[Advaita-l] Removal of Fear

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Wed Nov 30 07:43:50 CST 2005

Greetings Murali ji,

On 11/30/05, murali mohan <murali_mohan at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Now that the scientists has identified the "fear gene" and has
> produced mice without fear in the laboratory, next they will be
> producing fearless human beings or pills to remove fear forever. What
> does all this mean from the vedantic point of view? I thought fear could
> be permanently removed only by jnana and only realized persons can be
> totally fearless.

> The question I raised was out of genuine curiosity and not in jest. Science
> has been succeeding in proving that all experiences (well almost) is
> nothing but chemical reactions in the brain. Does this mean everything we
> experience including the so called enlightenment is nothing but a
> chemical reorganization in the brain? Am I nothing but a chemical
> compound?  Hope some enlightening response is forthcoming.

Your question is a very pertinent one, very relevent considering these
recent advances in scientific jnAna. Here go my two paise on this:

According to advaita, emotions such as fear and exhaultation exist
only within mAyA / ignorance. These are states of mind, which itself
is only a physical (mAyA based) construct. Thus the removal of their
corresponding genes causes a change in only the physical ( / chemical
/ biological) properties of an entity.

There is nothing different here than traditional medicine. There also,
treating physical disease has the potential to change the state of
one's mind. For example I am (usually) happier without pain that with
it. Whether genetic experimentation goes on with mice or humans, the
end result is limited to the physical body alone, of which the mind is
another part.

Advaita deals with the Self, which is not this body. The
"enlightenment" that you are talking about is a physical event that
takes place in the physical body. Making any change in the physical
body can only affect the physical body in one of two ways. Either it
becomes easier for the body to "reach enlightenment", or it becomes
more difficult.

In other words, yes, all our experiences (even the so called
enlightenment experienced by someone's mind) may be nothing but
chemical reactions (even vedAnta says so, that this body, pleasures,
pains are not real, etc.). The "attainment of enlightenment" is
nothing but a body's complete acceptance that Atman is brAhmaN. The
event of realization changes the state of the body only, and this body
is nothing but mAyA. Remember we never say "Enlightened Atman", we
only say "Enlightened person".

"Enlightened" is a property of minds (part of body), not of the Atman
because Atman is neither enlightened nor ignorant, because Atman is
simply brAhmaN. In enlightenment, we don't "attain brAhmaNhood",
rather we (our bodily mind) attains the knowledge that we (Atman) have
always been brAhmaN.

And this may indeed one day be inducable by science! What is there to
lose? Also, isn't scientific jnAna also jnAna? If it can remove fear,
why not? Yet on another note, we must tread cautiously because
emotions like fear have their own use within this mAyA. Fear is a
defence mechanism used by the body to signal danger.

Remember that the Atman is one. When you ask "Am I nothing but a
chemical compound?" The answer depends on which "I" you are talking
about. The "I" that is "aham", the root of "ahamkAra" is indeed only a
chemical compound. The brain is just another sensory organ, its
collection of experiences in mAyA make up what we call "mind". It is
this mind that "undergoes enlightenment", and this enlightenment is
important only for the body. But this is not the true "I". the true
"I" is shared by all of existance, there is only one of it, and it is
one with brAhmaN (has always been, is and always will be, it is

Medical Science deals with tuning the body into a state as perfect as
possible within mAyA. advaita as a discipline deals with helping this
body realise its own non-importance. advaita as a concept just is, it
has no "purpose", it only IS.

Aditya Varun Chadha
adichad AT gmail.com
Mobile: +91 98 400 76411
Home:  +91 11 2431 4486
Room #1024, Cauvery Hostel
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
Chennai - 600 036

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