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The end of suffering

The end of suffering

joy pain shaktipata [grace] suffering May 27, 2024

Which practice leads us to the cessation of suffering? How can we end suffering?

Below is an excerpt from the Online Course - Grace on the Spiritual Path in Kashmir Shaivism in which Swamiji answers the question about why we suffer and when and how it will end. 



GRACE - Audio 1 Track 2 (16:27)

स स्वयं कल्पिताकारविकल्पात्मकर्मभिः ।

बध्नात्यात्मानमेवेह स्वातन्त्र्यादिति वर्णितम् ॥१०४॥


sa svayaṁ kalpitākāra-vikalpātmakakarmabhiḥ  /

badhnātyātmānameveha svātantryāditi varṇitam  // 104


Now, he is, God is, svayaṁ, by his own nature, by his own divine will, kalpita ākāra vikalpātmaka, creates artificial way of thoughts, many thoughts.

“This is stove, this is specs (eyeglasses), this is good, this is bad, this is brick, this is Denise, this is book,” or all these things. Vikalpātmaka, by his own playful act of vikalpas, thoughts, many thoughts. Otherwise, in God you will see only one thought, that thought is aham, universal 'I'. That though is the real nature of God. And by that real nature of God [he] creates various thoughts, variety of thoughts, by his own free will. Vikalpātmaka karmabhiḥ, and he creates variety of actions. Otherwise there is only one act.

Which is that act?


JOHN: Act of knowing himself?

SWAMIJI: No, no, act of not knowing himself.

BRUCE P.: Creation, . . .


Creation, protection, destruction, concealing and revealing.

JOHN: That’s one act.

SWAMIJI: This is only one act, i.e. fivefold act. Fivefold act is his own nature. But he wants to conceal it.

For instance, anybody who is overjoyed, he wants to jump, he wants to kill himself. He wants to slaughter himself, because of the reaction of being overjoyed.

In the same way, God is overjoyed by that blissful state of his own nature. And by that, the reaction is that he becomes, he conceals that. He wants to conceal his nature of that blissful joy, then he becomes many. This is the reality of God.

And badhnātyātmānam, he binds his own nature. He binds his own nature svātantryāt-by his own freedom. Iti varṇitaṁ, this is what we have heard from Śāmbhunātha’s lips.


svātantryamahimaivāyaṁ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . / 105a


Svātantrya mahimaivāyaṁ, but you will say what kind of freedom it is that he has become . . .

STEPHANIE: Concealed.

SWAMIJI: . . . concealed, and he has become bound in the wheel of repeated births and deaths. What kind of freedom is [that]? This freedom is not recognized by wise people.

How can it be recognized . . . is this freedom?

He slaps himself, he slaughters himself, what kind of freedom is this?

But, svātantrya, actually he has not slaughtered himself, he has not bound himself. Actually, he is not bound.

Because if in Denise he is bound, [and] in John he is not bound, he is absolutely free, filled with God consciousness; in Lakṣmanjoo he is bound, or in other persons he is bound; but in other persons he is absolutely filled with God consciousness. So, this whole universe is his only one body. These are not individuals, all individuals are only one.

These are only just like; if one hand is burning, i.e. I want to burn my one hand, [and] I want to apply cream on my next hand . . . what is there, who will blame me? It is my free will.

If I [am] bound here, I am free here, free this way. From one viewpoint I am bound, from another angle I am not bound, I am free.

BRUCE P.: So then, that question of what is ignorance . . .

SWAMIJI: The question of partiality does not arise. The question of partiality . . .

JOHN: Why is somebody getting hurt, and somebody is free? And this is why this person . . .


JOHN: . . . why is that happening?


JOHN: That is not a question.

SWAMIJI: The question of partiality arises only in differentiated positions. There is no differentiated position. There is only one God and he is playing with his own nature.

If from one point of view he is bound, from another point of view he is not bound. If here, in Kashmir he is bound, in United States he is not bound. In Mahesh Yogi he is free, in Acharya Rajneesh he is bound. But you cannot say that it is cruelty for Acharya Rajneesh and it is partiality from Mahesh Yogi.

There is no question of partiality and cruelty.

DENISE: Because they are both done by free will?


Because these both elements are only of one element.

If I am slaughtered, at the same time I am not slaughtered.

Am I slaughtered then?

DENISE: Well, your soul isn’t slaughtered, but your body is . . .

SWAMIJI: No, I am . . . it is just to make you understand.

If one way I am slaughtered, in one way I am kept away from God consciousness, in another way I am adjusted with God consciousness. For instance, here I am away from God consciousness, [and] here I am adjusted with God consciousness; because there is only one body, one body playing in this whole universe. And that body is of God.

