Fear of Death – Abhinivesha

Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.9- Svarasavahi-Vidusah-Api-Tatha-Arudhah-Abhinivesah

Svarasavahi: flowing on its own momentum

Vidusah: wise person

Api: even

Tatha: the same way

Arudhah: firmly established

Abhinivesah: fear of death, clinging onto the life 

We are talking about the Klesas, all those vitiating factors that cause pain and suffering in all of us. Among this entire list of the Klesas, the last one is Abhinivesha, the most difficult. It is observed that this is very much there in our personality. Our intellect, our wisdom, all the effort that we put in becoming wiser and understanding, that is not of any use because deep down we have that fear of death in us. The human being, because of his sense of ‘I’ wants to continue, hold on. ‘I’ should remain, my name should remain, and my position should remain. That ‘I, me and mine’, that ego, that thinking, is deeply rooted in our psyche. He may not be consciously thinking about it, but it is there.

Every human knows that because he is born, he is going to die. But why is this fear element instilled in us?

We have gone through so many lives with birth and death that this death is so much into our subconscious, that the fear is bound to be there. So finally that fear takes over us. And so they say that with this fear, the wisest person and the foolish person both behave in the same way and the wisdom is of no use.

So, with this sutra, we have to understand that all these fears that we have in life, slowly we have to remove them. Slowly, we have to develop care and compassion for others. The understanding about life has to come that this ‘me and mine’ has to be removed. If we make a list of all our fears, we realise that even the fear of people talking bad about you or criticising you or taking over you, or somebody smarter than you, all these fears are very obviously the same.

A simple example,

A few days ago I was talking to a lady who felt very uneasy about her new daughter-in-law because she was very highly educated and she would take over and after that, this lady’s position would be lost. So she went into a depressive state that ‘my management will go away.’ So mother-in-laws go through severe depression because the daughter-in-laws are 100 steps ahead of them. The same is with a boss and subordinate. All these things are very painful for people to take and they feel insecure about ‘my position’. Somehow we have to develop a good amount of understanding. Of course, here Abhinivesha is talking about the main fear of death. But according to me, we have so many fears in life, at least we should learn to handle them and then slowly a person will be able to handle that main fear of death as well.

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