Friday, May 15, 2009

Going Through Suffering In Anticipation Of Joy

Satsang: Swami Sukhabodhananda

Where and how do we search for God?
Remember that God is within you, but you don’t see Him because the one place you will never look is inside yourself. You will search everywhere, but never within yourself. Paradoxically, you lose sight of God because He is in you.
Now look at what God has given us. Our intelligence, buddhi, is a precious gift. Yet, are we loving and grateful enough to God who has given us all these?
Do we have even a little of the
gratitude a dog has towards its master? No! That is why Dattatreya considers the dog as one of his gurus. Dattatreya draws four lessons from the dog.
A dog doesn’t count its misfortunes or grieve over them. A dog doesn’t live in the past.
It doesn’t make long-term plans either. It doesn’t live in the future. It lives instinctively, from moment to moment.
A dog’s life is one unbroken straight line marked by love, devotion and gratitude to the one who sustains it. Devotion is its defining property.
Can we, like the dog, be always grateful to our Creator and Sustainer? Can we give up being miserable about our past misfortunes and mistakes?
These are disciplines we impose on ourselves. When we reach this stage, we will have achieved a mental state that looks with equal ease at happiness and sorrow, at misery and luxury; in short, we will have seen God in ourselves. This is the essence of the Sanskrit saying, Tat Tvam Asi, You are That. That is, you are the object of your search.
Why do you say we should learn to enjoy adversity?
When something is inevitable, when its occurrence cannot
be prevented, it is better to go along with it rather than to resist it. The word “enjoy” here means, “make the best out of” something. Let me illustrate with an example.
A person is walking along a mountain ridge. He stumbles and falls. As he tumbles down the cliff, he sees the branch of a tree projecting from the cliff-face. He catches hold of that branch. As he is hanging there precariously, he sees his Guru standing on the top of the mountain. He asks the guru what he should do. There is no way the guru can help him physically. Instead, he tells him, “The
left side of the valley below you is dry and thorny. The right side is lush and green. Look to the right and try to fall there. Now that the fall is inevitable, and you may be plunging to your death, enjoy the scenery during your last leap.”
Your assessment of any situation should be realistic. You must muster all your resources in protecting your interests. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your adversary and be prepared to put up the stiffest resistance you can. At the same time, if you find yourself overpowered, try to work out the best bargain. In corporate parlance, for example, try your best to fend off a hostile takeover bid against your company. But if you see that it is unavoidable, try to get the best terms of a takeover.
At least some kinds of enjoyment involve a willingness to suffer some unpleasantness. You go for an Ayurvedic or any other kind of massage. Massage is good for health. Sometimes the masseurs use foot massage, using their body weight to apply different degrees of pressure on your body. It might be uncomfortable or even painful, but later, you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. You are bearing the unpleasantness in anticipation of the joy.

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