THREE DIMENSIONS OF FREEDOM
Freedom is a three-dimensional phenomenon. The first is the physical dimension. You can be
enslaved physically, and for thousands of years man has been sold in the marketplace just like any other commodity. Slaves have existed all over the world. They were not given human rights; they were not really accepted as human beings, they were thought of as subhuman. And people are still being treated as subhuman. In India there are sudras, the untouchables. Much of India is still living in slavery;' there are still parts of the country where these people cannot be educated, cannot move into other professions than those decided by tradition five thousand years ago.
Even to touch them is thought to make you impure; you have to take a bath immediately. Even if you don't touch the person, but only his shadow--then too you have to take a bath.
And all over the world, the woman's body is not considered equal to the man's body. She is
not as free as man is. In China for centuries the husband had the right to kill his wife without
being punished because the wife was his possession. Just as you can destroy your chair or you can burn your house-because it is your chair, it is your house-it was your wife. In Chinese law there was no punishment for the husband if he killed his wife, because she was thought to be soulless. She was just a reproductive mechanism, a factory to produce children.
So there is physical slavery and there is physical freedom-that your body is not enchained,
that it is not categorized as lower than anybody else's, that there is an equality as far as the
body is concerned. But even today this freedom does not exist everywhere. It is becoming less and less so but it has not disappeared completely. Freedom of the body will mean that there is no distinction between black and white, that there is no distinction between man and woman, that there is no distinction of any kind as far as bodies are concerned. Nobody is pure, nobody is impure; all bodies are the same. This is the very basis of freedom.
Then there is the second dimension: psychological freedom. There are very few individuals in the world who are psychologically free . . . because if you are a Mohammedan you are not
psychologically free; if you are a Hindu you are not psychologically free. Our whole way of
bringing up children is to make them slaves, slaves of political ideologies, social ideologies,
religious ideologies. We don't give them a chance to think on their own, to search on their own. We force their minds into a certain mold. We stuff their minds with things-things that even we are not experienced in. Parents teach children that there is a God-and they know nothing of God. They tell their children that there is heaven and there is hell-and they know nothing of heaven and hell.
You are teaching your children things that you don't know yourself. You are just conditioning
their minds because your minds were conditioned by your parents. This way the disease goes on from one generation to another generation.
Psychological freedom will be possible when children are allowed to grow, helped to grow to
more intellect, more intelligence, more consciousness, more alertness. No belief will be given to them. They will not be taught any kind of faith, but they will be given as much incentive as
possible to search for truth. And they will be reminded from the very beginning: "Your own truth, your own finding, is going to liberate you; nothing else can do that for you."
Truth cannot be borrowed. It cannot be studied in books. Nobody can inform you about it. You have to sharpen your intelligence yourself, so that you can look into existence and find it. If a child is left open, receptive, alert, and given the incentive for search, we will have psychological freedom. And with psychological freedom comes tremendous responsibility. You don't have to teach it to him; it comes like the shadow of psychological freedom. And he will be grateful to you. Otherwise every child is angry at his parents because they have ruined him: they destroyed his freedom, they conditioned his mind. Even before he asked any questions, they filled his mind with answers that are all bogus-because they are not based on his own experience. The whole world lives in psychological slavery.
And the third dimension is the ultimate of freedom--which is knowing that you are not the body,knowing that you are not the mind, knowing that you are only pure consciousness. That
knowledge comes through meditation. It separates you from the body, it separates you from the mind, and ultimately only you are there as pure consciousness, as pure awareness. That is
spiritual freedom. These are the three basic dimensions of freedom for the individual.
The collective has no soul, the collective has no mind. The collective has no body even; it is only a name. It is just a word. For the collective, there is no need for freedom. When all the
individuals are free, the collective will be free. But we are very impressed by words, so much so that we forget that words don't have any substance. The collective, the society, the community, the religion, the church--they are all words. There is nothing real behind them.
I am reminded of a small story. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice is coming to the palace of the
queen. When she arrives the queen asks her, "Did you meet a messenger on the way coming
And the little girl says, "Nobody. I met nobody."
And the queen thought "nobody" was somebody, so she asks,
"But then why has Nobody not reached here yet?"
The little girl said, "Madam, nobody is nobody!"
And the queen said, "Don't be stupid! I understand: Nobody must be Nobody, but he should
have arrived before you. It seems Nobody walks slower than you do."
And Alice said, "That is absolutely wrong! Nobody walks faster than me!"
In this way the dialogue continues. Through the whole dialogue, "nobody" becomes
somebody, and it is impossible for Alice to convince the queen that "nobody" is nobody.
