by Jayaram V
When a person gives up all the desires in his waking mind and when his self is turned inward and satisfied within itself, at that time he is said to be stable of mind
(sthithapragna) (Bhagavad gita 2.55)
Hinduism views suffering as an integral part of human life. As long as man is
caught in the cycle of births and deaths he has no escape from suffering.
Aging, sickness and death are the three common symbols we identify with
suffering. These are the three afflictions of human life from which
mankind finds no escape except by way of liberation. Hindu tradition
identifies desire as the root cause of all human suffering and
consequential bondage to the cycle of births and deaths. Desire comes
from our attachment with sense objects. Liberation means freedom from
all kinds of suffering resulting in equanimity which happens when we are
freed from all forms of attachment. The
Bhagavad-Gita considers the instability of mind as the sole cause of suffering. At the root of the mental instability is desire, which arises out of the repeated contact of the senses with their sense objects. The true solution to suffering therefore lies in achieving mental stability through self discipline and control of senses. When the senses are controlled and the mind is disciplined, a person overcomes his desires and attains peace and inner stability. He remains undisturbed even amidst turbulence.
Hindu scriptures also inform that
suffering is a product of a previous actions and therefore one has to endure it with detachment and acceptance, keeping faith in
God and performing actions as an obligatory duty and sacrificial
offering to God. Contrary to popular opinion, belief in karma
is not an excuse to resign oneself to fate or become fatalistic in
resolving problems and issues. Rather it should make a person feel more responsible
towards himself and his spiritual welfare, accepting his suffering with a sense of resignation,
knowing inherently that his suffering is his own creation and that external events are just playing their part.
This line of thinking also gives him an opportunity to redeem himself through
selfless actions, by seeking God's intervention through surrender and devotion.
Suggested Further Reading