Do Guru’s Feel Pain?
The first question I asked Bhagavan was why Christ called out from the cross. If he was a perfect Jnani then surely he would have been indifferent to all suffering. Bhagavan explained that though a Jnani has attained Liberation already and for him there can be no such thing as suffering, some may appear to feel pain, but this is only a reaction of the body. For the body continues to have its reactions. it still eats and carries out all its natural workings. All its suffering is apparent only to the onlooker and does not affect the Jnani, for he not longer identifies the Self with the body, he lives in a transcendent state above all such.
Besides this, it is immaterial to him where and when he leaves the body. Some of them when passing appear to suffer, others may pass while in Samadhi and quite unconscious of the outer world, while yet others may just disappear from sight at the moment of death. This conversation is especially interesting in view of what happened in the case of Bhagavan himself during the last days. He certainly appeared to suffer terribly; at night when he was unaware that anybody could hear him, he lay on his couch, groaning and calling out. At that time it was indeed difficult realize that he, as a ZJnani, did not feel pain in the same way as we do., but that he saw it as something apart from him, as a dream which could be regarded objectively. When Milarepa was dying he was asked if he did not feel pain, his agony was so obviously great. “No,” he replied, “but there is pain.” Pain was certainly there for the body. If one is identified with the body one feels it and associates oneself with it. But for the Jnani who sees the body always as something apart from himself pain is only an experience outside his reality. There is pain but somehow it is not his.
From Adi Da Samraj:
ADI DA SAMRAJ: I remember reading something about Shivapuri Baba.8 Someone asked him, “What is the state of Realization? Do you not experience pain anymore?” And he said, “The Realized individual experiences pain just like everybody else. Pain is pain. But in the case of the Realized individual, it doesn’t hurt.” What was he suggesting? Not immunity from pain, although it is possible to put your attention somewhere else. If you have a pain in your foot, you can put your attention in your head, for example, and feel an alternative pleasure, or you can go into a yogic state and be oblivious to the pain, but apart from that, there is just the pain itself.
But what makes pain hurt? It is like receiving the poison of bad company. Pain is bad company. Pain in the foot is bad company. How can it be pain, the body showing all the signs of its being painful, and yet not hurt? Ramana Maharshi9 used to groan in bed with his cancerous arm. When asked about his suffering, he would say, “It is the body’s pain. So much the worse for it!” And yet he groaned. But it was the body groaning. He knew the difference. He stood in the Transcendental Position, the inherently Free Position. The pain was just as painful. He had no defense against it. In some way maybe you could say it was more painful, more intense, for him than for others. On the other hand, it did not hurt. In other words, it did not become self-contraction. It did not become obliviousness to the Divine Bliss. It was just pain, not hurt. It did not implicate him.
That is the difference between Realization and non-Realization. You may imagine that in a state of Realization one no longer feels pain, and so you like to abstract me and imagine that even though a lot of bullshit is being laid on my head, I am totally indifferent and existing in some sort of sublime elsewhere. In some ultimate sense that may be true, but in another sense it is also true that I am suffering it most profoundly, have even less defense against it than you do.
Even previous to the perfection of Realization, the discipline is still to be good company, live in good company and be good company. If you are good company, then you can associate at times with bad company and you will not inherit the poison. You will not become bad company as a result. The fundamental discipline I communicate to you, and that has been communicated in the Great Tradition since the most ancient days, is to spend your time in good company and be good company. You cannot even spend your time in good company if you are not good company. It is not fruitful, you see. The principle admonition, therefore, is to be good company.
Being good company is not to be always gleefully grinning and blissing out. “Oh, my leg just fell off! Oh, golly!” No. There are grimaces, expressions of pain, but nonetheless not un-Happiness, not non-Realization, not divorce from the Spiritual Reality, not “I don’t think I want to practice anymore,” not all of a sudden “I’m a case” or “I’m an ego and I just discovered that all I ever wanted to do was be an ego” – not that kind of garbage with which people interrupt this community from time to time. That is even subhuman, not merely sub-Spiritual.
PRACTITIONER: You gave a wonderful talk last year that was extremely helpful to me, about not having to put on a smiling face all the time, and about forgiving your enemies. You said forgiveness was really just forgetting.
