Others don’t endanger our liberty as much as do we ourselves

The news often reports people protesting vehemently against any law that seems draconian, that threatens their liberty. Dictatorial regimes that curtail individual rights often earn international censure. We, moderns and post-moderns, are very conscious of threats to our liberty.

Ironically, the very things we pursue in the name of liberty can endanger our liberty. For example, some youths want the freedom to take drugs. But when they take drugs repeatedly, they end up addicted, thereby undermining their liberty to intelligently choose life’s important things. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (16.11) cautions that our desires can act like shackles. Such desire-shackles compel us to indulge, as if we were indentured slaves, not free individuals.

Significantly however, such desire-shackles can’t shackle people without their consent. A drug addict’s first indulgence might have been unsolicited – they might have innocently gone to a party where peer pressure compelled them to take their first drug. But their subsequent indulgences, they choose themselves, consciously or subconsciously. By thus courting addiction, they jeopardize their liberty, and jeopardize it far more frequently than do dictatorial regimes or draconian laws.

We may not be addicts ourselves, but we can probably think of drives that drag us down and away from important things. How can we better resist such drives? By practicing yoga, specifically bhakti-yoga. Such practice helps us realize our non-material essence as souls, parts of the all-pure supreme, and gives us access to higher spiritual wisdom and happiness.

We see the money spent for protecting our liberty from outer threats as an essential security measure. We need to similarly see the time spent for yoga practice as an essential security measure for protecting our liberty from inner threats. Investing our time thus not only protects our freedom to pursue happiness, but also ultimately provides us the supreme spiritual happiness.

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  1. man is enemy and friend to himself

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