Confronting Abhinivesh

Abhinivesh, one of the many causes of suffering, is a concept we can relate to through our daily experiences. It refers to the fear of death or the strong desire to cling to life, even when it may not be fulfilling. Why do we fear death when we are alive in the present moment?

Consider how a baby instinctively stops at the edge of a table while crawling. Could this fear of falling stem from past experiences with death? Perhaps it’s a memory imprinted in our subconscious.

We often playfully talk about our loved ones being reborn. My grandmother adored my brother immensely, even in her final days referring to him as her own son. Her attachment was profound. When our niece was born (my brother’s daughter), we all felt as though Grandma had returned with her😌
मेरी दादी, भाची के रूप में वापस आ गई भाई के पास.

Could it be that we’ve lived multiple lives before, forming strong attachments to our identities and bodies?

We can better understand this through our past riding experiences. Even if you haven’t ridden a scooter in a long time, you can still ride today with minimal practice. Is it because of practice or past experience? Muscle memory ? Absolutely. That’s precisely what I’m trying to convey.

Yoga teaches us to silence the mind and attain liberation. Yet, attachment to material possessions, relationships, or even our own egos can hinder our progress.

Living a fearless life undoubtedly requires fearlessness, particularly regarding death. However, achieving this state is challenging. Maharshi Patanjali’s Yoga sutra “Swaraswahi Vidushopi Tatha Rudho Abhinivesh” says that even knowledgeable/wise individuals can be strongly attached to their existence or identity. This means, Understanding yoga principles alone may not be enough for liberation, as people can still be tied to their identity even if they grasp them intellectually.

In simpler terms, even highly intelligent individuals, like CEOs who can distinguish between flattery and honesty among their colleagues, may still prioritise bolstering their ego.

I am taking the liberty to define Abhinivesh simply as “fear”.

In today’s world, despite medical advancements and trust in modern medicine so much so that a diabetic person freely eats sugary food items. Life expectancy has doubled since independence. Then what do we really fear? What are we afraid of?

Are we afraid of how we’re perceived? Feeling the need to conform to certain appearances because of our roles, like dressing a certain way as a school principal or speaking a certain way as a yoga instructor?
Do we fear change? Sticking to our current job because it’s familiar, even if we yearn for something different, simply because it’s comfortable? Is not this fear of change, keeping us stuck in familiar but unfulfilling routines? Trust me I have seen as well experienced this.
Do we fear societal expectations? Whether it’s owning high-end cars or wearing branded clothes?
Are we afraid of physical harm, restricting our children from play out of fear they may get hurt?
Fear of Missing Out, commonly known as FOMO, refers to the anxiety people feel when they believe they might be missing out on something exciting or interesting happening elsewhere. I read somewhere “FOMO is like being stuck in a game of musical chairs, except the music never stops and the chairs keep multiplying.”
Are we afraid of being judged? लोग क्या कहेंगे?
छोटे कपडे, बहुत ज्यादा attitude, कुछ ज्यादा ही social etc. The constant worry of what others will say or think can hold us back from giving our 100% in everything we do.

Managing fear isn’t enough; we must strive to overcome it. Maharshi Patanjali offers solutions tailored to the intensity of our suffering. In my next blog, I’ll delve deeper into Patanjali’s teachings on overcoming these causes of suffering. Stay tuned!

Meanshile listen to Piyush Mishra’s famous song “आरम्भ है प्रचण्ड”, sharing 2 lines here
मौत अन्त हैं नहीं तो मौत से भी क्यों डरे
ये जाके आसमान में दहाड़ दो !

Yoga Practitioner,
Preevi Jain

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