BRUCE P.: How does it happen that the individual is so convinced that he is suffering?


BRUCE P.: Earlier, he was asking the question of, ‘What is ignorance’?


BRUCE P.: And in the case of an individual he becomes convinced that he is ignorant, that he is bound, that he is suffering, and that he is not free.


But another individual . . .

BRUCE P.: Won’t think that.

SWAMIJI: . . . won’t think that.

And, another elevated individual, what will he think?

BRUCE P.: He’ll think that bound person is free.

SWAMIJI: No, he’ll think that ‘I am free’. When he is elevated, not a bound person, he will think that ‘I am free’.

STEPHANIE: And everyone is free also?

SWAMIJI: No, not everyone. He will think ‘I am free’.

So, if he is free and at the same time he is bound, what is your answer for this?

Partiality does not arise.

If you say, ‘he is bound, he is suffering’, and at the same time you will say, ‘he is enjoying’; the same person is enjoying; at 9:00 o’clock the same person is suffering, huh . . . the same person is enjoying.

Is there partiality?

He is enjoying at the same time. From one viewpoint you will see he is enjoying. From another viewpoint you will see he is suffering. So suffering and enjoyment is just a play of God. He does not suffer, he does not enjoy, he is situated in his own God consciousness. And he is always adjusted with his free playful act.

BRUCE P.: But how does ignorance arise where the person won’t see that he is free, he will see only that he is suffering?

SWAMIJI: He does not see, but the same person feels that he is free.

Don’t you understand?

DENISE: [Unclear?]

SWAMIJI: For instance, you are individual, I am individual; you are suffering, I am not suffering. But this question would stand only when this individual was separate from this individual; and this individual was separate from this individual. Then this question will get its shape.

When it is a fact that she is suffering, I am not suffering, I am enjoying; she’s suffering, I am enjoying . . . who is suffering?

If ‘I’ am suffering, it is only ‘I’ . . . it is only ‘I’ who pervades this body and this body, that is God. This is only expansion of God. If here I am suffering, here I am not suffering, here I am enjoying . . . is this not play? If this is suffering, this is enjoyment.

BRUCE P.: Yes, however, if that person doesn’t think that way, what is the cause of their wrong notion?

SWAMIJI: No, that is wrong notion.

BRUCE P.: Why, what is the cause of that then?

JOHN: Gods play.

SWAMIJI: This is play. This is play . . . when he comes to this understanding, when he comes to that point of understanding . . . which point?

STEPHANIE: The point of understanding that it’s play?

SWAMIJI: Understanding that it is only one God playing here and there. Here suffering, here not suffering, here enjoying. Here ignorant, here blissful. Only one God. When he will come to this understanding, this conclusion, then there is no question of his being . . .

BRUCE P.: Then he is free.

SWAMIJI: He is free.

As long as he is understanding that he is suffering, so he has excluded his soul from universal soul.

BRUCE P.: Yes.

SWAMIJI: Then he thinks that I am suffering.

“I must be pitied, I must be lifted by people.” And that is ajñāna, that is ignorance. That ignorance will be removed by śāktipāta; that will be cleared by the bliss of Lord Śiva.

Do you understand it a little, or nothing yet?

BRUCE P.: Yes.

JOHN: But even then, you had also said earlier, that when a man realizes, from our Śaivite point of view, when he realizes the reality of his own nature, he knows that he had always had known that.

SWAMIJI: No . . .

JOHN: From the enlightened man's point of view . . .

SWAMIJI: Yes, at the time of realization, at the time of realization also, this is proof of this, once you realize your own nature in its perfect way you realize in such a way and you feel that, ‘I was not ignorant at all’.

BRUCE P.: Yes.

SWAMIJI: This memory comes in you at the time of realization when you are elevated by the grace of Lord Śiva you think that ‘I was not ignorant at all’.

BRUCE P.: Yes.

SWAMIJI: In past period also I was the same; there was no difference in me at all.

So, this is only just a trick of his svātantrya; that here he is suffering, here he is not suffering. So there is no question of rise of partiality in him. He is not partial.

If he would have been partial then why would he enjoy at the same time?

When he was suffering, at the same time he is enjoying; the same person is enjoying, at the same time.

So where is pain and where is pleasure?

So this pain and pleasure, the rise of this pain and pleasure is just his play.

DENISE: Is that why weeping is joyful?

SWAMIJI: Weeping is also joyful, yes, in the background.


SWAMIJI: In the background there is joy.

And there is one more point to be observed. That is next śloka, 105th.


