“Every living being is anxious for full freedom because that is his transcendental nature. And this freedom is obtained only through the transcendental service of the Lord. Illusioned by the external energy, everyone thinks that he is free, but actually he is bound up by the laws of nature. A conditioned soul cannot freely move from one place to another even on this earth, and what to speak of one planet to another.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.6.37 Purport)
“I’m not a prisoner. I’m a free man. I’ll live my life where I want to. No one can stop me. I won’t be controlled by anyone.
“This is like a mantra to repeat, in the hopes that it will come true. Sort of like thinking that there is no place like home, in the off chance that the transport takes place magically. To me, this idea of freedom or free living is quite silly. It is so easy to disprove.
“For instance, I have the freedom to work as I choose. I am an independent contractor. I am no one’s employee. The place of business is actually a client. They can’t dictate the hours that I work on a given day. I bill for whatever it is I do.
“Well, the typical day in this environment is filled with chaos. The wife and children constantly enter the area that is the makeshift office within the home. They have no respect for boundaries. They think I don’t work very hard, so interrupting an important meeting or two won’t matter much.
“There is no appropriate way to describe the anxiety this causes. If they are not directly interrupting, then they are yelling and screaming to be taken somewhere. When will the meeting end, they ask? Mind you, the meeting is just the beginning. It is for transferring knowledge. The real work begins after the fact.
“Then there is the maintenance on the home. This is never-ending. Life was much better when we lived in a smaller place, which had round-the-clock service for fixing things. Today, it is one headache after another.
“To improve anything requires clearing the home of inhabitants. But to where will they go? How will work be accomplished while there is construction going on? If this is free living, I would hate to think what suppression looks like.
“Do you see what I am getting at? Why is there so much focus on freedom? No one is really more free than the next person. Yes, in some countries you get jailed for publicly criticizing the government, but even in supposedly free countries the same occurs. It just happens in an indirect way, such as through government agencies framing individuals who formally protest.
“Is there such a thing as freedom? The real kind. I would want to one day move around without having to carry anything. I never want to set foot in a kitchen again. To me, that is real freedom.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that freedom is the natural course, since that is the constitutional position of the living entity, who is spirit soul. The body is something like a holding cell. This means that its only function is to limit.
If we see one species with less intelligence and another with more, the difference is due to the body type. One type, which consists of various material elements, suppresses intelligence to a greater extent.
The levels of suppression can change within a single lifetime for an individual species. With the human being, we see that the infant is less capable than many animals. There is the potential, however. With proper development, it is expected that the suppression on the intelligence will lessen, prior to eventual annihilation.
Real freedom is only possible through transcendental service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is something like independence through full dependence. Sharanagati means surrendering fully. God is now my caretaker. I will go through the motions. I will work. I will follow action.
But I know that the outcomes are not in my hands. Destiny controls everything, and God controls destiny for the souls surrendered to Him. Otherwise, there is the material nature and the system of karma to account for proper consequences to action.
The ideal example of a free man is Narada Muni. He can travel to any place he likes. He does not have to stay in one place for an extended period of time. He can visit the Supreme Lord directly in the transcendental realm of Vaikuntha.
Narada is kind enough to travel to other places, to show the way towards real freedom. This compassion can never be appropriately quantified. The Vaishnavas are an ocean of mercy, and the height of living is possible through their mercy alone.
Through their mercy alone,
Height of living known.
Kindness can’t repay,
Only their glories to say.
No more against to fight,
Where under grip tight.
Because today finally free,
Transcendentally to see.