Personal Freedom & Communal Goodness

Personal Freedom & Communal Goodness

 Amma - Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

Children, everyone has his own likes and dislikes. Among these are one’s favourite food and favourite clothes. All youth—girls and boys—want to wear their favourite colours and fashions. But when it comes to our personal freedom, we should also keep in mind the common good as well. Sometimes, we will have to adjust for the sake of society.

In a certain college, the students had to wear a uniform. Many students didn’t like that. They met with the principal and lodged complaint. “We don’t like wearing uniforms. We should have the freedom to wear whatever we like.”

The principal said, “Your desire is not wrong. At the same time, you should think about the many benefits that come from everyone wearing a uniform. There are students who have to take out college loans in order to go to school. They cannot come to the college wearing expensive clothes like the rich students. When others wear expensive clothes, these students can develop inferiority complexes. In shame, some of them may even drop out of school. There have even been situations where students have started selling drugs or their honour to buy expensive clothes. Others have resorted to theft. When drugs are sold at school, some students will become addicts. It can even lead to suicide. To some extent, doesn’t everyone wearing a uniform prevent such things?

“Recently, a poor student tried to steal a gold chain from a lady so he could use the money to buy expensive clothes and the newest model cell phone. In doing so, he accidentally broke the lady’s neck, and he is now serving a life sentence in prison. I know many people to whom similar things have happened. Do you wish to create such a generation of such people?”

Hearing this, the students fell silent. They were ready to wear the uniform.

In life, we typically only think about ourselves, not about the world around us. When we focus only on our own likes and dislikes, rules and regulations seem unnecessary. However, when we develop the open-heartedness and patience to consider others, we will be ready to accept such things. Our individual interests and the interests of society need to be kept in balance and harmony. This is called dharma. Freedom firmly based on righteousness is what we need.

Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi