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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1995
by Swami Krishnananda

36. Suffering and Disease

(Darshan given on December 14th, 1995.)

A visitor: Let's say a person is suffering from cancer, is terminally ill, so he has an intense desire to live.

Swamiji: You should not expect everything as you want. Perhaps your wanting it itself may be a disease in certain cases. You want to become the richest man in the world. Do you want to fulfil that wish? What do you say?

Visitor: No, not for me.

Swamiji: No disease can be cured completely; it is not possible, but you can have the strength to bear the suffering caused by it. You cannot cure any disease completely. For some reason or other it has come upon you, but because of the willpower you have developed on account of some meditation that you are practising, you will bear it without grudging. You cannot remove it; it is not possible, because it has come to you due to some background, some cause behind it. Unless the cause is removed, the effect cannot go, and sometimes the cause goes only when you die. Before then the cause will not go. The sufferings of life cannot be removed. Only you can develop the strength to bear them.

An ashramite: I get a headache when I try to do cosmic meditation.

Swamiji: This cosmic meditation that you are trying to tell me will give a shock to anybody's mind because the mind is not supposed to think such things. It is a prohibited area, like entering the Chakravyuha of the Mahabharata. You must know how to enter into it.

There is a tremendous contrast between the way you are thinking every day – various things, a hundred things in the world. 'Tremendous' is not the word; it is much worse than that. There is such a difference, a gulf, as between the North Pole and the South Pole, between the usual human way of thinking and this thing that you are trying to probe into, because the human way of thinking gets abolished automatically when the other way of thinking which you are trying to introduce into yourself takes possession of you. What can be a greater shock to anyone than the proposal to get annihilated completely? Theoretically you may feel that you are not going to get annihilated really, that you are going to be expanded, enhanced and made more stable. This is what you are thinking theoretically, but in practice the mind will not accept it.

For instance, would anybody like to die? This is a simple question. Ask anybody in the world: “Would you like to die?” They won't like to die because that is a complete negation of what they consider themselves to be. While physical death is abhorrent because of its association with the negation of your very existence itself, the same is the case with the negation of thought. You cannot separate physical existence and mental existence. They are identical at present. When you think, you are thinking through the body only, so they cannot be separated. Hence, physical dying and mental dying look identical. As much shock as you would feel at the time of physical death, you will feel at the time of mental death also because they are not separate things. Your existence is the mind only. Your existence is mental existence. Physical existence is only a secondary matter, but it looks important because the mind has pervaded the whole body. You can't distinguish between your physical existence and mental existence.

Now this thing that you are talking about, cosmic meditation, is a negation of mental existence, together with which, physical existence also goes in some way. Though actually, tangibly, the body will not die in meditation, it looks as if something like that is taking place. That gives a shock to it, and the mind also gets a shock, so you will feel something unimaginable at that time.

You have no other desire in the mind. Very, very carefully you must hear this point. If you have any other ulterior motive in your mind, you must very carefully make a list of them all. Some of them are very clear to you, and some of them you have brushed aside because of your other engagements. Those which are clear to you, as well as those which you have suppressed, will both prevent you from thinking like this. This difficulty can be overcome. I am only repeating the same thing which I have told. This difficulty can be overcome by one method: You are not going to lose anything by entering into the cosmos. You are not going to die; you are going to live, rather.

Now you are living a miserable life. When you are a butterfly in dream and you wake up into the human being, the butterfly has died. Now, is it a good thing for the butterfly that it is to die for the sake of the human being that you want to be? You will say, “What kind of stupid thing is this? Why would I want to be a butterfly? I want to be a human being only.” The same is the contrast between your mental-physical existence and the cosmic existence. Your real nature is cosmic existence only, and it does not destroy the personal existence. It is absorbed into itself. Just as the dream person has been absorbed into the waking, and he is not destroyed, the same is the case with this. The problem is your own creation. It doesn't exist, really speaking.

But the mind is not willing. You are so-and-so, you are born to some father, you have come from such and such a place, and you have got some relation with these people. This is some kind of cobweb that has been created, which may be there. It is not that it is not there. I am not saying that anything is to be denied. You are a father's son, and you are this and you are that; everything is correct. It is not necessary to destroy, negate or renounce anything, but only to absorb all these things into a higher thing where all these things are included. Your father, mother, everybody is inside that. So actually, renunciation does not mean abandoning some physical relationship. It is the absorption of all physical relationships into a cosmic relationship. Otherwise, the fear of abandoning will come and catch hold of you. You must tell the mind: “You are not going to abandon anything. You are only going to absorb the whole thing into a more expanded, permanent existence.”

