The Best Way To Get Rid Of Fear And Anxiety

Krishna and Arjuna

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V


This is what we learn from the Bhagavadgita. When you live for someone you love deeply or for a great cause, your fear and anxiety go away. Think of a mother, who prepares food for her child or a person who dies for his country, or someone who wants to save the planet or the animals. Dian Fossey lived her life and died trying to save the primates in Africa. Did she live in vain?  Therefore, here is a formula for your personal and spiritual liberation, live for someone or something you can die for.

The Bhagavadgita teaches you not only how to achieve liberation through selfless works but also how to deal with fear and anxiety. We are subject to many fears. Fear is the most dominant emotion of our minds, which manifests in our lives in many ways. For example, we are afraid of many things, including cockroaches, lizards and bats. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of loss are some of the most common fears we experience, which prevent us from venturing out of our comfort zones and taking risks. Because of fear many people settle for less. Their dreams remain dreams, as they sabotage their own success by indulging in self-destructive actions. Fear is also a major emotion we deal with when we start a new project or a business as we are overwhelmed with doubts and questions about our abilities and the results of our actions and decisions.

The Bhagavadgita goes to the root of this problem and tries to address it on a lasting basis. It gives you a formula by which you can live without fear and experience peace and equanimity. It warns you that you cannot withdraw from life or from performing actions because of your fears. Withdrawal and inaction are not the right solutions to the problem of fear, nor living in constant fear and anxiety. The right approach is to transcend the fear of failure and the desire to succeed by focusing upon the task and doing your best and giving your best. It is much better when you do it for the sake of someone you love most or for some cause in which you believe strongly.

Selfishness is responsible for most our ills, including fear. When you live for someone you love or for a great cause, your fear goes away, as you will not be then concerned about your personal success or promoting your personal interests. Think of a mother, who prepares food for her child. She does it with lot of love and care, and in doing it she is not worried about herself. She does not put her pride in it, nor she worries how people may think about her action. She does it out of pure love. She may go hungry, but she will try to keep the child fed. Think of people, who sacrifice their lives for the sake of a country's freedom, or the welfare of its people. Think of people who spend their lives for the sake of nobler causes. In doing it they set aside their personal care and concerns. They do it out of love only. Therefore, if you want to overcome fear and anxiety, choose a cause or someone you love most in your life, and do it for the sake of that person, or the cause, as a sacrificial offering. That person may be your family, an organization, a good cause, a political party, a country, the religion you follow, a guru, a child you love most, a friend you care for, your spouse, or anyone for whom you do not hesitate to sacrifice your life. Your love must be strong enough to warrant that sacrifice.

However, since people are unpredictable and when you sacrifice your life for others you may suffer from betrayal, heartbreak and emotional trauma, the following two conditions are important.

1. You should not become attached to the persons or the causes, however strongly you may love them.

2. You should not have expectations from them or from your actions because desires and expectations can lead to pain, suffering, and unhappiness.

For this very reason, the Bhagavadgita suggests detachment and renunciation in performing your actions. It is indeed noble to sacrifice your life for others or for a great cause, because serving others is as good as serving God. However, the Bhagavadgita suggests that it is much better if you do it  for the God you love most, because He will never betray you, disappoint you or take advantage of you. For true devotees, this problem will never arise at all because the Person they love most is always God. However, if you cannot love or believe in God, you can do it for the people or the causes you love most, which fall under the five great sacrifices or obligatory duties mentioned in the Hindu scriptures.

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