Saturday, May 3, 2014


                           A talented teacher used to start his class by narrating a story and raising a query to arouse in the students an interest in the subject of study. The students of the school admired his style of teaching and listened to him with ardent attention. They answered his questions with innocence and he listened to them with patience.

                           Once he had to teach them about the struggle for freedom led by the leaders of the nation. He narrated a story to introduce the concept of freedom, liberation and independence. “A prisoner had to spend several years in prison. After years of painful confinement within the prison bars, he was released. Returning to his native village, he saw a man selling caged birds to customers passing along the road. He saw the scene and rushed to the man. He purchased the caged birds by paying all the money he had with him. Then he opened the cages and let the birds fly high in the sky and return to their natural nests.”

                           After telling this story, the teacher asked the children, “Now tell me, why did he buy the caged birds and let the birds free to fly in the air?” The students thought deeply. One of them replied innocently, “Sir, it was because he needed only the empty cages!” The teacher was lost for words.

                           A train is free only so long as it stays on its track. Once it is derailed, it loses its freedom for a meaningful movement. Voluntary sacrifice of personal rights is the basis of true freedom and a peaceful social life. In his epic poem, ‘Paradise Lost’, John Milton (1608-1674) depicts the devil’s distorted vision of liberty through the words of Lucifer after he is cast from heaven to hell, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

                           To a believer in God, true freedom is a kind of voluntary bondage. It is obtained only in outright obedience to Almighty God and the filial fellowship with His children. In days of distress he calls to the Lord; He answers him and sets him free.

© By: Prof. Dr. Babu Philip, Darsana Academy, Kottayam-686001, Kerala, India ( Former Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India), Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally,  Leo. S. John, St. Antony's Public School, Anakkal, Kanjirappally and Neil John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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