“In the valley of sorrow till thousand years or till tomorrow, My Lord I want only You, You, You, just You. My heart’s aflame, my soul’s afire, just to see You, You, You, just You.”
These heart-touching words are of a song by Paramhansa Yogananda that convey to us with utmost clarity the heart-cries of a sorrow-stricken devotee whose only aspiration is to unite with the Divine whether it happens just the next day or he may have to wait for a thousand years!
The Divine Search
Is life a bed of roses? Not at all. As we experience many pleasure-some moments in times of upswing, there are distressing moments of sheer sorrow and despair as this inevitably happens when life’s swing is downward. For most of us our spiritual journey begins, in all its earnest, at times when our circumstances are difficult, posing formidable hurdles that we cannot manage on our own. This challenge forcibly makes us search for Divine help, invariably as a last straw for our rescue, though seemingly intangible and unknown.
But the question is that why do most people do not have a yearning to seek the Divine in their good times? Well, good times for most people mean being overly engrossed in material pleasures and simply forgetting the innumerable gifts of God. This is just like a child who is so much engaged in playing with the toys that he forgets the parent who is long waiting for him. But what happens if while playing, that toy breaks and its sharp, broken edge injures the child? Yelling out loud for help, the child naturally runs back to seek help from the parent. In the same way, we remain oblivious to the countless gifts of God, bestowed on us right since we took our first breath and stepped into the drama of this world stage, till moments of distress strike!
The boundless love of God for us, His children, is indescribably the hallmark of our very existence. Right from the gift of breath and an astonishingly well-orchestrated body machinery to our mental-emotional well being, we are gifted with parents, siblings, family members and friends. Not to forget, we are blessed with unending gifts in the form of the air we breathe in, the water we drink, the food we eat, the home we live in, the clothes we wear, and everything else we can name has a stamp of the Divine! Engrossed with the pleasures of all these gifts, literally toys, we forget God till we get beaten by life’s challenges, just as a child when hurt from a broken toy rushes back to the parent crying. Such moments of pain and suffering are commonly experienced in times of ill health when the physical body is gripped by disease or there is mental suffering as in anxiety and depression. Deep sorrow may afflict us due to broken relationships, unfulfilled expectations from loved ones, failing careers, deceitful friends and mocking relatives to name a few. In moments of experiencing these hard blows. there is no option left for most of us but to turn towards the Divine, wishing a miracle happening through His grace and mercy.
Learning From Sorrow
Yoganandaji said, “Sorrow is something that nobody wants but without sorrow we would never learn to be better. Sorrow is the way to true happiness.” How is it so? Well, each blow of sorrow-filled, heart-breaking episode of life could be likened to climbing a higher step of an evolutionary ladder that poses a challenge for rising up on this new step, for it requires an effort, leaving behind the lower step or the present situation in life. For the spiritually minded, such moments call for a deeper understanding of the Divine Truths. That is why Master said that, “Sorrow is a great teacher if you learn from it. It was given so that you do not remain attached to this world.” The lesson, for sure, is to make sincere efforts to grow spiritually.
A person having faith in God rises up firmly on the higher step of this ladder for he/she reconciles with the new situation, accepting the changes that are effected by the sorrow. A great suffering is a harbinger of spiritual rise only if we remain steadfast on tuning in with and accepting God’s will in our hard times, and moulding ourselves to fit in better in those circumstances, rather than trying to change other people. For this, one needs to practice tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance and willingness to change oneself.
Unfortunately,not many people learn from sorrow as despite having faith in God they do not make necessary spiritual effort or exercise needed patience to rise above those down-pulling moments. Therefore, unable to face the challenges, they may succumb to these conflicts and pressures of life that appear to them seemingly insurmountable. This adversely affects their body and mind, becoming the cause of many illnesses.
Yoganandaji said that, “Sorrow is a blessing in disguise. When sorrow comes, you must learn the lesson behind it. No sorrow can trouble you as soon as you give everything to God.” By giving everything to God means that we surrender to God in all humility and make necessary spiritual effort for changing ourselves and thus seeing life from a different perspective. This happens by raising our consciousness and meeting all challenges squarely or head-on, thus stepping higher on the evolutionary ladder of self realization. It is by the meditation technique of Kriya yoga that the seeds of past karmas, which are the cause of our suffering, can be destroyed as they are devotionally offered into the Divine Light. That is why Swami Sri Yukteshwarji said that, “Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened.”
