Liberation. Freedom from the bonds that shackle us to this life of illusion—is that not a goal worth pursuing? But here again, you might want to be told, what exactly is this ‘freedom’ I am talking about. It seems suspicious if ‘freedom’ is tagged to ‘discipline’. Surely, freedom means doing as one pleases. Freedom is the absence of all cares and responsibility. Freedom is the opportunity to fulfil all of one’s desires. Surely, all this is incompatible with discipline and ‘spiritual practices’— whatever they may be.
Sadhana is the means to an end, and this ‘end’ or ‘goal’ may vary from person to person. The highest goal in Hindu thought is the goal of liberation—freedom from worldly bonds, freedom from ignorance and illusion, freedom from the eternal cycle of birth-death-rebirth. The purpose of this human birth is to free ourselves from this vicious cycle. We may imagine that freedom is doing as we please. We may labour under the illusion that freedom is the ability to fulfil all our desires and satisfy all our sensual cravings. Let us understand that all this is only going to shackle us deeper and deeper in bondage.
True freedom is the capacity to do what we ought to do, to follow the path of goodness, truth, and dharma, to be able to live with a pure heart, a clear conscience and an untainted mind. Freedom is breaking away from bad habits, addictions and wrong attitudes. Freedom is conquering the lower self. Freedom is the ability to rise to the highest level of consciousness and the purest level of thought that we, as human beings, are capable of. It is this level, this height of awareness that we reach when we follow Sri Krishna’s profoundly simple, yet powerful advice in the Gita: “Whatever you do, whatever you eat or pray, do it as an offering unto Me!”
Sadhana is as simple as this—let all our thoughts and words and deeds be an offering unto the Lord.