No matter what we say in public prayers and even what we say to ourselves in private, the embodied living entity is forced to desire sense gratification and, realizing futility of those endeavors, it cherishes hopes for liberation.
As devotees we’ve been taught not to value mukti very highly, if at all, but at this stage liberation is just a word, we have no idea what is it that we swear having no attraction to.
If we look at our lives honestly, however, we’d notice that we wish for mukti just as often as we wish for bhukti, we are just aren’t always aware of it.
We don’t think twice about taking medicine, for example, or withdrawing our hand from hot objects like pans and pots. If we talk business or marriage we naturally assume that it has to be set as profitable or happy. If something goes wrong we don’t think twice about fixing things, it would be weird not to.
These assumptions, however, are based entirely on the desire for liberation, which for us means liberation from suffering.
That’s how we see it in the future, too – that, as we progress towards liberation, we will experience steady cessation of suffering until it goes away completely. Alternatively, we think that being liberated means having freedom to do whatever we want without any painful consequences.
We have Bhagavad Gita to back it up, after all. Actions performed in Krishna consciousness do not bear fruits, and also Krishna promised to take care of all our sinful reactions, ma suchaha.
Thinking this through, however, would lead us to absurd conclusions that our bodies will stop aching and our hands will not burn when holding hot objects. That is obviously not going to happen. What will?
If, while doing a pujari service, your arm gets tired of waving a massive ghee lamp – what do you do?
Do you clench your jaws and continue through pain? Do you pray for Krishna to give you strength because His service is not supposed to be this painful? Do you hit the gym and start lifting weights to be ready next time?
None of those actions befit a liberated person and it that what worries you than you are obviously not there yet.
Liberation does not stop suffering. It stops associating oneself with it.
If your marriage is falling apart and you can’t stand the voice of your beloved wife – what would a liberated person feel? Exactly the same things, but he wouldn’t take them personally. These same reactions would manifest themselves in his mind, expect he wouldn’t see it as his mind anymore.
I guess we can imagine how it would work if we reflect upon less deep examples. We get liberated from various sufferings all the time, just not so close to “home”. Thanks to the interconnected world it’s very easy to put yourself in a middle of some injustice of universal proportions, like famine in Sudan or NASDAC outage in New York. We have twitter to bring all those gruesome events to the forefront of our consciousness.
Then, two days later, we forget all about it and though we know we could elicit the same emotions again if we start reading up on the news, we also know that if we just ignore it we would save ourselves a lot of aggravation. There it is – we’ve become liberated.
Divorce and moving on is a similar experience – we know that if we return to our exes we can easily relive all our suffering, it’s still there, but now we’ve managed to set ourselves free and don’t care anymore.
There are a lot of situations where we either consciously choose not put ourselves in to avoid emotional upheavals, or we choose to forget and purge from memory. That is liberation of sorts, and maybe that’s why we have a phrase “liberating experience”.
Most of these things are far removed from our core bondage to our bodies but the principle is the same. Liberation also comes in stages, from giving up identification with larger societies, then families, then gross bodies, then mind and intelligence and so on.
I, for example, can’t find any resonance with patriotism speeches on TV – my false ego does not spread that far anymore, it doesn’t cover the entire country. If I sat and listened to those speeches carefully and thought about the prosperity of my country and the debts I owe it, it might start worrying me again. Actually, it would sure start worrying me again, but atm I choose not to let myself to be bound by such designations and I am glad they are not forced on me against my will.
So I hope that one day I would similarly withdraw myself from my gross bodily and mental platforms as well. It won’t stop my mind from working and my body from digesting food but I wouldn’t take it personally anymore and would turn into a simple observer, just as I do with country’s politics right now.
I hope I would be dispassionate about it – if my mind does this, it would lead to pleasure, if it does that, it would lead to pain, if it does the other thing it would bring good results in the future, and yet another course of actions would save me from highly probably accidents, but I don’t care, let it choose whatever it wants.
More importantly, I hope I wouldn’t equally care whether my mind screams in pain or dies of embarrassment. That would be really liberating.