When India gained freedom from British Rule, the eyes of Mother India shone with dreams of liberty, equality and progress. All those who took part in this struggle which devoured innumerable lives and enormous wealth, made their sacrifices because they thought that India, after Independence, would regain peace and prosperity. Our forefathers had a beautiful vision of a united India which was free from poverty, communal hatred, slavery to foreign habits and goods, and had also the full liberty to build its own future, which was styled by Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Ram Rajya’.
But the scene in the country is no match to what was envisaged. Little by little we gave up our commitment to all that we vowed to live by. The ideals that the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, so strongly stood by — non-violence and prohibition of liquor — find no place in our country today. It is very unfortunate that today, except a couple of states, no state is enforcing liquor prohibition policy. In fact, some states have gone ahead and introduced bills to allow sale of liquor in ration shops and supermarkets. Similarly, non-violence is today mocked at as a dated concept and violence in the country has been increasing ever since. The most disgraceful picture is the state of India's womenfolk, who are unsafe not only in public spaces and workplaces, but even in their own houses.
The social evils that we see everywhere across the country — harassment of women, violence and vandalism, corruption, nepotism and lack of respect for human dignity — all find their genesis in weaknesses of lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego. And the victory over them can be attained only through spiritual cleansing which is simply a personal endeavour to gain freedom from the influence of five vices that deny an individual his most basic and essential freedom — the freedom to act according to his own conscience. While making the mind subservient to the dictates of the senses, the five vices take away the soul's oxygen of peace, happiness and self-esteem, thus sparking a chain of unrest, unrighteous actions, hurt and sorrow.
And so, to truly experience independence we have to first become rulers of our own selves. To free ourselves from the bondage of these vices, we must connect to the Supreme Source of Energy and use HIS energy to melt the chains of vices, which will enable us to act according to the will of our highest and true self.
The writer is a spiritual educator and popular columnist for publications across India, Nepal and the UK. He can be contacted at email@example.com / www.brahmakumaris.com
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