Its Purpose. Pain.

The harshness isn't toward you,
but toward the harmful qualities within you.
When someone beats a rug,
the blows are not against the rug,
but against the dust in it.

Rumi, Mathnawi III, 4012, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.119.

But God teaches men through suffering and uses distress to open their eyes. Job 36:15

Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back in its place! Do you think that I will not drink the cup of suffering which my Father has given me?" John 18:11

All suffering can be taken away by the contact of God. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.29.

If God afflicts you with adversity, there is none who can relieve it except He. And if He blesses you with something good, He is omnipotent. Quran 6:17

Blessed is that pain which brings you closer to the Lord and a curse is the pleasure that takes you away from Him. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 260.

Forsaking all fear and impatience even in intense suffering, pray to the Lord whole-heartedly, leaving all consequences unto Him. Whatever happens thereafter it shall be for your betterment. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 268.

It's good for you to go through difficult times now and again, and to have your will thwarted; the effect is often to make a man think - make him realize that he is living in exile, and it is no use relying upon any earthly support. Thomas A Kempis, I.12.1

(...) of course you must pass through fire and water, before you reach the cool shade. Thomas A Kempis, I.22.5

Don't pride over anything else except your Lord; otherwise you shall have to suffer enormous misery in return for little momentary pleasure. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 346.

Do not find fault with others. You are yourself the cause of your pain and pleasure. If you turn away from the Lord, whatever efforts you may make to gain happiness, you will never succeed. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 571.

The pleasures and pains of life are not your lot alone. Even kings, emperors and saints have suffered. If you look carefully around, you will see that no one has escaped them. For attaining spiritual enlightenment, one has to pass through both pains and pleasures. In moments of pleasure, do not forget the Lord, the abode of happiness and in pain do not lose your heart, because pains are the harbingers of pleasures to follow. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 579.

If you desire that no suffering should ever befall you, this is impossible so long as you possess a body. But the pain of suffering can be reduced by your patience, cheerfulness, faith and concentration and the Sadguru will bless you with strength to face these hardships with pleasure. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 657.

Never be disappointed. Continue on your sojourn, you shall definitely attain your destination. Never forego tolerance or be impatient. Have firm faith in the Lord. He is visualizing your tolerance and patience. Eternal happiness lies behind suffering. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 700.

If any burden or thought troubles you, let it not stay long. Read some holy scripture in such moments or engage yourself in some selfless service or meditate or sing the glory of the Lord in high tones or turn away your mind and transform such thoughts and drive away the worry that assailed you. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 714.

Whatever physical hardship may have to be faced but if in return you gain spiritual enlightenment, it is a cheap bargain. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 819.

The Lord cannot tolerate the suffering of His devotee who remains immersed in Him always. He bears the suffering of His devotee Himself. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 923.

The Master always abides by the one who faces hardship and trials and criticism for the sake of devotion. As a result, he earns name and fame in the world. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 933.

To inflict suffering on others is in fact creating troubles for one's own self. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1133.

If you remove the suffering of others, your own suffering will immediately end. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1257.

He is a true saint who himself incurs sufferings for the happiness of others. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1413.

Wherever there is firm faith and regular hard labor, pain and suffering cannot stay for long. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1434.

The root cause of all suffering is lack of faith in the Lord and unsteadiness of the mind. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1621.

The suffering that you are going through has been caused by your own self. In fact you should feel grateful to the Lord that he has exchanged your suffering of gallows to a prick of a thorn. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1827.

Your suffering is my suffering and your happiness is my happiness. Teachings of Buddha, p.28

Human desires are endless. It is like the thirst of a man who drinks salt water: he gets no satisfaction and his thirst is only increased. Teachings of Buddha, P.166.

