For God Alone - Suffering

This is my last entry on the book, For God Alone: The Life and Letters of a Saint, about the life and writings of Sri Gyanamata. I have shared so many passages because they spoke to me - and hopefully have spoken to some of you.

An English teacher once said to me: "We write, in order to know." So I transcribe these excerpts and passages to deepen my understanding of what is meant by them.

I would also add that, "we teach, in order to learn..." By sharing the wisdom of this remarkable woman, I hope to embody the insights that were fruit of her practice, in a way that brings greater clarity into my life.

And so, for one last time, I share these insights and paragraphs from Chapter 12, "Suffering Can Be a Pathway to Greatness:"

"It is said that one never knows his or her spiritual strength until faced with adversity. Through her trials - physical, mental, and spiritual - Gyanamata developed heroic perseverance, endurance, and unconquerable attitude; she found that these tests strengthened her character as nothing else could have. In the letters that follow, Gyanamata shows others how to cultivate that same positive spirit and healthy spiritual perspective by which they also could come to experience that 'suffering can be a pathway to greatness.'"

"Do not make the mistake of holding on to your condition by mourning over it. Stress the points in which you have gained. Remember that part of the cure lies in forgetting the illness. We have to affirm health when we do not feel it."

"I have come to measure spiritual advancement, not alone by the light that surrounds one when he meditates or by the visions he has of saints, but by what he is able to endure in the hard, cold light of day. Christ's greatness was not only that he could go into meditation and gloriously realize his oneness with the Father...but also that he could endure."

"All the devotion, wisdom, and faith that you have acquired are being now tested by God. You must now use all your spiritual acquirements to pass the test of God. Keep your wisdom-light ever burning during the darkness of this test. And this is what I pray for you, that you ever remember and love Him and forget the body."

"If one can delight in God only when he comes as joy, what is he? But suppose God comes only as pain? That it takes a spiritual hero to endure. If, in the darkness, the mind never wavers, if love and longing never grow weak, it is then that you prove to yourself that you really have the love of God."

"A Voice spoke to me. It was not my own voice. I was not talking to myself...It was clear and distinct and separate. It said: 'Endure what I shall send. That will be enough.'"

"After all that has been said, deeply I feel that I am being watched over and loved and the Plan is being worked out for my growth...There has been no failing of Divinity."

"To your question as to why we must suffer, I would answer that we are on the wheel of life. As it turns, we are hurt; and it is the part of our mind...that responds with pain that indicates the shortcomings that God wants us to rise above."

"What suffers...? The answer is obvious - that which must die if ever we are to reach the Goal..."

"What really matters can be put in a few words: complete surrender to God, to the Divine Will. If we did that perfectly, what else would we need to do? What else would we need to know? Doing, knowing, in one divine act, we would find Him on any plane, and would enter into Peace - for 'Thou has made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.'"


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