How should we react to pain and sufferings in life is a question often asked and the answers are not conclusive or satisfactory. Despite our awareness about the unavoidable and impermanent nature of pain and afflictions in life, when we actually see its face, majority of us lose balance and react despairingly. We get into the trap of emotions and may even become belligerent towards God or with people and circumstance that caused suffering. Some people undergo the experience by escaping altogether from the situation surrendering their rights for justice or opportunity for self development. They are like persons who got blows in darkness and unable to react. Very few people are able to intellectually overcome pain. The sublimation of pain spiritually comes only next. Why such a big trap of pain and suffering is put in front of us? Probably it is to teach us how to overcome pain and suffering by our intelligence and spiritual strength of the soul over matter and emotions.
Even those who have intellectually understood the dynamics of pain and suffering confess that when the actual meeting with pain comes, they get shaken at least temporarily and react standing on the platform of emotions.
This is because of our intellectual immaturity and ingrained spiritual status and influences reaching out from our spiritual background. Our spiritual background is related to he intermediary region of qualitative attributes - satva, rajas and tamas. This spiritual realm is always unstable and subject to change. Death and decay happens in this spiritual triangle. We all know this state of affairs but still we live hoping against hope. But this will never happen. Nobody can build a peaceful palace on the turbulent waters of the ocean. Strangely we refuse to think why we are in such a funny situation.
It is our worship which is adding fuel to our entanglement with emotional slavery. Vertically, our worship is related to the realm of spiritual hierarchies beginning from the spirit world, ancestral world and celestial world which are under the domain of emotions and the pangs of cyclic births and deaths. Horizontally these spiritual planes are segmented into three broad categories according to the predominance of satva, raja and tama. Just like men in the world, the deities also have been segregated into these three categories. One may find the mention of it in the dialogue of Rishi Vasisht in Ramayana.
Among Hindus there will be a pooja room or prayer place, or a temple, in which there will be various deities. Those who have satvic qualities will get attracted to satvic deities and those who are of rajasic and tamasic nature to such deities. Tamasic plain is associated with utter pain, jealousy, fights, diseases and squalor of all types. By associating with the deities of tamasic plane such as low spirits, ghosts, goblins, souls of ancestors etc. one makes sure of his fall unable to have any reign over his thoughts and behavior. These spirits and deities are worshiped by the name of Matan, Maruta, Mantramurti, Bhadrakali etc. in South India. Their equivalent versions are worshiped in North also by ignorant men and women. Possessions or spirit manifestations are common to this category. Gurus who please the devotees by propitiating such deities through mantra and tantra are considered tamasic gurus. Guru Gita calls them as nishidha gurus or prohibited gurus.
Rajasic plane is associated with angels, devas, devis and other celestial groups such as yaksha, kinnara and gandharva. This is a plane of constant agitation, competition and jealousy. However, there are higher gods like Siva and satvic gods and goddesses such as Vishnu, Laxmi, or Saraswati worshiped by Hindus. One can experience the acme of pleasure in the heaven of gods, except liberation, since swarga or heaven is a plane of subtle spiritual joys terminable with the exhaustion of virtue in the souls getting lifted up there. Ksheene Punye Martya Lokam Visanthi – on the exhaustion of virtue (punya), one has to return from the heaven to the world of mortals for another cycle of births and deaths to earn enough punya to be lifted up again to swarga. It is a vicious circle, which intelligent Hindus may take note of. However, Hindus have every freedom to follow what they feel right or good.
So the behavioral pattern and reactions to life situations of individuals will be according to the predominant qualities in them which are further influenced by the emanations from the corresponding spiritual benefactors they worshiped by himself or by an ancestor under whose rasi, (zodiac) one is born. It is not necessary that one worship a deity at present. The channel of the deity may be active through an ancestral link or in some other mystical ways such as possession. The deities according to their guna, will emit equivalent spiritual rays or vibrations on their devotees. Since satvic deities are associated with positive qualities, the worshipers will have the shades of corresponding qualities. However highest spiritual tranquility is attainable beyond the domain of gunas - satva, rajas and tamas. The Rishis attain immortality after crossing the barrier of trigunas- the three fold quality attributes. Sri Krishna is one such great soul who could transcend the trigunas. It is said that Krishna's dark color denotes to his spiritual status beyond form and qualities.
In practical terms, a worshipper of kaali or durga may behave highly emotionally and furiously at times, whereas Hanuman devotees might display the qualities of devotion, love and renunciation. Likewise, the devotees of Laxmi or Saraswati may be of satvic mind and intelligence. The behavioral pattern of individuals gets influenced by spiritual practices as there is an exchange of spiritual emanations. To understand the true state of affairs, when confronted with conflicts in life, one has to ascend the pure plane of intelligence or soul consciousness. Reacting emotionally dissipates the soul virtue and consequently peace and growth of the individual. Only by crossing the vertical and horizontal spiritual planes connected with triguna, a person or society can prosper. Parallelly speaking, the poverty and squalor in a society has a relation with its spiritual status.
When a person functions remaining in the domain of clear intelligence he can correctly assess the causes behind life-experiences and act positively for his own advantage as well as others. Such a person will not get carried away by the floods of calamities in life, not even by the good tides in life, because he or she would have rightly established in the tranquility of the soul. We can get access to that pure plane of intelligence by the guiding force of a person, who himself has crossed the gross spiritual domains as well as three dimensional qualities. Such a person is called an Atmajnani Guru who can understand the intricacies of a soul, its propensities, its spiritual connections, ancestral influences and the resultant field of karma (prarabdha) in life. An Ashram is the abode of such an Atmajnani Guru. When one tunes one’s life and family life with the guidance of such an Atmajnani Guru, life becomes focused to higher spiritual experiences and evolution. Santhigiri Ashram is blessed by the physical presence of such an Atmajnani Guru – Her Holiness Sishyapoojita Amrita Jnana Tapaswini, the spiritual heir to Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru.
Blog by Mukundan Pandiyath
A human being consists of both a physical body that is at home in the physical world, and a spirit body that connects with the spirit world; it is the latter that survives death and carries a person’s identity, consciousness, and personality into the afterlife. This means that while on earth, human beings live in two worlds. Although the heavens and spiritual realms are vast and extend throughout the universe, they include the earth. Hence, earthly people are in constant contact with spirits. Some are sensitive enough to sense their influence; others sense nothing, but that does not mean that spirits are not influencing them, even without their knowledge