Judah, you have brought this on yourself by the way you lived and by the things you have done. Your sin caused this suffering; it has stabbed you through the heart. Jeremiah 4:18

(...) my whole body is diseased because of my sins. (...) Because I have been foolish my sores stink and rot. Ps 38:3,5

The Beloved: My son, I am the Lord; no strength like his in the hour of distress (Nahum 1:7). (...) All these things, as it happens, do little to help you; it is then that you remember that I am the deliver of all who put their hope in me; that apart from me there is no help that can do much, no counsel that can be taken with profit, no remedy whose effects can last. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.30.1

When you are suffering and there is delay in its removal, it is because instead of seeking refuge of the Lord, you are seeking shelter from others. The sooner you turn towards the Lord, the earlier your suffering will end. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1962.

And my swelling (of pride) bated by the hidden touch of Your healing hand; and the troubled and darkened sight of my mind, by the biting eye-salve of my salutary sorrows, was healed from day to day. St. Augustine, Confessions, VII.8

I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Ps 119:75

Regardless of whether they are rich or poor, they worry about money; they suffer from poverty and they suffer from wealth. Teachings of Buddha, p.190

A man is not really patient when he is willing to suffer patiently only as much as he thinks fit and only at hands of those he chooses. If he is really patient, he won't mind who makes him suffer; his superior, his equal or someone below him, a good, holy man or a peevish, unpleasant one - it's all the same for him. (...) because in the eyes of God no trouble endured for his sake, be it ever so trivial, can be allowed to go by without earning merit. Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, III.19.3

Sorrow is inherent in happiness and ailments in sensuality. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1901.

If you remember Shri Sadguru in suffering, you will feel relieved and happy. And if you remember Him when you are happy, then suffering will not come near you. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1967.

O Glorious God! When I attain enlightenment after listening to Thy Immortal Preachings, only then I realize that I have encountered sorrows due to my own faults and sins. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1987.

History is witness to the fact that those who have suffered for the sake of Truth, their names have become immortal and they radiate glory. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2011.

To ask from the Lord anything except the Lord Himself is like sowing the seed of suffering. Hence, O Striver! If you have to beg for something, beseech for the Lord Himself, who will bestow upon you the peace and contentment of mind and end the hunger of greed. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 2133.

The world is not capable of making man happy. (...) The world is not able to free man from suffering; specifically it is not able to free him from death. (...) Immortality is not a part of this world. It can come exclusively from God. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, P.56-57.

The scandal of the Cross remains the key to the interpretation of the great mystery of suffering, which is so much a part of the history of mankind. (...) God places Himself on the side of man. (..) "He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:7-8). John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, P.63.

God is always on the side of the suffering. His omnipotence is manifested precisely in the fact that He freely accepted suffering. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, P.66.

I hope the affliction which God has sent him will prove a wholesome remedy to him, and make him enter into himself. It is an accident which should engage him to put all his trust in Him who accompanies him everywhere. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.41.

(...) Have courage. We have but little time to live; (...). Let us live and die in God. Sufferings will be sweet and pleasant to us while we are with Him; (...). Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.50.

The men of the world do not comprehend these truths, nor is it to be wondered at, since they suffer like what they are, and not like Christians. They consider sickness as a pain to nature, and not as a favor from God; and seeing it only in that light, they find nothing in it but grief and distress. But those who consider sickness as coming from the hand of God, as the effect of His mercy, and the means which he employs for their salvation - such commonly find in it great sweetness and sensible consolation. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.57.

(...) God is often (...) nearer to us, and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in health. Rely upon no other physician; (...) He reserves your cure to Himself. Put, then, all your trust in Him, (...). Whatever remedies you make use of, they will succeed only so far as He permits. When pains come from God, He only can cure them. He often sends diseases of the body to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself with the sovereign Physician both of the soul and body. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.57.

Since, notwithstanding all your cares, physic has hitherto proved unsuccessful, and your malady still increases, it will not be tempting God to abandon yourself in His hands and expect all from Him. (...) Have courage, then; make a virtue of necessity. Ask of God, not deliverance from your pains, but strength to bear resolutely, for the love of Him, all that He should please, and as long as He shall please. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.60-61.

Ah, how sweet it is to suffer with God! Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.62.

