Freedom: Preface

If there is one word that has had the greatest influence on the thinking of the modern man, it is the word `Freedom'. Who does not want freedom? Everybody wants to be free. Nobody wants to be controlled by others, nobody wants to be a slave. People are ready to go to any extent for the sake of freedom, they even wage wars to regain lost freedom, because they value freedom so much. This book is all about freedom.

Why do we want freedom? Because when we are free, we can do what is good for us, we can get what we want, we can get rid of what we do not want, we can live the way we wish, without any external restrictions and controls, and we can be happy. To live well and enjoy life to its fullest extent, we have to be free, free from all external controls and pressures. Slaves are powerless and helpless, they are ruled and controlled by others, they cannot live and work the way they want. Slaves cannot enjoy life, they only undergo pain and suffering. Who wants pain? Who wants suffering? Who wants to be a slave? We all want to be masters, not salves. We all want freedom so that we can live happily and enjoy life. The primary goal of this book to help you learn to live like a true master and enjoy your life in the fullest and the deepest sense.

To live well and enjoy life, we need freedom not only from external threats but also from our own internal enemies like ignorance, foolishness, greed and anger. We need to free ourselves not only from poverty, illness, etc. but also from all confusions and delusions. To be free in the true sense, to live like a master, we need power. Only the powerful become masters. We need the power to think, the power to observe, analyze, and understand, the power to control. Knowledge is power. Real power comes from knowledge, not from arms and ammunition or money or technology. Real power comes from real knowledge. It is important to know and understand the world around us, it is important to understand others, and it is even more important to observe, understand, master and control ourselves. Life is like a book. A book is useless unless you can read and understand it. To enjoy life, to live life the way we want, we must first study and understand life. We must understand the art of living as also the science of living. We must understand the whole of life, every aspect of it, the whole philosophy of life. Superficial knowledge is not enough. Unless we have a complete, proper, deep, thorough understanding of the world around us, as also our own internal mental world, we cannot hope to make the most of this great opportunity thrown at us in the form of a human life. To live well and enjoy life we need knowledge. This book is all about knowledge.

This is a book on life, a book on the art and science of life. It combines the wisdom of the ancient and the modern. This is not a translation of some book nor is it a commentary. It is a fresh, complete and self-contained reconstruction of the whole of human knowledge and wisdom, ancient and modern. It presents an integrated, holistic and scientific analysis of all aspects of human life in simple English. It touches upon, and has implications for a number of fields, including modern science, engineering, technology, industry, business, economics, education, environment, health, medicine, food, agriculture, dairy, {\em yooga}, society, administration, justice, law, governance, linguistics, psychology, philosophy, arts, human values, even religion and spirituality. All these various topics are not treated as assorted, unrelated topics. Human life is one and all aspects of life are in fact closely and inseparably inter-connected. This book therefore presents all these diverse-looking ideas in a single, integrated, holistic and completely scientific manner. This book is written especially for people like you who have the spirit of scientific inquiry in you. The book is rigorous and logical throughout - there is no need to go by blind faith in any religion or cult or school of thought. This book is of universal appeal, it is non-sectarian. It is meant for all human beings, without racial, religious, national, ethnic or any other kind of discrimination. You do not have to have blind faith in anything, not even in modern science. This is not really a book on religion or spirituality although topics from religion and spirituality are also included. It is not polemic, we do not directly address or criticize any religion or school of thought. The goal of this book is to seek the ultimate truth and reality but it is not merely dry and abstract meta-physics. It is not mere extreme idealism nor is it vague and nebulous. This is a very practical and down-to-earth book, it is intended to help you understand life, to help you understand yourself, to help you lead a better, more meaningful, more fulfilling, more satisfying, healthier, happier, great, glorious life. This book is for you.

The book is highly structured. There are three chapters, each divided into a number of sections. Each section deals with one main idea and the sections are arranged to provide a smooth flow and gradual development of ideas. All technical terms used have been precisely defined. See appendix for a guide to pronunciation of these terms. The book is self-contained. There are no pre-requisites. The style is simple, direct and conversational. Anybody with a high school level of English can read and understand this book.

