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Those who are in bodage must use all their skill and energy first to free themselves. This is crucial for achieving every other thing; all the rest are subsidiary. But people now immersed in subsidiary pursuits forgetting the most basic. They must remind themselves every moment that they are Atma and not contraptions put together as bodies.
A king had as a pet a Rama parrot in his palace. It had a golden cage to live in. It had sweet fruits to feed upon. It had nectarine drinks to quench its thirst. Every day, it was richly fed, lovingly petted, fondled and spoken to by the queen herself. Bud did the Rama parrot enjoy its life? Not at all. It was always found to be sad. What was the reason? It was not mindful of the golden cage, nor of the sweet fruits and drinks; it had no pride in being nursed and nourished by the queen of the state. It paid no attention to any of these. It was yearning for the day when it could sit on the branch of a green tree in the silent forest. Its body was having an excellent time in the palace cage but its mind was in the thick of the forest from which it had been trapped and brought. It was born in the jungle and it lived on a tree. The parrot felt that it was better far to be free in its native habitat as an insignificant bird than to be in a cage, coddled and admired, feasted and flattered by kings and queens. If only man had this awareness, he would assuredly long for his home, which is Paramatma, and turn away from the objective world in which he is an alien.
For political or other reasons, some persons are arrested and treated
as detenus in order to preserve law and order in the country. They are
confined in big bungalows, given special treatment as befits their status
and provided with meals etc., commensurate with their grades in social
and political life. They are given also articles of luxury. But around
the bungalow and around the garden, policemen will be ever on guard. Whatever
the standard of his life and the regard showered on him, the person is
a prisoner, nevertheless. He is not a free man. So too, the person confined
in the world and life therein should not feel elated when he is able to
consume valuable variegated dishes and other rare luxuries. He should
not exult over the sensual comforts he can enjoy. He must not feel proud
of his friends and kinsmen. He must recognise and keep in mind the Truth
that he is in prison.