Question: Would you tell me what suffering is and what it means?

Sri Chinmoy: Suffering is an experience that God has in and through us. It is the result of our limited consciousness. When unlimited consciousness operates, we see the result in the form of joy and delight. God's unlimited Consciousness is all-pervading. But right now we are in the finite. When we accomplish something in the finite we are not satisfied. In the Infinite when we accomplish something we are satisfied. When an individual has five dollars he wants to make ten dollars. His five dollars does not satisfy him; he suffers, he is limited. He sees that his friend has ten dollars and he has only five dollars. He has inner suffering because he wants to have ten dollars. Then when he makes ten dollars, he sees that somebody else has twenty dollars. Again, he has inner suffering, and he enters into turmoil thinking about how to make twenty dollars.

In the finite there will always be suffering because we try to compete, to grasp, to possess. But in the Infinite there is no suffering because we enter into the universal Consciousness. There our will and the universal Will are the same. Our own will becomes totally and inseparably one with what the universal Will demands from the earth, and there is no suffering. But right now we are trying to satisfy the world with our limited consciousness, and the world also wants to satisfy us with its limited consciousness. We are limiting others and we ourselves are limited. Our main experience in this world is the experience of limitation, and that is why we suffer.

From the highest point of view, God embodies both the limited and the unlimited consciousness. He is the tiniest insect and at the same time He is the measureless cosmos. He is smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest. Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan … He is farther than the farthest and nearer than the nearest. He is nearer than the nearest for whom? For the seeker. He is farther than the farthest for whom? For the non-seeker. For those who are wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, God is farther than the farthest. Naturally those individuals suffer. But God is nearer than the nearest for the seekers. When a seeker prays to God and meditates on God, he feels that he is God's dearest child. When he prays to God, he feels that God the Omniscient is there, listening to him. When he meditates on God he feels that God is talking to him and he is listening to God. If he is listening to God and God is listening to him, there can be no suffering. This truth is what the seeker learns from his spiritual life. But if one does not aspire, he has to stay all the time in a limited consciousness. Naturally, in the limited consciousness, there is much suffering.