This book is very different from most other books you might have seen. Here we ask big questions concerned with human life and we seek the final answers to all these fundamental questions. In this book we ask what is life, what is the goal of our life, how to live and how we can get the most out of this great opportunity called human life. Questions about our life are inseparably connected with other animate and inanimate beings in the world we live in, and our relationship with them. We therefore need to understand the true nature of this whole world. The very first chapter of the book is devoted to the exploration of this universe. We ask fundamental questions concerning the universe and its true nature. We go deep, we even ask questions such as whether this universe exists, what exactly do we mean by existence, and so on. Because what appears obvious may not actually be true and in science, we cannot take anything for granted without proper inquiry. We seek complete knowledge, for, half knowledge is worse than useless, it is in fact quite dangerous. Our knowledge of the universe will remain incomplete until we fully understand ourselves also because we are also part of this all-inclusive universe. So in the second chapter we ask who exactly we are. What is the true nature of ourselves? What is the relationship between ourselves and others? What is the relationship between ourselves and the world? The first two chapters provide the complete scientific and philosophical foundations of life. The third chapter is purely practical. It includes simple, down to earth and straight forward analysis of practical, day-to-day questions connected with life. This chapter shows how we can free ourselves from all bondage, pain and suffering and elevate ourselves from the level of mere physical existence as a two legged mortal brute to a fully developed human being so that we can all live a happy, healthy, satisfying, glorious human life.

The goal of this book is to seek the truth. We boldly ask fundamental questions and we unswervingly seek the final, ultimate, provably correct answers. We will not be satisfied with tentative, incomplete, imperfect, escapist, nebulous, vague answers. We shall not simply make assumptions and move ahead. We shall seek and get complete, precise, final, provably correct answers to all the big questions. We will give independent, complete, satisfactory arguments and proofs. We shall question everything, we even question modern science. You must therefore read this book with a completely open, totally unbiased mind, without taking anything for granted, without accepting or rejecting any idea without a thorough inquiry. The human mind is like a parachute, it works best only when it is open. Give up all your biases and read this book with a totally open mind. Do not read this book in the light of your current knowledge, understanding and beliefs, everything will be called into question. Read with a completely open mind.

How to read this book? This book has been organized so that you get the complete and correct theoretical knowledge first and then look at the practical aspects of life in the light of this knowledge and understanding. Any aspect of life, any branch of worldly knowledge, gets proper meaning and perspective only when it is based on the solid foundation of the knowledge of the absolute, not otherwise. That is why we start with these scientific and philosophical foundations and only after gaining complete and deep understanding of these in the first two chapters do we take up other topics connected with human life. Therefore, it is best to read this book from beginning to end in the order in which it is presented. However, if you think the theoretical foundations are too abstract, you are not yet mentally prepared for that, and you are more interested in the practical aspects from which you can benefit immediately, you may want to read the third chapter first and come back to the first two chapters sometime later. In this latter case, we suggest you read the summary sections given at the end of the first two chapters before starting the third chapter. You may not understand everything fully but you will at least get an idea about the kinds of questions we have taken up and the kinds of solutions we have come out with. In any case, this is a book that should be read slowly, carefully. You must think deeply about all the points raised, you must try and understand everything fully, in the deepest sense, and then only proceed. In case you are unable to understand something at any point of time, make sure you write it down. Write down all your confusions, doubts and questions then and there. Hopefully, all your questions will be answered somewhere down the line. You may want to keep reading the book again and again, each time you read, there will be something more to be learned, somethings understood better, somethings understood more deeply. You may not get the most out of this book by casual browsing here and there.

Other books are about something, they contain knowledge of something. This book is about knowledge itself. What exactly is knowledge? What does it mean to say we know something? This book is also about the process of knowing, the instrument of knowing. It is also about the agent or the knower. I know and I know that I know. This book is about the knower and about this meta knower. Can the knower be known? Who will know this knower? How? Other books are about truth or falsity of some ideas, propositions, conjectures etc. This book is about truth itself. Other books describe things as they exist. This book is about existence itself. This book is therefore very different. Statements here are pregnant with meaning, deep and profound. There is much more to it than meets the eye at first glance. You will be given plenty of opportunities to come back and try and understand everything in a deeper and still deeper sense. Do not think of this as wasteful, boring and repetitive. Take each such occasion as yet another opportunity thrown at you for a still deeper understanding. Keep reading and keep thinking deeply. This book gives you plenty of opportunities to actually practice the ideas it presents, it even provokes you, prods you, nudges you once in a while. This book takes you through various emotions - at times you may feel like laughing, at times you may feel like crying. It may be boring and repetitive at times. Everything is intentional and the intentions are always good. As you read through the book, observe your own mind and how it reacts to each situation.

