Everyone is free but thinks that they are bound. In fact all those things that bind them are the expression of their own ignorance. This is what everyone has to understand.
Here is an example. A special trick is used to catch monkeys. A round earthen pot with a small mouth is buried in the ground. Pieces of tasty food are put inside. When the monkeys smell them, they come close and put their hands inside and clutch the food, and then they cannot pull them out. The monkey doesn’t know that he can be free. He doesn’t want to release the piece of food, and yet wants to be free, so he cries, and can’t run away. At that moment the man appears from his hiding place and catches the monkey.
Most people who think that they are not free are acting like the monkey. They are holding on to something, maybe things of beauty, or fragrance. If only they could release their hold, they would be free, because in truth they are free.
– Shri Shantananda Sarswati