Freedom Summary

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Read more about Freedom from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

Find your soul, unite with it, let it govern your life and you will be free. [1]

What is Freedom?

The deepest meaning of freedom is the power to expand and grow towards perfection by the law of one's own nature, dharma. [2]

Our notion of freedom is likely to be tainted with excessive individualism of the human ego; [3] for the ordinary mind, it is to do every stupidity what one likes and to live without restrictions [4] in an isolated independence. We seek for it in our external conditions while it is within ourselves.

Freedom is not a license to follow one’s desires, passions or to be moved by impulses but to break free from these bondages that are habits, not the inner truth of our being, [5] but come from outer ignorant nature as subconscious habits; [6] Freedom is a state in which one is free from all attachment, all ignorance, all reactions and consequences.It is not only a freedom from all attachment, but a liberation from all bondage to the law of consequence.[7]

Freedom is not about doing ‘what I want’ but realizing ‘who am I?’ [8] One must come out of the prison of the ego, the sense of separate personality. One must outgrow his mental separativeness limitations of the being and unite consciously and totally with the Supreme. This identification with the Infinite by total surrender breaks the limits of the ego and eradicate the very existence of the ego by universalising oneself, even though the individualisation of the consciousness is preserved. [9]

In its highest and ultimate sense, freedom is a state of being; it is self living in itself and determining its own energy what it shall be inwardly and eventually, by the growth of a divine spiritual power within determining too what it shall make of its external circumstances and environment; that is the largest and freest sense of self-determination. [10]

Why is Freedom Important?

Freedom is our eternal good and our condition of perfection [11] without which it is impossible to realize the inner truth of our being, the very purpose of our existence. [12]

One is a helpless slave of the outer inconscient nature [13] and freedom from this slavery is the intended goal of a progressive manifestation in the universe, in the course of evolution. Freedom is a sort of instinctive need, very necessary for the integral development of the being. [14] Inner freedom is a state in which the individual is free from darkness, limitation, error, suffering of the ignorant lower nature of our being [15] and it is the highest truth of our self in Nature.

Freedom is very essential for a child’s growth and thus plays a significant role in the education system. The rules, regulations, restrictions are reduced absolutely to the minimum; the child learns to discipline oneself to draw the best out of oneself, then there is no need to impose an external discipline. [16]

An outer freedom: freedom in the human society is a necessary condition for the inner freedom. As long as freedom of speech and thought endures, there would be no fear of stagnation of the humanity. [17] The principle of social compulsion emphasizing on the collective, was inevitable at the early stage of evolution; but this imperfect law can never bring perfection. [18]

A static order of the society would be the necessary consequence, since without the freedom of the individual a society cannot remain progressive. [19] It is a spiritual, an inner freedom that can alone create a perfect human order. [20]

Law cannot save the world; [21] Morality that sets one artificial standard for good and bad is contrary to the variety of life and freedom of the spirit. [22] Thus one must develop an inner law, the suppression and coercion of soul's freedom by a fixed and mechanical rule spells an inner death. [23]

How to Cultivate Freedom?

Freedom is one among the most ancient and the most difficult aspirations of Humanity. [24] The path of freedom follows purification of instruments, surrendering to the divine, liberation of the soul and transformation of the entire being.

Purification is throwing away of limiting, binding, obscuring imperfections and confusions of our outer being: one must purify the physical, vital and the mental instruments from desire, attachment, passion, ignorance and ego sense [25] not by forceful suppression or rejection but conscious detachment and developing equality sense.[26] Each time we attempt to purify the outer nature, we allow the inner being to reveal more of itself, to become free and open to the higher consciousness above. [27]

As long as one is not free from ego sense, there can be no real freedom, [28] for ego by its nature is a smallness of being that brings contraction of consciousness, limitation of knowledge, disabling ignorance, diminution of power, failure of sympathy and love and fragmentation of delight of being that brings pain and sorrow. The ego must either disappear in impersonality or fuse into a larger I: the supreme self. [29]

The only way of being truly free is to surrender to the Divine entirely, without reservation, because then all that binds us, ties us down, chains us, falls away naturally and one can also be free from personal ego. [30] True surrender is total giving with all the delight of the giving; there is no sense of sacrifice in it. [31] First, one must give up all that belongs to the ignorant lower movements of the ordinary man, especially the desires that one clings onto [32] and develop an absolute equality of the mind. [33] One must choose and will to aspire constantly for light.

