Isha Upanishad - Super school - Auroville - Isha Upanishad 506

But without the power of choosing, you can't be free. I may have any number of options before me but my hands are tied, my feet are tied, my purse is tied, − isn't it. So merely presentation of options is not enough, I should have the power to opt. Now even if I have the power then what do you do? There is still a third condition to be fulfilled. If I still choose one, and if somebody asked me the question, ‘why you chose this one instead of so many others, which were present?’. And if I say, ‘it was because it was the right choice’. If you say, ‘I chose because it was the right choice.’ If you say this it means that you're not free because the rightness of that attracted you and compelled you to choose it. As long as you say that this was right as against that one, you are still not free. Unless you can say that I had several options, each one of which was right and yet I chose this one. Then you can say, still that you disregarded others, which were not right and you chose any one of these. So at least you had two sets and you chose one from one set not of the other set, you're not yet free because you had a reason to chose because you chose right, as against another set in which everything was not right. So still you are not free.

Where then does that freedom lie? So now I come to the last point.

Question: When you renounce?

Answer: If you renounce, you are not capable of choice therefore you're not free. You should be capable of choice, that's also condition of freedom. And you renounce only because you cannot make a choice here because you are perplexed to choose this or that, so even that is not freedom.

So freedom is possible only on one condition. You have before you, any number of choices, or options, all choices, all possible choices that is the first condition. Secondly, you should be capable of choosing any one of them. Thirdly, only if all the choices are equally good, if one choice is better than the other then you are bound. Only if all the choices that are present are equally good, equally good, not better. If all choices are equally good and now there is no compulsion to have this or that, as you rightly said that you just take anything, only you do it thoughtlessly but here thoughtfully. And you know you can take this, or that, or that. But for what reason, for no other reason then I want to take it, not for any reason, simply because that is the exercise of my freedom, Freedom in itself. It is only in that condition that you can say that you are free.

Now according to this Upanishad such a freedom exists and that's the important doctrine, important secret, − such a freedom exists. There is a will, which is capable of confronting any possible options. There is a will, which can choose and choose freely because all options are equally good that will is called the real Free Will. And Upanishad says that such a Free Will exists. Upanishad says that basically each one of us is in this world as it is, because we have freely chosen to be here. Even before you came here on this earth, ‘you’, this is what I'm saying that it's ‘you’. According to Upanishad which knows you thoroughly well because it is the book of Knowledge, it has made a good study of each one of us. What is the individual, what is you? It knows our past, present and future that is why it is called a book of Knowledge. It's a book of science, it is not merely conjecture, or belief, or faith, or dogma, − not at all. This Upanishad speaks with a full knowledge of what you are and says that you are here in this world because you have chosen freely to be here. You had a possibility of not being here and not being here, and being here, were equally good. It is not that to be here was better than that, ‘no’. To be here, or not to be here, were equally good. And yet you chose.