Wednesday, August 15, 2007

From independence to Independence ...

Today it is August 15th. India is celebrating 60th year of independence. If one goes through Indian history, there are innumerable stories of bravery and valour that finally won them independence. Both violence and non-violence were used and the fight was won as everyone came together as one force.

The fight was necessary because the very freedom of existence of people was being curbed. When that very freedom is taken away, we feel suffocated. Imagine a person being constantly watched, being put under 100 different rules, being locked in a cell, a dungeon. Thousands were put in cellular jail, in cells hardly few feet by few feet. Living conditions were really pathetic. People were not allowed to speak what they wished to. If they did, they were locked up in prisons.

If we retrace through Indian history, British sailors were welcomed by Indians in early 1700. They were treated very well by Indians and in return Brithishers also reciprocated warmly. Contrary to what happened later, Britishers and Indians shared a friendly bond. But along the way, something changed. British started taking charge of Indians. They started controlling everything around. They wanted to hold the power. In return of petty profits, Indians too allowed Britishers to take charge initially. That's it. That was all was needed for a 200 year long battle to start off.

This independence was necessary for people to express themselves, to preserve their culture, their heritage, their tradition. This independence was needed before they got eliminated by the pressure of the British regime. The very survival of an Indian was at stake. This independence was needed and finally achieved...

Now let me ask you a question - are we really free? Do we really express what we really are?

The answer is ... NO!

Let us go one level deeper. When we were kids, we expressed ourselves more freely. We just did not care what others would say and we would do things that are unthinkable now. We expressed our freedom in the true sense of freedom. But now, we have carved out an identity based on society. We define ourselves based on what we are in this society. We behave in a certain way when we are in front of our boss, but in a different way when we meet our friends.

What has happened along the way? Why did we stop feeling that sense of freedom, that independence?

The answer is simple; just like the Indians in early 1700, we let someone else take charge of ourselves. We let the society take charge. We let ourselves ruled by the societal pressure. We express what the society wants us to, we talk what is acceptable by the society, we walk the path which the society says is the safest. Each and everything that we do has some relation or the other with the society. Our whole identity is knit by the society.

Also, along the process, we have built a false ego around us, an ego that is powered by the society. The foundation stones of our ego are made up of the society. We do something because we will be placed higher in the society; we talk in a certain way because we will be recognized in the society; we walk a certain path because that we believe that is the path that will keep us on top of everyone.

Clutched in the shackles of society and ego, we have just forgotten our true identity, our true independence - to merge with the Ultimate Consciousness.

This was the only fight of independence that ancient India fought thousands of years ago. Neither violence, nor non-violence but spiritual truths were the only weapons they used. The only independence that they believed was the Ultimate Liberation. Along the way, we have strayed away from this fight.

Our inner self, the life force that runs us, the life force that runs the Universe is getting suffocated and choked due to our own ego. Time has come to start the true battle of independence ...

-- Sri Nithya Arpanananda

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