Meaning and Concept of Sveccha Or Freedom

Vedas, Sruti

by Jayaram V

Summary: Find out what sveccha or freedom truly means in Hinduism from a spiritual perspective and how to attain true freedom or eternal and absolute freedom.

Let us contemplate upon freedom in these difficult times.

Sva means self. Iccha means wish, desire or will. Sveccha means having the freedom to live freely and do whatever you want. It is the freedom to exercise your will, or live according to will or desire, without having to worry about consequences. As you know, we do not have that kind of freedom. The freedom which we enjoy in the world is limited.

It is limited by many external and internal factors. It is limited by our knowledge, intelligence, ability, skill, power, strength, others, the world, nature, and so on. Even those who are the most powerful upon earth, do not have true freedom, although they may enjoy greater freedom than the rest of the people. Therefore, for almost everyone, even to the most powerful people, real freedom remains a distant dream.

Life teaches us many lessons. One of them which we learn early in our lives is that we do not have much freedom to do what we want. Our freedom or sveccha does not truly arise from power, status, name and fame, wealth, relationships or control over others or circumstances. They may ensure us certain freedoms or advantages, but do not free us from obligations, duties and responsibilities or engage in actions without consequences.

True freedom arises from within, when you are free from attachments, desires and dependence and when you are undisturbed by what happens to you or does not happen or what you have or do not have. If you want to be truly free, you must be free from the world and its influence, including your mind and body which are external to you and which truly belong to the world, not to you.

The one who is truly free remains equal in all situations and circumstances, free from attraction and aversion and dualities such as heat and cold or joy and sorrow. He is a liberated soul (jivanmukta), unrestrained by Nature or its influence. He is free not only from his mind and body but also from life itself. The decision to continue in the body or leave it solely rests with him. This is an important lesson we learn from our spiritual texts and the teachings of our spiritual masters and enlightened yogis.

True freedom is freedom from everything, which life imposes upon you and suppresses your infinite capacity to be, to do and to know. It does not arise as long as you depend upon your mind and body or the world for your survival and existence. It arises from within, when you are established without duality or distinction in your divine nature or Isvara or your true self. You are free when you are free from the fear of death, fear of want or fear of any limitation, threat or vulnerability.

Sveccha or freedom is the highest state of yoga in the universe. It is the essential state of Brahman, and the highest goal in creation. Just as creation, it arises from the union of Shiva and Shakti. Sva represents the self or Shiva, and Iccha represents Shakti as the indomitable force of God’s will or your will in its purest state. From their union (sveccha shakti) reality manifests as the will of God.

In their purest state, Shiva and Shakti represent absolute freedom, which is eternal, indestructible, unconquerable, inexhaustible, infinite and self-existent. It pervades the whole existence as the power that supports all, and manifests in numerous forms, with its power and potency limited by the play of maya in different bodies, worlds and planes of consciousness.

Freedom exists in all of us as our essential nature and the highest possible state. It is limited by our thoughts and beliefs and our impurities. Whether we believe in an eternal self or not-self, whether we are materialists or spiritualists, ultimately, we seek unrestrained freedom to live and enjoy our lives according to our wish and will. We aim to attain nirvana or moksha through material or spiritual means and escape from the limitations of the mortal life, especially from the bondage and suffering to which we are subject. With the freedom to pursue our dreams and desires or ideals and goals, we want to actualize the best of our thoughts and desires.

However, we know that freedom which we gain through material means is limited because however you may try, the triple powers namely the power to will, to know and act remain limited in the domain of Nature. To be truly free, you have to free them from the limitations of your mind and body, which is possible only through spiritual effort and liberation. When you reach that goal, you will be free from the five constraints which life imposes upon you namely, the constraints of time (kāla), space (niyati), knowledge (vidya), passion (raga) and skill (kala).

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