15 th of August is celebrated as our Independence Day with all fanfare. Surely, a lot of nationalist fervor gets aroused on the day and the heroic stories of how we got our independence fills our minds with awe and inspiration.
This is our “collective “ independence: it is the freedom gained by all the countrymen to choose a Government of our liking, without any interference or force from outside. While this is certainly a great feat, what each one of us would love to have is our “individual freedom”…wherein “I” can do everything as per my “free will” . This is when I will feel “really” independent.
Is that possible?
For this to happen, we need to ask a more fundamental question: who is this “I” who wants to act independently? Who am I really? Am I just this body which is visible to the eyes? Can anyone see me “fully”? Can anyone “see” what is happening in my mind?.. my thoughts ?.. my emotions ? This is what brings us to the concept of “Soul” or that “energy” which “contains” all these , but is not visible. And the irony is that this “soul” is the real me….not this body! Body will go away someday. .but the soul will remain ..and take an onward journey.
So it is “I” the soul residing in this body , which is looking for freedom. It wants to act without any fear or influence of any “outsider”.It is this “I” who runs this body, like a driver drives his car. When to take speed, when to turn , when to stop etc are decided by the driver. Similarly, it is the I in my body who decide when to walk, when to run, when to speak, when to be silent, when to eat , what to eat etc etc.
Often, we are unable to do what we really want to do , and end up doing what we do not want to do. If I am a diabetic, and if I cannot avoid the temptation of gulping down a couple of succulent gulab jamuns, who is in real control? Me or my tongue? I want to reduce my weight, but if I have samosa and salad in front of me, I end up choosing Samosa!!. Again, who is in control? A student has his exams tomorrow , he wants to seriously study but cannot resist to go for a cinema ! As another example of our ‘dependence’ ,we will tell something in a haste and later will apologizes saying that we did not mean it.. .it was a ‘slip of the tongue”. Is this my independence? Are we in control over what we end up doing?
By design, my Soul is supposed to be the master of my body. Over a period of time, due to outside influences, the sense organs start “ruling`’ over my soul. This leads to loss of independence for me, the soul. The soul no more feels in control of the situation. It is led in different directions by what the body happens to see , read ,hear etc ,often resulting in a lot of sorrow and unhappiness over long term.
We have to return to a situation where this original I is in complete control of the body and decides what I see, what I hear, whom I meet ,what I say ,what I eat etc. Since in its original form every soul is full of positive qualities, all the actions directed by the Soul will lead to positivity, harmony and real, lasting pleasure.
This is the meaning of real freedom..
Let us reflect ..to what extent am ‘I’ free !!