To have a body is to suffer. Does anyone with a body know peace? Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop imagining or seeking anything. The sutras say, "To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss." When you seek nothing, you are on the Path. The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, P.5-7. Found at

It must be known that bad conduct leads to misery and good conduct to happiness. Hence it is a duty of everyone to acquire virtue for the sake of worldly enjoyment as well as salvation. Sivapurana, Vidyesvarasamhita, 13:58.

Suffering is the greatest treasure on earth; it purifies soul. In suffering, we learn who are true friend is. True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering. Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 342.

(...) I did not understand You, Lord, in times of sorrow, when You were effecting Your work in my soul; but today I understand You and rejoice in my freedom of spirit. Jesus himself has seen to it that my heart has not been caught in the snares of any passion. (...) Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 1331.

Jesus, how truly dreadful it would be to suffer if it were not for You. But it is You, Jesus, stretched out on the cross, who give me strength and are always close to the suffering soul. Creatures will abandon a person in his suffering, but You, O Lord, are faithful... Faustina Kowalska, The Diary, 1508.

If you suffer for a just cause, blessings will be still more abundant for you. Our Lady of Medjugorie, March 02, 1982. Words from Heaven, P. 126.

I cannot cure. God alone cures. Pray! I will pray with you. Believe firmly. Fast, do penance. I will help you as long as it is in my power to do it. God comes to help everyone. I am not God. I need your sacrifices and your prayers to help me. Our Lady of Medjugorie, 1983. Words from Heaven, P.151.

(…) For sufferings are really great gifts from God. They are sources of great graces for you and for others. When you are sick, many of you only pray and repeat, 'Heal me, heal me.' No, dear children, this is not correct because your hearts are not open; you shut your hearts through your sickness. You cannot be open to the will of God nor to the graces He wants to give you. Pray this way: 'Lord, Thy will be done in me.' Then only can God communicate His graces to you, according to your real needs that He knows better than you. It can be healing, new strength, new joy, new peace - only open your hearts. Our Lady of Medjugorie, November, 1991. Words from Heaven, P.191.

(...) They went and put their question to Rabbi Zusya. He laughed. "You certainly have not come to the right man! Better go to someone else rather than me, for I have never experienced suffering." But they knew that, from the day he was born to this day, Rabbi Zusya's life had been a web of need and anguish. Then they knew what it was to accept suffering with love. Martin Buber, Tales of the Hasidim. PP. 217-8.

(…) pray so that you may understand that suffering can become joy and the cross the way of joy. (…) Our Lady of Medjugorie, September 25, 1996. Words from Heaven, supplement.

(…) I wish to renew you and lead you with my Heart to the Heart of Jesus, which still today suffers for you and calls you to conversion and renewal. Through you, I wish to renew the world. (…) Our Lady of Medjugorie, October 25, 1996. Words from Heaven, supplement.

(...) The category of divine pathos leads to the basic affirmation that God is interested in human history, that every deed and event in the world concerns Him and arouses His reaction. (..) That God takes man seriously is shown by his concern for human existence. It finds its deepest expression in the fact that God can actually suffer. (...). Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom, P.221.

The fetters of ignorance and bad habits keep you bound. It is because you are determined to follow your wrong habits that you suffer. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.9.

He is not happy when His children are in misery, for He suffers in them. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.24.

Suffering is therefore not the work of God, but of Satan's power of maya, delusion. This force creates the ignorance that blinds people to the consequences of their actions, causing them to err and thus bringing suffering upon themselves. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.25.

God offers you an invincible weapon by which you can eradicate all your sorrows and suffering: wisdom, which comes through God-communion. The easiest way to overcome disease, disappointments, and disasters is to be in constant attunement with God. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.69.

(...) one must be mentally above every crucifixion of earthly experience in order to find complete happiness in God. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.127.

Without the consciousness of God this world appears full of struggle, violence, and terrible disappointments. But with Him it is a heaven of happiness. Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.177.

(...) this show has a purpose: that you learn how to play the various parts of the life movie without identifying your Self with your role. It is important to avoid identification with pain or anger or any kind of mental or physical suffering that comes. (...). Paramahansa Yogananda, Man's Eternal Quest, P.241.

