NAMAH Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Contact us
Publication Ethics
Other Publications

Namah Journal

Integral Health

Freedom — different denouements

Dr. Soumitra Basu

We all agree that freedom is the most cherished thing in life though paradoxically, we are all bound in some way or other, willingly or unwillingly to some object or circumstance, even to some value or ideal. In a way we are not even born free, the new born is not a tabula rasa, there are genetic endowments and temperamental characteristics which later will be joined by family traditions and cultural roots and will be worked upon by ecological variables and social factors.

Rationalists consider themselves to be free though they are free only from certain irrational beliefs that satisfy themselves (or rather their egos), but they are trapped by their own logic which can construct brilliant theses and equally brilliant antitheses. Moreover they are never free from their own desires and passions, their illnesses and maladaptive traits, as well as from cultural idiosyncrasies and unconscious conflicts.

Traditional spiritual practitioners in India believed freedom lay in liberation from the cycle of freedom and death, in the Transcendental Absolute or in the void of Nirvana. This was an overwhelming experience but had no solution for the fellow-brethren of the spiritual aspirants who were as if doomed to be in everlasting bondage.

Sri Aurobindo had to consider the plight of humanity as a whole and not merely that of selected aspirants as his yoga strives for transformation of life and not liberation from life. Transformation can bring freedom in different denouements; it would not be a mere freedom of liberation but a freedom of fulfilment.

The first freedom that is required is liberation from the ego and not from life. In Sri Aurobindo’s scheme of things, the ego supports the surface personality or outer being. Freedom from the ego liberates the inner being with enormous potentialities. Thus, the mind can be free from the restraints of reason without being irrational and be capable of supra-rational and creative faculties like intuition in a more comprehensive way. The life-energy which at the outer being is trapped by the body and mind becomes free to align with the cosmic energy and can facilitate the flow of universal healing energies for self-rejuvenation and self-healing.

The physical mind can become free of the usual trivial ruminations and repetitive, recurring thoughts that plague our minds and waste golden moments of life.

The individual will can align itself with the Divine Will, this will herald real freedom. “If we surrender our conscious will and allow it to be made one with the will of the Eternal, then and then only shall we attain to a true freedom; living in the divine liberty, we shall no longer cling to this shackled so-called free will, a puppet freedom ignorant, illusory, relative, bound to the error of its own inadequate vital motives and mental figures (1).”

However, the consolidation of the freedom at various planes of the inner being that span freedom from the ruminations of the physical mind to the alignment of the will with the Divine Will, from linking with universal energy to the supra-rational realms of cognition can only be consolidated if the ego is replaced by the Psychic Being which alone can support the inner being. The Psychic Being is the fourth-dimensional ego-surpassing principle that is the true centre of the being and is the real harbinger of the inner and creative freedom.

The Psychic Being in turn is a projection of the Unborn Self or Jīvātman above the manifestation. An identification with the Jivatman can “lift the yoke imposed by birth in time” and free one from “the soul’s long compound debt” of “numberless lives (2).”

Finally, the culmination of true freedom comes with what Sri Aurobindo envisages as the transformation of life. In that scheme, the transformation of the present human body is very significant as it has to support the efflorescence of unlimited potentialities.

“The bodily transformation will be the supreme spiritual rebirth — an utter casting away of all the ordinary past. For spiritual rebirth means the constant throwing away of our previous associations and circumstances and proceeding to live as if at each virgin moment we were starting life anew. It is to be free of what is called Karma, the stream of our past actions: in other words, a liberation from the bondage of Nature’s common activity of cause and effect (3).”


1. Sri Aurobindo. Birth Centenary Library, Volume 20. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1970, p. 90.

2. Sri Aurobindo. SABCL, Volume 28. 1970, pp. 12, 13.

3. The Mother. Collected Works of The Mother, Volume 3. Cent ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust: 1977, p. 176.

Share with us (Comments, contributions, opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH, and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.


Individual will


Spiritual rebirth