How do you come to terms with sorrow?

CHENNAI: What does sorrow mean in this country? How do the people in this country meet sorrow? Do they escape from sorrow through the explanation of karma? How does the mind in India operate when it meets sorrow? The Buddhist meets it in one way, the Christian in another way. How does the Hindu mind meet it? Does it resist sorrow, or escape from it? Or does the Hindu mind rationalise it?

There are various ways of escape but there is only one way of meeting sorrow. The escapes with which we are all familiar are really the ways of avoiding the greatness of sorrow. You see, we use explanations to meet sorrow but these explanations do not answer the question. The only way to meet sorrow is to be without any resistance, to be without any movement away from sorrow, outwardly or inwardly, to remain totally with sorrow, without wanting to go beyond it.

There is personal sorrow, the sorrow that comes with the loss of someone you love, the loneliness, the separation, the anxiety for the other. With death there is also the feeling that the other has ceased to be, and there was so much that he wanted to do. All this is personal sorrow. Then there is that man, ill-clad, dirty, with his head down; he is ignorant, ignorant not merely of book knowledge, but deeply, really ignorant. The feeling that one has for the man is not self-pity, nor is there an identification with that man; it is not that you are placed in a better position than he is and so you feel pity for him, but there is within one the sense of the timeless weight of sorrow in man. This sorrow has nothing personal about it. It exists.

Is there a relationship between sorrow and passion? I wonder what sorrow is. Is there such a thing as sorrow without cause? We know the sorrow which is cause and effect. My son dies; in that is involved my identification with my son, my wanting him to be something which I am not, my seeking continuity through him; and when he dies all that is denied and I find myself completely emptied of all hope. In that there is self-pity, fear; in that there is pain which is the cause of sorrow. This is the lot of everyone. This is what we mean by sorrow.

Then also there is the sorrow of time, the sorrow of ignorance, not the ignorance of knowledge but the ignorance of one’s own destructive conditioning; the sorrow of not knowing oneself; the sorrow of not knowing the beauty that lies at the depth of one’s being and the going beyond. Do we see that when we escape from sorrow through various forms of explanation, we are really frittering away an extraordinary happening?


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