We gradually develop the ideas and your understanding will become deeper and deeper as you read through the whole book. We may, for example, prove that X is not true, giving a suggestion that Y may be true instead. At a later point of time, we may show that Y is also not true, hinting at something else. Therefore, all ideas, arguments, examples and proofs given in this book need to be understood only in the context in which they are placed in the book. Do not quote out of context. Casual browsing here and there is not recommended, at least in the first reading. You must read the whole book, if you stop in between, your understanding may remain incomplete and imperfect. Reading this book is like a scientific experiment, no valid conclusions can be drawn before the experiment is completed fully, right? Never give up, even if you cannot fully understand, appreciate or accept certain ideas or concepts. Always think that the best is yet to come and keep reading. Hopefully, all your confusions and doubts will be answered down the line. Seeking complete and perfect knowledge of the absolute is an extremely subtle and abstract task and the risk of losing track is very high. Therefore, it is essential to be extremely careful, exceptionally rigorous and ruthlessly strict at every step. Naturally, therefore, you will find the first two chapters quite rigorous. This is essential, this is inevitable, because the slightest chance for relaxation and looseness can distract us far away from the truth. You will find the third chapter a lot more easy going and smooth.

There is everything in this book for someone and there is also something for everyone. You may not like all ideas and suggestions but there will surely be something interesting and useful for every reader. Pick out those ideas and thoughts that you find interesting and useful and just ignore the others. This is book to be read, chewed, swallowed, digested, assimilated, internalized, and actually practiced in life. You stand to gain immensely, because it is not a book that just gives some information or knowledge, you are not just reading some ideas about some topic that someone has aired, it is a book that is directly connected with your own life, it can actually solve all your problems and actually give you everything that you want in life. This book promises complete, satisfactory, lasting solutions to all problems faced by the individual and the human society as a whole, if only it is read in earnest, understood properly, accepted, internalized and actually practiced. It is possible to overcome all problems without exception, it is possible to get everything we want in life. It is possible to overcome all pain, all suffering, all diseases, all difficulties. It is possible to get endless happiness and pure bliss. This may look like too tall a claim at this point but you will hopefully agree with this after reading through the whole book. Do read the whole book. You will surely stand to gain immensely.

It has taken more than four decades of intense study and deep thinking to develop this book. The first draft of the book took more than five years to write and it took a couple of years more to polish and perfect. A large number of thinkers and experts from various backgrounds, from across the world, including scientists, engineers, economists, linguists, chemists, software professionals, administrators, teachers, professors, students, house wives, traditional scholars, even saints, have previewed this book and given critical and extremely valuable comments and suggestions. All of them stand acknowledged with the deepest sense of gratitude. Most of these great thinkers wish to remain anonymous. Hence I refrain from taking any names in acknowledgment here, instead of naming some and not the others. Many of the ideas, examples, illustrations, arguments and proofs included in this book have all been around for tens of thousands of years in India in some form or the other. In a sense, everything that has been said here has been heard somewhere sometime from somebody living or dead, no one can claim originality over all of these ideas. These ideas and thoughts have all been learned from many sources all through my life. I have learned many important lessons in life from a large number of people, as also from animals, plants and even inanimate objects, all of whom are like gurus to me. Some gurus have appeared in human form and taught me directly while others have taught me indirectly, by making me think. I have also had the privilege of direct, one-to-one teaching from some of the world's greatest thinkers. I stand here merely as a mouth-piece to all these great visionaries and thinkers. All errors of omission and commission are mine, I may kindly be pardoned for all that. Feel free to contact me at for any further information. Your comments, criticisms, suggestions will always be welcome.

Kavi Narayana Murthy

23 March 2012

(nandana naama saMvatsara caandramaana yugaadi)

See Also: About the Book      Table of Contents