Think Tools for the Evolutionary Adventurer - by V Srinivas

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The Heroic Attitude

Those who have chosen a life of discomfort will convert even potential comfort into discomfort – not physical discomfort but evolutionary discomfort. That is the heroic nature. That is what Swami Vivekananda spoke about in so many of his talks.

Those who have a heroic nature alone can perform heroic tasks. Those who are greedy, or trapped in the desire for wealth and power cannot be heroic.

An individual with a heroic attitude is constantly pushing his/ her own limits – increasing the size of the container which is oneself. Thus, to be heroic means continuous self-expansion.

The path of the hero is not gaining in knowledge. It is not meditation. It is not the desire to excel. It is something deeper than that. It is the way of expansion.

To develop the heroic attitude, one needs to throw away all narrowness. All that is personal and me-mine in our thinking. It demands that we transcend the mud puddle of narrow self-interest, and choose instead the clear, calm, waters of the Ocean Vast.

To be heroic is to put one’s own identity as a human being on the line, to put oneself at stake, to take risks with oneself.

To love is to take a risk. And to love universally – everyone in front of you, is a huge risk with oneself. To trust is to take a risk. To be transparent is to take risk. To make mistakes is to take risks. In short, the willingness to live constantly in evolutionary discomfort – that is the true meaning of being heroic.

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4 Comments

  1. raghu pilaka

    Why is physical discomfort excluded from your definition of heroism?

    • True heroism is not about winning over nature, winning over other human beings, or even winning against one’s limitations.

      True heroism is about jumping from one level of faith (atma sraddha) in one’s infinite capacities to the next level of ‘atma sraddha’.

      When one jumps in such a manner – everything about oneself undergoes a change – one has discovered a new world of human possibilities in the new state of ‘atma sraddha’.

      The heroism of the physical is thus about overcoming obstacles, achieving new limits, and developing new capacities.

      The heroism of the spirit is about letting go of the faith one has in the current state of being and going through the “dark night” of faithlessness for even as little as a brief second to discover a new state of being and a new deeper order of ‘atma sraddha’.

      Clearly, the heroism of the spirit is very different from the heroism of the physical. In the Heroic Attitude, it is the heroism of the spirit to which we refer.

  2. Your definition of ‘Heroic Attitude’ is very inspiring. Heroism on the physical plane happens occasionally with individuals in demanding situations pertaining to ‘I’ or ‘MY’ as most of us always identify with the body. Whereas, very few identify with the spirit which is universal and a result of extreme purity, love of Divine Self, Shradda,..This state results in ‘Aabhi’ fearlessness, absolute no fear of this limited body.

  3. Swami Sarvasthananda

    However, we might also do well to remember what Swami Vivekananda once said, ” How many have that noble heroism which can renounce all, shaking off the idea of “I and mine”? How many are blessed enough to possess that far – sight of wisdom which makes the earthly pleasures appear to be but vanity of vanities? Where is that broad – hearted man who is apt to forget even his own body in meditating over the beauty and glory of the Divine? Those who are such are but a handful in comparison to the population of the whole of India; and in order that these men may attain to their salvation, will the millions and millions of men and women of India have to be crushed under the wheel of the present – day society and religion? And what good can come out of such a crushing? Do you not see — taking up this plea of Sattva, the country has been slowly and slowly drowned in the ocean of Tamas or dark ignorance?

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