Everyone has his own story of pain and sorrow. I too have mine, but that is of a different nature. When fortune favoured me, I got access to my master's feet and submitted myself entirely to His will. Soon I developed a peculiar state of mind which continued for a considerable period of time. After that I developed a feeling of impatience in me which persisted. It soon developed into a sort of restlessness and pain. After a time the pangs of it had aggravated so much that if anybody else, not in touch with spirituality, had it, he might have been inclined to commit suicide. But the feeling, ‘Let Thy will be done', which was deeply rooted in me, gave me courage and consolation to bear it.
I had that pain-longing, craving or restlessness, as one may be pleased to call it, so dear to my heart that for it I could sacrifice even thousands of lives of mine. I wish to have the same pain created in me again, which no joy or bliss can ever match. It had no parallel and for it one might be induced to forego even the bliss of paradise. I fear people might be led away to misunderstand it as a fit of lunacy. But dear brethren, all that a hungry man wants is loaves, and my entire structure was built up in that way. For this reason I eagerly wish this pain to be created in you all which shall be a source of satisfaction to me as well. Does it not thus become a part of your duty to see that I am satisfied in this respect? If one has got even an iota of devotion in him, he will feel naturally induced to take up what may promise me peace and consolation, after all my life's toil and unrest. It is one of the primary duties of a sadhaka.
People hanker after peace; so how can they be induced to take up restless longing for the realisation of the object? I may assure you that the charms of this restlessness are far greater than those of peace. Peace which people talk about may no doubt be a high attainment, of which an abhyasi experiences a taste during meditation. But that also reveals that there must be a central point of it. When restlessness reaches the climax it makes the beginning of peace. It may be. I fear lest some one should come forward to say that he has stepped into the field of spirituality, not for having pain and unrest but for achieving peace and tranquility. He may be right from his point of view; but from my point of view I would say that the former is for those alone who have their eyes fixed firmly upon Him, while the latter is for those who want only the enjoyment of the delights of the intoxication, so to say. This is not so very difficult to achieve but the attainment of the other i.e., ‘pain' is not of course any child's play. The greatest saints have passed away, ever thirsting for it. A good many of them must have tasted `peace' but let us now have a taste of that for a spark of which one might well forego a thousand states of peace and calmness. This is the foundation of the structure which helps to bring forth rare personalities into the world. I may also say that that is perhaps the best way of serving humanity, and a pursuer of this path cannot but be successful. It helps immensely the unfolding of the knots to clear the abhyasi’s way onwards.
But Most of those coming to me for spiritual training seem to be eager to have peace and I have to comply with their craving. There are rare examples before me where the abhyasi was found to be really eager to have that sort of restless pain. In fact the real state of peace is that which is beyond comprehension and where there is nothing in contradiction to it. It may however be roughly denoted — not quite appropriately — as the `Peace of peace' or the essence of peace. A poet puts it thus:
"When pain passes the limits of intensity, it becomes its own cure."
This is in brief the story of my pain which I have perhaps related in painful words. I shall have the fruit of my labour only when your hearts get flooded with it so much that you may yourself become an ocean of pain. What does it come to, then? Neither pain nor restlessness; neither union nor separation; neither peace nor its opposite! It is only that for which we had developed pain. May my words which have come out from the deepest core of my heart produce the desired effect on you all! I may assure you that it is not at all difficult, for there is nothing difficult on the Divine path. A firm will coupled with undivided attention is all that is required. Every thing that you seek for shall then be found to be quite close to you, rather with you; nay, in fact you are yourself that which you seek. The only thing wanted for it is the burning heart which might burn down the weeds and bushes on the path. You are to be what you really are and pain is a proof of it, and restlessness its fore-runner.
I remained in that condition for more than forty days after which it changed its phase and assumed the form of inner peace inter linked with a peculiar feeling of restless impatience which persisted continuously for about twenty two years. In short, all my period of abhyas passed on in painful restlessness in place of peace and calmness which everyone craves for. But that was exclusively my share alone and none of my fellow associates partook of it in the least. I had in my heart a peculiar attraction for it. It is just possible I might have misunderstood the meaning of peace, thinking it to be a state of pain and restlessness. But since times are now changed and every one understands fully the actual meaning of peace, so they feel inclined towards it and crave for it. No such thought ever arose in my mind at any time, and I was thereby saved from a black mark against my name to show that I had induced my master to grant me ‘Peace'. Whatever I had was a boon to me for which I owe my greatest gratitude to my great master. (SS-149,150,151,152,153)
One thing which I especially lay stress upon is that the abhyasi must cultivate an intense craving amounting to restless, eagerness or pinching impatience for the realisation of the goal. It is this feeling of pain or restlessness, as one might call it, which one has to develop in order to ensure easy success. But I fear lest one might come up saying that he has stepped into the field of spirituality not for having pain or unrest but for achieving peace and tranquility, and he may be right from his point of view. But from my point of view I would say that the former is for those who have their eyes fixed upon the Divine, while the latter is meant for those who want to partake of the delight of intoxication, so to say. The latter is, however, not so very difficult to achieve while the attainment of the former is not of course a child's play. Many a man must have had a taste of the condition of peace. Let us now taste the former for a spark of which one might be ready to forego a thousand states of peace and calmness. This is in fact the foundation of the entire structure which brings forth rare personalities into the world. The actual state of the real peace is beyond comprehension. It admits of no contradictions. It is literally neither peace nor restlessness, neither union nor separation, neither bliss nor its opposite. It is after all that for which we had developed pain. May you all have a taste of the pain. It is not, however, difficult to cultivate. A firm will and an undivided attention towards it are all that are required for the purpose. Then what you seek for will be found quite close to you. Nay! You might yourself be that which you seek for. For that, there must be a burning heart, which might burn down the weeds and bushes on the path. (SDG-93,94)