To bear the weight of freedom, we need big shoulders

Suppose someone has to carry a huge weight. If they don’t have shoulders big enough, they would get crushed and injured.

The same applies to those who wish to carry the weight of freedom. We usually don’t think of freedom as burdening – we think of it as empowering and liberating. That’s true, but not fully true. Freedom provides us the opportunity to make choices according to our will, unconstrained by external pressures. But freedom also entails the responsibility to make wise choices and to live with the consequences of those choices. That’s why freedom is a weight that needs big enough shoulders. To benefit from freedom, we need to be mature enough to choose intelligently and to not sink into self-pity or scapegoating when our choices turn out to be wrong.

Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (03.17) states that only those people can be free from all obligations who are internally contented. As long as they crave for externals, they need to discharge the obligations that come with their particular position in the external socio-cultural order.

Nowadays, people demand freedom without obligation. Such an ethos disrupts social order and degrades individual consciousness. Disruption of social order is seen in the fragmentation of families wherein members price their own freedom more than their family responsibilities. Degradation of individuals is seen in the increasing incidence of addiction and suicides, which result largely from people’s inability to live with the life they have created for themselves by their indiscriminate free choices.

Rather than agitating for freedom, we need to grow spiritually to shoulder the burden of freedom. To help us grow spiritually, Gita wisdom provides purpose and perspective. By understanding life’s bigger purpose and by harmonizing our longing for freedom with that purpose, we can make choices that harness our potentials and brighten our future.

Think it over:

  1. How is freedom a weight?
  2. What are the results of demanding freedom without obligation?
  3. How does the Gita help us to broaden our shoulders?


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Seek freedom from weakness, not freedom in weakness
The mind treats us badly, yet we trust it madly
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