Traffic signals on roads seem to curtail our freedom to drive as we like. But in actuality, by regulating our freedom under the law, the government facilities in smooth and hassle-free travel for everyone. Likewise, the laws of nature are designed by God in such a way that, by following them properly, we liberate ourselves from the clutches of material attachments, and have a smooth ride towards the journey of self-realisation.
No one is truly independent
Everyone wants to be free and independent. But in reality, each one of us is under the surveillance of either the government, society or our conscience to take the right actions. We also are completely dependent on Mother Nature for food and shelter, employment and money to satisfy our needs, and our loved ones for support and care. Above all, unless the Supreme provider of all sanctions our needs and wants, we would not be supplied with so many facilities in life. It appears that simply because we cook the food and pay rent to our house, our consciousness misinterprets this as ownership. Eventually, we start hinging we created everything from scratch. Even a morsel of rice is not created by us. Although Mother Nature manifests it, the rain is provided from outside earth which is beyond our control. This too happens only under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Thus, assuming ourselves to be the controllers and using our free will to enhance only the material aspects of our lives is not development but rather is degradation.
Regulative principles of freedom
So, Lord Krishna in Bhägavatam Gita states
prasādam adhigacchati (Bg. 2.64)
Vidheyātmā means following certain principles that will help us regulate our lives. For every certain cause, there is a certain effect that cannot be avoided. Therefore, when there is a structure of knowledge presented to us to follow up while executing an activity, we shall receive a respective positive result. Whilst, if we go against the law, and try to drive against the traffic rules, we may either meet with accidents or cause trouble to other people. Sometimes, we know the law, yet we break it hoping nothing will happen. That free will within our heart intuitively knows what is correct and what is not. These micro anxious feeling gets accumulated over a while when we keep pursuing the path of adharma or iniquity, which develops into a great deal of anxiety. To suppress that anxiousness, we take shelter in all nonsensical activities as escapism.
Indians’ instinct to follow dharma
In India, there is intuitive knowledge of religion and dharma. Therefore, when a person indulges in an act of sense gratification, he is a little ashamed and is overcome by guilt. But in the west, there is no knowledge of dharma or righteousness as such. There is no sanatana dharma or principles of religion influencing the functioning of the society there. Thus, engaging in sense gratification freely, happily, publicly and proudly is seen as though they are performing a great dharmic act due to utter ignorance. This is because their definition of dharma is defined by how well they can live on the terms of their own free will by engaging in all the activities that give a heightened sense of material happiness and success.
This land of Bharatavarsha has a special influence on people to instinctively follow the principles of religion. When a young boy smokes, he doesn’t want his parents to know and does it secretively. Once he finishes his business, he munches some panparag to clear off the odour from his mouth so as not to be found by his parents. He did this because deep within he is aware that “I’m guilty. I’ve done something which is not correct.” Whereas, such a feeling is not seen in other parts of the world.
The right association helps build healthy boundaries
So, the reason being, the upbringing in India, the land of Dharma is such that we all have a specific in-built software system that can’t be neglected. This wonderful software is right inside but needs proper access. That is the gift of an Indian body that has certain systems that operate automatically by virtue. Only by right association can we strengthen the frequency of the signals coming intuitively from this software. That strength helps us to create strong boundaries for our well-being and allows us to firmly say NO to all the impulses and temptations, guiding our lives in the right direction.
At every moment in our lives, we are given access to the right kind of knowledge and some kind of ignorance. One is beneficial while the other is harmful. On on side, we are exposed to media, friends circle, all kinds of other forces presenting us certain packages to evaporate our sense of awareness and on the other side, there are sacred texts like Bhagavad Gita, saints and association of conscious individuals are open for us to heighten our consciousness. Based on the cost-benefit analysis, The choice is, that free will is completely ours.