the world!

The Gurbani tells us that the doubt-ridden mind is full of fears the fear of the unknown or unexpected; the fear of desires, life, death, insult, loss, damage, injury, thoughts, feelings, memories, harm, old age, pain, accident, poverty, unfavorable or undesirable results or situations or circumstances, and so on.

Fear salts and peppers the unfulfilled desires that create attachment and leads to anger, resentment, jealous nature, depression, worry, inability to face critical moments in life, estrangement from Truth or our Mool (Source Jot Saroop, True Nature…), etc.

  • ਭੈ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੰਮੈ ਭੈ ਮਰੈ ਭੀ ਭਉ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Birth and death happen in fear; and this fear exists in the mind (sggs 149).
  • ਸੋ ਡਰੈ ਜਿ ਪਾਪ ਕਮਾਵਦਾ ਧਰਮੀ ਵਿਗਸੇਤੁ ॥: That person fears who commits Paap (acts against Hukam – bad thinking and actions…), while the one who lives by Dharma rejoices (inner blooming). (sggs 84).
  • ਡਰਿ ਡਰਿ ਡਰਣਾ ਮਨ ਕਾ ਸੋਰੁ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: The mind is always in fear and tumult. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 151).
  • ਡਰਿ ਡਰਿ ਪਚੇ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਵੇਚਾਰੇ ॥: The wretched Manmukhs are ruined through fear and dread (sggs 677).  (sggs 677).

According to the Gurbani, the biggest escape from fear is abidance in our True nature through Naam (Wisdom, Gur-Giaan, Virtues, Truth)…

  • ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਰੰਗਿ ਰਤਿਆ ਭਾਰੁ ਨ ਭਰਮੁ ਤਿਨਾਹ ॥: Those who are imbued with the love of the Name of the Lord are not loaded down by doubt (sggs 23).
  • ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਨਾਸੁ ॥: By the Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom, doubt is dispelled. (sggs 294).
As the depth of Love for the Mool increases, the intensity of fear decreases

In other words, when our Heart is filled with the Pure Fear of the One (Pure Fear of Hukam — reverence or respectfulness of the Law of Nature, Love, ਹੁਕਮ ਦਾ ਅਦਬ-ਸਤਕਾਰ, ਪ੍ਰੇਮ…) — detachment (“ਬੈਰਾਗੁ”) Awakens within and all fears depart! The Gurbani confirms this as follows:

  • ਡਡਾ ਡਰ ਉਪਜੇ ਡਰੁ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਤਾ ਡਰ ਮਹਿ ਡਰੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਈ ॥ ਜਉ ਡਰ ਡਰੈ ਤ ਫਿਰਿ ਡਰੁ ਲਾਗੈ ॥ ਨਿਡਰ ਹੂਆ ਡਰੁ ਉਰ ਹੋਇ ਭਾਗੈ ॥੧੯॥: DADDA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): When the Fear (of the One) wells up, (worldly) fears depart. (Worldly) fears are absorbed into that Fear. When (anyone) rejects the Fear (of the One), then (worldly) fears again cling to (him). (But, by keeping the Fear of the One in his mind, if he) becomes fearless, then fears (of his mind) run away. ||19|| (sggs 341).
  • ਏਕ ਆਸ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਰਖਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਖੁ ਭਰਮੁ ਭਉ ਜਾਇ ॥੧॥: O Nanak! Enshrine only hope of (the One Prabh-Mool) in the Heart, (this way) pain, doubt and fear depart. ||1|| (sggs 281).

As emphasized in the Gurbani, the goal is to achieve the consciousness of fearlessness (“ਨਿਰਭੈ ਪਦੁ” — ਉਹ ਆਤਮਕ ਦਰਜਾ ਜਿੱਥੇ ਕੋਈ ਡਰ ਨੇੜੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਆ ਸਕਦਾ).

Absence of fear is absence of pretending. Absence of pretending means nonattendance of false self or egotism (Haumai). In the nonattendance of false ego-sense (Haumai), there is no appearance of fear.

  • ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਇਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਵਾਏ ॥: (The Gurmukh) rids (himself) of egotism-Maya-doubt (sggs 1059).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰੀ ॥: The mind becomes pure when ego is killed (sggs 1049).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਲਿ ਵਿਰੋਧੁ ਹੈ ਦੁਇ ਨ ਵਸਹਿ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥: False-ego-sense (Haumai) is opposed to the Naam (Giaan or Wisdom); the two cannot coexist (sggs 560).

So, in nutshell, in order to overcome fears, annihilation of doubts (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) is must. The Gurbani assures us that both doubt and fear can be overcome by the Grace of the Gur-Giaan (by grace of the Knowledge or Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad…):

  • ਫੂਟੋ ਆਂਡਾ ਭਰਮ ਕਾ ਮਨਹਿ ਭਇਓ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ॥: (With the Gur-Giaan) the egg of doubt (shell of doubt-ਭਰਮ ਦਾ ਪੜਦਾ) has burst; the mind is Enlightened (Illumined-ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਸੂਝ, Aatm-Giaan…). (sggs 1002).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਭਰਮ ਭਉ ਭਾਗੈ ॥: Through the Gur-Shabad, doubt and fear are dispelled. (sggs 1070).

