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Suffering is an alert

Suffering is universal. If we cherish any unrealistic expectation that we should not suffer at all, then we have certainly taken birth in a wrong universe where life is essentially fraught with unending suffering. M N Kundu writes.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2011 01:48 IST
M N Kundu

Suffering is universal. If we cherish any unrealistic expectation that we should not suffer at all, then we have certainly taken birth in a wrong universe where life is essentially fraught with unending suffering. But why should we suffer? Is it really essential in the scheme of life?

It takes time to understand that every suffering is a message that we have something to learn. There is some skill we have not yet mastered. Some preconceived notion we have is incorrect and need to be unlearned. Some behaviour is not effective and should be changed. At the physical level, pain or suffering is symptomatic of some major problem. If instead of taking painkillers we go for proper diagnosis, the requisite remedy can follow. If we suppress or ignore the pain, the real problem may go out of hands.

Thus every suffering is a feedback from which we must take the requisite lesson. When our near and dear ones pass away, we undergo tremendous suffering. But this experience alone really makes us realise the impermanence of life which otherwise remains merely a knowledge and not a realisation. In the Mahabharata, Yudhisthir held that the most surprising thing is that although all creatures are invariably dying, creatures still believe that they will not die.

Those who are wise like the Buddha learn by mere observation of suffering of others. Those who are intelligent take lessons from their own suffering. Instead of blaming destiny they look for permanent cure. Those who are average never take lesson from suffering. They keep on blaming their destiny, heredity, environment etc. Nature has to beat them again and again to teach them the requisite lesson.

Our brief life on earth is nothing but a systematic curriculum for learning progressive lessons towards ultimate enlightenment. We need to have experiential learning that everything is impermanent and our hope for happiness is really misleading without journey to self-realisation. That is why any amount of suffering does not matter, what we become through them really matter.

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