The collective, the society-all these are just words. That which really exists is the individual;
otherwise there will be a problem. What is the freedom of a Rotary Club? What is the freedom of the Lions Club? These are just names.
The collective is a very dangerous idea. In the name of the collective the individual, the real, has always been sacrificed. I am absolutely against it. Nations have been sacrificing individuals in the name of the nation--and "nation" is just a word. The lines that you have drawn on the map are not anywhere on the earth. They are just your game. But fighting over those lines that you have drawn on the map, millions of people have died-real people dying for unreal lines. And you make them heroes, national heroes!
This idea of the collective has to be destroyed completely; otherwise in some way or other
we will continue sacrificing the individual. We have sacrificed the individual even in the name of religion, in religious wars. Mohammedan dying in a religious war knows that his paradise is certain. He has been told by the cleric, If you are dying for Islam then your paradise is absolutely certain, with all the pleasures you have ever imagined or dreamt of. And the person you have killed will also reach paradise because he has been Ned by a Mohammedan. It is a privilege for him, so you need not feel guilty that you have lulled a man." Christians have crusades-a jihad, a religious war-and kill thousands of people, burn living human beings. For what? For some collectivity-for Christianity, for Buddhism, for Hinduism, for communism, for fascism, anything will do. Any word representing some collectivity, and the individual can be sacrificed.
There is no reason for the collectivity even to exist: individuals are enough. And if individuals have freedom, are psychologically free, are spiritually free, then naturally the collective will be spiritually free.
The collective consists of individuals, not vice versa. It has been said that the individual is only a part of the collective; that is not true. The individual is not just a part of the collective; the collective is only a symbolic word for individuals meeting together. They are not parts of
anything; they remain independent. They remain organically independent, they don't become
parts of a collective.
If we really want ,a world of freedom, then we have to understand that in the name of the
collectivity so many massacres have happened that now it is time to stop. All collective names should lose the grandeur that they have had in the past. Individuals should be the highest value.
The freedom from something is not true freedom. The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not ,the freedom I am talking about. My vision of freedom is to be yourself.
It is not a question of getting freedom from something. That freedom will not be freedom, because it is still given to you; there is a cause to it. The thing that you were feeling dependent on is still there in your freedom. You are obliged to it. Without it you would not have been free.
The freedom to do anything you want is not freedom either, because wanting, desiring to "do"something, arises out of the mind--and mind is your bondage. The true freedom comes out of choiceless awareness, but when there is choiceless awareness the freedom is neither dependent on things nor dependent on doing something. The freedom that follows choiceless awareness is the freedom just to be yourself. And you are yourself already, you are born with it; hence it is not dependent on anything else.
Nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it from you. A sword can cut your head but it
cannot cut your freedom, your being. It is another way of saying that you are centered, rooted
in your natural, existential self. It has nothing to do with outside.
Freedom from things is dependent on the outside. Freedom to do something is also dependent
on the outside. Freedom to be ultimately pure has not to be dependent on anything outside you.
You are born as freedom. It: is just that you have been conditioned to forget it. Layers upon
layers of conditionings have made you a puppet. The strings are in somebody else's hands. If you are a Christian, you are a puppet. Your strings are in the hand of a God that does not exist, so just to give you the sense that God exists there are prophets, messiahs, representing God. They represent nobody, they are just egoistic people -- and even the ego wants to reduce you to a puppet !
They tell you what to do, they give? they give you Ten Commandments.
They give you your personality-that you are a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, a Mohammedan. They give you your so-called knowledge. And naturally, under the great burden that they start giving you from the very beginning of your childhood-the Himalayan load you are carrying-underneath it, hidden, repressed, is your natural self. If you can get rid of all conditionings, if you can think that you are neither a communist nor a fascist, that you are neither a Christian nor a Mohammedan . . .
You were not born a Christian or Mohammedan; you were born just pure, innocent
consciousness. To be again in that purity, in that innocence, in that consciousness, is what I
mean by freedom.
Freedom is the ultimate experience of life. There is nothing higher than that. And out of freedom many flowers blossom in you. Love is the flowering of your freedom. Compassion, another flowering of your freedom. All that is valuable in life flowers in the innocent, natural state of your being.
So don't connect freedom with independence. Independence is naturally from something,
from somebody. Don't connect freedom with doing things that you want to do, because that is
your mind, not you. Wanting to do something, desiring to do something, you are in the bondage of your wanting and your desiring. With the freedom I am talking about, you simply are--in utter silence, serenity, beauty, bliss.by Osho (“Freedom - The Courage to Be Yourself”)