On 15th August 2015 India celebrates the 69th year of Independence. But even after more than six decades can we truly say that we are free as a nation and as individuals?
Very few who saw India under slavery are alive today. It is indeed a blessing to be a citizen of India – a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic nation.
In this free land, we do “have freedom not only to speak but also to listen; to punish but also to receive punishment; to weep but also to make others weep; to win but also to lose.” I hope some of you remember the Pepsi ad in which Sharukh Khan, the great Bollywood star, brings this saying to an anti-climax with the phrase “AZADI DIL KI.” So what is the true freedom that humans are looking for?
What Jawaharlal Nehru said on the first Independence Day Celebration is true: “Freedom is not a mere matter of political decisions or new constitutions, not even matter of what is more important; something like economic policy. It is of the mind and the heart and if the mind narrows itself and is befogged and heart is full of bitterness and hatred, then freedom is absent” (15.08.1948, Thoughts of Jawaharlal Nehru). We Indians boast of Panchsheel and yet we are not at peace with our neighboring countries. We speak highly of unity amidst rich diversity of cultures and languages but our newspapers reveal that everyday there are fights that divide this land into pieces.
While at the national level we are still not free in that sense, our individual situations are even worse. What Jean Jacques Rousseau, the famous political philosopher, said is true: “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” On the surface we have everything to enjoy but we have nothing to satisfy us within. We have created every possible way to make our life comfortable but nothing to make it content. We put up a plastic smile to save our dignity, which according to our conscience is already lost, and we are all in pain. We have created drugs to alter our minds, scientific devices that manipulate our emotions and behavior. At every state, we are trying our best to get relief from this despair and we all cry for inner freedom – Azadi dil ki.
Josh MacDowell, a student councilor, rightly said that true freedom is not doing what you want to do but not doing what you do not want to do. He adds that it is doing what you ought to do. Thus the main reason for feeling chained inside is a guilty conscience, which is the result of losing our natural freedom. The guilty conscience leads to isolation and loneliness, which according to psychiatrists and social scientists is the number one problem in today’s society. The increase in the number of suicides demonstrates this loneliness and the recent count is that 50,000 suicides occur per year in South India, which is regarded as the world suicide capital (From the website http://www.rediff.com/news/2004/apr/15spec.htm). All these people before death must have cried something like “Azadi Dil ki.” They probably experienced the sense of hellishness expressed by Arjuna to Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, “People perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and fall down into hell. (“aneka-citta-vibhranta moha-jala-samavrtah prasaktah kama-bhogesu patanti narake ’sucau” – BG 16:16)
When humans go through loneliness what they need is not religion but relationship and for those who are feeling guilty they need a Savior. Part of the Gayathri Manthram is the famous prayer for forgiveness and redemption, which says, “O the Supreme, I am full of sorrow, my action is full of sins, my soul so destitute, and my birth is also so poor. Save me from all this sorrow, purify my body and mind. (Om papo ham papakarmaham papatma papasambhavah, trahi mam pundarikaksa sabahyabhyantara sucih.) Only forgiveness of sins will redeem us from this destitution Blaise Pascal, seventeenth century French scientist, rightly said that what man needs today is a savior rather than science and he further reiterates that there is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator.
About 2000 years ago, Jesus claimed to be that Savior. The very meaning of the word Jesus is “Savior of Sinners”. He said that he has come to set prisoners free for whom He paid the penalty by dying on the cross. He was born to a virgin and thus sinless by birth. None could find sin in Him and therefore He was the perfect sacrifice to redeem sinners. He took our sin, paid our penalty and all those who accept Him as their savior would be set free from within – Azadi Dil ki.
That is why Jesus stated very confidently, You shall know the truth (Jesus is the truth), and truth will shall set you free. (John 8:32).
Hello, friend. As we celebrate our nation’s political freedom let us also celebrate the opportunity for moral freedom which Christ offers. Let us have “Azadi dil ki” in and through Jesus Christ.