Suddenly an old woman got up and posed her question, “What is pain and how to develop endurance to bear it.” King Harshvardhan replied humbly, “Pain is the sign of suffering, be it physical or mental. It is a direct effect of cause we have created in past. If you sow a Mango seed you will always get mangoes from the tree, which it grows into and if you sow a Bitter gourd plant it will only give bitter fruit. So theoretically if you have created bad karma it should bear only bad fruits and the good karma, good ones. But the nature has its amazing ways to surprise you in more than one ways, hence you can find sweet fruits like ‘Nimoli’ even in such a bitter tree ‘Neem’. This natural process has a lot of lesson to be learnt for all of us. Neem tree is known for it’s therapeutical values but also for its bitterness, which is the very character of it. But it has an amazing mechanism to bear sweetness through its fruit. The same philosophy applies to us humans also.
There are most of us who would lose faith, act bitterly with our fellow-beings and totally get frustrated in adverse circumstances when the things are not in our control and everything seems to go out of control but then there are those who know how to convert “poison into medicine”. Many of you may not relate to the idea instantly but just look around yourself and you will find innumerable examples around yourself where the most dreadful poison is used as a medicine to cure many ailments. Similarly, each individual of us has an immense power to be able to convert every adversity into an opportunity. The need is to understand how to do it. Successful will be those who are able to bring upon this change in themselves and rise when the world is crumbling! Shine when everything themselves is dark! Get going when everything around us seems to hault!
The simplest of the keys to this impossible looking transformation is the chanting of the Lotus Sutra I am going to teach you all today. Practising it daily will bring unforeseen wisdom and courage in you and you will start realising that how there’s a lot of positivity and opportunity hidden, embedded deep inside like a seed in all the sufferings and adversities. The Lotus Sutra has the power to unlock this hidden potential inside you and use this moment of crisis as the golden moment of optimism and luck. Just persevere and have faith! You may observe that when we are in times of need, many of us start cribbing and complaining to God and lose faith in ourselves and become desperate.
We must understand that instead of putting the allegation on that unseen God up above in the sky and let pessimism seep deep into our spirit and let it dampen it, if we learn to rise from our own ashes like a Phoenix, we will be able to fly again even with those broken wings. The hardships the life poses in front of you are not sufferings but they are an opportunity to unravel that hidden pool of faith and courage. We have accumulated a lot of such Karmic burden in the past where we lost faith in such times, not just in this birth but also the previous lives. This burden will become heavier and heavier if we do not do away with it right now and we will have to keep facing it in our future as well and it may one day crush us under its weight. Wake up before its too late! With constant faith and regular chanting of the Lotus Sutra we will gradually see all this burden vanishing just like a strong gust of wind drifts the dark clouds in an instant and we can see the sun shining again.
In fact the more we learn to fight such suffering, we grow into a larger expanse with unlimited courage to be able to bear such conditions with much ease in future. It increases our endurance for future enhancing our vitality and wisdom. Transforming our Karma doesn’t only pull us out of the negativities and sufferings right now but also prepares us to cushion our souls for such future circumstances by changing our inner life tendencies which keep us trapped in its clutches like a mouse in the claws of an eagle, helpless and unfortunate. We come out as a brighter and more enduring self just like pure gold after being molten gets rid of all its flaws and impurities. Through this practice we can also lessen the intensity and duration of the negative karma we have accumulated in past and also of future which we may be posed to. This way, you gain more endurance to bear what you’re already going through and be prepared for what you may have to face in future. You attain a new confidence to confront your circumstances with grace and poise rather than complaining about it.
What is meant here is to find the root cause of pain. We need to find the source of suffering which is one of the poisons mentioned in our previous conversation. For instance, you must have seen just a while back how the poison of anger could have brought misfortune to this beggar and could have become the further source of suffering for him in future. But at the same time due to the wisdom of queen Sulochana the path to bad karma of the king and the beggar was diverted. Though the king was his husband but the beggar, despite not being related to her, was saved due to her wisdom. This shows that how attaining good karma not only improves your life situation but also of the people around you.”
Your obvious question could be that how to end this suffering. There is no fixed formula to end the suffering totally but our purpose is to attain such a life condition through ‘Japa’ ‘Tapa’ and ‘Vidya’ where we attain enlightened state where suffering does not seem to be as painful as you come to term with it with acceptance and hope. You could say that the pain will still be there but it will not hurt you as it does. So my friends! Learn from the nature, learn how to turn bitterness into sweetness like the Neem tree. Learn how not to get affected negatively and become stiff due to pain but pain should make you more humble towards others and make you capable to understand the suffering of others and pray or act for their welfare. A day will come when you will find smile on all the faces around you. Gradually you will forget all your pain forever.
The practice of the Lotus Sutra which we are going to teach today it’s not just a preaching but our life experience to share with you. Just before the harvesting season I and queen Sulochana dedicate our prayers to all the subjects of our kingdom like praying for a good harvest. The improvement in the yield in the last few years is quite evident to all of you. If you remember there was a white spread epidermic last year which engulfed many neighbouring states. I remembered that the queen was so worried for all of you so both of us decided to do a rigorous chanting of Lotus Sutra to save all our kingdom from this dreaded pandemic. I, Sulochana and all our family confined ourselves to a room and chanted for many hours as all of you know none of our citizens got infected despite it causing innumerable deaths in neighbouring areas.
And let me assure all of you that if all the citizens of our kingdom start practising the Lotus Sutra just sparing a few minutes from their daily routine we are never going to see any natural vandals, calamities and pain. Suffering will gradually go away, agony and misery will not be there in our kingdom and we all will witness joy and happiness spreading the wings in our kingdom. The only thing required is our unfathomable faith, punctuality, sincerity and commitment. Faith does not come instantly it gradually evolves when you start seeing the changes. But perseverance should be there. In fact you have to keep practising till you see the changes. In many a cases you may not observe instant change on the contrary your devotion may be tested but do not lose hope. Just like a farmer sows seeds in the field even there are no clouds in the sky just driven by the ray of hope that one day it will rain.”