Monday, September 30, 2013
William Wallace gave his entire life in pursuit of freedom. At the end of the movie Braveheart, William was being tied to the stake and about to die, I was anticipating with eagerness William's next move? Is he going to seek forgiveness from the British Rule and be released from death or continue his defiance towards the King? I was surprised - William does not relent but shouts out "freedom" as he lay his life for his motherland Scotland. The feeling is still fresh, I was drenched with feelings of awe towards William Wallace's chivalry and his pursuit of freedom.
I had the same if not even intense feelings of awe and reverence towards Krishna when I first read the Bhagavad Gita As it is. It also was a scene set in a battlefield in pursuit of freedom. Krishna urges Arjuna to fight to annihilate adharma and reinstate dharma. But the freedom of Bhagavad Gita and the movie is not the same. Although William's cause was noble as he sacrificed his life for his countrymen, still he and his countrymen were bound to the identity of being a Scotsman. After we die we are neither British nor Scot nor Indian etc. We are spiritual beings encased within a physical body. So when the identity of the physical body is enhanced then our cause will be bound to this material world of birth and death - a temporary world. We will believe that pursing freedom for sensual enjoyment is the highest and ultimate purpose of life. We will not cultivate a desire to practice austerity to give up the physical identity. In that sense William's pursuit of freedom was binding.
Today this is also our thinking. Practicing rules of spiritual purity such as chanting God's names, refraining from eating meat, intoxication, illicit sex and gambling in a regulated manner is seen as a restriction. We think these rules restrict us from enjoying this world. This idea of binding restriction is there within us because we are intensely attached to this body and mind. We think it is unnatural to practice such rules which brings pleasure to the body & mind. In the ultimate sense, we think such rules bind us against living our life freely - the opposite of freedom!
Krishna, however, says that these very same regulative principles that we think is the opposite of freedom actually give us freedom. It gives us freedom by reinstating us back to our spiritual world free from the bondage of this physical world of birth and death. We no longer have to be subjected to state, physical, material and karmic laws. We no longer are forced to suffer old age, disease and death or miseries caused due to the body/mind, or natural disturbances or other living beings. According to Krishna, this is real freedom.
William Wallace gave freedom from the rule of British and Krishna is giving us freedom from the rule of this entire material creation (not just the British). So it is in our benefit that by practicing the regulative principles as enunciated in the Gita, we can achieve eternal freedom from the clutches of cruel death.
But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.- BG 2.64