Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

There is suffering in life. It can degrade or elevate man according to the manner in which he meets it and the use that he makes of it. If it is intelligently understood and dealt with radically and not merely superficially, it brings in its wake that understanding which leads to happiness. For, instead of merely complaining against suffering, man then turns to removing radically the deep-rooted ignorance which inevitably brings such suffering. When suffering leads to real and eternal happiness by inviting our attention to the Truth, it should not be avoided. The lessons which it brings should not be spurned. They should be squarely faced. You must summon courage to strike at the ignorance from which such suffering sprouts. It is to eliminate suffering that suffering has come.

People suffer because they are not satisfied. They want more and more. Ignorance gives rise to greed and vanity. If you want nothing you would not suffer. But you do want something or other. If you were really free from all want, you would not suffer even in the jaws of a lion.

The universal discontent in modern life is due to the great gulf between theory and practice, between the ideal and its realisation in life. The spiritual and the material aspects of life are widely separated from each other. They ought to be inseparably united with each other. There is no fundamental opposition between spirit and matter or between life and form. The apparent opposition is due to wrong thinking.

There is no escape from suffering as long as there is the limiting ego. But the ego can be eliminated through love and service. The elimination of the ego leads to divine consciousness, in which there is freedom from suffering and joy. All moral and religious practices are intended to eliminate the ego. The more you live for others and the less for yourself, the less binding are your desires which lead you to unending suffering. The less desires you have, the thinner is your veil of ignorance, constituting the ego.

The root of all sufferings, individual or social, is self-interest. Eliminate self-interest and you will solve all problems and difficulties. Cults, creeds, dogmas, religious rites and ceremonies or lectures and sermons can never bring radical relief from suffering. If suffering and chaos are to disappear and real happiness and peace are to come in their place, there has to be selfless love and universal brotherhood.

C. D. Deshmukh
1971 © The Universal Spiritual League in America, Inc.


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