Karmas [Sufferings] — A Time of Trials

Excerpts from a letter to an Initiate, by Sant Kirpal Singh

Whatever good or bad happens to you, through whatever persons or object, directly proceeds from our loving Father. All persons and objects are but tools in His hand. If an evil befalls you, think it as His greatest mercy. We have to suffer for our past actions sooner or later. Our Master, by taking us through these sufferings speedily, and by hastening the approach of those which were to come later, intends to relieve us of our burden earlier. And by this earlier payment of debt — because debt it is — the amount of the suffering is very much lessened.

We may have to pay one ton of karma first, but instead, by the Grace of the Master, we are released and only pay one pound. So never be disheartened if you are made to pay some severe debt. It is all for your good. Suppose a man ill-treats you without any fault on your part, you should see in this ill-treatment the Hand of the Master working. He wants to find out, and to make known to you, whether or not your self-reverence has died out, and how deep has meekness and love taken root in you.

Again, suppose a man loses a relative, it is to test the decrease in love of earthly relatives. Father wants to loosen these heavy chains which bind us down to this earth. More love towards earthly relatives means less with the Master. So all events which appear to be misfortune are not really so. They come to chasten us and to add to our power of resistance — and leave us better in the end. Be always resigned to His Will. What Father does, He does for the best.

In this world, those persons who are engaged in the upward march have constantly to face the inroads of two powerful enemies — the Mind and Matter. They try to put many obstacles in our way. If an untoward event happens we need not be disheartened. Rather, we should rise with redoubled love — and finally victory is ours.

Desire has abased the soul. When it desires something and fails to find the object of its desire, it feels pain. Therefore, abandon your desires even now and accustom yourself to be resigned to the will of the Father.

Your fall from the window — my daughter you truly say. There is nothing accidental here. Every misery or trouble that comes to us is the result of our own past actions. The sooner our debts to Kal Purush (negative power, the lord of the three worlds) are paid off the better for us. Whatever befalls us is regulated by direct orders of our Guru, and we should take it as such as a blessing unexpected. Such obstructions are sure to come in the way of a Satsangi. But we should not be disheartened by these acts of the Kal Purush, rather during such intervals we should attend to the Bhajan (listening to the Sound Current of the WORD as instructed by the Master) with double zeal. Master is always with you and watching you and helping you in every action. Go on increasing love and faith in His Feet by regularly attending to exercises. He, Himself will look after our worldly affairs.

A Master-Saint’s mission is to distribute Heaven’s Treasure of Mercy with the Laws of Sympathy and Mercy. Thus all troubles of devoted disciples are softened to a bearable minimum degree. Sometimes intensity of bodily and mental trouble is increased to shorten duration of suffering. With others, intensity is decreased and duration is prolonged. But this is not all.

Sufferings, troubles, and diseases of physical body are the interest we accrue from pleasures. Bodily troubles are to be borne on the body. The Master as Word-Personified and Polarized God-Man knows all His disciples, whether at a distance or near at hand. He even takes the burden of karma of His devoted disciples on His own shoulders to bear Himself. This happens in very rare cases where Master sees fit. Besides, no disciple would like to adopt this course, that the Holy Master should suffer for his wrongs. The disciple should be well conversant with the Laws of Prayer in the world. He should pray to his Master Saint and help is sure to come to relieve or soften the situation and to minimize the results of sins.

Your question about the necessity of suffering in the economy of creation is one of those problems which cannot be satisfactorily understood so long as the soul is on this low plane, but so much can be said that spirit entities are merely forced into this condition at the time of creation. The object of the Creator was that they, too, should attain full consciousness and join the region of pure bliss. Therefore, in order to develop their consciousness and to create in them a longing to reach the region of pure spirit, it was necessary to subject them to a course of suffering, without that they would not have cared to make their condition better. The soul that is satisfied in this world does not feel the necessity of joining its Creator. The truth of this explanation becomes established as the soul travels upwards.

The individual’s desires are mostly the outcome of past karma. Feeble and passing desires arise in thought and are stilled after mental satisfaction. There are other desires which are more persistent, they have to be satisfied, some even on the physical plane. So whatever happens is for the ultimate good, although at times it appears antagonistic to our calculation. We are ignorant of our past karmas but Master knows.

So the whole thing reduces to this: that we do what we have been asked to do by the Master (spiritual exercises) and doing our worldly things with our ordinary wisdom and never caring for the result.

Do your duty and expect nothing; leave that to the Master. Take for granted that all that has happened, is happening, or will happen, is with His will. So in whatever circumstances we find ourselves we should remain contented. If He sends us misery, we should accept it with pleasure and if He keeps us happy we should take it as His children.

So do not consider that your life is not a bed of roses. Take it as His gift and be happy with it. “Misery is a blessing in disguise”, says Shakespeare. Misery is a medicine and pleasure is a disease, for in pleasure the mind dominates and keeps us away from the Path. You say you are thirsty for knowledge; knowledge is in the sound current. It is within you. You speak of your husband’s illness and loss of position — naturally you feel very much disturbed and disheartened.

Rest assured that before you are born here the arrangement of your livelihood was made. The pains and pleasures and the general run of life were then determined. This was not any haphazard process, but by a careful regulated system known as the Rarinichan.

Nothing happens here of its own accord. The pains and pleasures of life are the result of our own actions. He who is born, no matter in what form (all forms) cannot help doing actions and all actions must have reactions. Every action is indelibly written on our minds. The memory is poor and the whole record is forgotten, but it does not mean that there is no record.

