I have been pondering over this fundamental human want for quite some time and given below is the transcript of the audio file of a lecture which invited ideas on Freedom, mailed to me by a participant.
Freedom can have infinite definitions from infinite intellects. For some it may be the ability to action as per ones desire without any external restrictions, for some it may be escaping from the clutches of financial stringency, while for some it may be freedom from the eternal quest of the unknown that has tickled man for thousands of millennia’s – The ultimate freedom – Liberation. Freedom incidentally is a progressive phenomenon and the possibility of reaching or understanding the deeper science of freedom can happen only when one consciously nourishes his interpretation of the word, freedom.
Right from the time you are in your mother’s womb, you are in search of freedom. The craving to be free, the craving to experience existence in totality. Cravings in humans does not end there. The next quest for freedom is to move around, to walk and the quest continues. As the child grows up, the family, the society, the educationists keep on drawing restrictions in the child’s living and therefore deep inside the quest to break these man made restrictions intensifies within the child.
So in the initial stages of life you will always find the craving for freedom is from the outside, externally driven. Be that the freedom of movement or freedom of speech or freedom of expression, financial freedom, political freedom, all such cravings of freedom are from the outside, superficial, at the surface, not even skin deep. This is the concept of freedom that the west believes in. Freedom of the body (like freedom to move, to act) to freedom of the mind (like freedom to think, freedom to perceive). Infact freedom for them means to act at will without any hindrance at all. So they feel that yelling – FIRE FIRE inside a packed cinema hall is freedom of expression. They feel that threatening to detonate an imaginary bomb in a plane is freedom of expression. They can call this freedom, but such a kind of freedom is never absolute.
Freedom can be absolute only when it is intertwined with responsibility. At the core of your being rests responsibility, fearlessness, compassion, non judgemental approach etc. The fearlessness I am talking about is not about plunging into fire, but the fearlessness of losing your possessions, being detached, giving up, external opinions and perhaps death. Freedom can be absolute only when the freedom is exercised from the core of your being where responsibility is the bed, where fearlessness is the base, where being non judgemental is the foundation. When an individual tastes the nectar of such a freedom from the cocoon of responsibility he definitely gets to experience absolute freedom, a freedom that goes inside out. Once you reach the core of your consciousness, you will realize that you are absolutely free but shielded by responsibility though.
So now, ordinarily you are free to be angry, you are free to be violent, you are free to exercise your physical might and power on others, you are free to hurt others with acidic words but with a conscious awareness that I am responsible for all these demonic actions that I have chosen to perform. So a person living in awareness does not look at life as a series of incidences, but as a sequence of responsible choices one makes while traversing the path called- LIFE. Its painful to say that a country like India who achieved freedom from the British rule more than 65 years back, is in reality not free at all. Why is it that I say that we are not free yet? The truth is that a large population of this country misused the freedom that was handed over to them by the martyrs of Indian freedom. The people in governance never thought that they were responsible for every action they took that went on to break or make a country called India. I truly believe that only a man who is on a misuse rampage can be bribed, only a man who is at the lowest level of existence will look at a smaller picture and be corrupt and will misuse his position in power. A superior being will look at a larger picture, he will look at a future that is coming, he will look at the benefit of the mass and not just of the self. That is why I say we are still not free; we are still not free from the irresponsible office bearers who were short sighted and filled their personal pockets – nothing else. A possibility of progress can happen only when an inner awakening arises with you that I am responsible for every action I do. I am responsible for the building up of a strong nation, I am a part of the whole. You may deny this truth and continue living life in absolute ignorance like a vast majority.
A man in power will never follow the path of corruption if he is living life of an inner freedom, he will hold himself responsible for every action he takes. A child living in a hostel (free from parental controls) will never walk on the illicit path if he exercises the available freedom on the foundations of responsibility. A man committed to a family will never look elsewhere (although he is free to act his way) if he understands freedom on the basis of responsibility. A senior management professional will never misuse the freedom of negative attendance (late comings not tagged) given to him by his management if he knows that he is responsible for his actions and deeds.
As and how one allows freedom to dive deeper into ones own being, freedom will find a new definition altogether. That is exactly what the ancient Indian sages practiced and documented in the scriptures. They went beyond the freedom of body or the freedom of mind and they unearthed the ultimate freedom to mankind – The freedom from the mind. Buddha calls this state – No Mind. In Zen they call such a state – Mushin.
Looking back in history, a Krishna, a Buddha, a Jesus Christ and all the great masters who appeared on earth truly lived a life in complete freedom. They were aware of the vast potential in them and they perfected their potential to the peak and today 3000 years later humanity still is being benefitted of their responsible thoughts, words and their deeds. Perhaps they were aware that the concept of freedom will ever expand with time and hence they all in one way or the other rightly said that “We are responsible for whatever we are”. Today when the world is witnessing the spectacular send off being offered to the Master Blaster – Sachin Tendulkar, one question will answer it all. How did he exercise his freedom? Infact, you will agree that he was absolutely free to whack his bat in every possible direction his eye could see without being questioned by any, but every knock he has played seemed to come from a exceptionally responsible being. His innings were responsible, his words were responsible, his actions were responsible – his life seems to be an exemplary life – isn’t it? Infact we are all absolutely free to exercise our will; however it is important for us to agree that we are also responsible for our thoughts, our wills, our desires, our actions, our responses that we make in life. You may go on blaming others for your state of existence, but the harsh truth is that we are responsible for whatever we are and what ever we become.
Live a life of absolute freedom, a life of self responsibility. Free yourself from all kinds of bondages, your beliefs, your judgments, your cravings, your desires, your ego, your religion, your attachments because the ultimate responsibility one has in this life is to purify your inner core, to purify your soul and only through such a purification can you experience the ultimate and the absolute freedom – Liberation.
Walk on the path called life with complete freedom and let responsibility be your shadow always, experience life, experience living!! Keep Walking!!