Freedom and discipline are opposites. And they are also complementary.
The purpose of defence is to protect freedom. But is there freedom in defence? Do soldiers have freedom? No, they are bound, not allowed to put the right foot down when told the left foot. Their steps are measured; they are unable even to walk with a natural rhythm. There is no freedom in defence, yet this is what protects the freedom of the country!
Freedom without discipline is like a country without a defence. Discipline protects freedom. They both go hand in hand. Understand this and move ahead in life. You have certain restrictions that allow you your freedom. You can focus either on freedom or discipline, and be happy or unhappy.
Fences have a definite place and purpose. If you build a fence all over the entire property, then where will you put your home? Yet a well placed fence protects the property. Love puts you on track. Fear also puts you back on track, as is the case with religions that have put fear as the main motivating force.
Nature itself induces fear in a child at a certain age. A child has no fear when very young; he gets 100 per cent love and attention from the mother. But as he grows more independent, nature brings in an iota of fear; he learns to become cautious. With increasing freedom, the child learns to walk more carefully.
There is a state of absolute freedom, unlimited bliss, the freedom Advaita talks about. But the Advaita Knowledge has been totally misused according to people’s fancies and conveniences. We need to be very practical. There must be freedom in the mind, love in the heart, and discipline in action. Fear of losing freedom brings discipline and defence. And the purpose of defence is to eliminate fear.
On this path, Knowledge is your freedom - and also your defence. The non-dual philosophy of the Upanishads expounded in detail by Adi Shankara.
Excerpts from the book, An Intimate Note to the Sincere Seeker by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar