The idea of freedom resonates with the idea of release — to be free. It has been 70 years since India became independent. The shackles of the British Raj fell. We have achieved release in one very important sense. However, have we experienced release internally? We are tangled by several pressures. The pressure at work to prove yourself. The pressure to live up to your neighbour’s standards. Somehow ‘comfort zone’ has become a bad thing. In other words, we are all seeking happiness by running away from it the moment we find it. Dissatisfaction, the enemy of contentment, thrusts us further into this quagmire. This bondage that we experience excuses us of all our real responsibilities and somehow justifies a life lived purely for ourselves. In the midst of all this pressure, we have forgotten our dharma. We have forgotten our responsibility to family, society and in turn to ourselves. When everyone begins to forget their duty to one another, we end up living in a fractured world. Submersed in a world that is fractured, we do not know any better. Nevertheless, we realise something is amiss and we seek freedom .There is an unseen pull towards release from this selfish monotony. Now, instead of looking for release at the end of our life’s journey, it is possible to experience it within the monotonous struggles of daily life. Jesus offers us a solution he says we can experience in the here and now. We can experience death and rebirth every day. This experience of death and rebirth in the here and now purifies us and eventually releases us into eternity.
He says, ‘until a seed falls into the ground and dies it will never live again.’ Jesus invites us into him to experience death, rebirth and release within our lifetime. We can enjoy rest in the present moment. And living every moment restfully is to live eternally. The logic that Jesus is propounding is practical. His invitation should not strike us as strange, we see it happening all the time in the plant world. He is now asking us to experience what Mother Nature knows all too well. Like a plant we have to die in order that we might live again. If we refuse to die, we will remain dead. If we accept this death, we will live again. If the seed is the ‘I’, the soil into which it is buried is God — the ultimate reality. When the self is buried in the divine; divinity surrounds it, nurtures it and nourishes it. What sprouts out is a renewed life with new motivations, new possibilities and a spark of divinity reignited in us. The first attempt of this process might be the hardest but consecutive procedures will be motivated by the positive love that we experienced with the divine. This experience sets us free. We will experience mukti internally and to offer this to others becomes our dharma. This experience of freedom makes us: Responsible citizens of this world; love our neighbour and enemy as ourselves, renders every moment as joy despite unhappy circumstances; brings the Divine closer than we expected — into us.
Dr. Daniel (Bobby) Thejus’ article was originally published under ‘Speaking Tree’ in Times of India on August 13, 2017