Way out of Pleasure and Pain

The Way Out of Pleasure and Pain

February 19, 1994


ADI DA SAMRAJ (SRI DA AVABHASA): You make the choices. I Make the Revelation. I can Call you to greater understanding and more profound practice, I can urge you on, but you make the choices. If you want What is Ultimate and Most Profound, you must be changed likewise, in your choices, in your understanding, and in your involvement in everything. Such transformation requires a profound discipline and a great ordeal.

Sooner or later, any kind of self-indulgence whatsoever reaches the point where discomfort is greater than pleasure. So it is with the world and with everything karmic, with every indulgence of attention in conditions. There is some pleasure in your indulgence, but as you repeat the indulgence, you reach a point after a while when the pleasure is greatly reduced and you are mostly suffering the results. Sex, intimate feelings, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, TV, food—absolutely everything you can do in the domain of conditional existence produces the same result in due course, which is that at some point the pleasure is greatly reduced and you are mainly suffering ill effects. Such is life.

All indulgence in conditionality is the same. There is no difference in effect. This is just how conditional existence works. Conditional existence is a play of opposites. If you work on the pleasure side, the opposite comes into play sooner or later and, like any addict, you continue to seek for pleasure, but now to relieve yourself of some pain rather than to magnify the enjoyment. Most of the time, you are just suffering, and the pattern is repeating itself automatically. You do not quite know what to do about it. You are just stuck with it, and you think, “Well, that is the way it is supposed to be.” You are basically just feeling the pain of it and trying to get rid of the pain. your whole life feels like a dilemma of disease.


“You have more to learn about your desires and your bargaining.”


The way out of the cycle of pleasure and pain, the cure for your addiction, is also painful, to some degree. There is tapas in it. However, when you understand the reasonableness of the cure and its purpose, you become willing to endure it. Having so thoroughly adapted to what is inherently painful, you must understand, like a five hundred-pound man or woman committed to losing weight, that you must endure a process of purification. Therefore, a part of self-discipline is that you become willing to endure it, because of your intelligence, your understanding.

Participation in conditional existence ends in pain. In the meantime it shows all the signs of the addictive cycle, eventually becoming the endurance of pain and the search for release. Everything associated with conditional existence is just this cycle. If you are noticing this truth about some things and not others, you have more to learn about your desires and your bargaining. You must find out that every indulgence in conditions is the same: It becomes the addictive cycle, and it ends in pain.


“Your destiny is dependent on the tendencies of attention you have not yet understood and relinquished.”


If you could make a truly summary and most profound estimate of the nature of conditional existence and the option of true devotion, what would you do? You would do no more bargaining. You can be My devotee without having come to the great estimate about everything yet, but your destiny is dependent on the tendencies of attention you have not yet understood and relinquished. Because you have not understood most fundamentally yet, because you have not gotten the lesson yet, attention makes repetition. It keeps you continuous with your limitations, until you understand and are not moved toward them any more. When you come to that point, you are not strategically renouncing, without understanding, but it is obvious that you just do not do that anymore.

If people who drink or smoke day after day are honest with themselves, they find that eventually drinking or smoking does not feel good. It toxifies you more and more and makes you more and more uncomfortable. Eventually, the only motive left is to grasp something of the original pleasure, but you are only being sick and poisoned. You enjoy a few moments of pleasure, then the indulgence degrades you, you feel uncomfortable and sick, you must endure the aftereffects the next day, and then struggle with the process of purification, however long it takes.

Everything is like this. Everything! To understand this point transforms a life. You seem to be waiting to reach that point. What about it? What about everything? What about the habit of granting attention to conditional matters that eventually end in the pain of the addictive cycle? There is fun in it at the beginning, and then immediately you feel the results of the toxins and it is not so much fun any more. You are unsteady physically, emotionally, mentally, and in your breath. Instead of Listening to Me and doing the Yoga, then, there is bodily unsteadiness, emotional unsteadiness, mental unsteadiness, unsteadiness of attention, unsteadiness of breath, and you must endure these results and take actions that will purify you and restore your equanimity—and then you will Listen to Me.

So it is with everything! As Listening to Me and doing the Yoga is delayed…by your concessions to your addictive tendency…you do not understand. You bargain with yourself. Understand this and change your life. Such understanding does not make the ideal life or utopia here. The reason for right discipline is not just to feel good as a human being and live an ideal, utopian life but to be in a position to make this sacrifice to Me in every moment, because you are able to be responsible for these faculties. As an addict, however, distracted by attention not merely to toxins but to everything else you do conditionally, you are not responsible for these faculties. You cannot give them directly to Me in every moment. You always have something else to do with them, some distraction, some leftover from previous indulgence. It is so!

Everything about your life-action, your life-process, your life-circumstance is a result of the concessions you have made and, therefore, everything you do is the picture of the degree to which you are living or not living the practice I have given to you in this moment.

You must “consider” this, examine your life with true understanding, and make choices. Whatever your choice, whatever your circumstance…it is your business, and there is no bargaining with Me about it.

No matter how much longer you do what you have been doing all your life, you are not going to feel as good as you did when you started. You are only going to feel worse. Appreciate this, and then make the choices.

