Question: Is there any difference between freedom and unconditional freedom?
Speaker: We live in bondage. What we call as our normal, usual, daily life, is a series of bonded movement in time. Our thinking, acting, even breathing is bondage. It is happening as per forces we have no understanding of, and hence no control over. And then suddenly, without our explicit demand, it so happens that this series, that this chain gets disrupted for a while, like a flash of lightning in dark sky, not lasting long, but having its distinct presence, an undeniable presence. It didn’t last, but it illuminated as long as it was there, and I can’t forget that it illuminated.
It happens without our explicit want, but it is our deepest desire that the chain of unending slavery be broken. Every instance of freedom from this chain gives us relief and brings us a lot of misery. It gives us relief because it reminds us of our essential nature. It gives us relief, and without that relief we will go mad. Nobody can exist even in partial sanity without these moments when the mind is free of time, is free of influence.
But because we do not want them, but because they just come to us accidentally, these moments are hence accidental. Situations, by his grace, bring them to us. “In such and such situation I feel free. In the presence of such and such person I enjoy a deep inner freedom.”
You didn’t come to that situation, you didn’t want to meet that person, you didn’t aim to read that book, it happened, accidentally. Because it happened accidentally, in spite of giving you a lot of relief, it will not last, it will go away, and that is why the relief will be accompanied by deep misery. It will come, it will illuminate you and then it will disappear. It will give you a taste of freedom, and then it is gone! And you are back to your old ways. This is conditional freedom.
It came to you as grace, accidentally. It came to remind you. You didn’t deserve it, you never asked for it, yet you got a taste of it. For free! With every such taste your longing for freedom increases, your misery increases, the feeling of viyog, separation, increases. You say, “I want that, and I want more of that. I want to abide in that. Always, under all situations, unchangeably, I don’t want such a precious thing to be dependent on anything. It must be unconditional.”
Unconditional means- under all conditions. What I feel in this room, what I feel with this book, the same meditativeness must be always available to me. I have found a lover, why can’t he be unconditionally, always, eternally be with me. You wouldn’t have said this without his first glimpse, and the first glimpse is always conditional. Always. It is given, it is bestowed.
Conditions are created in which you can get the first glimpse, because you by yourself will never want it. So conditions push you, without your consent. With every passing instance of conditional freedom, you want more and more of unconditional freedom. You then create, rather situations then get created through you, which become more conducive to your freedom. Your very instrument then becomes aligned towards creating situations for freedom. You stop relishing slavery.
Wherever you see slavery, you do not want to be there. And wherever you see freedom, you want to be more and more there, continuously there, unconditionally there. You stop having the capacity to tolerate rubbish. You lose all taste for slavery, under all conditions, even in the most tempting conditions. Now all you want is that, that lightness, that sorrowlessness.
When that becomes your very nature, when you have nothing left in you which resists that, when no part of your mind wants to escape from that, then what you have is ‘unconditional freedom’. Now I am that already, always- it is under that condition, under that situation that saints have come to say that now we need no practice, no penance, no austerities. That we are there, firmly established there, unconditionally there. Conditions will now keep changing, but my seat is not going to change.
And if that freedom does not move towards unconditional freedom, then your misery will be very deep, very, very deep. The ones who do not act in spite of knowing, there is no suffering like theirs’. Better than them are the ignorant ones. That is why it is said, “Ignorance is Bliss.” The ones who know and yet do not have the faith to act, sorrow is all theirs’.
When you see freedom, when you get freedom, ask more of it. Allow yourselves to dance to its tune, allow yourselves to be taken in by its flow, allow yourselves to be charmed by it, to be captivated by it. And it is absolutely charming when it is there, You know that. You know how beautiful it is! Allow that beauty to overpower you, surrender to that beauty, don’t resist it.
The more you surrender to its charm, to its beauty, to its fascination, the more you will get of it. Then you will not be dependent upon this and that, upon conditions, to bring it to you. And moving and moving, a day will come when you will start living it. A day will come when you will become freedom itself! There will be nothing left in you which is reminiscent of bondage. You will be freedom itself! You will search for bondage within you, and you will not find it. Such great joy!
You may even decide, at times, to try to be a slave, and you will find that it is not possible for you now. “I am trying so hard, to adjust, to tolerate, to at least act like a slave for a while, but it’s simply not possible.” That is unconditional freedom. Even you are helpless against yourselves then. Forget about others making a slave of you, even you cannot make a slave of yourself.
You are unconditionally free now.
The method, if I may so call it, is to move towards light when you see it. That is the only method. When you see light, move towards it, that is the only way to get more light. When you get freedom, move towards it, that is the only way to be unconditionally free.
Seek light, see light and finally be light.
Those who seek it, they necessarily see it. Those who see it, they move towards it, and ultimately they are it.
So seek light, see light, be light!
– Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.
View the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43n3b-Tjcp8
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