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What is the Real Independence!

Let's understand the true meaning of being independent.

Independence Day is of historical significance for India. After a long period, India finally got independence, and we celebrate this Day every year to remind us of our history.

However, in the spiritual sense, no one is free. All the sentient beings wandering in the countless universes are under the bondage of Maya. Time, destiny, temperament, attributes and many other things are under the realm of Maya, and we humans are bound by these. Not only humans, even animals, birds, trees, and many others, are under Maya’s thumb.

Go gochar jaha lagi man jai I So sab maya janehu bhai II

For those under Maya, she makes them dance to her tune. However, some among us have indeed crossed the bondage of Maya, but even they are under God’s control, and hence, not free. Maya has no control over those saints who are servants of God, but God’s wishes govern them, and hence, they are not free. Also, even God is under the thumb of His devotees. So, neither is God free, nor are those who attain God free, and as for us, it is our personal experience we are not free.

We are shackled by time, destiny, temperament and many such things, but the surprising part is we take great pride in uttering nonsense such as, ‘Better that my head is severed than bowing before anyone.’

This is our arrogance. Our reality is that we are firmly under the heel of Maya, and because of that, we bow and grovel, every moment of our existence, before lust, anger, greed, and other such desires. We are slaves to lust, greed, etc. We have such gigantic demons breathing down our necks constantly; what sort of freedom is this? Our Gurudev, Jagadguru Sri Kripalu Ji Maharaj, explaining this unfortunate condition in his wonderfully homespun way, says, ‘In my village, there is saying. A ruffian slaps a small businessperson. That poor person is afraid and quite powerless, but he puts up a brave face and says, –Hit me once more, and I will show you what I can do! The ruffian slaps him again, and the poor fellow repeats the same mantra–without actually doing anything.’

Saints say that they are under no one; true, Maya has no control over them, but they are under God’s control. In this way, only God can boast that He is entirely free, that He is the lord of all He surveys, and that everyone is