We as humans are so engrossed with the daily chores that we never realize we are living a life of slaves. During the entire span of our life, we are answerable to someone or the other. During our childhood we are governed by our parents and teachers, in our adulthood, we are influenced by our peers, in our middle age we are doing our best to take care of our family and in turn get governed by our spouses, in-laws and relatives. The bondage does not end here, when we grow old we discover that our children want us to live the way they like, most of the time because they love and care for us and sometimes for their own convenience. Life in short is a compromise for most of us. Few people find themselves liberated and live a life free of anxiety, worry and stress. When most of our basic needs are met, our duties and responsibilities accomplished, we tend to seek peace and freedom as we grow old.
Ancient scriptures and Gurus have repeatedly mentioned Liberation or Nirvana. They also talk about Karma and its results. They provide answers to many of our queries like why do good people suffer the most? How can we be free in life? and so on. The scriptures tell us that we are living in a dream world and everything around us is a dream and unreal. It is very difficult to accept this and it takes lots of “Shrvanam” and “Mananam” of spiritual wisdom to understand this concept. It is about finding happiness within ourselves by diving deep within us and coming out of this dream. Most of us seek happiness from objects and people around us. This is an attachment known as “Maya”. Happiness lies within us and not in the outside world which is unreal. When we look around we find that over a period of time we accumulated so many worldly objects most of which we will never use. A need can be met but greed cannot be met. One must minimize attachment with worldly possessions as they all are perishable.
Vedanta has categorized human consciousness into four states :
- Jagrat or waking state where a person’s five senses are active,
- Swapna or dream state where a person dreams of experiences derived from the Jagrat state, the senses are sleeping but the mind is working,
- Sushupti or deep sleep state where the mind is also at rest along with the five senses, and the fourth state
- Tuirya which is the fourth and the highest level of consciousness where the mind experiences bliss while the body is still awake.
Modern Psychologists have a similar categorization of these four states. These are Unconscious, Subconscious, Conscious and Superconscious. It is the evolution from the lower state to the higher one that gives us freedom or liberation.
A very popular Mantra chanted by Buddhists around the world is
Gate gate para gate para sam gate bodhi swaha
(गते गते पार गते पार संगते बोधि स्वाहा)
This mantra tells us to Go, go, go beyond, go altogether beyond, till we achieve freedom or enlightenment. One has to go beyond worldly materialistic acquisitions to feel free. It is giving away what is unreal for example anxiety, hatred, jealousy, anger, ego and taking what is real such as happiness, joy, compassion, love, that sets us free. Losers are the winners in this Spiritual path, lose all and you shall be a winner!
So live in the present moment to be happy and become free!
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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