On the eve of 65th year of independence, ask yourself, are you free? What is freedom? Is it hoisting the tricolor at the Red Fort? Or is it calling yourself an Indian?
Yes, that was what freedom meant 65 years ago, to those who put their lives at stake to drive the oppressor out. As for you, you are still being ruled; only the trappings of the ruler has changed. The ruler is not the people, but power. The one who is in power, exercises it to promote his interests. And the one who succumbs to power, does so to safeguard his personal interest. Just think, if Ashfaqullah Khan, Bhagat Singh or Rani Lakshmibai chose the comforts of their homes over the comfort of the nation, would we have been free?
Freedom is being one with creation. As soon as you become separate, you are bound. Today, you are not just two or three, you count in billions. There are at least five thousand different communities in the world and within those, too, the interest of each member is different and at loggerheads with that of the other. Today, you close your door when your neighbour’s house is being robbed. You turn a deaf ear to the cry of an animal in pain. You turn a blind eye to the pain that Mother Earth is going through. You do not even love the people or things that you think you are close to. You only love yourself. You merely want to possess others and then rule over them, for your pleasure and satisfaction. You live under the constant fear that if you do something for someone, you might have to forego your own self-interest. It is this fear that does not let you exercise your freedom. And the reason for fear is that you have isolated your interest from that of creation. You have created boundary walls for yourself. You are not free, you are limited to these boundaries.
It is the dharma of man to love creation. Every faith in the world emphasises upon service and charity not for a particular person, organisation or community, but for creation. Dharma is not dressing up in a specific way or observing certain rituals. You do all of that, not because you are dharmic, but because you are scared and you want to reassure yourself by putting up a front. You are only fooling yourself, because you cannot fool the divine. All that you are collecting, and all that you want to rule over, is temporary. It will leave you sooner or later. Even your body will not last, that too will perish. When the time comes to leave your body, this fear will not let you be free, it will tie you to another birth, another body, and another lifetime of captivity.
The only way to overcome fear and to be free is to follow the path of dharma. All faiths talk of one formless divine. When there is just the One, how can the interest of that One be any different? How can your interests be different that of from your neighbour, or that of the dog on the street? Love the power of creation, set no boundaries for yourself. This Independence Day, take out time to free yourself from your own thinking.
What have we gained independence from? The Afghans? The Turks? The Mughals? Allauddin Khilji? Tughlak? The British? The French? The Dutch? The Portugese? We are busy getting independence from one and then becoming a slave of another.
19th August 2012 1