Which one do you choose – Freedom or Slavery? | Bhaja Govindam 5th stanza

(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6thbatch)

Yaavadvitto paarjana saktah, stavannija parivaro raktah
Paschaat jeevati jarjara dehe, vaartaam kopi na pricchati gehe || 5 ||

Meaning: As long as one has the capacity to earn, till then his family members will be attached to him. Once he is old and diseased, not even his family members in the house will enquire about him.

Every verse of Shankara speaks the Truth of the world at all times. Whatever he spoke 1200 years back is seen in the world even today. A couple works hard and earns good money to provide comforts and best education of their children. Their whole life is spent in that way. The children grow up in the best of facilities and get settled in good jobs in other lands. The parents, in their old age, live alone thinking about their children and grand-children all the time. The children cannot come and live with their parents for the reason that we call today ‘Not Practical’. Even if the children stay in the same house, they don’t have time to sit and talk with their parents because of their busy lives. The grand children are busy chatting to somebody across the globe whom they have not even met, but don’t have time for their grandparents. In the past, these grandparents had helped a lot of relatives – in-laws, brothers, sisters, friends, cousins, etc. But today, even they don’t turn up to enquire about them. The parents live their old age in grief. Is this some unusual thing that we see today? What went wrong?

This is a hard fact of life. As long as a person is earning, he has got people who are dependent on him. There is a retinue that follows him. But when his capacity to earn is gone, he becomes dependent on others. Earlier he was considered as an asset, now he is considered as a liability.

Had that person realized this earlier when he was earning, he wouldn’t have felt bad when he came to this situation. Shankara tells us to realize this nature of the world. He says, “Throw away the world before it throws you out.” Meaning: Get detached from the world while you are earning. Don’t be under the impression that the people you have around you will be there later too to comfort you. It does not mean to stop loving people around you, rather it means, love them and perform your service to them as your duty, but don’t expect anything in return. Get detached from the world and get attached to God while you are earning because He will be the only one with you throughout your life. Seek solace in Him. Then you won’t be living your old age in grief.

Attachment is slavery. It’s begging for love and attention. ‘I cannot live without you’ is a purely self-afflicting thought. Moreover, it is selfish too. We are attached to somebody because they can give us comfort. We can’t let them free, for that hits our happiness. Detachment is pure freedom (for oneself and for others) where one is the master of his own happiness.

Intelligent De-Attachment from the world and Attachment to God is Detachment.

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