Don’t waste your pain

Amidst pain, if we obsess on it, we can’t learn from the pain and grow through it. By thus squandering the opportunity provided indirectly by the pain, we waste our pain.

The Bhagavad-gita begins with a situation of great emotional and spiritual pain. The famed warrior Arjuna, on seeing his relatives and elders arrayed for a fight to death, became overwhelmed with distress. He experienced horripilation, his bow started slipping from his hand, his skin started burning (01.29). For a warrior on a battlefield, the weapon is the most important possession. That this vital possession was slipping from Arjuna’s hand means that he must have been in intense, intolerable pain.

While in such pain, he didn’t look for a quick-fix, but sought to understand the pain’s root cause and ultimate solution. He asked (02.07): “What is dharma, the right course of action? This question universalized the Gita, taking it far beyond its battlefield context and making it relevant for everyone. Whatever be our particular situation, we all need to know the right course of action.

Arjuna, rather than wasting his pain by wallowing in it, used it as an impetus for learning and growing. The Gita explains that the right course of action for us is the action that furthers our ultimate purpose – to grow towards our eternal Lord and source, Krishna. Indeed, everything that happens in our life, including the various pains we face, are all meant to prod us towards this purpose. Amidst pain, even if its immediate cause or solution eludes us, we can still pursue the purpose of learning and growing towards Krishna by prayerfully striving to serve him.

Just as it helped Arjuna, the Gita stands ready to help us learn and grow through all situations, thus ensuring that our pain doesn’t get wasted, but gets harvested for our spiritual growth.

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