Friday, September 12, 2008

Sri Bhagavan Teachings And Answers on Suffering

Q: What is the best course to follow when one encounters suffering. Bhagavan, please also give us more clarity on what is running away from suffering.

Sri Bhagavan: Well! There is no need to give clarity on running away from suffering, because you are doing it all the time. Whenever you say I am suffering, it means you are running away from suffering. Because if you could turn around and confront the suffering, soak in it, embrace it, fall in love with it, be with it, accept it, do all these things. Then, see for yourself what happens!

Running away from suffering

Q: Bhagavan, how exactly do we experience suffering?

Sri Bhagavan: When we use the word suffering‚ what we mean is you are running away from suffering. That is what you call suffering‚ and you are not aware of it. Supposing somebody is dead in your house, your near or dear one, you don‚t want to face that fact, you keep running away from it. That is what is you call suffering. Not the actual thing which happened. On the other hand if you were to turn around and embrace the event which happened, initially it is tremendously painful, you could even develop tremendous chest pain. Some times the body itself could become very violent and go into convulsions as you embrace that suffering, without internally moving away from it, that is, not trying to understand it, not trying to explain it away
but to jump into it. This we call jumping into the tigers mouth. At the
moment you are hanging on to the ceiling and the tiger is growling and you are afraid that you might fall anytime into the tiger‚s mouth and that is what you call suffering. What we are telling is please jump down from the ceiling straight into the tigers mouth and be eaten. Strangely if you are eaten, you are gone, who is there to suffer? So, that is why we say, you don‚t have to understand suffering. You do not have to bring in psychology and philosophy, they would never ever help you. They would only help you escape. Because again the tiger is going to pounce on you some day. The best thing is to embrace it and the strangest part is you will find sooner or later you will develop this art and every time suffering comes, you would embrace it and it becomes joy. One who has completely mastered the art of converting suffering into joy is almost enlightened. Not enlightened but almost enlightened!

Escape from suffering...

Q: Most people think that the pursuit of truth or enlightenment is a luxury for the contented or an escape from suffering from their lives. Could you please explain to us the need for enlightenment?


"Unless you are enlightened and your heart is flowered, you are not living. Only a person who is established in oneness and whose heart is flowered in love is truly living, otherwise you are living the life of the mind, which is nothing but craving and fear. The greatest tragedy of the human existence is that you are not even conscious of your present condition, you could be the president of the most powerful country or the richest man on the planet, you would still be suffering because so long as you are living the life of the mind, your so-called happiness is merely pleasure which will soon turn into fear and pain. I am not criticising you, I am merely awakening you to joy and love, which are possible when the heart has flowered. You could be poorest man and nobody in this vast world but with love in your heart, you are in heaven, an unenlightened being though he has spiritual, economic or political power would still be in hell."

To be free from suffering...

Nobody in this world is free of sufferings. To be free from sufferings what should be done?


"That's very simple. Please follow seven truths to be free from suffering:

1. Everything comes from a single source. It could be God or Energy. There is no beginning and end to life.

2. If you identify this source, you'll not differentiate between good, bad, right or wrong. All these things are our views. Everything came from one source.

3. Life is nothing but your search for ‘ Self'. In your life, things that happen to you, people you see, everything reflects your ‘ Self'. If you are suffering from poverty, it means there is something wrong within yourself. You have to correct this to get out of poverty. If you have hatred, then who ever you see will exhibit the same quality. If you have evil thoughts, people you meet will also have evil thoughts. Try to understand yourself first.

4. Realize that anything you experience in this Life is by God's grace. Supposing you slip while walking, try to realize that as God's grace too. If you see God in everything, your life will become wonderful.

5. Realize that anything you experience in this Life is just a ‘test' for you by God. It is not a bad experience. If it is considered as a bad experience then it would mean that God is not compassionate. If you experience a problem, consider it an opportunity for you to face it and come out of it. You've been given people, wealth and confidence to face challenges. If you understand this, your confidence will improve. Just to test your confidence God gives you a test.

6. If you realize that anything you experience is a test for you by God, then you'll be able to think deep about the problem and handle it in a better way. You'll understand its result. Then you'll have no fear.

7. If you understand the above 6 truths, then there will be an enormous transformation in your body. From then on, you'll not only have compassion, but you'll become that ‘ compassion'.

If you follow these, your relationships would improve. It'll be filled with love. If you attain this stage you are ready for the ‘operation' I mentioned. You'll experience the divine grace experienced by saints like Ramana, Adishankara. You'll have no fear or sorrow. You'll have only Joy. Don't try to analyse this logically. Our aim is Mukthi. If you follow these truths for even 21 days, you'll be joyful. The problem with us is we spread just the sorrow and sufferings. That's why Earth is dying. After you experience Joy and Happiness you'll be able to spread only Joy and Happiness to others."

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Contemplative Questions

Here is a set of questions that would provoke you and put you through some soul searching. They are not about religion nor about ethics. They are merely about you.

They are not meant to serve as solutions nor are they meant to lead you anywhere. These questions are meant to serve as tools to discovering yourself.

1) Do you perceive the Presence of a benevolent force guiding, protecting and shaping your life? What name do you give that Presence? When did you best feel this Presence?

2) What is your opinion of God? Is your opinion drawn from religion, books, parents and or your personal experience of life?

3) Do you pray? Do they get answered? How often?

4) Do you think it is possible to relate to the Divine? What relationship would you opt?

5) Here is a story for you - Two fierce enemies once did a penance to placate god and receive boons vying with each other. God appeared to the first man and asked what he wanted. He said "give me twice of whatever you give my enemy". Then God appeared to the second one. Even before God could say anything he asked, "God, would you please tell me what my enemy asked for? On knowing his prayer request, he said, "then God, blind me in one eye."
Now what would you wish for yourself, your best friend and your worst enemy if God gave you a chance?

6) Have you ever experienced a coincidence or chance that seems to have involved so many people and factors that you can't stop wondering if a mastermind was behind this operation? If yes, do you savour the experience often and have you shared it with someone close to you?