Sunday, July 30, 2017


Perhaps the word freedom is the most misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Humanity in general thinks that being able to do whatever comes to mind as and when one likes is freedom. But, this implies that we are submitting ourselves into slavery of our mind.

We need not go into the nature of mind here as we already know that it is compared to a monkey or wind, which in general mean that it is frivolous, mischievous, recalcitrant and thoughtless!

Swami Vivekananda says that it is by fighting against nature that all human progress was possible rather than submitting to nature. All human progress at individual or social level constitutes fighting the nature internally or externally. As the humanity progresses, we see that this fight is becoming more and more internal since we do not seem to have much left externally to conquer!

The western idea of freedom is ‘impulse release’ i.e., to do whatever comes to one’s mind. But any thinking man would soon realize that it is only slavery to the whims of one’s mind, and that can never be freedom. Being able to control one’s mind and take it in a particular direction is freedom. And when we say, ‘controlling one’s mind’, immediately we realize, that it is a great price to pay. Generally, either we can’t control or won’t control or virtually hate to control our minds! But freedom is exactly opposite of that and being able to have perfect control over one’s mind is ‘real freedom’.

Buddha says that a man who controlled his own mind is greater than a man who conquered a thousand kingdoms in a thousand campaigns.

Swamiji says that a mind that is under our own control will become a blessing to us and a mind not under our control would be a curse to us.

Let me say a few words more about misunderstanding freedom.

A child wants to eat chocolates. He declares that it is freedom to have the ability to eat as many chocolates as he likes as and when he wants. But when his parents say no to that, he will be upset. The attitude of most of us, the elders, is not very different. The child is actually under the control of his nature under the force of which he is carried away. He cannot stop and think for one moment that eating so many chocolates may be bad for him. Nature has such control over him. Same is the case with all human beings. We are enslaved by nature all the time and we remain blissfully ignorant under the impression that that is freedom to drudge for the nature.

But man has higher potentialities. He is not simply meant to be an animal. He takes up an ideal which no animal does, falters and makes many mistakes which no animal does and attains perfection and ‘freedom’ which no animal can even dream of. He can break the shackles of nature and know his own nature which is divine and free.

Natarajan Amirapu.