Freedom - Bestowed by the Divine
By Kapil Kakar
As India celebrates its 60th Independence, the importance of freedom which one may have forgotten to value, has come to the fore again. Freedom is Divine because it comes from the Divine, giving every individual freedom to perform his/her own acts. Also, man is consciously or unconsciously seeking a greater freedom which is self- realization.
So are we more free as humans or as souls? In the Bhagvad Gita, Krishna says-
In Text 20 Ch-II: Lord Krishna Says "For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain."
In Text 23 Ch-II: Lord Krishna Says "The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by wind."
In Text 24 Ch-II: Lord Krishna says "The individual soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can neither be burned nor dried. He is ever lasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same."
What more can freedom be about, when, as stated above, one never dies as one is never born.
Freedom, which is every individual's prerogative, has been coveted since time immemorial. In ancient times humans were busy fighting each other. Today though that animal instinct may have improved, though not disappeared, another fight has emerged – a fight against time. The reason behind both the fights is the need to dominate. As a result the very nature of freedom has been lost and humans today have become prisoners of unending desires and selfish interests.
We have the freedom to choose between enjoying an earthly existence and attaining self-realization. On earth however, the freedom which is one's right has become coveted.
In Ch-5, Text 15 of Bhagvad Gita: Lord Says: "Nor does the supreme lord assume anyone's sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of ignorance which covers the real knowledge".
In Ch-9, Text 29 of Bhagvad Gita: Lord Says: "I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto me in devotion is a friend, is in me and I am also a friend in him".
In Text 9, Ch-9 of Bhagvad Gita: Lord Says: "All this work cannot bind me. I am ever detached from all these material activities, as though neutral".
The above text clearly suggests that, God does not create situations or circumstances for humans but it is they themselves who do so with their free actions and when results are not in their favour they blame the outside world. Similarly, God is impartial, neutral and does not take any sides and is detached.
God has given us absolute freedom to do what we like but has laid down some rules. These are same for everyone so that each can be rewarded or punished accordingly. As stated below:
In Bhagvad Gita, Ch III, Text (33): lord says: "All people are subject to the laws of nature. Even a wise man acts according to his nature, which he has acquired from the three modes. What can repression accomplish?"
Therefore, we humans must appreciate the freedom bestowed on us by the supreme and take it as an opportunity to spread peace and harmony, as no one can escape the consequences of the laws of nature. Therefore, if any human tries to takes the independence of his fellow human being, he surely is challenging the laws of nature and will be accordingly punished.
As stated earlier we humans have another freedom, which is the real freedom. The freedom of going back to our real home, through self- realization, nirvana etc. To attain it, Bhagvad Gita says we need to go beyond the three modes of nature namely Goodness, Passion and Ignorance. Till the time we hold to any one or all the three we cannot taste the real freedom of going back to our father. But if we are able to detach ourselves from our earthly desires and focus our attention beyond the three modes, we will achieve the real freedom, the real truth.
In Bhagvad Gita, Text 8, Ch-VI: "A person is said to be established in self-realization and is called a yogi when he is fully satisfied by virtue of acquired knowledge and realization. Such a person is situated in transcendence and is self- controlled. He sees everything- be it pebbles, stones or gold- all as the same.
Conclusively one can say, that freedom is an important part of human beings be it while discharging his earthly duties or achieving self- realization.