In a public talk at the Ojai Library on Thursday, November 4, 2015, the Meher Baba scholar Dr. Ward Parks spoke on the topic of "Why Do We Suffer?"
The following is an excerpt from a discourse by Avatar Meher Baba on suffering.
WHY DO WE SUFFER?
Why do we suffer? Meher Baba replied: “Why should we be born? To take birth means to suffer. When suffering leads to real eternal happiness, we should not attach importance to this suffering. It is to eliminate suffering that suffering has to come.
“This suffering is unnecessary and self-inflicted; ninety-nine percent of the world's suffering is self-inflicted; and then people ask, ‘Why must we suffer?’ Great suffering means great liberation.
PEOPLE SUFFER BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT SATISFIED
“What is ignorance if not suffering? War is no special suffering; do not people suffer all the time?
“People suffer because they are not satisfied; they want more and more. If you want nothing, would you then suffer? But you do want. If you did not want anything, you would not suffer even in the jaws of a lion. Even without war everyone suffers physically.
MENTAL SUFFERING IS WORSE THAN PHYSICAL SUFFERING
“Mental suffering is worse than physical suffering. What the people of the world with limited vision think of suffering is only physical. They draw pictures of a bomb-stricken person, nose off, leg off, etc. Sometimes physical suffering tends to ease mental suffering. The world's idea of suffering and of happiness is entirely limited.
“Happiness, you have no idea — that real happiness – is worth all the mental and physical suffering of the universe. Then all suffering becomes as if it were not.”
Excerpted from “Meher Baba’s Discourse on Suffering,” published in the Meher Baba Journal, November 1939 and reprinted in Treasures from the Meher Baba Journals, compiled and edited by Jane Barry Haynes. (Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Press), pp .232-234. ©1980 by Meher Spiritual Center, Inc. © 1980 by Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, for all quotations from Meher Baba.