ADI DA SAMRAJ: Right. Simply forget the offense. If you do not forgive another, you will be poisoned by him or her. You are poisoned by what you do not forgive or forget. If you cannot make the grand gesture of forgiveness, you can at least make the gesture of indifference, going into good company, going on with your practice. You can forget about it. But if you absorb it, if you mull over it, if you think about it day and night, if you change your way of life because of it, then you are poisoned. Forgiveness is in some sense a survival technique. Do not eat poison.
If you do not forgive your aggressors, if you do not let them go and do not relinquish your reaction, then you will inherit or duplicate the disturbance. You must observe this about yourself and come to a real understanding about it. Just don’t do it anymore. You will be happy consistently if you will learn this lesson. If you stop trying to be happy and realize that Happiness is a matter of What you are inherently, then you will stop struggling with your various relations in order to gain happiness. And you will likewise stop struggling with others, as if overwhelming them or changing their mind would make you happy. It will not. You can forgive your enemy, you can release the poisoning influence, you can do that sort of thing right now, anytime. It does not change a damn thing about the presumed enemy or antagonist, but it changes you, restores your wholeness, your integrity. Turn your attention to the Great Matter.
There are always enemies anyway, or pain-in-the-ass people or poisoned people. You cannot eliminate them. I cannot eliminate them. Nobody can. I can serve an awakening beyond them, but I cannot wash them. I cannot eat enough poison or absorb enough karma from people to change things that much. I have absorbed and inherited a great deal from people, and transformed it in myself, and therefore transformed them, but nonetheless I cannot do it to the degree of purifying the entire world through this body in this lifetime. No way.
I am therefore not here to eat the poisons of others. I am not here to be thrown into the world, made a cult figure, and given a bunch of crap to absorb. I am not here to be your scapegoat. Understand the law of good company, the law of integrity, the law of Happiness, and know, therefore, that it is not your business to make me or anybody else the target of that nonsense. It is not your business to bother anybody. Find your own integrity, your own Happiness in this Way, and express that, through forgiveness, well-being, radiant expression, in your conversation. And with some, particularly your most intimate friends, you sometimes must talk about a little bit of poison floating here and there, get a little assistance here and there, but you do not become a non-practitioner in the process if you have integrity, nor do you ever become profoundly poisoned either.
The principle of good company is the Way of the Heart in its most fundamental sense. It covers everything, really, if you understand it. The Way is fundamentally good company and being good company, and that principle covers every stage of the Spiritual Process. This is why the fundamental dimension of the Spiritual Process is Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, not ego dependence on another personality, but participation in the Divine Process of Transmission, or Happiness itself. If you participate in Happiness, you duplicate it. You are attracted by it beyond yourself, stage by stage, into the ultimate dimension of the Samadhi of the Realizer.
Satsang is inevitably, then, the Great Law, the Great Principle, the Great Gift, the great communication of the Great Tradition. And it is also my most fundamental communication to you. The communication of Satsang is what I am here to do with people. I am not here to Teach or to suffer people, but to be Good Company for those who are prepared. And those who are prepared are prepared in the sense that they are themselves good company.
Simplify your life. Associate with the world and with worldly people to the degree you have the capacity to do so, and stay straight. Occupy yourself most fundamentally with the Spiritual Process, and do not busy yourself so much that you do not even have time for the Spiritual Process. You do not owe the world your agreement to be poisoned and destroyed. You do not owe anybody that. Do not degrade yourself, therefore. Do not submit yourself to the world or to anyone to that degree. Stand Free. Be good company. Imbibe good company. And continue to grow. That is what you should do. Serve others to the degree you can, but learn how to be free of their poisons. Learn how not to duplicate their bad company. Know your limits, and avoid bad company to the degree you need to, until you are strong enough that you can face anyone and not inherit the poison.
Talks With Ramana Maharshi | The Heart | Do Guru’s Feel Pain | Ramana’s Appearance | Chadwick’s First Darshan | Saints Turn Into Light | Somerset Maugham | Mercedes D’Acosta | Ramana’s Teaching According to Adi Da | Published from the Ashram | The Seer and The Seen | Mandukya Upanishad | Three States of Consciousness | The Five Great Elements | India and Peru | Ramana’s Will