TRAPPED IN THE WEB OF LIFE?
No one has freedom! We are all caught in the web. This web has no ropes, is invisible, yet it binds powerfully. This web is ubiquitous. It snares has whole world. Actually, most people are happy to be caught in this web, but there are others who would like to extricate themselves from this powerful web.
You may ask, “What is this web?” Think about your life for a moment. You’ll quickly note that you are bound by desires and longings, by passions of anger, hate, jealousy and so forth. You are bound by attachment to fame, family, religion, work, belief systems, habits and personality traits, desires of innumerable types, and various obligations that need your attention. These are only a few of the invisible ropes that bind you in this web. Without mindfulness and introspection, a person is not consciously aware of the web in which he is entangled. Not being fully aware, he does not even know that he’s caught in a web and therefore ought to seek freedom.
But you contend that this is life, and there’s no need to seek freedom. We need to understand what freedom means in this context. It does not mean freedom that you are free to ignore your life’s responsibilities and be a vagabond. Nor does it mean you live in isolation, shunning contact with other people. It also does not mean not to have love in your heart for others. This freedom is one of detachment, one of freedom from the effects of Karmas, one of being fully engaged with your own consciousness as it relates to universal consciousness. This freedom means that you recognize that you are spirit or soul, connected with the universal spirit we call God. Be aware that God is “absolute freedom,” and the spirit that we are partakes of that freedom. God is Spirit, and we as spirit cannot be separated. God’s omnipresence ensures that He is with us, and in us as the life force and consciousness animating all of us.
At this point I would like to quote two of Kabir Saheb’s sakhis that have relevance in this essay:
“When I was born everyone was happy while I cried.
Let me live such a life that I approach death happily, while others cry.”
“People are dying all the time, but they do not know the secret of dying.
Kabir says, “Die in such a way that you do not have to die again.”
You may say this is a horrible topic, talking about death. We all have to die so it is not a horrible topic at all! Why else are we talking of Freedom? And all religions are talking of Freedom, Salvation, Nirvana, Moksha, Satori and other terms. Some religions teach of going to Heaven or to Paradise. Can we really go to these “places” if we are trapped in a web? Let’s expand on these two sakhis:
These two popular sakhis of Kabir Saheb are teaching about karma. In the first one he is pointing out what all of us know. But he wants to teach us that we must have freedom before death. This means that all of our karmas are abolished. We have purified our thoughts, words and actions so that there are no karmic effects remaining. It is the state of
moksha. Kabir Saheb taught that moksha must be obtained while living, while we have our faculties with us. If we had not obtained moksha while living, then we will not obtain it after death. We would have to be reborn in order to work out our karmas. Only then can we die in freedom. So we depart “laughing” while others cry at our death.
In the second sakhi Kabir Saheb teaches us that people are dying all the time but they do not “know” the secret of dying. We ought to die in such a way that we do not have to die again. This also means to obtain moksha, so we do not have to be born again and die again.
Inevitably, we have to work out our past karmas. Kabir Saheb explained what we have to do in the Brahm Nirupan (my publication), such as Dhyan Yoga (Yoga of Meditation), attributes to cultivate, remembrance of the Name, and actions that are forbidden, among others. By practicing these, and following the guru’s instructions, we will work out our karmas and obtain moksha. Our awagavan (cycles of birth and death) will come to an end, and we will enjoy bliss, a state “that passeth all understanding” and also described as Sat Chit Ananda (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss.)
While observing the above, we need to keep in mind that we are doing everything in God’s name for our welfare and that of our family and society, and to do everything with humility, love and cheerfulness.
May Kabir Saheb’s blessing be with everyone!
Dr. Jagessar Das