Spiritual Freedom

All the different types of freedom that fasten upon some external conditions must, in their very nature, exist within certain limits. For the freedom that an individual or community or state seeks must be consistent with a similar freedom for other individuals, communities or states. National, economic, religious or cultural freedom expresses itself in and by means of the duality of existence. It lives on duality and is sustained by duality; therefore it has to be relative and limited and cannot be infinite. It exists in varying degrees. Even when it is won through persistent effort, it cannot be a permanent attainment, since the external conditions having once been secured are not secured forever but are capable of deteriorating in the course of time.

Only spiritual freedom is absolute and unlimited. When it is won through persistent effort, it is secured forever. Though spiritual freedom can and does express itself in and through the duality of existence, it is grounded in the realization of the inviolable unity of all life and is sustained by it. One important condition of spiritual freedom is freedom from all wanting. It is want that fetters life through attachment to conditions that would fulfill that want; if there is no want, there is no dependence or limitation. The soul is enslaved through wanting. When the soul breaks asunder the shackles of wanting, it emancipates itself from its bondage to the bodies — gross, subtle and mental. This is the spiritual freedom that brings with it the final realization of the unity of all life and puts an end to all doubts and worries.

It is only in spiritual freedom that one can have abiding happiness and unimpaired Self-knowledge. It is only in spiritual freedom that there arises the supreme certainty of Truth. It is only in spiritual freedom that there is the final ending of sorrow and limitation. It is only in spiritual freedom that one can live for all, and yet be detached in the midst of all activities. Any lesser type of freedom is comparable to a house built on sand, and any lesser type of attainment is fraught with the fear of decay. Therefore there is no gift greater than the gift of spiritual freedom, and there is no task more important than the task of helping others to achieve spiritual freedom. Those who have understood the supreme importance of spiritual freedom have not only to strive for it for themselves but also to share the God-given duty of helping others win it.

Discourses 7th Edition, P 341-342

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