Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question (Q): How can I be liberated from bondage?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Let me start with the story of a monkey. There was a monkey who had been chained since birth. Some people even say that the monkey was born with a chain. We don’t know about that. But what we know is, that the monkey had been chained since birth.
The monkey now says, “I want to get rid of the chain.” But because the monkey had been chained since birth, it had developed a strong attachment to the chain. So strong is the attachment that he had started thinking that the chain is one of his hands. So he would say, “I have two hands, two legs, and I also have a third hand here, the one which is tied to my neck.”
Now the monkey asks, “Why can’t I go beyond this limited area?”
The monkey has grown young. The monkey says, “The world looks wide and big. I must be able to go everywhere. There are these trees, and there are these juicy fruits, and I can have them. Why must I be limited?” The monkey now says, “I must be free of bondage.”
What is the monkey now trying to do? He says, “I must be free.” and ‘I’ means ‘me,’ which is my body . . .
Q: And the chain . . .
AP: And my three hands. There is no chain. What chain are you talking about? There are only three hands. There is no chain. He says, ‘I’ have to be free of bondage. And what is this ‘I’? The face, the abdomen, the legs, the tail, and the three hands.” All three hands must be free of bondage. “Wherever I go, I must carry all my three hands.” And the monkey says, “‘I’ must be free of bondage.”
What is the definition of ‘I’? The body comprises of three hands.
The monkey is trying to be free even today. The monkey is trying to be free to this day. It’s a very ancient monkey. For millions of years, it is trying to be free. It is not succeeding. And now, because it is struggling for eons, it has become desperate. It is weeping all the time. This tragedy is unbearable for the monkey. It’s even prepared to die, with all its three hands.