Alchemist – In Gita Verse 5.3 One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna.

Krishna in this verse explains to us what is bondage? In my Bhagavad Gita Verse 4.12 Blog I wrote: What is bondage?

Now we will take support of Upanishad to understand Bondage: Upanishad began with – What is bondage? What is liberation? These were the first questions. The sage has discussed things in such detail, entering deeply into the reality of life, that you could never have imagined that this would be the final reply which he gives. He should have said so in the very beginning!

What the sage is now saying is that “When there is no bondage in the first place, how can there be any liberation? I am not something which can be bound, I cannot be bound; freedom is my nature, so who can put me in bondage? How can I be bound? How can any bondage stick to me? I do not have even this much existence that I can be bound to. Where is the body which can be bound? Where is the form which can be imprisoned? Where are its outlines?” It is only after going beyond all the boundaries, having discussed freedom from all forms at length… Perhaps by now the seeker himself may have forgotten that his original inquiry was: What is bondage? What is liberation? That inquiry has receded so far into the distance that perhaps you did not remember it either! The query has been left so far behind, the discussions have gone so deep, to such profundities, that now the sage says: I am not a doer – how can there  be bondage or liberation for me? “If bondage does not exist, then what meaning is there in liberation? If bondage is not possible for me, then where does the question of liberation arise?”

Upanishad began with a question and it ends with a question. The sage says, “How can there be bondage? – And therefore how can there be liberation? Where I am, bondage and liberation cannot exist.” But if this were the answer, he could have said this at the very beginning!

When Upanishad says that How can there be bondage? – And therefore how can there be liberation? Then from where the bondage came?

Let’s understand how we have created bondage?

Everybody is born in freedom, but dies in bondage. The beginning of life is totally loose and natural, but then the society enters; then rules and regulations enter, morality, discipline and many sorts of training. The looseness and the naturalness and the spontaneous being is lost. One starts to gather around oneself a sort of armor. One starts becoming more and more rigid. The inner softness is no longer apparent.

On the boundary of one’s being, one creates a fortlike phenomenon in order to defend, not to be vulnerable – to react, for security, safety; and the freedom of being is lost. One starts looking at others’ eyes: their approvals, their denials, their condemnations. Appreciation becomes more and more valuable. The others become the criterion, and one starts to imitate and follow others because one has to live with others.

A child is very soft, he can be molded in any way; and the society starts molding him – the parents, teachers, the school – and by and by he becomes a character not a being. He learns all the rules. He either becomes a conformist, that is bondage, or he becomes rebellious – that too is another sort of bondage. If he becomes a conformist, orthodox, square, that is one sort of bondage; he can react, can become a hippy, can move to the other extreme, but that is again a sort of bondage – because reaction depends on the same thing it reacts against. You may go to the farthest corner, but deep down in the mind you are rebelling against the same rules. Others are following them, you are reacting, but the focus remains on the same rules. Reactionaries and revolutionaries all travel in the same boat. They may be standing against each other, back to back, but the boat is the same.

So Krishna tells Arjuna, because of our knowledge we are following the discipline but not self-discipline. If from the same information and knowledge you use your own wisdom to act, then being into society you are not touched by society. We need all the information of the objective world but need to act from our wisdom. This is the key. If you can do this then you can understand what Krishnas say, O mighty-armed Arjuna, One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of his activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, free from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated.

As the person who uses his own wisdom for the information of the objective world he is a person who is an alchemist of himself. He is not touched by the objective world or the subjective world.

  1. Anilkumar Pandit 3 years ago

    Indeed desire leads to bondage, so being free of desires is being liberated.

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