..on which there have been centuries of debate. And it is to give a kind of conclusiveness in advance that this Upanishad has been composed. This debate has to be concluded in a perfect manner.
This Upanishad has been called the Upanishad of synthesis. It speaks of opposites––renounce and yet enjoy. The two opposites are reconciled in the very first verse. In the second verse, there is the opposition between bondage and freedom. Normally if you are bound, you are not free; if you are not free, you are not bound. This verse tells you that there is a secret by which even if you get yourself bound, you remain free. Even if you are free, you can be bound. These two opposites are reconciled.
Now let us see the idea of freedom. You have heard very often the debate: is man free? This is a very important question which is asked in all human civilisations. Is man free? or is men asleep? There is one view according to which man is a slave, man is a continuous bonded labourer. There is a feeling that we are free, but that freedom is illusory. Man is really not free. This is one view, which is very important.
Now let us consider this idea in some fullness: the idea that man is bound. What is the meaning of bondage? You are in a state of bondage when you are compelled, when there is a compulsion on you. You must do this and you cannot escape it. This state is a state of bondage, compulsion. Now the argument is first of all that you cannot choose the place where you are born. You are born somewhere pell–mell. You are compelled you don't choose where you will be born. This is the first bondage. So even if you say I'm free, you are laughed at. In what sense are you free? The very fact that you are born, you are compelled to be born. You did not choose to be born or not to be born. So there is the first compulsion. You can't be free from your having taken birth, you are born.
You are not free to assume any kind of body. The body is given to you with all his defects with all its brilliances. You have not created your body. It is given to you. So it is imposed upon you. You are compelled to have that body.
Now according to the virtues and deficiencies of your body, you begin to grow. Your growth is already determined from the beginning because of the composition that is given to you right from the beginning. But you say that no no no, but I can modify this little thing. I modify this little thing. I can do that thing. I think do that.
Fine. The answer is that you can do that because even that potentialities in that very body. You cannot run out of the potentiality which is there in you. Therefore you're bound by the potentiality and that potentiality you have not created yourself. It is given to you, you are compelled to have it.
Therefore once you develop on this line, then you ask yourself: what about my mind? My body, of course, I am compelled to be in the body, I am compelled to have the kind of body that is given to me, fine, I am compelled but, and this is the second argument, but my mind, my mind is free. I can think this way I can think that way. I can say oh, I don't want to think, I'll just go to sleep. I can do that. I'm free.
The answer is that your mind is very much enmeshed in your body. Just imagine that you are sick, you have got a lot of fever, what kind of thinking can you have, possessing the state of your sickness?
*Comment: You suffer.*
You suffer. You can't come out of it. Mentally you suffer. Where are.. where is your freedom? You have bound to suffer. Similarly, even when you say that, well, I can go to sleep whenever I have to, the answer is that you want to sleep because you are compelled to sleep. There is something in you, in your body, which is idle. It is that idleness with impels you to sleep. It's not that you are free. Your body is self is of such a nature it impels you through idleness to go to sleep. And you think that you are free to go to sleep. No. Therefore it is argued that your idea that we are free is completely wrong.
Then a greater argument is that you are found to be in a certain circumstance. Can anybody be out of the circumstance? This is a very central question. If you are free, come out of your circumstance? What is your circumstance? I am in my family. All right, I can run away from my family. Good, then what happens: you go to another circumstance. You can run away from that circumstance. You come to another circumstance. Can you come out of circumstance itself? Wherever you go, some circumstance surrounds you and you are bound by the circumstance and not only that, you are bound to react to that circumstance. It's also an important point.
You are compelled to react to your circumstance. You can't decide and we free and say that in spite of my circumstance, I will do this or that. You are obliged to interact and react to your circumstance. Once again you are bound.