A man who was travelling on a lonely road was set upon by bandits who beat him up severely and robbed him of all his possessions. They bound his hands and feet and dragged him into the dark depth of a forest. Here they gagged him and blindfolded him and tied him with a rope and suspended him from a height.
"You are now hanging over the brink of a giddy precipice," they told him. "The moment you let go of this rope, you will be dashed to pieces on the rocks below." And with those words they left him.
He was filled with terror and clung to the rope which swung this way and that. He gave in to fear as his grip failed, and he fell - barely six inches, and landed on the comforting solidity of mother earth! Quickly he untied his blindfold. The robbers had played a cruel trick on him and left him hanging in fear, so that they could make good their escape.
When he let go, he was not letting go of his life, but only his fear!
"Cowards die many deaths," goes the proverb; "the brave die but once." True it is that each of us has only one life - but how many of us ‘die a thousand deaths‘ in fear and nervousness!
We are told that abstract thoughts such as those which generate fear arise from higher brain centres; whereas impulses that generate physical activity such as walking, exercise and playing games comes from the lower brain centres. Surgeons have reportedely devised a surgery by which portions of the frontal lobe of the brain could be removed in an effort to do away with fear and worry. But Mary E Chase tells us that manual labour is "not only good and decent for its own sake, but also for straightening out one's thoughts. To scrub a floor has alleviated many a broken heart, and to wash and iron one's clothes has brought order and clarity to many a perplexed and anxious mind."
An Arabic folk tale tells us that a wise old man travelling on the desert road to Baghdad, met the figure of Pestilence hurrying ahead of him. "Why are you in such a haste to reach Baghdad?" asked the old man. "I am due to take five thousand lives in the city," Pestilence replied, before it went away.
Later, on the return journey, they chanced to meet again. "You lied to me," said the old man reproachfully. "You said you would take five thousand lives - but you took away ten thousand instead."
"I did not do it!" Pestilence swore. "I took five thousand and not one more; fear killed the rest!"
Source: Times of India