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Seminar on "Suffering is the Root and Results are Flowers"

8. Puvvada Vittal

Subject: "Suffering is the root and results are flowers which every associates should strive hard to have"

Suffering or dukha is one of the significant metaphysical topics dealt in religious literature. The root “kham” is meant to be indriyas. In our tradition Buddha and Patanjali have talked at length about them.

Suffering is normally used in the negative sense such as: we are suffering from poverty, illness, or loss of dearer ones. One does not normally say one is suffering from wealth, comforts, and happiness. But we can imagine that even in the middle of comforts we can also have dukha because the potential loss of the comfort can be a cause for unsettled indriyas. When our attention is towards the world with its contradictions, it appears that as long we are in this world we will be subjected to dukha. Our beloved Master said that we couldn’t be free of miseries until we secure our return to homeland.

Suffering is the result of fruition of the impressions brought forth by the divine principle. The kingly thing in man i.e., thought, plays a prominent role in the formation of samskaras. The force of a thought, in combination with our doership attitude, forms an impression. The impression cannot be stored elsewhere other than in the doer. As impressions accumulate, the force of the thought generates heat, and starts to become a burden for the soul. The process, termed bhoga by Master, is set to rid the burden. Master says internal and external circumstances are then created to rid the burden. Internally it might be in the form of physical ailments etc. Externally it might be in the form of the wrong doings of other persons or acts of nature.

We can classify most of our reactions towards suffering as pratikula or anukula. Pratikula reactions include discontentment, undue attachment, desires, fear, hatred, unethical behavior etc. Anukula reactions include forbearance, gratitude, remembrance, resignation, and faith. Pratikula reactions can become kaaranam for future sufferings. Once a person decides to observe positive reaction, his steadiness is supported by pranahuti process.

It is said that the physical ailments are meant to cure spiritual ailments and actually develops the quality of endurance. We can also appreciate the logic behind being grateful to external agents who are only playing their role. Perhaps the choice of selection of the external agents is based on our past runa with them. Adopting a state of happy disposition will also be beneficial because as Master says it is very close to the original state.

Master has not indicated that suffering and pain are necessary and essential for spiritual growth. But He asked to compare us with saints of India who petitioned God for all the miseries of other people. Master wrote to Dr. K.C.Varadachari, “Sufferings and ailments are indispensable for the body”. Elsewhere He said that if it is required to give our head for God we should consider that bargain cheap. We therefore, can appreciate the significance of suffering in our sadhana. I feel that those who are spiritually inclined and put to sufferings are in a way doubly blessed. One, as Master said, for being under the gaze of the doctor who gave the bitter pill, and secondly for getting the best opportunity to take the spiritual test. Suffering will simultaneously creates a way to relieve our past impressions while at the same time gives an opportunity to test our faith, love and devotion towards Master.

When we are in suffering our behavior, values and principles we hold will be put to maximum test. If one is here to express God, what better opportunity can Nature provide than suffering so people around him can see the divinity in him and the efficacy of the source behind his strength.

Dr. K.C.Varadachari says, the ways of Nature of mysterious. He said that when we ask for intelligence, we are given problems to solve, if we ask for courage we are given daunting situations, etc. If Master is helping us through pranahuti, Nature helps us thru suffering. Suffering provides an opportunity to enable us to own and put the conditions in practice.

Finally, I present how our sadhana can be viewed in one way. The thoughts that we get during meditation, the expectation that we have, the apparent stalled progress, the failure in implementing Ten Commandments, etc, can be a source of frustration and discontentment. It is my experience, and that of my brothers, that it is only through undergoing this “suffering”, while adopting suitable attitude, that we got a few buds that grew in our hearts that will one day become flowers of fragrance that blossom in our hearts.