This is the greatest anguish, anxiety. You cannot leave the world that chains you; you cannot leave those who have become your hindrances in life, because they are also your attachments, your joys. They are also in some way a nourishment for your pride. You can neither leave them, nor can you forget that you don’t belong to this world, that your home must be somewhere else, because in your dreams you are always flying, flying to faraway places.
Freedom is all I want, but to hope for it, I feel ashamed. Why should one feel ashamed to hope for freedom? – because nobody is preventing you. You can be free this very moment. But those attachments…they have gone very deep in you; they have become almost your very existence. They may be bringing misery to you, but they also bring moments of happiness. They may be creating chains for your feet, but they also give you moments of dance.
It is a very strange situation every intelligent man has to face: he is rooted in the earth and he wants wings to fly in the sky. He cannot be uprooted because the earth is his nourishment, his food. And he cannot stop dreaming of wings, because that is his spirit, that is his very soul, that is what makes him a human being.
No animal feels the anguish; all animals are utterly satisfied as they are. Man is the only animal who is intrinsically discontented; hence, the feeling of shame – because he knows, “I can be free.”
I have always loved an ancient story: A man, a great man, a fighter for freedom was traveling into the mountains. He stayed in a caravanserai for the night. He was amazed that in the caravanserai there was a beautiful parrot in a golden cage, continually repeating, “Freedom! Freedom!” And the serai was in such a place that when the parrot repeats the word Freedom! it goes on echoing in the valley, in the mountains.
The man thought: I have seen many parrots, and I have thought they must be desiring to be free from those cages…but I have never seen such a parrot whose whole day, from the morning to the evening when he goes to sleep, is spent in asking for freedom. He had an idea. In the middle of the night he got up and opened the door of the cage. The owner was fast asleep and he said to the parrot, he whispered, “Now get out.”
But he was very surprised that the parrot was clinging to the bars of the cage. He told him again and again: “Have you forgotten about freedom? Just get out! The door is open and the owner is fast asleep; nobody will ever know. You just fly into the sky; the whole sky is yours.”
But the parrot was clinging so deeply, so hard, that the man said, “What is the matter? Are you mad?” He tried to take the parrot out with his own hands, but the parrot started hitting him, and at the same time started shouting, “Freedom! Freedom!” The valleys in the night echoed and re-echoed…but the man was also stubborn, he was a freedom fighter. He pulled the parrot out, and threw him into the sky; and he was very satisfied, although his hand was hurt. The parrot had attacked him as forcefully as he could, but the man was immensely satisfied that he had made a soul free. He went to sleep.