Can’t make my mind about that one.
On one hand we should abhor being free from the orders of guru and Krishna. We look at people with purely material aspirations and they strive for freedom above anything else. They want to be free to become whatever they want, they want to be different from anyone else, they don’t want to follow anybody else’s paths. They are clearly delusional as there’s no freedom in this world one way or another.
They can’t be free form the modes of material nature that will force them to suffer or enjoy their karma, and according to the influence of these gunas they will create new karma for the next life and beyond. When they say they are “free” they are just following wherever their karma is taking them, going with the flow. The only difference is that they like what they experience and don’t want to raise waves.
If the going gets tough they start flipping their hands and making all kinds of noise but it has no influence on their freedom whatsoever, they just experience the negative reactions of going with the same flow.
What they actually mean by freedom is the situation where their world lives according to their desires. They get warm when they want it, they get people to cheer them on and, basically, their dreams come true.
This is not just freedom – this is desire to control the world. It creates reactions. A working iPhone might give one a sense of freedom but it comes at the cost of hard labor by people who sometimes would rather kill themselves for the insurance pay off than continue working in their hellish conditions. As long as they don’t make much noise iPhone owners feel freedom – they forced other people to work for them and they tuned out their complains. Eventually it will come around, of course.
It’s not freedom, it’s just temporary ignorance of bliss.
On a larger scale the US and other “advanced” countries are indebted many times over and will never ever repay their debts. They just keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing and until they are forced to pay back spending all this money feels good, of course. They might feel they can escape their creditors forever but their real creditor is the law of karma and it always collects.
So, why would a devotee want similar freedom for himself? Wouldn’t it be delusional?
On the other hand we are born in this world with our contaminated consciousness and we purify it by engaging ourselves in service of guru and Krishna. We can’t simply stop desiring things, we need to purify our desires, put them to good work.
This is the advantage of human form of life – we actually CAN purify our desires by taking full responsibility for them and by dedicating them to the service of Krishna. It would be a waste of human life to sit and do nothing, our responsibility in these bodies is to do something, anything. Otherwise we’d be no better than trees and stones.
From this pov we must find something to do, our time here is rather short, if we don’t get to purify our desires now then god knows when we’ll get the next chance.
Sometimes we are happy to do whatever our guru tells us but most often we are on our own, we have “freedom”, and so it’s our responsibility to fully engage in pursuing whatever our dreams are while at the same time dedicating it all to Krishna.
It is much harder thing to do than just while our time away, chanting and reading books, and let our dormant desires to fester within our hearts until they remind us about themselves at the time of death.
Chanting and similar types of bhajan are for the pure, liberated souls with crystal clear hearts. If we are not on that level yet then we better roll up our sleeves and get to work – putting our hidden desires to good use in service of guru, Krishna, and vaishnavas.
It doesn’t mean we have to engage ourselves in ordinary karmic work, not at all, it means we should see active service to the mission of Lord Chaitanya as non-different from nirjana-bhajana. The only difference is the parts of bodies engaged in service – we get to use arms, legs, our charming faces, our sharp minds and everything else.
Even if we achieve the platform of absolute purity and become ready to chant twenty four hours a day we would still think that without active service the rest of our perfectly functioning bodies is going to waste, not being used for th pleasure of the Lord. In our sampradaya this is unacceptable. Not with examples of ghostha-anandies from Bhaktivinoda Thakura down to our current spiritual masters.
So, “freedom” is clearly a curse, it’s an illusion, but at the same time it’s our only chance at purifying our own desires, too.
This post is getting long and there’s still more to it, perhaps I’ll continue some other day.