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Read more about Suffering from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What Is Suffering?

Suffering is simply a natural consequence of past errors, not a punishment...It is part of the experience by which the soul through its instruments learns and grows until it is ready to turn to the Divine. [1]

All underlight, all pain and suffering are a sign of imperfection, of incompleteness; they arise from a division of being. [2]

In Different Parts of Being


Physical sufferings are due to attacks of the forces of Ignorance. [3]

Suffering in Physical mind happens when it supports the repetition of old ideas, habits, movements or actions. The body consciousness suffers from an apprehension or fear of the called-for change. [4]

So, in the economy of Nature I think that the first purpose of physical suffering was to give you a warning. [5]

In Vital

It is not the soul but the vital that takes pleasure in groaning and weeping and in fact in sorrow and suffering of all kinds. [6]

Usually the vital tries to resist the call to change. That is what is meant by revolt or opposition and invites suffering. [7]

In Mental

Almost all human miseries come from the fact that human beings are almost always persuaded they know better than the Divine what they need and what life is supposed to bring them. The majority of human beings want other human beings to behave according to their own expectations and life circumstances to follow their own desires, hence they suffer and are unhappy. [8]

In Psychic Being

It is the inner being that suffers and always wants to unite with the divine consciousness but cannot because of the outer consciousness. [9]

Why Suffering Happens?

One can divide the cause of suffering into two distinct categories... [10]

Egoistic Ignorance

The first is purely egoistic and comes from a feeling that one's rights have been violated. The natural law of it being hatred and the desire for revenge. [11] Division, ego, the imperfect consciousness and groping and struggle of a separate self-affirmation are the effective cause of the suffering and ignorance of this world. [12]

Divine Compassion

The other category of suffering, whose initial cause is the pain of separation created by the adversary, is totally opposite in nature: it is the suffering that comes from divine compassion, it contains no egoism, no self-pity; it is full of peace and strength and power of action, of faith in the future and the will for victory; it does not pity but consoles, it does not identify itself with the ignorant movement in others but cures and illumines it. [13]

Why is Suffering Not Necessary?

The purpose and goal of life is not suffering and struggle but an all-powerful and happy realization. [14]

How to Deal with Suffering?

Divine Love

The only remedy for all human suffering is divine love. [15] The first thing to do is to look straight at this suffering, perceive to what extent it is the expression of a very petty egoism and then sweep the place clean. [16] Additionally, always affirming to oneself, the will to change and insisting that it shall be done and cannot fail to be done now or later with divine help. [17]


By turning your emotions towards the Divine, aspire for their purification; they will then become a help on the way and no longer a cause of suffering. [18]

If the mind and vital consent to surrender and have full faith,...then there may be difficulties but there is no suffering. [19]


If Ignorance disappears into Knowledge, evil and falsehood can no longer endure: same to the falsehood and suffering whose root in the Inconscient. [20]

Hence, wisdom guiding and impelling us will replace the perplexities and stumblings of the suffering and ignorant ego. [21]

Immobility in the Physical Body

In physical, when there is suffering, one can bring a kind of immobility, as total as possible, at the place of pain, this has the effect of an anaesthetic. [22]

Doing this fairly constantly, with sufficient perseverance, the sick nerve will die and you will not suffer. [23] A strong equality and mastery and detachment must come in the nerves and body as in the mind, which will enable the physical to know and contact these things without feeling any disturbance; one can change the consciousness and not feel the pressure of the movements in the atmosphere and then stop suffering. [24]

Stopping the Repetition in the Vital and Mental Bodies

By not listening to the clamour of the adverse vital force which has been attacking one and wants to suffer and to descend into a lower consciousness and lose your progress. [25] Of all the efforts, the mental body is the one that has to be repeated most often and one has to...constantly force to stop, put an end to, drive away and convert a pessimism, a doubt or a totally defeatist imagination. [26]

Seeing Self in the Cosmic Consciousness

One step to go beyond human suffering is to know that this life is not all. To realise, to become concretely aware of that subjective persistence which is called the immortality of the soul. Another step forward is to learn that his surface waking state is only a small part of his being. While discovering self and spirit he discovers God and comes to the vision of that Self in the cosmic consciousness as the divine Reality behind Nature and this world of beings. This is the step on the path which leads out of falsehood and suffering. [27]

Qualities Which Aid

Trust, virtue, energy, meditation, the quest for truth, perfection of knowledge and conduct, by faith destroy in you all suffering. [28]

Accepting with equality and to endure firmly and calmly and to go on in a steady faith in the Divine Will not including inert acceptance. [29]

Suffering As An Aid for Itself

Under certain conditions an initiating Ignorance must intervene as a necessary factor, a compulsion...of the suffering, to prepare an emergence of the divine Delight of Being. [30]

These three things—the suffering as a means of progress, the progress, and the cure of the suffering—are coexistent, simultaneous they take place at the same time. [31]

Common Errors in Eliminating Sufferings

Considering religion as a safe refuge; it is not the supreme refuge since it does not save a man from all sufferings. [32]

Suffering inflicted on others is not a good base on which to build spiritual realisation. [33] The suffering arising out of life cannot be abolished by the abolition of life (suicide) [34]

Suicide is the worst way that anyone could take to get out of a spiritual difficulty. It only increases and prolongs the difficulty. [35]

Liberation can in no way abolish suffering from earth and cure others of it. [36]

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Read more about Suffering from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.


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