Forbearance – a very important lesson

March 18, 2013 Comments Off on Forbearance – a very important lesson

Once I happened to see a doctor attending a patient suffering from a kind of chronic rheumatic complaint. The patient had been under treatment for long. Yet he did not have full relief. That day the doctor was brought to the patient because the patient’s condition was somewhat serious. When the doctor completed his examination, I enquired of him “what will be the progress and outcome of the disease?”. He replied “not fatal in any way. However, the patient will have to learn to live with the disease, that is all”.

I think the case with sukha and dukha, which life continuously brings for us, is something quite similar, at least to begin with. As long as we propose to live with one or more of the senses and as long as we do so in this world full of various objects, sukha and dukha will perforce be creeping into our mind repeatedly. We cannot escape them at all. What the wise man has, therefore, to do is to recognize their inevitable nature and thereupon outlive an attitude of forbearance towards them, as in the case of death and such other factors.

However, there is one advantage in the occurrence of sukha-duhkhas. They do not have permanence or durability. They are, by nature, fleeting, flickery, like the clouds that rise up in the sky, like the bubbles that surge up on water. Each of them emerges within our body, but only to disappear too soon. Thereupon the other creeps in. That too vanishes in an instant. The former surges up again. Like this, they go on alternating themselves ever and ever, as do the seasons in every year. Geetha says that their flicker and alternating nature is the factor that must serve the sadhaka, the thinker, as a source of help in cultivating forbearance.

Truly, for the humans, the best source of power and help is right knowledge and recognition. We see a stick lying on the ground in dim light, and suddenly take it to be a snake. Fear immediately creeps into our mind. Suppose we bring in a light and examine the object. We find it to be a stick, and instantly the fear disappears. Ignorance thus causes fear, and knowledge, its opposite, removes – it effectively. Sukha and duhkha also will stop deluding us if we can gain the proper knowledge about them. We will be able to deal with them rightly with forbearance.

So, forbearance is a very important lesson that Bhagavadgeeta holds for us. Without the preparedness to forbear the sukha-dukhas, no sadhaka can hope to make any progress at all in his spiritual efforts. This is a cardinal truth.
– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[This is an excerpt from the monthly journal Vicharasethu.]

(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012


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