June – Mul Mantra – Nirbhau – Without Fear – HarGobind
‘Jap man Nirbhau’;
Oh mind meditate on the Fearless (One/God). SGGS p 1201 Guru Ramdas.
The phrases of the Mul Mantra, after Karta Purkh, are more impersonal. They require us to move beyond our personal development as human beings, relate to humanity as a whole, and call in our spiritual strength.
Nirbhau is the 6th phase of the Mul Mantra and may be translated as ‘No Fear’, ‘Without Fear’ or ‘Fearless’. It is a state of being, an identity, a domain of consciousness and a grace we may receive. Nirbhau corresponds to the Guru’s 6th incarnation as HarGobind. The value he stands for is Freedom and the virtue he manifests is Justice.
Here are some further reflections partly drawn from references to Nirbhau in Gurbani.
In good company (sangat), the heart opens, doubt dissolves and faith awakens. The sum total of that is Fearlessness. One is prepared and inspired to fight for the freedom of people and the awakening of consciousness.
Fearless implies freedom from fear. A freedom that opens doors and makes the impossible possible. Fear says ‘we can’t, there’s no hope, lets give up’. Fearless does not ask questions. It offers itself for the possibility. Fearlessness presents itself saying ‘we will die rather than deny the chance. Faith frees us to step into unknown or uncertain realms.
The principles and practice of meditation show how to become truly Fearless. It is by meditating on fearlessness that we start to awaken and identify that quality in us. To make that easier the quality of fearlessness is given life by association to a being. That being is God. Therefore it is said that God is fearless and by meditating on the fearless nature of the Divine we will go beyond all fears.
Fearlessness is present within us but it is silenced through the fears produced by the play of Maya and the resultiing attachments and misidentification. When we give up our limited and selfish concerns and step into, or align with, the altruistic impulse of the spirit then it will naturally bring us into the realm of fearlessness. This same fearlessness is needed to confront our ego and its false sense of self-importance. The paradox is that by the fear of the One/God we will be free of all other fears. Fearlessness based in the fear of God is purifying.
It takes absolute fearlessness to fear only God.
Fear in itself is not a problem. In fact fearlessness can only be known in relation and contrast to fear. Therefore it is our relation to fear that is the difficulty or the opportunity.
Fear can be a wall in front of us that blocks any movement forward. It can prevent us from opening our hearts to feel more pain of loving. Fear can also save us from doing foolish things, that we regret later. Fear can serve, empower and move us, like a wind at our back.
Being fearless is not meant to imply a naive kind of bravado, where we are unconscious of the consequences of our acts. It is rather an alertness, a state of high awareness, which can bring a sharp clarity to our intuition.
In other words a fearlessness that is not linked to, and born out of, the fear of God will result in forgetfulness of the One who created us. There will be no self-regulation.
Fear is associated to the future. It is anticipation of something which is yet to be. fearing the Fearless One is anticipation of reaching that state and the sense of responsibility that goes with it.
The ‘Fear of God, the Fearless One’ is what keeps us awake and aware. It is remembrance. It is one side of the coin of which the other side is love and devotion. In sum total it makes the state of Wonder (awe).
Being free of the influence of the opinion of others is a true fearlessness that is born out of Sat Naam. It manifests as a projection of presence in the arc-line which cuts down any animosity or attack from others. fearlessness is untouchable even though it may touch everything.
And so it was with Guru HarGobind. An army of thousands was sent to undermine the inspired and expanding community of the Sikhs. Yet they were powerless in front of a small contingent of fearless Sikh warrior saints.
From the moment HarGobind became the Guru he was engaged in the transformation of fear. Guru Arjun gave him two swords and instructed him to prepare to defend the community.
Fear is a weapon that can be used to control people. But if the people are fearless then it is not so easy to control them.
Fearlessness is against no-one. As a key part in community awareness it keeps one alert to the sense of the others. It give the ability to take a stand and speak up for others. In this way it is associated with justice. This was embodied by Guru HarGobind when he would not leave the prison without taking out others who had also been wrongly imprisoned.
Fear of God is remembrance of God. It dissolves the fear of death and keeps the consciousness fixed on the One.