|| Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
|| Aum Namo Narayanaya||
|our aim to be as free as a bird in flight- pic|
Being confined to bed due to illness is not entirely a pleasant experience but on the flip side allows one a little time-out from the world. A little window of opportunity to slow down time a bit and exercise a little introspection and analysis over the state of the humanity and the world we live in. Once whilst Sri Ramakrishna was visiting a devotee’s house, He refused to sit until the newspaper was removed from His sight. He detested the paper as it was flooded with mundane worldliness. Browsing the news, I was not in the least bit inspired but rather reeled into a jaded realm of pedestrian events and happenings motivated and driven by lust, greed, egoism, anger and hatred. The regular exposure and repetition of such activities over such a long period of time seems to have conditioned our minds to accepting these as ‘business as usual’. We read daily about rape, murder, corruption, abuse and so much more without even a little jerk of the heart or a drop from the tear glands. What a contradiction to the empathy Swami Vivekananda displayed. One day, He was walking along a road in Darjeeling, enjoying the beauty of the hills along with a few others. After His breakfast... all of a sudden, He saw in a mental vision, a Bhutia woman, with a heavy load on her back... slip, fall, and sustain some injury.
Others accompanying Him did not see the incident at all. The attendants were young and inexperienced and did not know the moods of His super-conscious state. Swamiji kept His eyes fixed on some distant object and could not move an inch further. His face became pale, and He cried in pain: "Oh! I feel great pain here, and I cannot walk any further." Someone asked: "Where do you feel the pain, Swamiji?" He pointed to His side and said: "It is here; did you not see that woman fall?" The youth, who could not understand anything, thought it queer that the Swami should feel the pain at all, but none dared say anything. Time taught them the great significance of this episode... when they learnt that a great sympathetic relation exists between man and man, and with these God-men who feel and visualize the feelings of others at a distance.
Living in a world blinded by our drive for power and wealth, we have shut closed our valves of empathy that should flow freely on account of us being amritysa putraye (immortal children of God). Last week, millions took to the streets and Mandhirs with joy and colour to celebrate the festival of Holi - the symbolic commemoration of the destruction of the demoness Holika who on instructions from her brother took his son into the fire to be destroyed. However due to the boy’s unwavering faith in his Lord and saviour Sri Hari, she who was bestowed with the boon of not being harmed by fire, was perished in the very fire whilst Prahalad emerged unscathed. Devoid of taking a lesson from these incidents... man has continued on his tirade of greed, lust and human rights atrocities.
Eulogised and applauded as ground breaking charters and documents, the Human Rights Charter and Constitutions of various countries are respected as rights given by world bodies and countries upon their citizens. Today many of these governments have themselves violated these rights over greed and self enrichment. There is no genuine empathy and interest in raising the levels of the society.
It becomes imperative therefore for every person to understand his true nature and his birth rights. It will then become clear that rights are not bestowed upon citizens by governments; governments are merely put in place to be the protector of every citizen’s birth right.
As a child of God... everyone is equal before creation, has a right to food, shelter, freedom, peace, joy and dignity. Unaware of this birth right, many people become weak and are susceptible to slavery and control from external sources. The basis of the turnaround strategy should be the development of the inner being, which should project the message that I am not weak... stand up, be strong, I am potentially divine.
There can be no talk of slavery or bondage even if the person is in shackles... if the mind is free and illumined. That was Swamiji’s life-giving message to the youth of India during their dark and turbulent days of colonialism. There needs to be a renewed conscientisation of our birth right and the responsibility that comes with it - the responsibility and duty to live up to the ideals of righteousness and divinity .
When mentally we are enslaved and colonised by lust, greed, egoism, anger, hatred, envy and jealousy... how can we really enjoy and dignity and liberty in the external world? Therefore it is incumbent on every individual to practice the human rights or his birth rights within him first. When he / she has freed themselves internally, then the world will automatically free itself.
In wrapping up, I quote some of Swamiji’s thoughts on freedom.
We say that it is freedom that we are to seek, and that that freedom is God. It is the same happiness as in everything else; but when man seeks it in something which is finite, he gets only a spark of it. The thief when he steals gets the same happiness as the man who finds it in God; but the thief gets only a little spark with a mass of misery. The real happiness is God. Love is God, freedom is God; and everything that is bondage is not God.
Man has freedom already, but he will have to discover it. He has it, but every moment forgets it. That discovering, consciously or unconsciously, is the whole life of every one. But the difference between the sage and the ignorant man is that one does it consciously and the other unconsciously. Everyone is struggling for freedom—from the atom to the star. The ignorant man is satisfied if he can get freedom within a certain limit—if he can get rid of the bondage of hunger or of being thirsty. But that sage feels that there is a stronger bondage which has to be thrown off.
May we all achieve the ultimate freedom by practicing our human and birth right of divinity.
Yours affectionatelyYogan Naidoo