What Is Courage?
Courage is the total absence of fear in any form.
Integral courage: the domain, whatever the danger, the attitude remains the same—calm and assured.
Courage is a sign of the soul’s nobility.
But courage must be calm and master of itself, generous and benevolent.
True courage, in its deepest sense, is to be able to face everything, everything in life, from the smallest to the greatest things, from material things to those of the spirit, without a shudder, without physically … without the heart beginning to beat faster, without the nerves trembling or the slightest emotion in any part of the being. Face everything with a constant consciousness of the divine Presence, with a total self-giving to the Divine, and the whole being unified in this will; then one can go forward in life, can face anything whatever. I say, without a shudder, without a vibration; this, you know, is the result of a long effort, unless one is born with a special grace, born like that. But this indeed is still more rare.
Courage: An Indispensable Virtue
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.
Source of Courage
When we trust in the Divine’s Grace we get an unfailing courage.
To Be Courageous: Master the Fear
To overcome one’s fear means that there is one part of the being which is stronger than the other, and which has no fear and imposes its own intrepidity on the part which is afraid. But this doesn’t necessarily imply that one is more courageous than the one who has no fear to master. Because the one who doesn’t have any fear to master … this means that he is courageous everywhere, in all the parts of his being.
Courage and Aspiration
…once we spoke of courage as one of the perfections; I remember having written it down once in a list. But this courage means having a taste for the supreme adventure. And this taste for supreme adventure is aspiration—an aspiration which takes hold of you completely and flings you, without calculation and without reserve and without a possibility of withdrawal, into the great adventure of the divine discovery, the great adventure of the divine meeting, the yet greater adventure of the divine Realisation; you throw yourself into the adventure without looking back and without asking for a single minute, “What’s going to happen?” For if you ask what is going to happen, you never start, you always remain stuck there, rooted to the spot, afraid to lose something, to lose your balance.
That’s why I speak of courage—but really it is aspiration. They go together. A real aspiration is something full of courage.
Some Instances of Courage
YOU FALL into the water. You are not daunted by the great watery mass. You make good use of your arms and legs, grateful to the teacher who taught you how to swim. You grapple with the waves and you escape. You have been brave.
You are asleep. “Fire!” The cry of alarm has awakened you. You leap from your bed and see the red glare of the blaze. You are not stricken with mortal fear. You run through the smoke, the sparks, the flames, to safety. This is courage.
Some time ago I visited an infant school in England. The little school-children were between three and seven years old. There were both boys and girls, who were busy knitting, drawing, listening to stories, singing. The teacher told me, “We are going to try the fire-alarm. Of course there is no fire, but they have been taught to get up and go out promptly at the alarm-signal.”
He blew his whistle. Instantly the children left their books, pencils and knitting-needles, and stood up. On a second signal they filed out into the open air. In a few moments the classroom was empty. These little children had learned to face the danger of fire and to be brave.
For whose sake did you swim? For your own.
For whose sake did you run through the flames? For your own.
For whose sake would the children resist the fear of fire? For their own.
The courage shown in each case was for the sake of self. Was this wrong? Certainly not. It is right to take care of your life and to defend it bravely. But there is a greater courage, the courage which is shown for the sake of others.
Face Adversity with Courage
Whatever adverse things present themselves you must meet them with courage and they will disappear and the help come. Faith and courage are the true attitude to keep in life and work always and in the spiritual experience also.
One who has not the courage to face patiently and firmly life and its difficulties will never be able to go through the still greater inner difficulties of the sadhana. The very first lesson in this yoga is to face life and its trials with a quiet mind, a firm courage and an entire reliance on the Divine Shakti.
Danger Can Be Faced Only with Courage
If there is a real danger, it is only with the power of courage that you have a chance of coming out of it; if you have the least fear, you are done for. So with that kind of reasoning, manage to convince the part that fears that it must stop being afraid.
Die to Yourself
The most terrible thing is when you do not have the strength, the courage, something indomitable. How often they come and tell me: “I want to die, I want to run away, I want to die.” They get the answer: “Well, then, die to yourself! You are not asked to let your ego survive! Die to yourself since you want to die! Have that courage, the true courage to die to your egoism.”
Some Quotes on Courage
Never mistake rashness for courage, nor indifference for patience.
There is no greater courage than that of recognising one’s own mistakes.
There is no greater courage than to be always truthful.
Fear is slavery, work is liberty, courage is victory.