SUFFERING BRINGS ONE CLOSER TO GOD
1-What is suffering?
Suffering is also an illusory experience born out of ignorance. Suffering can be considered as result of one’s past bad sanskaras or present bad actions. It is also correct to say it is one’s destiny.
In Baba’s words
Suffering comes through ignorance or attachment to illusions. Most people play with illusions like children play with toys. If you get caught up in the ephemeral things of this world and cling to illusory values, suffering is inevitable. It is not easy for little children to give up their toys, for they become the victims of a habit which they cannot undo. In the same way, through millions of lives, you have got into the habit of playing with illusions. It is difficult for you to get disentangled from them. (Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 11, p. 4236)
2-Physical and mental suffering
One always seeks happiness through success in his efforts or failure of his rivals and dislikes suffering. Suffering can be physical or mental. Mental suffering is more grave than physical. Physical suffering has its impact on mind and it is mind that makes one to feel physically suffering.
In Baba’s words
Mental suffering is worse than physical suffering. What the people of the world with limited vision think of suffering is only physical. They draw pictures of a bomb-stricken person, nose off, arm off, leg off, cetera. Sometimes physical suffering tends to ease mental suffering. The world's idea of suffering and of happiness is entirely limited.
3-Suffering is essential one way
Suffering is also essential because it tends one to seek healing or remedy of one’s suffering by praying God after getting exhausted in finding no permanent healing from his sufferings. Everyone has to suffer for his own Karmas. It is only God or Meher Baba as Avatar suffers for the whole humanity.
In Baba’s words:
"Everything comes, everything goes. But from the spiritual viewpoint, if one bears suffering, it is very good.
“Nobody suffers in vain. Man unknowingly suffers for God (Self realization), and God, God-man knowingly suffers for man (betterment of humanity)” (Lord Meher Vol-3 p-1481)
4-Be brave to accept suffering and accept as gift not as curse
One should try to accept the suffering as gift from God or will of God which provides an opportunity to remember God more intensively than in the days of happiness. One should accept the suffering as brave and boldly not with remorse.
In Baba’s words:
“Even cowards suffer, as do heroes, but there is a great difference between the sufferings of the two. The wounds of the arrows which the brave bear and the worldly arrows that pierce you are as different as earth and sky. Cowards go on being miserable by the arrows of Maya while heroes endure their lot for the love of God." (Lord Meher, 1st. ed. Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 7, p. 2358)
Suffering is the key note of spiritual life. Avatar and Sadguru never avoid suffering either on own, or their circles, by doing miracles. They suffer themselves and let their circle suffer too. ((4th August 1937, on board the ship Strathnaver, en route from Bombay to Marseilles, Lord Meher pp-2199)
5-Real healing is spiritual Healing
In Baba’s words:
Baba said real healing of suffering is spiritual healing which means if accepted gracefully it leads to permanent happiness.
“Real healing is spiritual healing, whereby the soul, becoming free from desires, doubts and hallucinations, enjoys the eternal bliss of God. “Untimely physical healing might retard the spiritual healing. If borne willingly, physical and mental suffering can make one worthy of receiving spiritual healing. Consider mental and physical suffering as gifts from God, which, if accepted gracefully, lead to everlasting happiness.”
When suffering leads to real eternal happiness we should not attach importance to this suffering. It is to eliminate suffering that suffering has to be. Most of this suffering is unnecessary and self-inflicted. Ninety-nine percent of the world's suffering is self-inflicted. Yet, they ask, "Why must we suffer?" Great suffering means great liberation.
6-Baba’s unique way to alleviate one’s suffering and bring closer to Him
Baba’s ways are unique to help His lovers and alleviate their suffering only to realise them the falseness of physical or mental suffering and to bring closer to love Him more and more.
Meher Baba brings one closer to Him by eliminating one’s sufferings at gross level or subtle experiences (through visions or dream). Once Baba is sure that the His Lover is established in His Love; Baba starts operating His lover by befall of suffering according to one’s capacity which is also for the benefit of His lover and to bring closer to Him. There have been many examples as how Baba brought many mandali and Baba lovers in His fold by fulfillment of their desires or call to test His Avatar-hood? Once they were drawn to Baba with hope or fulfill ment of their material desires, He made them to forget their desire or purpose for which they came to Baba. He made them to realize the real goal of life i.e. to gain God and importance of discipleship of a Perfect Master or Avatar.
An- example- How Baba lover react to suffering and Baba cares for them?.
Ramarao the Guruprasad worker, who had been very ill, expired. The mother came to Baba, but did not shed a tear. The humble woman bravely said she was happy in whatever was Baba's wish. Baba comforted her and assured her that he had bestowed two children on her (one last year and another this year) and taken both souls back to him again. "Now I will bless you with another, but you will keep this one," He said. (Lm-5017-1963)
The only son of Dina Talati, close disciple of Meher Baba died in England. According to Baba’s instructions Eruch conveyed this news to Dina Talati as not to give shock. Dina remained calm, unaffected with this sad news and did not shed tear. Baba sent few mandali women to Dina to talk and make her weep to outburst her grief to keep her mental balance. But ladies failed to make her weep. Last, Baba came to her and said “Your love for Me makes Me to weep” Then she wept and wept and Baba consoled her.
7-Extreme suffering ends up in God-relisation
Those who are close to God suffer most and extreme suffering ends up in God relisation. Before realisation, longing for God is like fish out of water. Take example of Pleader and Gustadji had to suffer most before God-realisation bestowed by Meher Baba in their Life time.
8-Invite Baba’ grace in suffering
In suffering, invite God’s grace. It one’s attachment with body which makes mind to feel the suffering. If one conceives that one is not body but a soul not attached to body, suffering does not exist for him. But this is very difficult and possible only with the grace of a perfect Master or Avatar.
9-One can enjoy the suffering by Baba’s grace.
A sincere God/Baba lover will never complain for the suffering which he undergoes to others, to Baba or to himself. There are live examples of Baba lovers who willingly never brought their suffering before Meher Baba and accepted as His prasad. However in many cases Baba relieved suffering of His lovers without asking.
In Baba’s words:
Real happiness – is worth all the physical and mental suffering of the universe! Then all suffering becomes as if it were not; it was due to ignorance. Ignorance makes you flinch at the sight of a cockroach; real happiness does not make you feel the teeth of a tiger in your body (Lord Meher, 1st. ed., pp. 3782 – 3783).
You have no idea of that real happiness – is worth all the physical and mental suffering of the universe! Then all suffering becomes as if it were not; it was due to ignorance. Ignorance makes you flinch at the sight of a cockroach; real happiness does not make you feel the teeth of a tiger in your body! (Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Vol, 7, p. 2317.)