Don't think like this too much. Do some japa and meditation. You have got a fear that by going there you will be losing something here, but it is not so. Going there does not mean losing something. It is gaining everything. That idea should be accommodated into your mind. You should be able to grasp it. The fear is that you lose something, but it is not true. You are not losing anything. You are becoming a raja, a maharaja. Now you are a poor man. Suppose a poor man becomes a king; has he lost something by renouncing the poverty? The poverty has been abandoned when you become a king. Do you call it a real abandonment?

Suppose you are sick, and you become healthy. Can you say you have renounced ill health? These ideas have no meaning. The whole life that we are living is a kind of illness. It is a philosophical, metaphysical, transcendental illness that has caught hold of us. Everybody in the world is sick, and mentally also we are not normal. The actual fact is that. Because everybody is thinking the same thing, it looks that everybody is normal. There is some very unfortunate and unhappy mystery behind our existence in this world. That's why we are never happy. You are never happy because you are not in yourself. You are not in yourself; you are in something else. Swasth – you are not swasth. In Sanskrit we have a beautiful word: Aap swasth hai. Swasth means: Are you yourself? Are you in yourself, sir? If anybody asks you this, what will you feel? You will say, “What kind of person is putting a question like that?” But actually, it means that only.

Go slowly, stage by stage, not in a hurry. In the beginning you have to meditate on an incarnation of God, not on the Absolute suddenly, because though you have understood it, the mind is feeling fear. So don't give sudden fear to the mind. Go slowly. Take the name of God first. Don't think of God, but only take the name of God. “God Almighty, I want you; God Almighty, I want you; God Almighty, I want you.” When you go on chanting this, your mind gets purified. Let God Almighty be anything, it doesn't matter what He is, but these words themselves are so powerful. You see what you are feeling at that time. Close your eyes. “God Almighty, Great Magnificence, All-Powerful, I want you. Come to me. Great Almighty, I want you. God Almighty, I want you.”

Instead of chanting Rama, Krishna, Govinda and so on, whose meaning is not clear to you, at least utter these words whose meanings are clear to you. You say “Rama, Krishna, come!” but you don't know where they are, so you will not be so happy. But if you say “God Almighty”, the meaning is very clear to you. So don't chant anything whose meaning is not clear. Simple, like a child you are asking for God. This itself is a mantra. “God Almighty, I want you.” Immediately you will feel a purification process taking place in your mind by uttering these words. You can say it in English or Oriya or Hindi or any language. That is how you start. This is the best way of purification of oneself. There are all kinds of rituals of purification, but this is the best way of a simple man speaking.

There is the story of a shoemaker crying to God: “God, I want to give You a pair of shoes. How large is Your foot? God, how large are Your feet? Please tell me. I want to make a pair of shoes for You.” His heart was simply bursting with devotion. He thought God is so big, and huge feet He has got. He was a cobbler, so simple a man. “O God, how big are Your feet? Oh, I like You, I love You! I want to give You something. I have nothing with me. I have only shoes. Please, please, please tell me how large are Your feet. I will make some big pair shoes for You.” He was so pure in his heart when he said that.

At that time, the prophet Moses was passing that way. He heard this shoemaker talking. He thought, “This man is talking some meaningless thing to God Almighty.” He said, “Hey, what are you babbling? You want to give shoes to God? You think God wants your shoes? This is the way you are praying? Have better sense than that.”

This old man, his heart broke because the great master, the prophet, said that he is a stupid man. So he thought, “I am really stupid to have offered shoes to God.” He broke down with grief. “After all, my devotion is a foolish devotion.”

That night, they say, God appeared to Moses: “Hey, why did you disturb the heart, the feeling of a good man, my devotee? Why did you disturb him? He is a real devotee. Go and beg pardon from him for this. Console him. He is my real devotee, and why did you disturb his mind?”

Moses was shocked. “How God speaks to me like this?” He went and said, “Okay, I said something, but forget it. Whatever you have said is correct. God is highly pleased with you. You can make shoes.”

When devotion becomes really genuine, even stupid things look all right. What looks stupid and foolish in the eyes of people becomes perfectly genuine when the devotion is perfect. God will tolerate even a stupid thing, provided your heart really feels it. It doesn't require great intellectuality and study of scripture and learning and professorial wisdom. God doesn't want all that. God wants your feeling only. You may feel some idiotic thing, just as the shoemaker felt, but it is perfectly okay. It is all right.

So I am telling you, go slowly, little by little, and don't have unnecessary company with people. You can have company with such people who think alike; otherwise, don't talk to any person. Why do you talk? Mind your business and do your work. If you have got a few people who are thinking alike, you can have a friendly talk. But you should not unnecessarily talk with other people. And do a little seva.