Main events of the life are the results of our past actions and this is the debt that stands against us, and like a debtor we should be happy when the debt is being paid off. The debt has to be paid. We incurred it at one time as cheerfully as some people are doing now. It seems painful now to pay, but we were not cautious when we incurred it. The only course open now is to reconcile ourselves with what is happening, for happen it must, and undergo it we must, then why not do so without opposition?

It is difficult to be happy in calamity, but you will find much change if you look at it from the viewpoint just stated.

Nanak, a Great Saint, has said,

“Misery is medicine and pleasure a disease,
because in pleasure, mind scatters
and in adversity or misery, it contracts.”

The teachings of the Saints is to subordinate and merge the individual will in His Will.

The Saints and the world differ here. The world pays the debt and weeps or laughs, while the Saints neither weep nor laugh but are unaffected by the pains or pleasures of this life. The question arises: “What supports the Saints in this attitude?” The answer is that while they have bodies like us and live under the same external circumstances in which we live, they are not attached to the bodies as we are.

They can withdraw the attention from the body at will not only from the material body, but also from the astral and causal bodies. When the attention is withdrawn and, in proportion to its withdrawal, then the influence of pain and pleasure is not felt; for the mind that was to feel (attention) is not there for the time being. They withdraw the attention and live in the Sound Current. The current is Their Life. They teach the same to us and not only wish it, but make him a Saint who follows them. Hence, with patience, perseverance, and faith, try to rise up, first to the eye focus by repetition of names, and then catch the sound current there and reach your Naam.

Do not loose heart but trust in the Master.
Subordinate your will to His.

The game of life seldom runs smoothly; when everything seems going well something comes in to disturb it. The Kal interferes. But if the faith is strong and one keeps on with the current the times pass on well. The wind has come and gone. The pains and pleasures of life come and go and mind learns by experience. Let Mrs X alone. Let her gain by experience.

When the time of very favorable karma comes, only then the mind feels inclined to go within and only then the love for the Master and the sound current spring up, and he spends some time in devotion. On the other hand, when the disturbing karma intervenes mind feels dry and indifferent and runs away from Satsang and sinks back in the quagmire of the world. It takes time to remove the layers of karmic dirt deposited through innumerable births.

Krishna of the Bhagavad Gita says,

“Freedom from karma is attained
after a long succession of lives
spent rightly on the path.”

Life is a combination of pains and pleasures. If the happy days are gone, the days of adversity will also go in their turn to make room for the happy times again. The karmic cycle must work. The arrow that has left the bow must find its mark. The man should put up with it as best he can for the karma is unchangeable.

Two devotees of spirituality went to pay respects to a lady (Rabia Basri) well advanced in this line. The talk turned on the visitation of good and bad days. The lady asked them to state the attitude a person should have under these varying circumstances. One of them replied, “Good and bad should be borne with patience.” The lady replied that there was pride in that attitude. The second said that one should take delight in both good and bad. The lady smelled pride here as well. They asked the lady to state the attitude and she replied, “Soul should be so advanced that it feels no difference in good and bad.”

In adversity and disease one gets an opportunity to test himself and his depth in his faith.

In this world you seldom come across a happy soul. Under the burden of ailments and troubles, mental and physical, every soul feels oppressed. When hard times come, a devotee should face them with patience and should derive strength from the sound current to bear them, remembering that if good days have passed away giving place to bad, the bad also in their time will be replaced by the good days again. A boat held to its moorings will see flood waters pass by, but detached from its moorings, it may not survive the flood. Current is our base — our mooring. Soul attached to the current is safe.

The span of life can neither be extended nor shortened. Even by one single breath. Fate cannot be altered. Health and disease are connected with past karma, and come and go as determined by the cycle of karma. Medicine does not cure the disease. Karma is at the root. When the karma has been gone through; the disease has run its course; and the medicine is effective. No medicine is effective as long as the disease has not run its course. But it is good to take medicine in disease as advised by doctors. Medicine keeps the patient consoled. Friends do not unnecessarily trouble and press the patient, while others get no chance at all to call the patient a miser or a stupid person. Again, it is an opportunity for the paying up of old debts through the doctor’s fees and apothecaries bills.

Faith unsupported by direct evidence from within should not be put to very severe tests for it is shaky. When the spirit has access within and is in communion with the Master then it receives support from within and has direct evidence of the coming, duration, and going of the disease. In such cases, even Saints advise the use of medicine — for the patient may be getting evidence and support from within, but his relations or attendants in whose charge he finds himself may not be of his way of thinking. They will be constantly pressing him for medicine. So why not take a little dose and let things go smoothly.

The karmic debt has to be paid. The power to pay this debt increases as we follow the (Sound) Current. As long as the attention is in the Current it is withdrawn from the body and mind, and as the debt is to be paid through sufferings of the body or the mind, and through association with the Current, both of them have been elevated and they do not feel the suffering to the extent to which they could have felt otherwise; not that they are dulled but because the soul — the life-giving principle — is capable of detaching or withdrawing itself from their sphere.

Again, if a devotee is doing his bit faithfully he receives Master’s help to a greater degree. Just as a benevolent person coming across a man carrying a heavy load would offer to share his load, so does the Master. A faithful devotee is taken care of by the Master as a child is taken care of by its mother. But look at the implicit faith of a child in the Mother. The Sound practice does not postpone the karma but destroys it.

Kirpal Singh

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