More about fear

The story which Hazrat Inayat told, mentioned in the previous post, about Machandra throwing away his gold in order to throw away his fear, makes it clear that fear is caused by attachment. Presumably, the fear that troubled Machandra was that he and Gaurikha might be set upon by robbers, and when he had nothing left to steal, there was nothing for him to fear.

Another expression of the same theme appears in an Italian folk-tale, ‘Body-without-Soul’, retold by Italo Calvino.  Very often folk- and fairy-tales carry spiritual guidance and esoteric information, preserved down the ages not because the successive generations of story-tellers necessarily understand those messages, but simply because the oral tradition is scrupulously kept as a link of faith, so to speak; the story is told as it was heard, no more, no less, and that faithful transmission can preserve a surprising amount of detail over thousands of years.  For example, many of the descriptions of Troy in Homer’s Iliad, written around the 8th century BC, but describing events perhaps five hundred years before that, have been shown to be true by modern day archaeology.

In the story ‘Body-without-Soul’, the principal task of the hero (called ‘Jack’ in the english translation) is to rescue  the princess from the evil magician ‘Body-without-soul’, but Jack begins his adventures by mastering the horse of the king.  When he arrives in the city, Jack learns that the king has a magnificent horse, named ‘Rondello,’ which no one is able to ride.  After studying Rondello, Jack decides that the horse is unmanageable because it is frightened of its own shadow.  He goes to visit Rondello in the dark stable, makes friends with it there, and then mounting it in the dark, rides it out of the stable door straight toward the sun, so that it is unable to see its shadow.  In this way, he gains control of the horse, and this opens the way to the further events of the story.

In this case, the horse could be seen as a symbol of the power latent within us.  Indeed, the name ‘Rondello’ means little circle, a term not very different from ‘chakra’ or ‘disk’, used by yogis to describe inner centres of consciousness.  The shadow which frightened the horse suggests the idea of limitation; as long as we identify with our dense, shadow-casting material body, we are frightened, and our power remains out of reach.  But when we keep our gaze firmly on the light, we have no need to be afraid, and power comes naturally into our control.

There are other interesting messages in this story; probably the most significant is the over-all quest to save the princess.  In such stories, a princess can represent the spiritual aspect of a person, or the soul, since she is the daughter of the King, and is always extremely beautiful.  The very name ‘Body-without-soul’ describes the ‘sleep-walking’ materialist, unaware of the inner life, which holds the soul captive.  Jack’s mission, then, is to rescue the soul from the death-in-life captivity in which many souls are trapped.

One Reply to “More about fear”

  1. Nuria Daly

    Dear Nawab,
    This is truly amazing and fits in so well with the fairy tales I am working with. In overcoming fear the hero can move onto the next stage of the quest. Fear seems to be behind all of the so called vices that we have to overcome. Personally fear has been a big issue for me but facing the sun and Light of truth really does help, and allows me to speak out when I would have been silent.
    Thank you for all these posts. I feel like answering all of them!


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