Question: Is all suffering the result of bad karma, either from this life or from a past life?

Sri Chinmoy: Not necessarily. Sometimes what happens is that even though we have not done anything wrong, our soul wants to have some experience of suffering. Our soul wants to enter into the depth of pain just to know what pain is. Suppose a very spiritual person finds it necessary to thrash another person. What does he do? Immediately he enters into the person whom he is beating and identifies with him. And the intensity with which he feels this experience is much more than that of the person who is actually being beaten.

Many times we do wrong things and we get the results sooner or later. But again, there are times when we suffer because of the cosmic forces. Sometimes sincere, very devoted parents have children who are absolutely unspiritual, undivine and worthless. Now you will say that perhaps in their past incarnation the parents were also unspiritual and did many wrong things. In some cases the parents were bad in their previous lives, but in other cases this may not be true. Sometimes sincere seekers are affected by hostile, animal-like forces that are operating in the world. When these undivine, hostile forces that are hovering around behave like mad elephants or enter into a person, then the person suffers. It is like this: around us are animals fighting, quarrelling and destroying each other. A mad elephant, no matter how nice and sincere you are, will simply destroy you. You never know when these animals are moving around. So when a sincere seeker suffers, we cannot immediately come to the conclusion that in his past incarnation he did something wrong.

If we follow the spiritual life all the time, then we stay in the field of divine Power, which is like a fort. We are inside the fort being protected by God. When wrong forces, undivine forces, try to attack us, the divine Grace stands in their way. Spiritual people try always to be conscious of God’s Compassion, God’s Blessing, God’s Light, because they know that even if they do not do wrong things they may be attacked by undivine forces. And when they do wrong things, immediately they know that there is someone who can forgive them, who can protect them, who can elevate their consciousness, and this someone is their Inner Pilot, or God.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Death and reincarnation: Eternity's voyage, Agni Press, 1973
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