Sorrow Opens Our Eyes to Delusion
A blow of hard times teaches us the futility of living in a world of delusion that is beset with many ups and downs without lasting happiness. As most of us search for happiness in outward activities such as making a lot of money, rearing a family and in appeasing human relationships, the blow of sorrow teaches us that true happiness comes only from soul consciousness. The duality of this material world keeps us entangled in the dual opposites such as pain and pleasure, health and disease, life and death and so on. So there comes no assurance of lasting, permanent happiness as we keep riding these waves of delusion, lifetime after lifetime. Sorrowful moments surprisingly come as Divine grace in our life as then dawns in us the realization to change ourselves for the better, provided we do not succumb to its pressures. As we progress on the spiritual path we finally reach the highest state of our evolution,where our soul merges into the Infinite Spirit. Called the state of Samadhi, we get free from the cycles of birth and death and thus, stop riding the waves of delusion. As Yoganandaji beautifully describes this state in His poem entitled Samadhi, “Tranquilled, unbroken thrill, eternally living, ever-new peace! Enjoyable beyond imagination of expectancy, Samadhi bliss!” That is what we are all trying to seek.
Remembrance is the Key
The journey to the Divine is, for sure, long and arduous for the heavy karmic baggage most of us have to work out before we merge back into the Infinite Spirit.As good times return after a spell of hard days, it is important to firmly hold onto the memories of sorrow in order to remain steadfast on the path of spiritual growth. Otherwise, if we forget our hard times and the lessons learned during that period, it is easy to fall back again to our old ways of thinking and behaviour that were the cause of our suffering in the first place. These moments of darkness were instrumental for bringing in us the urge to search for the Light. That fiery urge in us, yearning to unite with the Divine, can be kept alive only through its remembrance at all times particularly the good times when we are most likely engrossed in the pleasures of this world. If that happens, then we may not suffer in the valley of sorrow for a thousand years but shall unite with Him, may be, as soon as tomorrow!
Just came to my mind the words of Kabir…’Sukh mein sumarin sab karen…..’
Yeah! If we could look into the grace & depth of Sorrow and heights of Happiness, only than life doesn’t remain a riddle and turns into an unsung song of bliss…Leaving behind all meanings, objectives and taking us towards the sanctuary of love.
Yes…I’d like to present few words of Vivekananda suddenly floating in my being after reading the story :
Behold, it comes in might,
The power that is not power,
The light that is in darkness,
The shade in dazzling light.
It is joy that never spoke,
And grief unfelt, profound,
Immortal life unlived,
Eternal death unmourned.
It is not joy nor sorrow,
But that which is between,
It is not noght nor morrow,
But that which joins them in.
It is sweet rest in music;
And pause in sacred art;
The silence between speaking;
Between two fits of passion –
It is the calm of heart.
It is beauty never seen,
And love that stands alone,
It is song that lives un-sung,
And knowledge never known.
It is death between two lives,
And lull between two storms,
The void whence rose creation,
And that where it returns.
To it the tear-dropp goes,
To spread the smiling form
It is the Goal of Life,
And Peace – its only home!
Dukh mein sumati sab karein…?
***read as Dukh mein sumarin sab karein?
Beautiful explained how to come out of our sorrow anxiety elusion etc
Difficult concepts have been delved with very simply. Will wait for the next in the series. Are you planning a book?
Very thoughtfully written Dr. Cheena Chawla. Stay abundantly blessed. Aameen
Very beautifully written. Remembering the lord, our Divine Parent, parent to us all at all times is our greatest test. For if we involve him in our happy times too, the times of sorrow shall not seem too sad.
U r Right… what u said is also written in our Guru Granth Sahib…we all should follow this Path to attain “Mukti”…. To attain “God”….. Stay bless Di…. U are an inspiration to us…
U r Right… what u said is also written in Our Guru Granth Sahib….We all should follow this path to attain “Mukti”…. to attain “True God”…. Stay bless Di…. U are inspiration to us….
So thoughtful Bhabhi ji. Its so great to know that you have already evolved so greatly!!!
Dukh Me Simran Sabh Kare, Sukh Me Kare Na Koye….Sukh Me Simran Jo Kare….Dukh Kahe Ko Hoye!
But there is another thought…..jab Shani ki Dasha lahti hai ya dasha hoti hai… Tabhi Bhole Nath ka gungan karta hai ye manushya…log samajhate hai Shani Maharaj Manushya ka bura samaya late hai… but when you look at the bigger picture, bhai wo to insaan ko bhole Nath se milate hai! To Prabhu ji aap to halesha hi jagat ka bhala kar rahe ho, even when tuchh Mamishaya ye samajta hai ke uska achha samaya nahi chal raha hai. Jai ho Prabhu ji jai Ho!
Very beautifully written by dr chawla ..
Loved reading it.
Please allow to add… whereas the realised call the divine not to free them of pains that they themselves may be experiencing but out of compassion n grate love they call on divine for the benefit of human race trying their best to pull them to God consciousness and free them all from the clutches of MAYA.
For a mundane karmi however this call is only to free him from the clutches of pains n sorrows.
Dear mam, a very thoughtful article on how to convert one’s suffering during difficult times for spiritual upliftment. Thanks.
Why one enjoy happiness and why one suffer pain ? Why it can’t be other way round ? Or why can’t one just stop caring about happiness and sorrow ? I still wonder some time ! Is it science or evolution which created life ? Or a God created Life and let it exist complying absolutely with fantastic principle of science & mathematics . Why would God do such a thing to create life and let it propagate itself complying with best principle of science & mathematics ? Relating relief of suffering through chanting so called God’s name is again a theory and has not been proven clinically effective . By writing that a feeling that we remember God or parents during pain, does not prove anything or prove that God exist or relief of pain comes through Chanting . It has been proven in many studies that many people think of their loved one or God when they are enjoying happy moments and they thank God too. Actually it is 50:50. That 50 percent think of God in pain and 50 % in happiness. The whole concept of pain and happiness and linking it with chanting or with God is misleading . The fundamentals of existence by self has to be explored by THE SELF . Who cares , I suffer or I am enjoying the toy . I am going to find out how and why I am here? Going little bit beyond , Self Realisation Fellowship shall look too little if we try to link it with happiness and sorrows . It is in-built into human consciousness to seek self realisation once it has come out of confusion created by body , mind and spirit . One can clear this confusion oneself and hard way or go to an expert . Looking forward to such expertise in life through knowledge , learning and guidance of great masters who had learnt it already.
If you see God as a creator, you would obviously think of a being very different from this universe which don’t think exists. Because to think of such a universe you will have to think of as a you would need a very powerful computer with an increasing memory and processor, again to build that you need another machine or something to think of it.
What I think of God is as the soul of the universe and nature, i.e. some sort of superconsciousness which already exists.
It’s like a normal human being is conscious and using it in our daily life making different choices. Now we think of our consciousness as different each human being having our different choices to make. But we are happening of nature(we are born naturally and die naturally no normal human being can choose it) I don’t think any unconscious thing would be able to produce consciousness because it’s beyond the reach of that unconscious thing. The very famous Adi Shankaracharya spent his whole life in spreading the concept of Advaita Vedanta whose sole idea was that our consciousness is not different from that of the consciousness of the whole universe, known as “Brahma”.
Very beautiful article
Thank you for this deeply touching blog. It has helped me to understand how important it is to remain in God remembrance, not only in bad times but in good times also. How clearly you have explained that Yoganandaji has taught us to learn from sorrow (which is our own doing), improve ourselves and seek God alone in whom we will find lasting happiness.
Very beautiful idea well expressed.
It’s difficult to see the true light in a bright room but it’s easy to see it in a dark room.
So well researched . Very evolved thoughts. Thanks Maam for sharing
Really nice article. Simply narrated about sorrow,depression and importance of kriya yoga to overcome these. Thanks for wonderful article, expecting more that will make us in divine way. ???
पी. चीना चावला जी द्वारा लिखा हुआ लेख पढ़ा बहुत ही मार्मिक प्रस्तुति है वह धन्यवाद की पात्र है कि काफी व्यस्त होने के बाबजूद भी समाज हित मे कार्य कर रही में व्यक्ति गत रूप से उनको जनता हु और उनकी इस सोच को सलाम करता हु उनकी सोच है सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिन सर्वे संतु निरा मया अर्थात सब सुखी रहे और निरोग रहे और योग के माध्यम से यह सम्भव है में प्रार्थना करता हु भगवान उनको सामर्थ्य प्रदान करे क्योंकि उनके अंदर जज्बा है और जज्बे को सलाम है इस कार्य में में उनकी पुत्री गुनीका का भी सराहना करता हु जो कि इस महान कार्य मे उनके साथ लगी है
Blessed to learn from the teachings of Master. He is still there guiding as we deeply yearn for him. ?
Beautifully explained…Yes remembrance is the key to God…And learning from mistakes will eventually makes us more alert of the kingdom of heaven which is inside us..Please keep writing
Dr Cheena’s experience of GOD’s love is a constant reminder to gaze inwards. The reminders of subtle truths, are also reminders pointing to our sole purpose in this birth we have been blessed with.
A very significant & poignant call is subtly penned down as great pearls – beckoning the devotee to sink into still awareness, to achieve that fusion of jivatma with the Paramatma. Threading our Master’s poetic calls to His truth utterances, Dr Cheena is reminding us of our Divine Communion. As our world socially, politically & materially engages us every moment, Dr Cheena is gathering us to the quoted reality of spiritual dynamics at play, if only we had “eyes to see”…
Her words – Simply challenging & interpreting the mechanism of the world laid bare to us and diligently calling us through our MASTER to race for the ‘Kingdom of GOD”.
Through Dr Cheena’s words, I can experience that constant inward gaze toward that mystical agape love. Her listed deep truths of Masters words echoes symbolically, pointing us to our sole purpose as pilgrims on earth.
A very significant & poignant call is subtly penned down through pearls of great value….her words beckoning the devotee to a dive to achieve that fusion of the jivatma with the Paramatma. Threading our Master’s poetic refrains to HIS truth utterances, Dr Cheena is reminding us of our Divine Communion.
As our world continues to engage us socially, politically & materially each moment, Dr Cheena is gathering us to the reality of spiritual dynamics at play, if only we have “eyes to see”.
Her words – simply challenging; interpreting the world mechanism & laying it bare to us & deepening the clarion call of our MASTER to persevere for the “Kingdom of GOD”.
Very deep philosophy. Very real in explaination and understanding of human behavior.
May be when we have sorrow makes us to think where it went wrong. Sort of self realisation
Submission to God and asking his help in case of crisis is cruciaal.
Thanks cheena for your work..
Deeply philosophical cheenas wrok. Showing human behaviour and self realisation due to sorrow caused by own misgivings and by Gods help finding the right path. Submission to God at the moment of crisis and asking his guidance is crucial.
Thanks cheena for your work. Your guru shall be proud of you
The Voice of Soul
This concept about sorrows is because of our lack of Introspection to understand worldly affaires.Whenever our worldly affairs knowledge can’t understand the reason behind sorrows than only we knock our Soul to know the truth and we get the answer about sorrows.
If we try to explor ‘The Voice of Soul’ there is nothing like sorrows. You have rightly said
“Unfortunately, not many people learn from sorrow as despite having faith in God they do not make necessary spiritual effort or exercise needed patience to rise above those down-pulling moments. Therefore, unable to face the challenges, they may succumb to these conflicts and pressures of life that appear to them seemingly insurmountable. This adversely affects their body and mind, becoming the cause of many illnesses.”
Thanks for sharing the thought provoking thoughts.
Thanks Dr. Cheena for this beautifully wriiten blog and sharing and helpingin us to know the true deeper meaning of Grace of sorrow. Shri Paramhansa Yoganandaji has given solution to every problem in our lives. It is our duty and responsibility to follow them and share this legacy of our Master so that his teachings can reach many souls and help them. Dr. Cheena has explained these teachings in a easier way.
Nice.i enjoyed The Master’s Voice !!?
The thoughts are crystal clear and to the point.
In the situations of Sadness/Happiness, pain/comfort, profit/ loss we should remain unaffected and infact centred always, this is only possible if you are in Divine love.
This blog is amazing.
Thanks Dr Cheena for sharing amazing wave of thoughts