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Renunciation Alone Stands For Fearlessness

All fears necessarily involve a subject and an object: I and the object of fear. Vedanta  says that fear will persist as long as we are conscious of an object different from us. And these objects include our own body and mind, of which the subject, the witness, is the Atman. ‘It is from a second entity that fear comes,’ says the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.  And in the words of the Taittiriya Upanishad, ‘When a man finds fearless support in That which is invisible, formless, indefinable and supportless, he has then attained fearlessness. If he makes the slightest differentiation in It, there is fear for him.’

Fear has to be our inevitable companion as long as the world appears real to us. Bhartrihari’s Vairagya Shataka portrays this truth admirably: ‘In enjoyment is the fear of disease; in social position, the fear of falling off; in wealth, the fear of hostile kings; in honour, the fear of humiliation; in power, the fear of enemies; in beauty, the fear of old age; in scholarship, the fear of opponents; in virtue, the fear of calumny; and in body, the fear of death. Everything in this world is fraught with fear. Renunciation alone stands for fearlessness.

Only when man realizes his eternal, true Self does he realize that he is not subject to death, that he is not a finite human being with a body and mind, but the infinite Consciousness Itself. After imparting instructions to Janaka about Brahman, Yajnavalkya assured him, ‘You have attained That which is free from fear.’