For Quick Alerts
For Daily Alerts

Degrees Of Freedom-Part II (Spiritual Freedom)

The concept of spiritual freedom, therefore, must be clearly distinguished from the idea of freedom as it is commonly understood in daily life. Only when one begins to feel like the convict described at the beginning of this article, when the world appears to be a huge prison in which one is serving a life term, when one begins to long for freedom from this world-prison, then the ideal of Moksha becomes meaningful and relevant. This passionate longing for Moksha is called Mumukshutvam and is an indispensable quality necessary in a spiritual aspirant. In the absence of this longing — Sri Ramakrishna called it Vyakulata — all spiritual efforts come to naught.

Even after years of Japa and meditation, why do people find hardly any progress in their lives? The reason is obvious — lack of longing for the goal. You may have the best car in the town; it won't budge an inch if there is no fuel. Longing is the fuel that launches the spiritual vehicle on its journey.

When the journey starts, one discovers that there are several barricades blocking the way. Unless these obstacles are overcome one cannot reach the destination. There are several types of bondages and unless one can free himself from them one cannot just march ahead towards the Freedom Absolute. A series of 'lower' freedoms have, therefore, to be achieved before achieving the 'ultimate' freedom.

What are the barricades obstructing the path of the spiritual seeker? These are described in various ways. Sometimes these are spoken of as the three bodies: gross (Sthula), subtle (Sukshma), and causal (Karana); sometimes as the five sheaths (Kosas): the gross physical (Annamaya), of the prana (Pranamaya), of the mind (Manomaya), of the buddhi or intellect (Vijnanamaya), and of bliss (Anandamaya). Without entering into technicalities, we may broadly say that the body, mind and intellect are the three factors you have to confront and come to terms with in your spiritual journey. You cannot afford to overlook any of them. They can resist your onward march and are hence bondages. But when you free yourself from them, these very factors become your friends and help you in your journey.

To be continued

About the author

Swami Tyagananda

Swami Tyagananda is a Hindu monk of the Ramakrishna Order and presently the head of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in Boston. Currently he is also the Hindu chaplain at MIT[1] and Harvard[2]. He is also a member of American Academy of Religion and the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies.

Story first published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 17:59 [IST]
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Boldsky sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Boldsky website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more