Who killed this demon, Papa ?
My son, Veishisht asked me this question last year in May when we were all stuck at home because of the lockdown. We were reading the story of Hiranyakashipu, the demon king. Little did I know that the story would turn out to be a life-changer for me!
The story goes like this: Lord Brahma, the Creator and one of the three supreme deities as per Hindu mythology, granted a boon to King Hiranyakashipu. The boon was that Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by a human or an animal; even the deadliest weapon could not harm him; either during the day or night, on earth or in the sky, either inside his palace or outside.
Now this is almost like gaining immortality, isn’t it? Hiranyakashipu , empowered by this boon, went on a destructive mode. He attacked and captured heaven and earth; he struck terror in the hearts of Gods and human beings alike. No one could stand up to him. His torture knew no boundaries.
In order to free the Gods and human beings from Hiranyakashipu’s evil rule, Lord Vishnu took on a very special avatar . He took the form of a ferocious being, Lord Narasimha who was half man and half lion. In this way, he was neither man nor animal. Holding Hiranyakashipu in a vice-like grip, he dragged him to the threshold which was neither outside nor inside his house. He placed him on his lap, which was neither sky nor the earth. This was at the time of twilight, which was neither day nor night. Then Narasimha killed him with his claws, which, technically, could not be called weapons.
As I was narrating this story to my son, I felt that it had a message, an insight for me too! And the message was: to think out-of-the-box like Lord Vishnu did!
Like for thousands of people across the world, the pandemic has also been hard on me. I couldn’t go out for client calls and didn’t know how else to connect with them. My office set-up, broad band connection, power back up, everything was in office. So I couldn’t figure out how to conduct professional workshops and hold the audience’s attention through an online set-up. Doing it for 8 to 10 hours at a stretch was fine when I was doing it live in a hotel or a resort, with the participants in front of me; but doing workshops with participants at different locations, with most videos switched off, made me feel incapacitated. I slipped into inaction mode.
That was the time when this story came as a boon for me. I was struck by the way Lord Vishnu found a solution that honoured the conditions of Lord Brahma’s blessing and still managed to free the world of the terror called Hiranyakashipu. It was a creative solution.
I used this mythological story to melt my fear, worry and anxiety and to create a possibility where none seemed to exist. Slowly and with patience, I started figuring a way out for my work during the lockdown period. By November 2020, I had reinvented myself, signed up with clients for online workshops. My clients also were happy with the results that came from online assignments.
But the demon of fear, worry and anxiety had not been vanquished; it continued to live within me. It reared its head again when the second wave of the pandemic engulfed us and I lost a very dear friend, B R Suryanarayana. We had shared a 40-year old friendship. It was devastating for me.
I was getting sucked into the ‘what if’ syndrome: what if I were to get Covid 19, what if I were to die, what if my family members were to get Covid 19 and so on. I lost sleep worrying about these questions and also spent all my waking moments worrying about the same.
It was at this time that I happened to read a story of Mulla Nasruddin. Mulla Nasruddin was a wise man who lived in the 13th century in Turkey. He was known for his jokes that not only had his listeners in splits but also imparted wisdom that touched the heart.
Once Mulla Nasruddin met a disease called the plague. Mulla asked the plague where it was going. The plague replied, “I am going to Baghdad.” Mulla asked, “For what?” and the plague said, “To kill 10,000 people.”
A month later, when the plague was returning back, Nasruddin met it again. He asked the plague, ”You had said that you will kill 10,000 people but 1 lakh people have died.”
Plague replied, “I killed only 10,000; the other 90,000 died out of fear and anxiety.”
I reflected on this story and felt how true it was; I was in the grip of the demon of fear and anxiety about something that had not yet happened and probably may not happen. This demon was ruining every moment of my day and night.
As I realized this, I made a decision. Instead of the demon killing me, I would kill it. Instead of it attacking me I would attack it by resolving to live every moment devoid of fear, worry and anxiety. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that things will not go wrong but it will allow me to live fully in the present moment.
Along with Dr. Sridhar Bachalli, I found an integrated approach called,” Just Tap” that helped me to let go off my worry, fear and anxiety. Later, we started helping many leaders and professionals to melt their worry, fear and anxiety with “Just Tap” a 30 minute online intervention.
I can say that I made two discoveries during the time of Covid 19:
Publisher: Arjun Raj Urs | Assured State Management Services