When a rat walks into a trap,

It has no idea what has happened.

When it realises it is trapped.

It is devastated.


Men so long as they think they are free,

Behave like victors.

What happens when they realize

Even this freedom is a trap?


A kind soul takes pity on the rat

And releases it from the trap,

Where it thinks it is free

Unaware of the cat on killer spree.


When the procession took a turn

Towards the ruins,

I thought now I would be free

But death too was a part of divine trapestry.








Freedom is a wonderful word, which has always captured the imagination of mankind. In fact, the struggle that the centuries have seen, was marked by two conflicting forces: the spirit to dominate, crush and exploit, and the spirit to get free of systems inimical to man’s essential freedom. Freedom has always been the cherished dream of mankind. But, when we turn our gaze from the political to the existential plane, we are faced with some disturbing questions.


Is man free? And if he is free, how much freedom he has?  If he is not free, is he trapped as soon as he is born? Was he free prior to his entry into the womb of his mother? Was he flying as a free agent in the air, when he was trapped by his parents into life? If Life is a trap, will Death help us walk out of it?  In fact, I am talking of the Prison Syndrome which dominates  human existence. Animals, when tied to the tether, or birds when put into cages, realize they had lost an invisible ‘charm’ called freedom. Now, they cannot move at will. Similarly, men too suffer from the prison syndrome. However, we give it a respectable nomenclature: limitations of being human.



Human beings suffer from this trap psychology.Freedom is a fantasy. It is an illusion because, when we are born, we are shifted from one  trap to another trap. Life is a movement of sorts inside a trap, and finally,  we are further let off into a trap which appears to be without borders. The rat who walks into a trap, when brought to freedom, also runs the risk of cats or death by brickbats.


Political scientists make great hullabaloo when they talk of Freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of life etc -all these are high sounding words. But there is nothing called absolute freedom which might mean chaos. Words like freedom, order, chaos, disorder come together. As such, when we talk of freedom, we have to talk of discipline too which is mandatory. This freedom has its basis in our commitment to essential discipline of the society. Give a train the freedom to move in any direction. It will not be able to clear out of the zigzag of the platform itself.  Thus, ‘Discipline’ is a very polite name for limitations,again an acceptable face of the prison syndrome.




We love the idea of freedom, but freedom does not come without straps. In other words, we are trapped. Womb was a trap. And then, life is a trap. A man who is sent to prison, knows why he is in the prison and for how long. But, in case of men, no one knows how long is the prison term. Whatever we do, is seriously controlled by the our conditions, our milieu, our society, our traditions and our aspirations. Breaking out of these ‘traps’ is next to impossible.


Moreover, every man is circumscribed by his nature and by the external circumstances. You have feet, but how long can you walk?  You have arms. But how long they can be extended? The very construction of man has ingrained limitations of its own. Just as a ball which when kicked,  goes up to a certain height and then takes U turn, men too are powered with a measured fuel, and they cannot go beyond a certain limit. Our voice has a limit. Our silence has a limit. Our patience has a limit.  This limit is the trap I am talking about. We cannot go beyond it. If we try to speak louder than we can, or listen to things which are not audible, or know things which we should not otherwise know, it is trespassing into the domain of the forbidden. Knowledge was forbidden. You know what happened when it was trespassed. This is how we are trapped in a destiny. We are free to operate, just like a bird left free in a house. It flies up and down, but cannot find an outlet. We forget, this body lays down our limits. Our mind lays down the limits of our understanding. The entire world is lying open before us, just as an ocean is spread before a thirsty man. Yet, can he drink every drop of it? He has a limit to digest water, take in air, and eat, though 36 types of dishes are waiting on the table.




Finally, I would like to say, we  are trapped in a destiny. And to trudge out of it, is a difficult proposition. Those who can peep into the future, are usually blind. Those who can look into the past of a person, are usually abnormal men, unfit for human society. If we remember Lear, he transcended the limits of filial responsibility. And suffered. So was Macbeth. He could have escaped the disaster that overtook him, if he had realized his limits. Lady Macbeth who broke the limits of feminine grace, kills herself by swallowing fire. Those who break the rules of human grace, come to grief. Man who learns to respect his destiny, who realizes what can be done and how it should be done, is often the person who knows the art of synchronizing with the divine will and understands the secret of graceful living.  (copyright: author)






Dr Jernail Singh Anand, President of the International Academy of Ethics, is author of 161 books in English poetry, fiction, non-fiction, philosophy and spirituality. He was awarded Charter of Morava, the great Award by Serbian Writers Association, Belgrade and his name was engraved on the Poets’ Rock in Serbia. The Academy of Arts and philosophical Sciences of Bari  [Italy] honoured him with the award of an Honourable Academic.  Recently, he was awarded Doctor of Philosophy [Honoris Causa] by the University of Engg and Management, Jaipur. Recently, he organized an International Conference on Contemporary Ethics at Chandigarh. His most phenomenal book is Lustus:The Prince of Darkness [first epic of the Mahkaal Trilogy]. [Email: Mobile: 919876652401[Whatsapp]


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