The sign of freedom from attachment is that one has no craving and can do without things without feeling anything for that or disappointment at their loss or absence or hankering or wish to have them. [34]

There seems to be a dual being in us; purusha (soul) and prakriti (nature). [35] Liberation of the soul is when the Purusha becomes free from the domination of Prakriti, transcending the modes of prakriti. [36] One should stand back from the mind, vital and the body & their activities to enter into silence, it is then possible to become detached and a disinterested witness which eventually leads to realization of one’s inner being as the silent impersonal self, the witness purusha. The purusha has to become not only the witness but the knower and source, the master of all thought and action but has still to use the ordinary instrumentation of mind, life and body. A certain mastery can indeed be achieved, but mastery is not transformation; the change made by it cannot be sufficient to be integral: for that it is essential to get back, beyond mind-being, life-being, body-being, still more deeply inward to the psychic entity inmost and profoundest within us—or else to open to the superconscient highest domains. [37] Transformation occurs when the consciousness moves upward, ascending through many higher planes and brings down the higher consciousness through descent. [38] Then one is eternally free, incessantly life begins afresh, then the past no longer cleaves to us. There will be a constant experience of the whole universe actually disappearing at every instant and being at every instant newly created! [39]

The whole world yearns after freedom [40] but the path of freedom is not an easy one, for one has to outgrow the inherent limitations of the outer nature [41] and challenges ingrained in the material world. [42]

Challenges on the Path of Freedom

The challenges here can be grouped as External and Internal Challenges. External challenges are -

Opposition from Matter -

Life strives to enlarge and prolong itself and succeeds; but when it seeks utter wideness and immortality, it meets the iron obstruction of Matter and finds itself bound to narrowness and death. [43]

Pressure of the Social Mass -

There is continually a danger that the exaggerated pressure of the social mass by its heavy unenlightened mechanical weight may suppress or unduly discourage the free development of the individual spirit. For man in the individual can be more easily enlightened, conscious, open to clear influences; man in the mass is still obscure, half-conscious, ruled by universal forces that escape its mastery and its knowledge. [44]

Internal Challenges are posed by the difficulties in the planes of the being -- mind, vital and physical.

It is no more proper for the mental being to be the tennis ball of unruly and uncontrollable thoughts than to be a rudderless ship in the storm of the desires and passions or a slave of either the inertia or the impulses of the body. [45]

To choose without preference and execute without desire is the great difficulty at the very root of the development of true consciousness and self-control. Yet one must learn to act without any preference, free from all attractions and likings, taking one's stand solely on the Truth which guides.[46] The physical is the slave of certain forces which create a habit and drive it through the mechanical force of the habit. [47]

Read more about Freedom from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

References

  1. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/14/freedom#p7
  2. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/religion-as-the-law-of-life#p9
  3. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-ascent-towards-supermind#p8
  4. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/10-february-1951#p9
  5. http:// incarnateword.in /cwm/13/aims-and-principles#p322
  6. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/9-june-1929 #p12
  7. http://incarnateword.in/ cwm/04/5-march-1951#p11
  8. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/15/adverse-forces#p32
  9. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-178#p2
  10. http:// incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-178#p2
  11. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/self-determination#p2
  12. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/05/25-november-1953#p17
  13. http://incarnateword.in /cwsa/23/the-four-aids#p15
  14. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/6-march-1957#p7
  15. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/christianity-and-theosophy#p10
  16. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/13-june-1956#p52
  17. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/the-peril-of-the-world-state#p8
  18. http://incarnateword.in/ cwsa/25/the-end-of-the-curve-of-reason#p12
  19. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/ the-peril-of-the-world-state#p12
  20. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/the-end-of-the-curve-of-reason #p16
  21. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/10/aphorism-172#p1
  22. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/4-august-1929#p6
  23. http:// incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/standards-of-conduct-and-spiritual-freedom#p13
  24. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/self-determination#p2
  25. http://incarnateword.in /cwsa/24/the-liberation-of-the-spirit#p1
  26. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/food #p1
  27. http:// incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-psychic-and-spiritual-realisations#p15
  28. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/24/the-liberation-of-the-spirit#p5
  29. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-release-from-the-ego #p2
  30. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/10-february-1951#p8
  31. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/4-august-1929#p3
  32. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/4-august-1929#p5
  33. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/self-surrender- in-works-the-way-of-the-gita#p29
  34. http://incarnateword.in /cwsa/31/desire#p13
  35. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/24/the-divine-shakti#p2
  36. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/the-soul-and-its-liberation#p13
  37. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/22/the-triple- transformation#p19
  38. http:// incarnateword.in/cwsa/29/the-teachings-of-some-modern-indian-yogis#p3
  39. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/true-humility- supramental-plasticity-spiritual-rebirth#p3
  40. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/30-january- 1957#p1
  41. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/30/the-psychic-being- and-its-role-in-sadhana#p25
  42. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/25/civilisation-and-barbarism#p2
  43. http://incarnateword.in /cwsa/21/the-knot-of-matter#p7
  44. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/23/standards-of-conduct-and-spiritual- freedom#p15
  45. http://incarnateword.in /cwsa/31/thought-and-knowledge#p8
  46. http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/21- december-1950#p6
  47. http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/31/difficulties-of-the-physical- nature#p80