Pain - Sure Way to Self Realisation

Swami Atmaprakash Saraswati

What is pain, what is pleasure?

These are the two opposites. They are temporary experiences with beginning and end. They are relative, not absolute, because what is pleasant for you can be painful for me. Are pain and pleasure necessary?

Definitely, at a certain stage of evolution these two opposites are necessary for obtaining knowledge and developing discrimination. How does pain help you to develop yourself?

Without pain, you cannot become strong. Through pain you get a practical and clear understanding of the real nature of the body and mind. Pain increases your endurance and capacity for fighting in the battle of life. Does pain help you to become master of your mind?

To experience pain is the best opportunity for bringing about mental control. In this way the mind develops, because when you honestly try to accept painful experiences without losing balance and courage, the willpower becomes stronger. This enables you to manage any situation without losing your self-control. Can pain help you to develop self-confidence?

Only by facing pain can you lose the fear of suffering and obtain a clear vision of your real essence. As a consequence, you leave your self-created dependencies, becoming more self-confident. What is the best attitude to have in the face of pain?

Accept pain as a divine medicine for curing your spiritual blindness. How can pain help to increase your devotion?

Consider your suffering as the best offering to your Lord. Then pain becomes a divine joy. Through suffering you learn to sacrifice all your selfish desires and surrender yourself totally to His will. Is pain really a blessing in disguise?

If you are able to analyse pain with an objective view, without being involved in your feelings and desires, you can understand that pain is a test to which nature puts man for making him a superman. In modern times when most people look for comfort and pleasure, what is the best system of training to help face pain and suffering with a positive attitude?

Sincerely speaking, the best system of training for all ages is the ashram culture of India. The purpose of ashram training is to achieve a practical understanding of the real essence and purpose of life. All kinds of useless distractions and purposeless activities have no place in the ashram life. As a consequence each individual is compelled to face himself without any opportunity of escape. In this kind of environment a natural and intuitive understanding is awakened. Thus pain and pleasure are equally accepted and ultimately transcended as the total Self is realised. No one can escape painful experiences in life: but is it possible to channelize them in our daily life?

It depends on your degree of consciousness and capacity of understanding. If you have a clear and serious purpose in life, whatever you face can be used as a means of achieving it, painful experiences or pleasant. But when the mind is confused, and you don't have any goal in life, you will be manipulated by your experiences and desires, and you will not be able to control them. In any case it is best to make a resolve regarding pain and suffering which will help you through the vicissitudes of life: 'Tomorrow I will be able to suffer more than today'. And with guru's grace the right attitude and correct understanding will grow.