The Freedom Parrot – A Short Spiritual Story by Osho

A man, a great man, a fighter for freedom was traveling in the mountains. He stayed in a caravanserai for the night. He was amazed that in the caravanserai there was a beautiful parrot in a golden cage, continually repeating “Freedom! Freedom!” And it was such a place that when the parrot repeated the word “Freedom!” it would go on echoing in the valleys, in the mountains.

The man thought: “I have seen many parrots, and I have thought they must want to be free from those cages… but I have never seen such a parrot whose whole day, from the morning to the evening when he goes to sleep, is spent in calling out for freedom.” He had an idea. In the middle of the night, when the owner was fast asleep, he got up and opened the door of the cage. He whispered to the parrot, “Now get out.”

But he was very surprised that the parrot was clinging to the bars of the cage. He said to him again and again, “Have you forgotten about freedom? Just get out! The door is open and the owner is fast asleep; nobody will ever know. You just fly into the sky; the whole sky is yours.”

But the parrot was clinging so deeply, so hard, that the man said, “What is the matter? Are you mad?” He tried to take the parrot out with his own hands, but the parrot started pecking at him, and at the same time he was shouting “Freedom! Freedom!” The valleys in the night echoed and re-echoed, but the man was also stubborn; he was a freedom fighter.

He pulled the parrot out and threw him into the sky; and he was very satisfied, although his hand was hurt. The parrot had attacked him as forcefully as he could, but the man was immensely satisfied that he had made a soul free. He went to sleep.

In the morning, as the man was waking up, he heart the parrot shouting, “Freedom! Freedom!” He thought perhaps the parrot must be sitting on a tree or on a rock. But when he came out, the parrot was sitting in the cage. The door was open.

This spiritual story is from Awareness: The Courage to Be Yourself by Osho.

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What Is the Spiritual Meaning of “The Freedom Parrot” Story?

In this enigmatic tale of the parrot in the golden cage, a profound spiritual lesson unfolds—a lesson that transcends the boundaries of physical confinement and delves into the intricacies of inner freedom.

The traveler, witnessing the parrot incessantly chanting “Freedom! Freedom!” amidst the vast expanse of the caravanserai, was struck by a realization. He pondered upon the innate desire for freedom inherent in all living beings. Yet, his perception shifted when faced with a paradox—the parrot, though surrounded by an open door, chose to remain captive within the gilded confines of its cage.

The essence of this tale lies not in the physicality of the cage, but in the metaphor it represents—the cages we create within our minds, the self-imposed limitations that shackle us despite the doors of opportunity standing wide open. The parrot, despite the door ajar and the invitation to soar boundlessly into the sky, clung fervently to the familiar bars of its cage.

The traveler, embodying the spirit of a freedom fighter, sought to liberate the parrot from its apparent confinement. With determined intent, he opened the door and urged the parrot to embrace its freedom. But to his bewilderment, the parrot resisted vehemently, clinging obstinately to its cage.

In his pursuit of setting the parrot free, the traveler encountered fierce resistance, even enduring the bird's attacks. Yet, despite the struggle, he persevered, believing that the act of liberation had been achieved. He retired to rest, assured in the belief that he had bestowed freedom upon a captive soul.

However, as the morning light graced the caravanserai, the traveler was confronted with a bewildering sight—the parrot, once again ensconced within the golden cage, proclaiming “Freedom! Freedom!” The open door, an invitation to boundless sky and limitless horizons, stood as a mere backdrop to the paradoxical scene.

The profound spiritual insight embedded in this allegory beckons us to introspect. It urges us to gaze inward and recognize the cages we construct—the mental constructs, fears, and attachments that confine us, despite the open doors of opportunity and liberation that surround us.

The parrot, in its steadfast attachment to the cage, reflects the human tendency to cling to familiarity, to the known, even when the path to freedom lies open before us. It serves as a poignant reminder that true freedom transcends physical constraints—it is the liberation of the spirit, the unshackling of the mind from the confines of conditioning and limitation.

The parrot's cry for freedom, echoing through the valleys, echoes within our own hearts—a call to awaken to the cages we have woven within ourselves. It invites us to embrace the courage to step beyond our self-imposed limitations and soar into the boundless expanse of our true potential. Only in recognizing and releasing these inner cages can we truly embody the essence of freedom—the freedom that resides within.