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Individual Freedom

In all periods of history great thinkers had contemplated for long and conceived plans for the progress of man, and the sum total of it all is the civilization or culture that we have now come to live as our inheritance. Into this common pool of knowledge and progress, political pundits, economic rishis, social thinkers, and religious prophets have continuously poured all their invaluable efforts and visions.

As students of history, when we analyse them all and reach beneath the subtle differences and the apparent contradictions - in the subject matter or in their mode of expression or in the very nature of their emphasis - we shall see that all of them but preach the glory of "togetherness" in life. All ethics are contained in it; all social-patterns are catering to it; all religions are constantly preaching it, and all economic plans have this "togetherness" as their very goal.

In a healthy community, individuality must be respected and there must be freedom for individuals to grow and to develop. This freedom should never be allowed to sink low as to touch the depths of licentiousness. No doubt, every individual should have all the freedom, but when this, individual freedom destroys the harmonious development of the society, as a crime by the economists, as a treachery by the politicians.

This controlled individual freedom is the secret demand in all civilization, progress and culture. In the sad stories of any nation's fall, in the recorded reports of any decadent culture or in the history of any destroyed civilization, we find the individual freedom has been misused and consequently the communal life ended in a tragic disaster,(failing to be an effective community)

In short, a population living in a geographical area cannot in itself constitute a nation. A nation is born only when people come to live in a given area on the globe. Therefore, population must become a people, and all efforts at social, political and economic progress have been, and shall ever be, a constant dedicated attempt to raise people out of the available population.

Population is mere number. A community, wherein each individual lives his own selfish, self-centered life, careless of others, unconscious of the disruptions he is creating around him, is not a community at all; it is only a crowd. In a community of sheer numbers there never can be an intelligent progress.

When members of a community to discover the capacity in themselves to sink their mutual differences, and thus unite together and thereby come to live and strive for a common purpose or goal, there we watch the formation and the glorious achievements of people (which makes an effective community)

To be continued

About the author

Swami Chinmayananda

Swami Chinmayananda, a enlightened master of India, led thousands of seekers to eternal bliss. His life is exemplary and in itself is a teaching. This article 'Individual Freedom' is a part of the write up, 'Dynamics of Togetherness'

Story first published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 13:59 [IST]
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