Unspoken threats to our freedom
We live in an age which treasures freedom as the foremost among cherished values. If governments issue any injunctions restricting citizens’ freedoms, they often receive both widespread flak in the media and vigorous, even violent, opposition from activists.
While outer forces sometimes threaten our freedom, it is threatened much more by inner forces: the impulses arising from our inner world. Such impulses impel us toward indulgences that endanger us and entrap us in compulsive behaviors. The impulses to drink lead millions down the path to addiction, which is essentially psychological enslavement. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita cautions that our cravings can bind us like shackles (16.12)
One of the most blatant and reprehensible deprivations of freedom is slavery. Not many of us face the danger of becoming physically enslaved; yet we all face the very real danger of becoming psychologically enslaved through addiction. Aggravating such danger, today’s corporate-centered culture often gives free rein to advertisements that glamorize addictive indulgences. If we consider alcoholism, the advertising budget promoting it is far more than the budget cautioning about its hazards. Worse still, even if we know about those hazards, our impulses often impel us to disregard those dangers and to recklessly indulge. Thus, both because of public propaganda and personal foolhardiness, our freedom is nowadays inordinately threatened by self-destructive indulgences.
When outer injunctions threaten liberty, activists often put up a vehement resistance. If we put in a fraction of those efforts to oppose our destructive inner impulses, we will be so much freer, wiser and happier. For equipping us to protect our freedom, Gita wisdom stands ready with a time-tested arsenal of illuminating insights and empowering practices.
To protect our freedom, we need to guard against not just outer injunctions but primarily against inner impulses.
Think it over:
- What is an unspoken threat to our freedom? Why?
- Nowadays why is our freedom inordinately threatened by addictive indulgences?
- Have you ever experienced or observed how addictive indulgences are like psychological slavery? How can you use that realization to connect yourself more with the spiritual wisdom that guards your freedom?
16.12: Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.
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