In other words, only the storm of Wisdom or the explosion of Wisdom (“ਗੋਲਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ” — Giaan or Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani…) can lift the doubt-ridden mind into its Mool , destroying the fortress of doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ), Maya, duality, deluded mind, ignorance, Haumai, Bikaars

  • ਦੇਖੌ ਭਾਈ ਗ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨ ਕੀ ਆਈ ਆਂਧੀ ॥ ਸਭੈ ਉਡਾਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮ ਕੀ ਟਾਟੀ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਬਾਂਧੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Behold, O brother! (When) the storm of Spiritual Wisdom comes, (then) the thatched hut of doubt gets blown away; supported by bonds of Maya (this thatched hut of doubt) cannot continue to remain behind (the storm of Spiritual Wisdom or Aatam-Giaan). ||1||Pause|| (sggs 331).
Fear departs by Realizing Truth — “ਸਚੁ” (Sachu)

The Gurbani says Truth (“ਸਚੁ”-Sachu) is the “Khasam” of all (Master, Husband, ਮਾਲਕ…). Truth makes one fearless and gives strength and meaning to existence:

  • ਮਨ ਰੇ ਸਚੁ ਮਿਲੈ ਭਉ ਜਾਇ ॥: O mind! Fear departs by realizing Truth (sggs 18).
  • ਇਹੁ ਸਚੁ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਾ ਖਸਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਬਖਸੇ ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਪਾਵਹੇ ॥: This Truth is the Master of all; blessed “Janu” (Gurmukh, Daas, Bhagat …) obtains it (sggs 922).
  • ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਭਰਮੁ ਗਇਆ ਤਿਨਿ ਸਾਚੁ ਪਛਾਨਾ ॥੬॥: (One) whose doubt is dispelled, knows the Truth. ||6|| (sggs 330).

The Gurbani asserts when doubts (Bharam-ਭਰਮ) and fears are overcome, Truth and Bliss (Anand) are realized.

  • ਭਰਮੁ ਚੁਕਾਇਆ ਸਦਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Eternal Sukh (ਸੁਖ-Happiness, Peace, Joy…) is attained when doubts are dispelled. (sggs 114).
  • ਗਇਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਰਹਿਆ ਪਰਮਾਨੰਦਾ ॥੩॥੨੦॥: (My) doubt has been eliminated, and Supreme Bliss has remained behind. ||3||20|| (sggs327).

Thus the understanding of the Gurbani (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, Giaan, Bibek…) leads us to realize the state of fearlessness (“ਨਿਰਭੈ ਪਦੁ”). In other words, one who knows Truth of his Mool gains fearlessness, Joy, Bliss, Peace ..:

  • ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਤਿਹ ਭਜਨ ਤੇ ਨਿਰਭੈ ਪਦੁ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੨॥੧॥: ||1|| O Nanak! By uniting That (i.e., Mool), the state of fearlessness is attained. ||2||1|| (sggs 726).

Although the Wisdom of the SGGS makes us fearless, courageous, brave, etc, nevertheless, the SGGS asks us to keep the “Pure Fear” (“ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਉ”) in the mind.

  • ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਉ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਹਦੂਰੇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਰਬ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰੇ ॥: In the Pure Fear of the Divine (Universal Energy, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature…), live daily life of Vitues and behold the Divine Presence before you (ਅੰਗ-ਸੰਗ). (Then the soul-bride gets the conviction that) the Divine is the fully pervading and permeating everywhere. (sggs 774).

What is “Pure Fear” (“ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਉ”?

It does not mean to be afraid of Rabb (Universal Energy, Hukam or System-Rule-Law of Nature…).

It simply implies to be watchful of the adverse impact of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed…); to be fearful of untruthful and unvirtuous lifestyle; to be fearful of low moral standards and bad actions; to perform one’s duty responsibly, to be alert from deception and fraud; etc. In essence, it is the fear of immoral, false and unrighteous conduct.

In nutshell, “Pure Fear” is to be careful, aware, heedful, vigilant, and cautious in life (ਸਾਵਧਾਨ). Thus, in deeper sense, it is meant to discourage ambivalence.

Hence, the Gurbani is the mirror of the mind – it addresses the human mind and Awakens it to recognize its True Nature (Jot Saroop).

29 comments

  1. Thank you Jasmeet Kaur Ji for taking the time to post comment. Welcome to the Gurbani Blog Ji!
    Sorry, there is no PGF version of these articles.

  2. An amazing, informative blog. Everything s concise but so well structured and referenced. I wonder if the PDF version discussed in the comments is available yet? Thank you so much.

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