What does freedom mean to you?

Question: Sir, you just said that intelligence demands freedom. What kind of freedom?

Speaker: To begin with, there has to be freedom from something. You asked what kind of freedom. It depends on where I am standing. If I am standing in deep bondage, then the first step of freedom is, ‘freedom from’ something. Freedom from compulsorily thinking. Freedom from necessarily following. Freedom from being like the rest of them. It is like getting rid of your chains. ‘Freedom from’, this is Neti- Neti (Neither this, nor that). I am already doing a lot, I want freedom from it. This is freedom from my existing ways.

I don’t exist in a vacuüm. I am already occupied with lot of mind-stuff. Freedom from that mind-stuff and that mind-stuff is what I call as my life. Freedom from that. That is the first step of freedom.

Then there is a ‘freedom of’ something. This is the second step. The first step was ‘freedom from’ something. The second step is ‘freedom of’ something. Now, here the influence of others has been removed. ‘There is something that is shining in front of me which is my own. It appears to be mine own and I say that now this is worthy. I want to be there. If I can spend my life pursuing this, it would be wonderful’. So, this is ‘freedom of’ doing something.

The first was the negative freedom, that is freedom from bondage. The second is the positive freedom, freedom of going here, of being that. When one realizes that even this which I call as ‘freedom of’ being something has little bit of external influences, one leaves that also.

So in the first step, your goals were coming from the society and you said, ‘Freedom from society’. In the second step, your goals appear to be coming from within you and you said, ‘Freedom of pursuing my goal, freedom to live as per my  wish’.

What is common between step one and step two?  Goals are there. In the first step the goals are given by…

Listeners(everyone): Society.

Speaker: In the second step, goals are given by….

Listeners(everyone): Self.

Speaker: Apparently by the self. Finally there is just freedom in which there are no goals. Right now as we live, not only do we have a code of living, a manual of life, certain targets that have been handed over to us, not only do we have them, the worst part is that they are not ours. They have been given to us that you must live life like this. This is what is called as good life.

So, the first step would be to say, ‘No’. I want freedom from this kind of life. Goals given by others have been dropped. Then the next step is, ‘I don’t have anything given by others. Now, I will have my own goals’.

It’s a beautiful state to be in. Believe me. Know for yourself. Finally you will come to a point where you will say, ‘Having even my own goals is no fun. I will live like a bird in the open sky. No highways there, nowhere to reach, no goals to follow’. That is absolute freedom.

But talking of steps one and two will not be meaningful right now. Right now just talk of step one, that is ‘freedom from’. It is because our life is already cluttered, our mind is already full of so much stuff.  Freedom from that clutter, freedom from that stuff. Getting it?

See, when one is in bondage, one does not straightaway talk of soaring high in the sky. One first talks of…

Listeners(everyone): Getting rid of the chains.

Speaker: Yes, getting rid of the chains. That is the first step. Let us talk of that. That is actionable. Freedom from chains. Start from there.

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: What does freedom mean to you?


    1. There are various opportunities to connect to and meet Acharya Prashant. These are:

      1. Meet the Master:

      Meet the Master program is rare opportunity to meet Acharya Prashant personally, either physically or online. To meet the Master, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917.

      2. Advait Learning Camps:

      Advait Learning Camps are monthly retreats organized under Acharya Prashant’s guidance. These camps are about spending four days and three nights in the lap of nature, while reading, reflecting, learning and evolving. So far, scores of ALCs have been organised in places like Rishikesh, Mukteshwar, Jim Corbett National Park, Chopta, KainchiDham, etc.
      Additionally, we organize dedicated bonding camps for kids and parents. To participate in the camp, write an e-mail to requests@prashantadvait.com, or call: Sh. Anshu Sharma at +91-8376055661.

      3. Course in Realization:

      Course in Realization, a classroom-based learning program led by Acharya Prashant, is an initiative towards disseminating clarity and intelligence in the world. In this course, a rigorous study of a scripture or a saint is undertaken each month.
      To join in, send your application, write to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Sh. Apaar: +91-9818591240

      4. Month of Awakening:

      For those who cannot attend sessions physically, the foundation does online streaming of few selected sessions via Skype or Webinar. Known as Month of Awakening, this facility offers live streaming of sessions and helps seekers listen to Acharya-Ji while being where they are.
      To receive the blessing, send your application to requests@prashantadvait.com or contact: Ms. Anoushka Jain: +91-9818585917

      5. Blessings from Beyond:

      Weekends with Acharya Prashant brings you the unique opportunity for a 2 day 2 night stay with the Master every month at Advait Ashram, Greater Noida. The getaway involves two mystical days of dynamic activities, explorations of the self, sports, meditative reading, deep reflections, midnight walks and more.
      To get a taste of the beyond, register yourself at requests@prashantadvait.com or contact Ms. Anu Batra:+91-9555554772

      6. Triyog:

      Daily morning 2 hour Yog feast for your total well-being. Comprising of
      Hatha Yog, Bhakti Yog and Gyan Yog.

      Send your application, write to: requests@prashantadvait.com Or to register: Contact: Shri Kundan Singh: +91-9999102998
      Venue: Advait Bodhsthal, Greater Noida, India.

      This reply comes to you from volunteers of PrashantAdvait Foundation who maintain this channel.


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