Only the body suffers. When mind is united to God, it can feel no pain. (...) Ramakrishna, quoted in: Rolland, Romain. (1994). The Life of Ramakrishna. P.273.

The sufferings are never so great that a person cannot bear them or must be unhappy, if he has the Savior with him. Theresa Neumann, quoted in: Thomas Merton, Run to the Mountain, P.285.

We could of course be saved from much suffering if God interfered in human life and stopped us from falling into error or from acting perversely and perpetrating cruelty. But the God of the Universe allows freedom of development to his children. Having placed eternity in our hearts and given us the urge to self-realization, having planted the seed of divinity in our souls so that they have kinship with him, in whose image we were created, God leaves to the individual power over his own life. Lily Montagu (1873-1963, England), quoted in: Michael Shire, The Jewish Prophet, P.104. OGN#696. 2016-01-24.

When you feel contraction, traveler,
it's for your own good. Don't burn with grief.
In the state of expansion and delight
you are spending something, and that spending
needs the income of pain.

Rumi, Mahnawi III, 3700 ..., quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.191.

After his enlightenment, Shakyamuni debated with himself about whether or not to teach what he had learned. (...) Seeing his hesitation, the gods Indra and Brahma descended from heaven to plead with him to teach. "Now that you have crossed the ocean of the world of becoming, have pity on others!" they cried. "Rescue those that have sunk so low in suffering they may not even see it!" Stirred by their words, Shakyamuni told himself that some people with "only a little dust in their eyes" might be liberated if he would just point the way. (...) In response, Shakyamuni delivered the Sermon at Deer Park, his initial act of teaching, or as it came to be phrased, "the first turning of the wheel of the Dharma." Jack Maguire. (2001). Essential Buddhism. P.16-17.

The goal of Buddhism (...) is enlightenment and release of the self from a life of suffering, not union or relationship with a divinity. The eternal buddhas and bodhisattvas exist solely to help in the enlightenment process. Jack Maguire. (2001). Essential Buddhism. P.71.

What causes us to suffer in an impermanent world is not the impermanence itself, but the desire burning within us to attach to things that are not lasting. (...) (It) easily gives rise to the so-called three poisons, or defilements, of greed, anger, and ignorance. These poisons, in turn, feed desire: the urge to acquire, to overpower, to win. Jack Maguire. (2001). Essential Buddhism. P.87.

Although Buddhism teaches that life is full of suffering, it doesn't deny that life can also bring countless moments of beauty and pleasure. (...) It does, however, warn that clinging to happiness - or to anything - and wishing it would last forever inevitably results in frustration, disappointment, and sorrow (...). According to Buddhism, the solution lies first in accepting the pervasiveness of this upsetting instability in life. Jack Maguire. (2001). Essential Buddhism. P.107.

As Thich Nhat Hahn often says, "Out of suffering, compassion is born." Jack Maguire. (2001). Essential Buddhism. P.109.

Balthazar: "You're suffering Bariona. (...) You're suffering, and yet your duty is to hope. Your duty as a man. It's for you that Christ came down to earth. For you more than anyone else, because you're suffering more than anyone. An angel doesn't hope at all, because he has his joy and God gave him everything ahead of time. And a stone doesn't hope either, because it lives dully in a perpetual present. But when God created human nature, he joined hope and care together. A man, you see, is always much more than he is. You look at this man here all weighed down by his flesh, rooted to the spot by his big two feet, and you say, stretching forth your hand to touch him, he's there. And that's not true: wherever a man happens to be, Bariona, he's always somewhere else. Somewhere else, beyond the purple mountain tops you see from here. In Jerusalem. In Rome. Beyond this icy day. Tomorrow. (...)" Bariona, or the Son of Thunder. [In]: The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. Vol.2. P.90.

