Art, Literature & Culture

Gita Acharan (219)- Bondage to Liberation

By K Siva Prasad- 11 May 2024
305

gita-acharan-219-bondage-to-liberation

11.05.2024: Krishna says, " Tej (radiance of character), forgiveness, patience, purity, freedom from hate, absence of conceit -are the wealth of a divinely inclined person (6.3). Vainglorious pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance mark the man who is born with a demonic nature (6.4). Two types of men exist in the world -the divine and the demonic (6.6). The divine nature bestows liberation (vi-mokshaya) ; the demonic nature leads to bondage" (6.5). Since liberation and bondage are experiential, any explanation about them is likely to lead to confusion rather than provide clarity.
The story of the trapped monkey will help us understand the dichotomy between bondage and liberation. Some nuts are kept in an earthen pot with a narrow mouth (surahi) in which the monkey’s hand barely fits. The monkey inserts its hand by squeezing through the mouth of the pot and grabs a fist full of nuts. As the fist is full, its size increases thus, it can’t come out of the pot and the monkey is bound to the pot. Though the monkey makes all sorts of efforts to get the closed fist out of the pot, till the realisation dawns on it that the trap is set by itself, it won't get liberated.
The divisions and resulting comparisons; living in the past or expectations from the future; attachment to money, luxury, power, friends, enemies, work, alcohol or even daily routines are like the proverbial nuts in the monkey's fist which bind us. While the desire to become something else or grab something is bondage, dissolving ourselves and finding resonance with existence is liberation. 
While life throws various situations at us, absorbing them like an ocean absorbs rivers (2.70) where our reactions are independent of these situations is nothing but liberation. The milestones given in this chapter by Krishna can be used to measure ourselves as to how liberated we are.

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