Question: You have talked about discipline. Can discipline become an obligation rather than a freedom?


 If you define 'Discipline' / 'Duty' with the mind, then it becomes an obligation. The best example is in the epic Mahabharata in the story of the disrobing of Draupadi.
So many Great Ones were there - Bheeshma, Drona and so on. They had all defined their dharma, their duty, in a particular way. Bheeshma said, "I must follow the king." Drona said, "I have eaten in the kings' house, so I must support him." Yudhishthira said, "I have lost her in the game." Still, he could have protected Draupadi simply as a human being, if not as his wife. Several times, still now, we see people try to define our duty, our discipline in this or that way. But if one takes up meditation, one gains the ability to see the larger cause. In the court, in the story from the Mahabharata, everyone was only thinking about themselves.

But Krishna was guided by the larger cause. So when Arjuna on the battlefield said, "I will not fight", Krishna said "I have said I won't fight, but for a larger cause I will take up my weapons."

Discipline is also needed to achieve an end. Hence in my five years tapas I was able to stay in the room without leaving, but I decided if needed, I would leave if it was for a larger cause. Then when my mother passed away, I did not leave the room for her funeral; she had said that I should finish the tapas. In the same way there is a story of Ramanacharya. His Guru had initiated him into a mantra which his Guru had said would give liberation if repeated as a sadhana, but if he told it to anyone else, he would go to hell. Hearing this he went up on top of the temple and started crying out the mantra for everyone to hear. His Guru was surprised. "Why did you scream out this manta for everyone when I had told you that you would go to hell if you passed it on?" "My dearest Guru, if all these people can get liberated this way, it is no problem if I go to hell." See, he was working for a larger cause.


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