Chapter 5.3 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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5.3 GRIEF

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."    Jesus Christ

"Sorrows and sufferings, trials and tribulations, are great disciplinarians that lead one to the springs of spiritual enlightenment."    Zarathushtra

"Desire bring grief, desire brings fear;  -  to the one who is devoid of desire, what grief is there? What fear?"    Buddha

"Giving up all duties, take refuge in Me alone. I will liberate you from all sins, do not grieve."    Sri Krishna


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

WHY GRIEF?

What exactly is the cause of all grief? It is the attachment to the body that produces grief as well as its immediate precursors: affection and hate. These two are the results of the intellect considering some things and conditions as beneficial, and some other things and conditions as not. This is a delusion, this idea of beneficence and malevolence. Still you get attached to objects that are considered beneficial, and you start hating the others. But, from the highest point of view, there is neither. The distinction is just meaningless. There is no two at all. How can there be good and bad then? To see two where there is only one, that is delusion or ignorance. The ignorance that plunged Arjuna into grief was of this nature - seeing many, when there is only One. (SS 92,158)

Just as sugarcane does not yield sugar juice unless it is crushed, as sandal wood does not give the fragrant paste unless it is rubbed on the stone, so the goodness of people does not come out unless they go through difficulties. (240891)

Sandalwood gives more and more fragrance when it is subjected to more and more grinding; so does sugarcane yield juice as it is chewed more and more. Gold gets refined when it is burnt and melted in fire. So also a true devotee will never falter in his love for God even when he faces troubles and obstacles in his life. God tests His devotees only to lift them up to a higher level in the spiritual ladder. A true devotee leads a sacred life which is sanctified when he faces the obstacles and problems with full faith in the Divine. The body is only for leading a sacred life. (140493)

Human life is beset with ups and downs, joys and sorrows. These experiences are intended to serve as guideposts for man. Life would be stale if there were no trials and difficulties. It is these difficulties which bring out the human values in man. (020991)

Happiness and misery are inseparable twins which are inextricably linked to each other. One is the beginning and the other is the culmination. Beginning and end go together. Only the Divine is free from a beginning, a middle or an end; but in worldly affairs, everything that has a beginning, has an end. Grief is not something which someone thrusts on you from outside. Troubles and difficulties are not imposed on you from outside. Grief and trouble arise in the natural course of things. (010691)

God is not happy unless he gives you some occasional sorrow. Even the mother will not be happy unless the child cries heartily. Even while kissing the child, the mother twists the cheek of the child and then kisses him. In the same manner, God also causes several troubles and tests and then will please you. It is because of this, Kunthi said to Krishna, "It is your nature to play on the veena happily when your devotees are in discomfort and crying." God makes you cry only to give you extreme happiness after that. We will be able to eat more food, if we are hungry and are able to digest well. If the food that we take is not digested, how can we eat more food. In this manner, at first God gives troubles, sorrow and pain and then after your digesting these, he gives happiness and bliss. In this context, we must realise that it is not possible to easily understand the divine actions of the Lord. Only those who can experience them will be able to enjoy them and others can never understand this. Because of some external troubles, we think God is a very unkind person. This is not so. Actually God is preparing you to receive eternal happiness. (SSB 78,32)

JOY & GRIEF ARE UNREAL

Life is a dream. In the dream, you experience joy and grief; but when you realise that both joy and grief are unreal, when you awake into the consciousness of the Self, you will no more have the thrill of joy or the despondency of pain. You will not have any longer fear or anxiety, fear of death or anxiety about the future. (031272)

People complain of grief, sorrow, distress. What exactly is grief? It is a reaction to the loss of something gained or the failure to gain something desired. Therefore, the only way to escape grief, sorrow, etc. is to conquer the desire for the illusory. See the world as God. That vision will scotch desire. When the desire is limited to God, success is assured and each step contributes to Bliss. (260287)

Remember that the whole thing is just a play and the Lord has assigned you a role. Act well your role; there all your duties end. He has designed the play and He enjoys it.

When difficulties, losses and troubles confront you, do not be bothered. Be fearless! You are the Atma, you cannot be harmed. Treat these as challenges. Treat life as a game. Experience life as a stream of Love. The difficulties are passing clouds. During times of trouble and worry, think only about God! (200884)

GOD'S GRACE

Here is a story to illustrate the maxim "No gain without pain". There was a gardener who used to water the plants in the garden carrying a pot on his head from dawn to dusk. One day while carrying the pot he got a headache and wanted to lay down the pot and go home. At that moment, the pot taught him a valuable lesson. The pot said "Oh man! There can be no fruit without labour, no pleasure without pain. Learn the lesson from my own story. In the beginning I was just mere dust and mud, trodden upon by people. The potter gathered that mud, turned it into clay by pressing it under his feet, and made a pot from it by whirling the clay on his wheel. And finally I was placed in a kiln for firing. Whoever came to buy me tapped my sides with strength to test my hardness. It was because I went through all these ordeals that I earned the privilege of dancing on the heads of people. If I had not gone through all these trials how could I have achieved this eminence? Likewise, only if you are prepared to go through trial and difficulties will you be able to raise yourself in life."

Hence you should not succumb to difficulties and disappointments. You must strive to overcome them. For this purpose you have to acquire the grace of God by developing faith. (060389)

CULTIVATE DETACHMENT & SURRENDER

Surrender the ego, dedicate every moment and every movement to Him. He has assured mankind that He will ensure liberation from pain and evil.

