Talk on Freedom
By Sri Chinmoy
Dear seekers of Truth, Light and Bliss, I am extremely glad to be at this august university today. This university loves progress more than anything. In our spiritual life also, we care for only one thing-progress. We do not care for success; we care only for progress, and in our progress looms large our success. Today’s success is the starting point for tomorrow’s achievement. Success never gives satisfaction, but when we make progress we do get satisfaction. Progress is the Will of God working in and through us, carrying us safely to our ultimate Goal.
Today I wish to give a short talk on Freedom. We all know something about what freedom is, for freedom is very familiar to each individual soul. As a freedom loving country, America stands in the vanguard of the freedom loving countries. So, dear sisters and brothers, perhaps you know more about freedom than I do. But from the spiritual point of view, for the seeker of the Infinite Truth, I would like to say a few words on spiritual freedom, inner freedom.
What is freedom? Freedom is our conscious, spontaneous and selfless search for Light, abundant Light, infinite.
There are two kinds of Light: the outer light and the inner light. The outer light exposes us, examines us and judges us. The inner light awakens us, illumines us and fulfils us.
Once we enter into the world of aspiration, we come to realise that there are three types of freedom: animal freedom, human freedom and divine freedom. Animal freedom enjoys total destruction. Human freedom enjoys fleeting or deluding pleasure. Divine freedom enjoys illumining and fulfilling oneness. Animal freedom and human freedom are earth bound freedom. Divine freedom is Heaven free freedom. Earth bound freedom is the song of our unlit ego’s supremacy. Heaven free freedom is the song of our reality’s perfection and divinity’s manifestation.
In today’s world, man and perfection are perfect strangers. In tomorrow’s world, man and perfection will be bosom friends, illumining friends and fulfilling brothers. In the mind of today’s world, divine manifestation is sheer impossibility; but in the heart of tomorrow’s world, the divine manifestation is an unmistakable inevitability.
Spiritual freedom is our liberation from the mire of self created bondage. When the body is liberated from the mire of ignorance, the body divinely serves God in man. When the vital is liberated from the aggression of ignorance dream, the vital divinely loves God in man. When the mind is liberated from its tiny, limited ignorance cave, the mind divinely manifests God in man. When the heart is liberated from its insecurity prison cell, the heart constantly feels the Supreme Pilot here on earth, there in Heaven.
In the spiritual life, we need speed. To my great joy, we are very close to Detroit, the capital of the automobile world, the city of speed. In the inner life, speed is aspiration. If there is no aspiration, then there is no speed, and God realisation remains a far cry. We know the speed of an Indian bullock cart and the speed of a modern jet plane. Aspiration has the speed of a modern jet plane. Aspiration is the heart’s mounting cry that finds its satisfaction only when it reaches the goal of the ever transcending Beyond. Once it reaches the Goal, the inner being is inundated with freedom, the freedom that feeds us, energises us and fulfils the hunger of humanity.
Right now, if you ask, “Who needs freedom?” our answer is that everyone needs freedom. If you ask, “Who has freedom?” the answer is that nobody has it. But if we launch into the spiritual life, follow the path devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally, then today’s bondage can be transformed into tomorrow’s freedom. Outer freedom is fleeting and badly lacking in satisfaction. Inner freedom gives us real and abiding satisfaction. Unless and until we have attained satisfaction, we shall always remain unfulfilled and empty.
In order to bring satisfaction into our life, we cry deep within. When God’s Hour strikes in our life of aspiration, we become not only men of freedom but also lovers of freedom. At that time we transform mankind with our embodied, revealed and manifested Freedom Divine.
Now we are in the state of Michigan. The state motto is extremely significant from the spiritual point of view: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” In the spiritual life, we are looking for a spiritual peninsula. The peninsula is Love, Devotion and Surrender-Divine Love, Divine Devotion and Divine Surrender. Human love binds; Divine Love expands. Human devotion is our unconscious attachment; Divine Devotion is our conscious awareness of our ultimate reality. Human surrender is the surrender of a slave to his master; Divine Surrender is the surrender of the finite to the Infinite. This surrender is conscious, wholehearted and unconditional, and it allows the human being to realise his Source, God.
After God realisation, the finite human life becomes inseparably one with the Infinite. At that time, the infinite sings its most soulful song, the song of God Reality, and the finite sings its eternal song, the cry of millennia.
The moment we enter the spiritual life, one sublime thought, word and idea becomes paramount to us, and that is ‘consciousness.’ Strangely enough, this state of being abounds in lakes. Lakes consist of water, which signifies consciousness. Consciousness and spirituality are inseparable.
When we elevate our consciousness to the highest level of awareness, illumination dawns. When we spread the wings of our consciousness, we fly into the sky of Immortality. Each seeker consciously tries to expand his consciousness, illumine his consciousness and fulfil his consciousness; for in the expansion, illumination and fulfilment of his consciousness, he becomes one with the real, divine Supreme, his Source and his Goal.
February 12th, 1974
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan