A true freedom means presentation of alternatives which are equally best, all are equally good, equally best and a possibility of a will which can choose all or many or some or any of them. Why not, because on is better than the other but because each one is equally best. Why you choose one rather than the other because you are free. There is no compulsion that you have to choose this rather than the other. That experience is the experience of the true freedom and that is attained when the supermind is attained that is where true individuality is experienced. Till that time all our sense of individuality is somewhat tainted by egoism in some measure or the other therefore, ego is never free. Basically, all egoistic actions are compelled actions. Even though you may feel that I am free you are not really free because egoism is only a small machine in the totality of things and your decisions will depend upon the totality. It is totality which determines your will that’s why Sri Aurobindo says, − that our notion of free–will is apt to be tainted by the idea that you are independent of all the rest and that you are acting absolutely determined by your self as you choose without any compulsion whatsoever. But which is you feel as if, you are doing it like the drunkard who says I want to drink freely, I am not compelled by anybody, without realizing that his choosing for drink itself is a compulsion. His habits have compelled to choose it, which he says I am free even, he uses the word freedom. He feels the sense of freedom but actually he is not free, he is compelled. So, he finds it impossible to curb himself. He is not free to choose the other when he says that I am free to drink, you tell him that if you are really free then choose the other one, not drinking which he cannot do. He is not capable of choosing the other one. So at lower level of consciousness, we only use the word freedom, but actually it is not free. Basically you may say that our human life is a state of compulsion of some kind or the other. The kind of freedom that we have is only because choices are presented to us and we happen to choose one. We may feel that we are free but actually we are compelled and yet something of that supreme freedom is present in us basically. Although this experience is explicitly at the supramental level, our true individuality comes from there. Therefore, wherever we are this freedom actually obtains, we are not aware of it but each one of us is really free. Even when the drunkard drinks under compulsion even at that stage actually speaking his psychology has some freedom which he can exercise. Its not as if he is fully compelled there is still in him something by which he can control it because of that freedom there is a possibility of coming out of that compulsion, − freedom to right choice which gives you the sense of freedom. This degree of freedom that we have increases, as you begin to make a right choice in which you begin to express the freedom.
We have the answer to the basic question that we often raise – Is man free? Is there really Free–Will in this world and the answer is, − ‘yes’. There is a very great thinker in the Ashram at Pondicherry, who was so much troubled at one stage in regard with the problem of free will that whenever he thought of free will, he found everywhere – compulsion. Whenever he analyzed anything he found there was compulsion. Even when he choose a good thing he felt that he was choosing the good thing because he had education of certain kind, circumstances were favorable, He was told, he was influenced by other people’s views, he had developed liking for it. It was that liking, he chose good because he could not choose another thing that also is a compulsion. The other side of the compulsion, I chose good because I was compelled to chose good. When he analyzed everything, he found that there was everywhere compulsion, which is called the theory of determinism, every thing is determined then he was so confused in his consciousness because there is experience of freedom also. But when you analyze everything there is compulsion and yet there is a sense of freedom sometime. So he went to the Mother and said: ‘Mother tell me, no argument, I simply want to know is there really freedom, does Free–Will exists? Just tell me yes or no. Mother said that ‘yes, it exists’. Then he thought over the whole problem and he wrote an article afterwards on Free–Will and he sent it to Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo himself said that it is a very good article on free will by K.D. Sethna, It’s a very good article on this subject, but there are three point in this whole subject that normally we live a life of compulsions, but while living the life of compulsions, it is a fact that before an individual − alternatives begin to appear. The very appearance of alternatives before us, gives rise to the sense of freedom. If no alternatives are present before us at all then the sense of freedom would not arise. Secondly even though we may be compelled to choose one against the other because we are choosing one against the other, some kind of sense of freedom is experienced. Thirdly at a given stage, I really experience freedom from the clutches of passions that gives me a further experience of freedom. Fourthly and this is the most important point in your ascent from your present level, you do find a condition in which on one side you are compelled in one direction, on the other side you are compelled on the other side, in that stage of consciousness if you choose one, you will experience the freedom of which I spoke earlier, − freedom from passion. But when you choose that you really find that there is no compulsion. It was a real choice, you were really free. When somebody says, ‘I am so much addicted to drinking, I am helpless, I can’t do without it, what can I do’. The true answer is that even then there is freedom in you, you just can take a decision; make a real choice, for you are capable of it.