Indian Culture · Inner View · Mother India · Reminders to self · Satyam Shivam Sundaram · Spirituality beyond Religion · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Of Knots and Freedom

A special post for the special occasion of August 15, the birthday of Sri Aurobindo (15 August, 1872- 5 December, 1950) as well as the Indian Independence day.  A day meant to celebrate the spirit of freedom. The truer, inner freedom.

A post that hopes to remind us of the various knots we tie around and within ourselves. It is a reminder via some profound aphoristic words of Sri Aurobindo, and some iconic artworks from several world-renowned modern Indian painters. A reminder to seek our solutions to these knots, to walk toward freedom, in freedom.

A post that hopes to invite all open-minded seekers on a contemplative journey through words and images. A journey that is fluid, open-ended, maybe even meandering and seemingly endless, but a journey that may still give the traveler a glimpse of a goal. A journey that may hint at a shared pursuit with many co-travelers, yet with an immensely individualised path and destination for each.

Let us begin.

“The whole world yearns after freedom, yet each creature is in love with his chains; this is the first paradox and inextricable knot of our nature.”

Endless knot
Endless Knot, a motif commonly seen in Indian art to this day

“Man is in love with the bonds of birth; therefore he is caught in the companion bonds of death. In these chains he aspires after freedom of his being and mastery of his self-fulfilment.”

Yama and Savitri, by Nandlal Bose

“Man is in love with power; therefore he is subjected to weakness. For the world is a sea of waves of force that meet and continually fling themselves on each other; he who would ride on the crest of one wave, must faint under the shock of hundreds.”

Jamini Roy2
Jatayu, Sita and Ravana, by Jamini Roy

“Man is in love with pleasure; therefore he must undergo the yoke of grief and pain. For unmixed delight is only for the free and passionless soul; but that which pursues after pleasure in man is a suffering and straining energy.”

Arpana Caur
Harvest, by Arpana Caur

“Man hungers after calm, but he thirsts also for the experiences of a restless mind and a troubled heart. Enjoyment is to his mind a fever, calm an inertia and a monotony.”

Maiden in love - Asit Kumar Haldar
Maiden in Love, by Asit Kumar Haldar

“Man is in love with the limitations of his physical being, yet he would have also the freedom of his infinite mind and his immortal soul.”

Brahmcharis - Amrita Sher-gil
Brahmcharis, by Amrita Sher-Gil

“And in these contrasts something in him finds a curious attraction; they constitute for his mental being the artistry of life. It is not only the nectar but the poison also that attracts his taste and his curiosity.”

Abanindranth Tagore The_dance_of_Shiva
Dance of Shiva, by Abanindranath Tagore

“In all these things there is a meaning and for all these contradictions there is a release. Nature has a method in every madness of her combinings and for her most inextricable knots there is a solution.”

s h raza - duality
Duality, by S.H. Raza

~ Passage from Sri Aurobindo, Thoughts and Glimpses: The Chain, CWSA, Vol. 13, pp. 204-205.

To see last year’s August 15 special post, click HERE.

Linking with ABC Wednesday, F: F is for Freedom

22 thoughts on “Of Knots and Freedom

    1. I am quite sure that’s the one key question worth asking, perhaps the only question that matters – who or rather what I am! Thanks, Alok for visiting and adding this important point.

  1. The entanglements of life that twirl and twist our destinies, desires and directions, a well thought post on the dual occasion and an earnest attempt to warp the fabric of life!

  2. Freedom in the real sense of the word! Each aphorism is one to hold close and followed in word and spirit. Thanks for sharing, Beloo and reminding us of the bondages we are all caught in. Time to begin breaking free. And the endless knot is a motif in kolam, one of the simpler ones, that is. All the paintings are so well chosen too!

    1. Thank you, Zephyr, I am so happy you enjoyed the post. Of course I knew that you would recognise the endless knot motif from kolam 🙂 Isn’t this continuity of philosophical seeking amazing in our cultural traditions, expressed through various different forms? I am finding a lot of comfort these days in meditating on such smaller passages/aphorisms that speak of such deep, profound truths.

  3. Such thoughtful words and all have such deep meaning.
    I loved this one – “Man is in love with the limitations of his physical being, yet he would have also the freedom of his infinite mind and his immortal soul.”
    This one tells me how much we like being tied as well as yearn for freedom of the mind.

    1. Thanks Parul for reading and appreciating this post. I believe it is this contradiction that makes us human, and yet there is this deep yearning to transcend this contradiction and go beyond merely being human!

  4. So much contrast in the nature of Man. The harvest painting deeply moved me. Beautiful plainted work bright colors yet the message is so raw… Kind of shocking when you look at it and understand.

    1. Yes, some of the work by this artist is quite thought-provoking and captures the viewer immediately. I am happy this work resonated with you. Thanks Raj for appreciating this post!

Response? Reaction? Thought? Question? Criticism? Let me know.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s