Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
12th April 2016
What is freedom?
Man longs to be free from the thoughts that he does not like, bother him, disturb him or make him unhappy or sad. The mind is conditioned to this belief and to logic and reason the belief is correct and true as well.
On the other hand, man is comfortable with thoughts that he likes, make him calm, cheerful or make him happy. The mind is conditioned to this belief as well and to logic and reason the belief is correct and true.
The conditioning is to the meaning of words rather than the words themselves. So it is obvious that if man were free of the meanings of words that bother, disturb, make him unhappy or sad, he would indeed feel freedom. But, if this were true, would man be able to like, be calm, be cheerful or happy is the question? He certainly thinks so, but is it possible is the question?
Man understands that life is a matter of duality and he believes that he has to accept duality, his fate or destiny as it happens. This too is a conditioned belief. Therefore, it is evident that the conditioned mind is unable to accept life as it happens, because it may or may not happen as he wishes life to happen. Man is able to accept life only if it is acceptable to him and not otherwise.
But in life anything could happen and man is not certain what will defintely happen all the time. So what could freedom be when he is not certain of life? How could man be free of the conditioned thoughts that he does not want or wish is the question.
If man could understand the conditioned thoughts that are acceptable to him, he would understand the conditioned thoughts that are unacceptable to him. Man would readily say that he understands both sets of conditioning and is certain about them.
On deeper enquiry this certainty is found not to be wise, but correct only superficially as knowledge. Firstly, it is a matter of what man likes and what he dislikes. Therefore, if like and dislike are wisely understood, the matter is over and freedom from the meanings of thoughts would be the result.
Like and dislike are primarily opposites. Opposites are words with meanings that exist together and are not separate from each other. This implies that each word in an opposite contributes meaning to the other word and, if they were separate, they would not be able to contribute meaning to each other. Man would not be in a position to know what the words mean.
The moment this realisation dawns upon man, he will be grateful to the meaning of dislike, because it enables him to understand what he likes, which implies that man would not like anything if not for the meaning of dislike. Basically, this is applicable to every opposite known to man.
Therefore, freedom is the ability to accept life as it happens.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2016
There is a word for freedom in every language. The meaning of freedom is known in every language and it has the same meaning universally. The meaning of freedom is known and every human being will and does claim it as his or her own right. Accordingly, freedom in life is the goal and man will stop at nothing to gain it. However, while the mind of man remains conditioned with its beliefs, freedom will remain as a thing known, as a piece of knowledge; he or she will not even taste freedom’s flavour until there is understanding. Accept this gift from life; it is for you and for me. We are so grateful.
Julian Capper, UK.
German Translator’s Note:
Without the bad, the good would not be noticed by the mind. The mind functions in duality, based on opposites. The wish to eradicate the bad thoughts would dismiss the good ones too. It is simple, yet man tries to “think positive“ without noticing how impossible it is to appreciate any positive without the negative. Freedom as revealed by the wise here in the article “Freedom“, is to accept and understand both sides of the pendulum called opposites.
Marcus Stegmaier, Germany.