Question: What challenge is offered to the seeker by the world of suffering and the suffering of other people?

Sri Chinmoy: A seeker eventually learns that what he once called suffering is not actually suffering; it is only an experience. There are some experiences in life which are helpful to him in growing into his own ultimate divinity. He is making a mistake if he takes suffering as something which is standing in his way, if he wonders why he has to go through all kinds of suffering. He should feel that it is an experience. He should feel that the inner being is having an experience in and through him either for his outer life's purification or for some inner purification. He should show the world around him that this is something necessary in his life, that through untold suffering, eventually light will dawn.

Suffering is not the ultimate message. Happiness and delight are the ultimate message. "From delight we came into existence, in delight we grow, and at the end of our journey's close, into delight we shall retire." Delight is our source. Here in the world arena we are given limited freedom. When we misuse this freedom, we create more suffering, more bondage for ourselves. Instead we can use our limited freedom in a divine way. For example, we have come here to be spiritual, to pray to God, to discuss things about God. We could have gone to a bar or some undivine place or just watched television and killed time. But instead we used our limited freedom to come here, to increase the divinity within us.

When we misuse our time, the after-effects of that incident often turn into suffering. But again, if we go deep within, we will see that it is not suffering as such; it is something else. It is an experience. If we are conscious of it, we become part and parcel of the experience that the Inner Pilot is having. Otherwise we may feel that suffering is something that is thrust upon us which we don't need. For a seeker of the Ultimate Truth, suffering is an experience. At times it is a necessary experience, at times it is not. It depends on what we have done or what experience we have unconsciously invited or invoked. The experience we see in our outer life is an unconscious or conscious expression of our inner purification.