Whatever is binding you—your intimacy, sexuality, toxic substances, social life, daily life, food, money—whatever it is, it is your business to deal with it. Find your addiction, and cut it off. Then see what is left over that is compatible with the Way of the Heart. It is for you to discover, and it is different in every case, even a different process in some sense, but at last it is the same process fundamentally, the same requirement: Either you are given up to the tendencies of your attention and their results, or you are giving yourself with full attention to Me.

DEVOTEE: Beloved Heart, when attention moves with sympathy, if I am sympathetic with something I focus my attention on . . .

SRI DA AVABHASA: You would not put your attention on it if you were not sympathetic with it. Even if you are revolted, there is also a sympathy there, because your attention goes there.

DEVOTEE: The sympathy is the ego expressing itself.

SRI DA AVABHASA: It is not only egoity, not just the self-contraction, but it is the patterning of egoity, the adaptations of egoity, and they must be dealt with. If you weigh five hundred pounds, losing weight does not depend just on what you do with your attention! Yes, give your attention to Me, practice, but you must also handle the business of straightening out the body and losing a great deal of poundage.


“self-discipline bears an obligation”

as tendencies fight you back


The tapas of real self-discipline is an essential, necessary part of right practice of the Way of the Heart. Yes, it can be said that the basis of self-discipline is devotion to Me, giving Me your attention with feeling, directing the whole body to Me, surrendering with every breath—yes, that is so. Yet self-discipline bears an obligation for all your adaptations. Everything that has occurred as a result of your addiction, everything that has occurred as a result of your granting of attention to conditional matters, must be purified. Such purification requires real tapas, real devotion of attention to Me. In the process, you are losing those five hundred pounds and getting down to normal weight, meaning that you are relinquishing all the tendencies of your attention.

Your tendencies will be fighting back, because of your adaptation. Therefore, the fundamental principle of My Yoga is simple to understand, even to do, if you bring yourself to it every moment, but you must go through the purification, or the reorientation. It is not fun, but it can be interesting—you can allow yourself an intelligent participation in the purification.

All of your karmas, all the results of your attention, all the tendencies of your attention must be redirected to Me. There is a necessary tapas in that process, in every moment and along the course. If you do this practice most profoundly, Most Perfectly, then all the movements of attention, all the results of attention, and all the destiny of attention are relinquished, gone, and all that is left is the Source of attention, the Domain of attention, the Origin of attention, the Divine Person, the Divine Self-Domain. Realization of the Ultimate requires the conversion of attention and the purifying process, the tapas, the understanding, the change of life, the discipline, the continuous moment to moment devotion, the profound work.


“A summary word from the traditions for the cycle in which you are caught is “samsara”


You are making more lifetimes, either here in this yellow-red place or somewhere else, on the basis of the same tendencies, adaptations, addictions. A summary word from the traditions for the cycle in which you are caught is “samsara”. It is an irreducible cycle of suffering. The secret of renunciation is to comprehend it whole, in one glance, and be disposed unlike that, not making karma anymore but instead given up to Divine Communion with all of your faculties, moment to moment. Everything is purified in the heat of such constant practice. It is the Circumstance of Most Ultimate Realization.

The Great Way of the Heart is a Great Matter, beyond Wonderful. You must get on with it, with no bargaining, or you stop at one place or another. You can see even now that all kinds of things that relate to your present stage of life-demonstration are no longer addictive, not of interest, not binding you, and you do not have any attention for them. Yet just one fraction, one part, one element, one function, one kind of association can bind you to the entire stage of life.

DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, I felt just a moment ago the consolation of the ocean, the air, the sand, drawing me so that I wanted to lie down in it.

SRI DA AVABHASA: You have the faculties to enjoy it, but you could be in another state, the body profoundly diseased and in pain, wherein the rustling of the waves would be profoundly disturbing to you.

The conditional realm is only Me. It is only the Divine Person. Why fasten onto it? Why luxuriate in it? Why be an odalisque, oblivious to the Place Where you Are, oblivious to the Person in Whom all of this is arising? You should devote your life to the Person in Whom all of this is arising, rather than clinging like an addict to such temporary luxuries.

Come to Me in every moment. How profoundly you will do that coming to Me in every moment, depends on your understanding of all of your uses of attention. I Call you to devote your attention to Me utterly, your feeling to Me utterly, your entire bodily existence to Me utterly, your breath, altogether, in every moment, utterly. Yet you have adaptations, tendencies, justifications in mind for doing something else with your faculties, and you bargain with Me. This is what is yet to be more profoundly inspected and understood and converted to Me. It is the circumstance of your sadhana, stage by stage, in My Company.

Your choices change, through right sadhana. The understanding develops, fine, but you must take your understanding seriously. You must take My Revelation seriously, and truly respond to Me, as a serious person. My Revelation is not serious if you are not a serious person. You cannot worship Me, surrender to Me, in this bodily (human) Form in limitation. You must be continuous with the Divine Person.

I am not an ordinary man nor is this an ordinary world. All and all is My Very Person, to be recognized as such and acknowledged as such, so that your submission to Me, your worship of Me, becomes most profound, not merely a token gesture of a part of you.

Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is an expression of your impulse to Divine Communion and Divine Self-Realization. Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga is worship of the Divine Person. If you choose Me as your Ishta, you choose the Divine Person.