The Urge for Freedom
Today, while walking in the forest I met a man who was there when the Berlin wall fell and countless East-Germans walked freely into West Germany. He told me that one woman on the Western side was so excited with joy that she gave birth early to her baby. Although her husband wanted to bring her to the hospital when the labor started, she urgently pleaded to give birth right there before the crushed wall and to call her child „Freedom“. Finally the ambulance had to be called and she happily gave birth in the Red Cross van. What a story!
Why this excitement – the man asked and then answered his own question: Simply because freedom is one of the primeval needs of every human being.
Previously anyone who had tried to flee to the West had been shot. People had become so desperate to escape the East German dictatorship that some of them had become extremely creative. I remember one man who ,over many years, had secretly sewed more than 100 shirts together and then one night had used a gas burner to create hot air. In this way his construction inflated like a balloon and carried him up into the air. The favorable East-West wind, which blew that night, carried him safely over the wall. But then when he was just about to land, an East German border guard who had wondered what that flying light (from the gas burner) was, finally understood and fired his automatic gun at the freedom-seeker, killing him in mid-air only meters before he touched the „promised land“. One of countless sad stories!
I was also there on that day of German freedom and danced with a few Krishna monks through the famous Brandenburger Gates into Western Germany.
„Let´s be creative“ I decided in the morning. So we took a train from the West to the East, using the happy chaos of the border opening as a loophole and then entered West Germany singing and dancing in good view of the world’s TV cameras.
Now in the forest I told the man: „I was also there“. And both of us laughed because we found we had something in common. Our appreciation for freedom. But as I listened to him more, I began to ask myself. At which point can a human being claim that he has actually reached freedom:
Is it freedom when his body is free?
Is it freedom when one´s mind and thoughts are free?
Or is it freedom when one´s soul is free?
As I grow older and reflect on my life, I answer that question with a deep conviction that freedom is only possible in the bondage of divine love, when the soul finally lies in the arms of the divine beloved.
After I had met the man and reflected on the struggle for freedom, which had been going on in Germany, the following poem came to me – a prayer to Lord Krishna:
Take me into the prison house of Your love,
Bind my heart with the sweetness of Your name,
For otherwise I shall never be free.“