Balthazar: "Listen: Christ will suffer in the flesh because he is man. But he is God too and in his divinity he is beyond that suffering. And we men made in the image of God are beyond all our own suffering to the extent that we are like God. Look: until tonight man had his eyes stopped by his suffering the way Tobias' eyes were stopped with bird droppings. All man saw was his suffering, and he looked himself for a wounded animal drunk with pain who went leaping through the woods to escape his wound and took his hurt with him wherever he went. And you, Bariona, you too were a man of the old dispensation. You looked upon your suffering with bitterness and said, I'm mortally wounded; and you wanted to lie down on your side and spend the rest of your life meditating the injustice that had been done to you. Now Christ came to redeem you; he came to suffer and to show you how to deal with suffering. Because you mustn't mull over it, or think out honor consists in suffering more that the others, or resign ourselves to it either.

Suffering is a common thing, a natural fact, that you ought to accept as if you had it coming to you, and it is unbecoming to talk about it too much, even for yourself. Come to terms with it as soon as possible, snuggle it down nice and warm in the middle of your heart like a dog stretched out by the fire. Don't think anything about it, unless it's that it's there, as that stone is there in the road, as the night is there all around us.

Then you will discover that truth which Christ came to teach you and which you already know: you are not your suffering. Whatever you do and however you look at it, you surpass it infinitely; because it means exactly what you want it to. Whether you dwell on it as a mother lies down on the frozen body of her child to warm it up again, or whether on the contrary you turn away from it indifferently, it is you who give it its meaning, and make it what it is. For in itself it's nothing but matter for human action, and Christ came to teach you that you are responsible for yourself and your suffering. (...)

(...) And if you accept your share of suffering as your daily bread, then you are beyond. And everything that's beyond your lot of suffering and your cares, all of that belongs to you - all of it - everything that's light, I mean the world. The world and your own self, Bariona, because you are for yourself a perpetually gratuitous gift.

You are suffering and I have no pity at all for your suffering, for why wouldn't you suffer? (...) Fling yourself toward the sky and then you shall be free, O expandable creature among all the expandable creatures, free and breathless and astonished to exist at the very heart of God, in the Kingdom of God who is in heaven and also on earth. Bariona, or the Son of Thunder. [In]: The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. Vol.2. P.129-130.

Bariona: Sarah! (...) you must cling to life avariciously, ruthlessly, for the sake of our child. Raise him without hiding any of the world's miseries from him, and arm him against them. And I'm making you responsible for a message for him. Later, when he has grown up. not right away, not at the first pangs of love, not the first time he's disappointed, but much later, when he knows how immensely left alone and lonely he is, when he tells you about a certain taste of gall, in the back of his mouth, tell him, "Your father suffered everything you're suffering and he died joyfully." Bariona, or the Son of Thunder. [In]: The Writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. Vol.2. P.135.

Distress reminds the wise of God, but crushes those who forget Him. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.114.

Let all involuntary suffering teach you to remember God, and you will not lack occasion for repentance. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.114.

Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.114.

When harmed, insulted or persecuted by someone, do not think of the present but wait for the future, and you will find he has brought you much good, not only in this life but also in the life to come. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.118.

He who wishes to avoid future troubles should endure his present troubles gladly. For in this way, balancing the one against the other, through small sufferings he will avoid those which are great. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.141.

Some things can only be learned by suffering and humiliation and contradiction. Then we can know how much Christ loves us, because he suffered these willingly for us. I have been afraid or unwilling to open to suffering. I am now seeing the value of it more and beginning to want it, yet fearful of it and fearful about being able to cope with it – not confident enough in Christ being with me to make me able. (…) Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.249.

“As often as a man ventures to a deeper, more fundamental level of life in trying to give form to his life, he exposes himself to a crisis which is more painful and heart-rending. In this sense, a man has just as many adolescences as he takes risks to fathom his life.” Henri Nouwen, Pray to Live, quoted in: Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.271.

(…) To know one’s real self is bliss, to forget – is sorrow. Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta. (2005). I am That. P.52.

Last updated: 2016/01/24

See the related subjects: Compassion, Death, Destruction, Forgiveness, God's Will, Humbleness, Justice, Karma, Mercy, Responsibility, Sin