This is the 8th in the series, Everything You Know Is Wrong (about your body, mind, ego, family, friends and enemies, pursuit of happiness, wealth) published in this Huffington Post on June 15th, 2013.
"If you think you are free you are fool number one."
According the Vedas, everyone born in this world is controlled by material nature. This nature is categorized into three modes; the mode of goodness (sattva-guna), passion (raja-guna), and ignorance (tamo-guna). Lord Vishnu represents the mode of goodness, and He maintains the universe. Lord Brahma, who is the secondary creator of the universe, represents passion, and Lord Siva represents ignorance. Siva is in charge of the annihilation of the universe.
Only Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is above the three modes of nature, and His devotees, because they are surrendered to Him. Devotees are free to act, because they are prompted from within by Krishna in the heart, and these prompts are confirmed from without by the spiritual master. We are associated with the three modes of material nature, but we must become detached through devotional service to the Lord. If we are not attached to devotional service to the Lord, then we cannot become detached from the modes of material nature. Designations and attachments are due to our lust and desire, our wanting to lord it over the material nature. If we do not give up this propensity of lording it over material nature, we will always be controlled by it, and will have to continue the cycle of saṁsāra, repeated birth and death in this material world, and there will be no possibility of returning to the kingdom of the Supreme, the sanātana-dhāma, where there is freedom from birth and death.
As George Harrison sings,
"Give me love, give me love, give me peace on earth, give me light, give me life, keep me free from birth."
In Bhagavad-gita, 3.5 Kṛṣṇa says, "Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment." We think we are free, but actually we are being forced to act by the modes of nature. We are like a bull being led by it's nose ring. It is pulled in one way, and the bull thinks. "Let me go this way." It is pulled in another way, and then the bull thinks "Let me go that way." Again, Bhagavad-gita 3.27 states, "The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature."
Two persons, one in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and the other in material consciousness, working on the same level, may appear to be working on the same platform, but there is a wide gulf of difference in their respective positions. The person in material consciousness is convinced by false ego that he is the doer of everything. He does not know that the mechanism of the body is produced by material nature, which works under the supervision of the Supreme Lord. The materialistic person has no knowledge that ultimately he is under the control of Kṛṣṇa. The person in false ego takes all credit for doing everything independently. In the last election, at their convention, the Republicans tried to state their platform on the basis of "we built it," which is based on a lie, and that is the symptom of nescience. They do not know that this gross and subtle body is the creation of material nature, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and as such his bodily and mental activities should be engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The ignorant man forgets that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as Hṛṣīkeśa, or the master of the senses of the material body, for due to his long misuse of the senses in sense gratification, he is factually bewildered by the false ego, which makes him forget his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
But when the conditioned soul becomes liberated by executing devotional service, he is given a greater and greater chance to relish a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different transcendental statuses, such as such as dāsya-rasa (servitorship), sakhya-rasa (friendship), vātsalya-rasa (parental love) and mādhurya-rasa (conjugal love). This is real freedom, and our constitutional position of eternal bliss and knowledge.