So long as Arjuna believed that he was the doer and the enjoyer of the rewards for the deed, he was miserable. But, when the Lord taught him and demonstrated to him that he was but an instrument, that his duty was only to surrender to the will of the Lord, that those whom he sought to kill had already been killed by the Lord, he was freed from grief; he was filled with unspeakable peace. (221169)

Once man is free from undue attachment to the body and its appurtenances, he is liberated also from the pulls of joy-grief, good-bad, pleasure-pain, etc. He is firmly established in equanimity, fortitude, undisturbed balance. Then, man discovers that the world is one kin, in God; that all is joy, love, bliss. He realises that he himself is all this apparent world, that all the multifarious manifestations are the fantasies of the Divine Will, which is his own reality. (181266)

Man has to journey over the road that lies over pleasure and pain, grief and joy. The journey can be smooth only when he resorts to wisdom, devotion and detachment.

So long as man is attracted by outer Nature, he cannot escape the blows of joy and grief, of profit and loss, of happiness and misery. But, if he is attracted by the glory of God within him as well as within Nature, he can be above and beyond these dualities and in perfect peace. In order to escape being tossed about on the waves of joy and grief, one should cultivate unconcern, an attitude of welcoming either, as a sign of Grace. Sri Ramakrishna said that if you must avoid the sticky fluid in the jack-fruit from contacting your fingers when you peel it, you must apply a few drops of oil on them. So too, said he, "If you do not want the world and its reactions to stick to you, have a few drops of unconcern applied on your mind." This unconcern leads to the deepest yearning for God. (Breath of Sai 279)

CULTIVATE FAITH

W
orry and grief there will always be, of one type or other, in the past, present and future, while waking, dreaming and sleeping. But place faith in the Lord and do your task as dedicated to Him and they both will vanish. (020958)

You need determination to face the challenges of life, which is filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, joys and sorrows. These challenges have to be faced with faith in God.  You should not allow yourselves to be overwhelmed in any way by difficulties and sorrows, doubts and disappointments. You must have faith. Have confidence in yourself and strive to understand well the nature of God's love. (251284)

Don't blame God if difficulties confront you. Regard even those difficulties as gifts from God intended for your good. Life is a succession of good and bad. If you take in your stride these ups and downs of life with firm faith in God, the Divine will take good care of you. Always remember the Lord's name. (020690)

CULTIVATE INNER PEACE

You must have the skill to swim over the waves of joy and grief, of pain and profit. You must be a master of the art of being full at ease, perfectly calm and unaffected, whatever may happen to the body or senses or mind; they are all inert when they are not urged by the inner I, which alone is Intelligence, Awareness. Learn the skill of achieving and maintaining inner peace, the art of being aware of the self as the Inner Reality and then you can safely gyrate in the world, as fast as you care. (070768)

Do not flinch in the face of grief. The Lord bestows a favour when He decides to test you, for He is impressed by your achievement and wants to put upon it the seal of His approval. Rise up to the demands of the test; that is the way to please the Lord. (060362)

When the night grows chill, you draw the rug tighter around you, is it not? So too when grief assails you, draw the warmth of the name of the Lord closer round your mind. (060263)

Never brood over the past when grief over-powers you; do not recollect similar incidents in your past experiences and add to the sum of your grief. Recollect rather, incidents when grief did not knock at your door and you were happy instead. Draw consolation and strength from such memories and raise yourself above the surging waters of sorrow. Women are called "weak" because they yield to anger and sorrow much more easily than men; so I would ask them to take extra pains to overcome these two. Repeating the Name is the best antidote for this and if only men and women take it up the Lord will come to their rescue. That will instil the faith that everything is God's will and teach that you have no right to exult or despair. (020858)

GOD'S GIFT

Take everything that happens to you as the gift of Grace.

Without grief, there is no relish in joy. The orange has a bitter rind, the bitterness guards the sweet juice from marauders; you cannot have a sweet sugary rind for the sweet fruit, for, then, it will be consumed entire by all and sundry, then and there! The urge of the fruit is to travel far, so that the seeds may grow into trees in open spaces in the distance and not under the shade of the parent tree. The tree desires its progeny to spread far and wide. So, if the rind is bitter, the eater will take it with him and travel some distance, while removing it and start scattering the seeds only many paces away! You cannot keep gold safe in a gold box. You must have a steel almirah for it.

The gift of joy comes packed in the rind of grief. Do not pray God to give you only joy; that will be foolish. Pray for the fortitude to realise that grief and joy are but the obverse and reverse of the same coin. (270371)

Bring to Me your sorrows and grief, worries and anxieties and take from Me joy and peace, courage and confidence.

I bring tears of joy into your eyes and wipe the tears of grief. I am with you always, your heart is My home. (280960)

Even when ten million disappointments combine to distress you, never give up Love; fix it on the source of Love, the spring of Love, the Supreme Goal of Love, namely, God. Whatever the handicap, however you are tempted to loosen the grip, hold on to God; there is always a calm, after the storm. A bout of hot weather invariably brings welcome showers. Love saturates all activities with joy and peace. Love ennobles the least and the lowest. Love your self for the God that it embodies; love others, for the God that is enshrined in them, that speaks and acts through them. (230271)

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