SUFFERING is the way we test our LOVE

31 03 2014

A bit more from Shantaram:

A group of senior men – a former Afghan guerrilla, a stateless Palestinian, a Bombay gangster, and the main character are smoking hash and discussing the meaning of suffering. They each state their opinions in turn:

Khaled (the Palestinian): ‘I know that suffering is the truth. I know that suffering is the sharp end of the whip, and not suffering is the blunt end – the end that the master holds in his hand. If you’d been born in Palestine, you’d know that some people are born to suffer. And it never stops, for them. Not for a second. You’d know where real suffering comes from. It’s the same place where love and freedom and pride are born.’

Farid: ‘I think our brother Khaled is right, in a way. I think that happiness is a really thing, a truly thing, but it is what makes us crazy people. Happiness is a so strange and power thing that it makes us to be sick, like a germ sort of thing. And suffering is what cures us of it, the too much happiness. The – how do you say it? – burden.’ […] The burden of happiness can only be relieved by the balm of suffering.’ […] ‘Yes, yes, that is what I want to say. Without the suffering, the happiness would squash us down.’

Kader (the big boss and the one everyone has been waiting to hear speak on this topic): ‘I think that suffering is the way we test our love. Every act of suffering, no matter how small or agonisingly great, is a test of love in some way. Most of the time, suffering is also a test of our love for God.’ […]

He continues, ‘Now I will move on to my more detailed answer. The Holy Koran tells us that all things in the universe are related, one to another, and that even opposites are united in some way. I think that there are two points about suffering that we should remember, and they have to with pleasure and pain. The first is this: that pain and suffering are connected, but they are not the same thing. Pain can exist without suffering, and it is also possible to suffer without feeling pain. […] The difference between them is this, I think: that what we learn from pain – for example, that fire burns and is dangerous – is always individual, for ourselves alone, but what we learn from suffering is what unites us as one human people. If we do not suffer with our pain, then we have not learned about anything but ourselves. Pain without suffering is like victory without struggle. We do not learn from it what makes us stronger or better or closer to God.’

Abdul Ghani interjects: ‘And the other part, the pleasure part?’

‘Ah’, Kader continued, ‘I think that it’s a little bit like what Mr Lin tells us about [terrorist] Sapna’s use of words from the Bible. It is the reverse. Suffering is exactly like happiness, but backwards. One is the mirror image of the other, and has no real meaning or existence without the other.’






One response

31 03 2014

Looove that book! Good insights..

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