What’s true freedom?
Such a realised one remains alone as the Self
Brahma Vid is the knower of the Truth—the Self. Sri Adi Sankaracharya says in the Vivekachoodamani that the best among the knowers of the Truth give up all sorts of anxiety to reach that goal of Brahman or the desire to not swerve from the path of Truth. They are like the meandering waters of the gushing river when it reaches the delta, taking its own time to merge into the ocean. The river in a delta is never in a hurry.
Such a realised one remains alone as the Self. Such a person is none other than the supreme auspiciousness called Shiva. This person is still living in the body, yet the mind is relaxed, blissful and free at all times. No situation or person can ever affect the constant experience of happiness of this individual. At the time of the death of the body and along with it the other adjuncts of the feeling and the thinking mind and intellect of that being become the Brahman itself.
The Acharya gives a beautiful example which shows the presence of drama and acting even during his times. Just as an actor who has donned a role in a play is just acting that role while all the time, he is the original person within, the knower of Brahman is always the original Brahman within while he may be playing the role of husband, wife, brother, sister, friend, enemy, boss or subordinate.
The body of the Self-realised person may fall anywhere on death, it doesn’t matter. Even when he was alive the individual mind has been consumed completely in the fire of consciousness. It is just like the tree which does not hold on to its leaf. While the leaf is in the tree itself, it has withered and turned brown. The moment it separates from the tree and falls off, the tree has no anxiety about its falling.
For the great being who has realised the Self and is always abiding in that true nature of his—the complete, non-dual and blissful nature of himself—there is no insistence on any particular place or time for dropping the body made of skin, flesh and gross substances within the tracts of the body. Such a contemplative being does not look forward to or expect any auspicious time to leave. When the body can no longer sustain, it falls apart with no fuss.
Why is it a matter of no concern? Freedom from the body in the form of death or freedom from the staff or water pot for the Sanyasi is not liberation. When the renunciate moves into the final phase of parivrajaka, walking from one place to another with abandon, he gives up even the staff and water pot that he carries. True freedom is freedom from the ignorance of who I am in reality.
The writer is Sevika, Chinmaya Surya, Puducherry (www.chinmayamission.com); email: email@example.com