Samvaad 4 continues the dialogue on courage, courage of the mind.
There is yet another kind of courage, greater even than physical courage, such as was shown by Vibhishan when he dared to speak the truth even at peril to his life.
“Vibhishan’s act was one of physical courage, for he did not fear his brother’s blows; but it was also an act of mental courage, for he did not hesitate to utter words that the other courtiers, physically as brave as he, would not have let fall from their lips. This courage of the mind is known as moral courage.
Such was the courage of Moses, the leader of Israel, who demanded from the Pharaoh of Egypt the freedom of the oppressed Jewish people.
Such was the courage of Mohammed, the Prophet, who imparted his religious thought to the Arabs, and who refused to be silenced even though they threatened him with death. Such was the courage of Siddhartha, the Blessed One, who taught the people of India a new and noble path, and was not terrified by the evil spirits who assailed him under the Bo-tree.
Such was the courage of Christ, who preached to the people: “Love one another,” and was not intimidated by the pontiffs of Jerusalem who forbade him to teach, nor by the Romans who crucified him.”
When confronted with dangers, moral dilemmas, value crisis, it is mental and vital courage that come to the fore. But even these are related to certain outer stimuli, interactions. How does courage play a role in one’s inner growth, in one’s own interaction with oneself? How does the family, the school, the society stimulate such growth?
Courage for Inner Growth
Often there is a tussle between the various parts in oneself, one pulling towards the light the other towards the shadow, and many others towards the grey areas in between. It requires discernment, sincerity, aspiration to know what is right, but it requires Courage to choose what is right. This is only the first step. Even more difficult is to consistently choose that which is right.
“Heroism is not what it is said to be:
It is to become wholly unified-and the Divine help will always be with those who have resolved to be Heroic in full sincerity.”
Courage to Persevere in the Battle of Life
“There is a courage which can make you cross rivers and another that enables you to take the right path; but even more courage is needed to stay on the right path than to enter it.
Listen to the parable of the hen and her chicks:
Siddhartha, the Blessed One, used to instruct his disciples to do their best and then to trust that the best would bear its fruit.
“Just as,” he said, “a hen lays eggs and broods on them and never thinks of fretting: ‘will my little chicks be able to break out of their shells with their beaks and see the light of day?’ you too should have no fear: if you are persistent in the noble path, you also will come to the light.”
And this is true courage: to walk the straight path, to brave storm, darkness and suffering and to persevere, moving ever forward, in spite of everything, towards the light.”
Courage for oneself, for others; courage in action, mental courage… all these and many more levels of courage are beautifully interwoven in the tale of Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, which as Sri Aurbindo has explained symbolizes the battle each of us have to fight within ourselves and in our own lives.
“Courage and love are the only indispensable virtues; even if all the others are eclipsed or fall asleep, these two will save the soul alive.”
One can face anything if one can reflect upon the following, from time to time…
· The things I find difficult to face are….
· The things that make me shudder physically are……
· The things that make me shudder psychologically are…..
· The part which is the strongest in me, i.e. which is able to face the situation more calmly, is……
· The fears I need to master are…..
· I can master these through……
· My fears are more at the level of…….(Physical/Psychological)
· The areas in which I am able to face the fear with full knowledge are….
· I can do so because…..
· My areas of courage are more at the level of…..(physical/psychological)
· I can face anything if I develop in myself the following…..
Did you know?
Indian Yoga Psychology provides insights into the development of human character and refinement of emotions?
Indian Education today draws its psychological assumptions from the framework of conventional Psychology – the same framework where there are still some gaps in a holistic understanding of human nature. For example, the understanding of Courage as an emotion is as yet incomplete and under-researched in Conventional Psychology. The Indian knowledge repository, has provided us sufficient understanding of as an emotion. Let us delve a little deeper into the nature of courage.
What is the nature of Courage?
Courage, in the Indian context, has been depicted as ‘Utsaha’ (Energy, Dynamic Energy, Heroism or Perserance). ‘Utsaha’ is described as a primary basic emotion that is deeply connected to a heroic determination and willingness to engage in acts requiring endurance and sacrifice. The struggle and perseverance of Goddess Durga in a seemingly hopeless battle against uncountable demons, in an effort to save the world, is a good example of this emotion. The rasa (meta-emotion) of this primary emotion is the ‘Vira rasa’ (the heroic).
Where does Courage arise from?
In Conventional Psychology there is no theoretical framework which explains the source of higher emotions like ‘Courage’, though there is some research on the antithesis of courage –fear. The explanations have been able to link fear to certain physiological reactions and unhealthy belief systems.
The Integral Yoga Psychology of Sri Aurobindo clearly defines the ‘Vital’ as the source and seat of all emotions including Courage. The Higher Vital is the source for Courage and the Lower Vital for Fear. The links between emotional, vital and mental reactions and Courage have also been well defined.
How do we develop Courage?
Over the years, there has been a great paucity of literature or research on this topic. Recently, there have been some efforts to delve into the same, with the coming of therapeutic techniques like ‘implosion’ (forcing a patient in therapy to physically face the object of fear).
In Indian Psychology there are both external and internal methods for inculcating Courage. The Integral Yoga Psychology explicates a number of techniques for developing inward courage and a fearless attitude. This has been done very admirably in Indian theatre and dance. We shall explore this in the forthcoming editions.
We wait to hear from you on Courage, through pragyan firstname.lastname@example.org.
The material shared with our readers draws from “The Gnostic Centre Journal” Vol. 5,issue 6.
May we be blessed with the ‘Courage to be’
The editor’s desk