Question: “How I yearn for freedom, and how I love my slavery!” It’s a quotation by you, what does it mean?
Acharya Prashant: On one hand we keep saying that we want to be free. On the other hand, we say that ‘we’ want to be free. We say, “I want freedom.” Now ostensibly it looks as if ‘freedom’ is the most important word in this statement. We are looking at that statement in the poster which says, “How I yearn for freedom, and how I love my slavery.” So when we say, “I want freedom,” apparently the most important word here is freedom.
It looks as if freedom is the most important thing that we want. But you know really, among these three words, ‘I’, ‘want’ and ‘freedom’, if you are asked to leave one, which is the one you would most readily leave? Quite prepared to leave? It would be freedom. You would find leaving your wants a little more difficult. And which is the entity that you would find absolutely difficult to leave? ‘I’. So really the most important word in the statement, ‘I want freedom’, is ‘I’.
Now this ‘I’ and freedom are contradictory. ‘I’ is the slavery. Why? Because only slavery can say that it wants freedom. So this ‘I’ stands for slavery. And in the statement, ‘I want freedom’, we hold the ‘I’ to be most important. Thereby holding slavery to be most important. So even when I am saying, “I want freedom,” what is it that I am actually saying? I am actually saying, “I will protect my slavery.”
I say, “Freedom is alright as long as it does not hurt my slavery; harm my slavery. Freedom is alright as long as it can co-exist in subservience to my slavery.” We want freedom as a slave of slavery. When you say that you want freedom, you actually want freedom to serve the interests of your slavery. So how can freedom be there then? Because you have already declared that slavery is much more important to you than freedom.
Those who want freedom must first of all be prepared to get rid of the ‘I’. Then get rid of the ‘wants’, and then all that remains is freedom. Actually when ‘I’ is gone, wants are gone along with the ‘I’. So hit the jackpot. Directly hit the ‘I’ and freedom is there. But if your objective is to get freedom remaining what you are, you will never get freedom.
What you think yourself to be – is the slavery.
That is a very common mistake. We say that remaining what we are, we still want freedom. We want freedom remaining what we are.
It cannot happen. You are asking for the impossible.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: How I yearn for freedom, how I love my slavery
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 1: Freedom is for the free
Article 3: Freedom is your nature, slavery an illusion
Books by the speaker: