Subba’s Serendipitous moments

January 18, 2007

Dealing with pain

Filed under: Inspiration,Perspective,Stories — Subbaraman Iyer @ 3:34 pm

Here is my reference to Atanu’s post

I did write about Atanu’s post in his blog and my disagreement with his conclusion. In my view, while it is an interesting angle to pursue whether there is an utility value to suffering, I believe most people ask that question in a rhetoric sense, to see whether they can get over the suffering. I believe suffering has value and the only way one can deal with it is by acceptance and the only way to come out of suffering is through service. The following story (from an old Indian lore) expresses it beautifully.

Once in a small village in India there was a woman whose only son (born

after 20 years of prayer) died a tragic death. She was so overwhelmed with

grief that she contemplated ending her life as she found no reason to live.

Her neighbour suggested that she visit a wise holy man who can help overcome

her grief. After a lot of hesitation she relented.

She visited the holy man and asked him whether there were any prayers or

magical incantations to bring her son back to her. Instead of sending her

away, or reasoning with her he said to her ” Fetch me a mustard seed from a

home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of

your life”. Upon hearing that the woman quickly set off to look for the

magical seed. She first came to big mansion, knocked the door and asked ” I

am looking for a house that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It

is very important to me .” They told her ” You have to come to the wrong

place” and began to pour out the tragic things which has befallen them. The

woman then thought to herself ” Who is better able to experience these poor

unfortunate people than I who have experienced sorrows on my own and can

understand how they feel”. She therefore stayed to console and comfort them

and then went on again to search for a home that had never known sorrow. But

wherever she went, to huts and to palaces, there was never one without tales

of sorrow and grief and misfortune.Ultimately she became so involved in

listeneing to other people’s sorrow that she forgot about her quest for the

magical mustard seed. Never realising that it had actually driven the sorrow

out of her lives.

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