Life is bondage. This is what is said in the scriptures of all religions. We ourselves feel so in our day-to-day life. Every relationship is bondage and it becomes a cause of our sorrow at one point or the other. We expect happiness out of a relationship and the outcome turns out to be just the opposite. At that time we feel shocked and make our life more unhappy. We start blaming others and tend to become pessimistic. Our trust on others suffers a set-back and we become unsure of ourselves. What to do then? Should we sever all the relationship? In that case the remedy will be worse than the malady. This will amount to escapism. Anyway, all relationships get severed at one point or the other. Then why should we take the responsibility of severing them ourselves. It will make us feel guilty and the very purpose of doing so will be lost. What is the alternative? This is what we shall be discussing in the present write-up.
Everyone is born without bondage but as one grows, one creates bondages in various forms. To begin with, family relations like mother, father, brother, sister, etc., become the bondages. These relations develop a sense of obligation towards each other. Then relations in the form of friends come in life. As one gets married, new relationships come in one’s life and then come son and daughter relationships. As one grows in status, the social-relations also become important. One develops a sense of obligation towards society and the corresponding expectation of recognition, name and fame.
On careful examination we will find that all these relationships are bondages as long as they create a feeling of obligation towards one another. If the obligation is not fulfilled from any side, the result is unhappiness. And if these are fulfilled, we suffer the shocks of separation, temporary or permanent. We sometimes miss a very dear person so much that his or her dearness becomes a source of pain for us. This can be compared with the scene when two persons are linked to each other with a tight rope and the rope is suddenly cut. Both of them will experience a great jerk and may even fall on the ground, if taken unaware.
What is the solution of this problem? Should no bonds be developed from the beginning itself? Yes, it is the ideal solution but it is not possible for ordinary mortals. As long as a common man lives in this world, he develops various bondages. In a way these bondages act as a moving force for him and all the physical progress seen by us is the result of such bondages. One develops a bondage for money, another for fame and yet another for social service. They all render useful services to the society and to that extent their bondages are to be appreciated. Here we are talking of a situation when bondage becomes a cause of misery. At this stage we have to apply discretion. We should be able to judge as to when a particular bondage has ceased to remain useful or a motivating force. We must also remember the fact that all the bondages will sever one day or the other. So why not to prepare ourselves for the same? The best way of doing so is to loosen the strings of our bondages. In that case we shall not get a jerk when they get severed. With loose strings we have the freedom of movement and also the necessary restrain so as not to go astray. Such restrains are necessary for the common man. However, a realised soul need not have any strings at all.
This approach should be adopted in all kinds of bondage. This is the only way of insuring ourselves against the shocks received due to the sudden breaking of various relationships. There may still occur unexpected incidents where we may fail to exercise our discretion. These are to be treated as ‘accidents’ and we should accept them as such