Seek freedom from weakness, not freedom in weakness

Freedom from weakness refers to freedom from the lower urges that weaken our determination to act constructively. Our weaknesses are self-destructive forces within us such as lust, anger and greed – these distract us from important things to trivial, sensual things.

Freedom in weakness refers to the freeness experienced by indulging unrestrictedly in our weaknesses, say, to attack anyone who angers us. But such freedom is like a car driver moving in any direction whenever and wherever they feel like doing so. They may hit a pole, run over pedestrians or be run over by bigger vehicles. Seeking freedom in weakness is thus the recipe for disaster.

The Bhagavad-gita states that those who devote themselves to lust and anger become bound by their desires (16.12). Being thus bound, they are dragged towards degradation and depravity. They degenerate from being lascivious and avaricious to becoming malicious and even murderous (16.13-15). Because they equate freedom with pandering to the desires that weaken them, they bind themselves – willingly and forcefully.

Gita wisdom explains that real freedom is found at the spiritual level in realizing our indestructible essence and relishing immortal love for the all-attractive supreme, Krishna. Our weaknesses misdirect our love from Krishna towards worldly objects. As these objects are inevitably temporary, obsession with them deprives us of lasting happiness. The more we become free from those weaknesses, the more we become free to love Krishna and and relish unending love and joy thereof.

Bhakti-yoga is the time-honored process to redirect our love from the world to Krishna. During our bhakti practice, if we still define freedom as freedom in weakness, we will feel deprived and practice bhakti half-heartedly. But if we redefine freedom as freedom from weakness, we will appreciate bhakti as the process towards freedom and practice it wholeheartedly, thereby attaining the supreme freedom.

Think it over:

  1. What is the difference between freedom from weakness and freedom in weakness?
  2. How is freedom in weakness the recipe for disaster?
  3. How can we stop feeling deprived while practicing bhakti?

 

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