(A devotee’s notes on a class given in Ranchi at Sarad Sangham 2008
- talk given by Swami Smarananadaji)
Difficulties do not come just because you were bad in another life or in the past. There is something between you and God. There are 3 ways karma can be worked out: a) Suffering, b) Service and c) Meditation.
1. Suffering can be a way to work things out. The soul chooses with God and Guru how to work out what needs done to draw closer to God. So, suffering is not just a punishment. On a soul level these things are chosen. Just because you suffer do not think you are a bad person. You are a brave soul! The soul for some reason, in consultation with Guruji has chosen this, no room for guilt consciousness. Also, don’t have an inferiority complex. Don’t worry about image; as this is the ego. “It is not what happens to you – but the mind that makes you suffer.” “Let go, let God!”
Take heart. Don’t feel ashamed. Why so much suffering? What suffers? The ego only suffers. Not the soul! Everyone has difficulties.
2. Suffering and happiness can go together. If you are regularly meditating you can draw on that inner joy. It has nothing to do with what is happening around us. You can still have joy in the midst of troubles.
Swami Ananadmoyiji saw Guruji, Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda in much physical pain and felt for Him but when he happened to touch Him so much joy came. Guruji was showing what He really is. Pain and joy can co-exist. “Joy is sweet, sorrow a dream, when Thy song flows through me.”
When we are in tune we can pass through sorrow as though it is a dream and it will not touch us. Suffering and happiness can go together. “Even a little practice of this religious rite will save you from dire fears.” It does not say it will save you from suffering but will save you from the fear of suffering. Suffering may be there but still I can be joyful, I only need to be in tune with God.
3. It is all a dream. One day we will wake up and realize it is a dream. Who is it that is dreaming? God is dreaming. Why get so emotionally involved? It will all be gone one day. It’s not real. It doesn’t have anything to do with my soul. This too will pass. Saints say God is goading us to put our attention on what is REAL.
4. How much joy will we have when we find God. My only ultimate happiness lies there. Nature is beautiful, but how much more beautiful is God? The good things in life should draw you to God, awaiting how much more goodness in God. The bad things, likewise, should push us towards God. Even pain is rooted in love. Pain is a gift to mankind. The pain reminds us something is wrong so we seek treatment. No pain; we will do nothing. Pain motivates us. There is a purpose. Do something to alleviate the pain. We scold our children to help them, to show the right path, for their understanding. Pain can be a gift if we have the right understanding.
5. Guru’s help is there. Babaji sitting at a fire with some devotees and He strikes one with a flame from the fire. This freed the devotee from a painful death by fire. We have some suffering but Guruji Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda is a partner in life and without Him my suffering would no doubt be much worse.
We go though trouble, ugliness, but then what we learn, one day we realize everything is taking place at the right time, for the right purpose. We will only be grateful to Guruji in the end when we look back. The end is so beautiful.
6. We should have right understanding also. “Lighting a candle is good, but cursing the darkness is fun.” How empty our lives would be if we had nothing to resent. Is it a genuine trouble we are facing or is it just a desire that is not being fulfilled? No point in brooding over what you are denied. Your attitude when it is right can bring you so much joy, no matter what troubles may be there. Appreciation, gratitude. If you really want to rid yourself of bad habits and the cause of suffering you have no better recourse than meditation. Do not blame others for your suffering.
So, do not have a guilt complex. You are a brave soul. Suffering and joy can go together. Understand that this is a cosmic dream and one day we will wake from it. It is all God’s law at work. Even suffering is His love for me. Guru’s help is always there. If not for Him it would be much worse. Our lives would be empty if there are no troubles. Knowing you are a soul, smile away your troubles. Don’t make unimportant things important. It is only an entertaining drama. Smile a smile that cannot be destroyed.