GRACE - Audio 1 Track 2 (29:32)



स्वातन्त्र्यमहिमैवायं देवस्य यदसौ पुनः ।

स्वं रूपं परिशुद्धं सत्स्पृशत्यप्यणुतामयः ॥१०५॥


svātantryamahimaivāyaṁ devasya yadasau punaḥ  /

svaṁ rūpaṁ pariśuddhaṁ satspṛiśatyapyaṇutāmayaḥ  // 105


And this is also another svātantrya of Lord Śiva, that whenever he gets fed up with ignorance, when any individual gets fed up with this ignorance and saṁsāra and pain and sadness; when he gets fed up he reveals his nature. He tries, he meditates and reveals his nature.

STEPHANIE: That’s śaktipāta?

SWAMIJI: That is śaktipāta.

So, this is his play, this is another play. This is another way of his being playful, all-round. So nothing has happened. If he is ruined, then he would be ruined for good, for eternity, [but] he is not ruined. If he is ignorant then he would be ignorant, he would remain ignorant for eternity.

DENISE: But he could remove that?

SWAMIJI: He removes that at his will, at his free will; whenever he gets fed up. Whenever he enjoys, “O, you are my dear,” and he kisses her and she kisses him at the death time of any of the two; and they embrace each other and they say, “I want to die, I can’t remain without you.” All these things, all these nonsense things they utter at the time of death bed.

But in fact he and she is absolutely blissful at the same time. He enjoys that. Because she wants to suffer and he wants to suffer. This is why they act like that. A time comes when he’ll get fed up with this suffering, he will divert his attention towards blissful nature.

JOHN: So, wanting to suffer means what?


JOHN: Because you had told me this years ago, ‘Why do people suffer’? I’d asked you this question, you said they want to suffer.

SWAMIJI: They want to suffer, yes.

JOHN: Everyone.

SWAMIJI: They want . . . they like.

BRUCE P.: Who likes?


BRUCE P.: The individual likes?

SWAMIJI: Individual likes . . . likes to suffer.

STEPHANIE: God inside the individual.

SWAMIJI: In God, yes. God who has become individual, he likes to suffer, he likes to enjoy.

JOHN: And so all these people who are suffering anytime, with complaints, or bad moods, or whatever we get into, we are doing that because we want to.

SWAMIJI: Because, we marry, what for [do] we marry?

Just to suffer . . .

DEVOTEES: (laughing . . .)

SWAMIJI: Just to see the taste of joy.

STEPHANIE: Pleasure and pain.

SWAMIJI: No . . . there is no pleasure at all. In these things there is no pleasure. It is only just to suffering, you enjoy suffering; [to] be entangled with some other personality. She will never leave you, or . . .

JOHN: That doesn’t make sense to me. Then everything is like that, i.e. eating also. Eating or . . .

SWAMIJI: Eating also, yes.

JOHN: . . . walking, or driving your car, so everything is for suffering, we do everything for suffering.

SWAMIJI: It is only for suffering.

DENISE: Swamiji, in the west–I don’t know about here–but usually when people get married they think they are going to fly to heaven together. They never think about how much suffering there is involved in marriage and . . .

JOHN: No, but that’s not the point though, I don’t think that’s the point. Because most people find that marriage is a happier state (no, just to take this example), there are levels of suffering . . .

SWAMIJI: That is a level of ignorance; that is the level of ignorance on which you live. At that moment you feel bliss there.

And when it gets its original shape, i.e. after two years, three years, five years, six years, then you’ll come to know that it was wrong . . .

DENISE: Decision.

DEVOTEES: (laughing . . .)

SWAMIJI: . . . yes, I was mistaken.

JOHN: Then why is it the case that there are so many people in the world, so many people in this world that get married, they have absolutely happy lives almost no suffering.

SWAMIJI: For sometime.

ERNIE:  No, for their whole life.

JOHN: For their whole lives, I know married people that it's just been wonderful their whole life.

SWAMIJI: No, they internally suffer, they internally suffer, and they subside that suffering. They adjust . . . they adjust with that.

JOHN: This is strange because you have bought up the idea of marriage. And most people feel, I think everyone that’s married here, is that they’d rather be married than not married. Because there is more suffering being not married . . .

SWAMIJI: No, it is only youth that makes you feel that it is joy.

DENISE: Youth.

SWAMIJI: Youth, yes . . . the sex age. When sex age passes then you will find this was nonsense. But you have to wait for some years when sex age is over.

JOHN: Then why not just leave it . . . why not divorce and leave it, why if it's suffering . . .

SWAMIJI: But you want to suffer, you want to enjoy suffering.

ERNIE:  No, no, but . . .

DENISE: Since we come to you we don’t want to suffer.

SWAMIJI: No, you want to enjoy suffering. This is enjoyment of suffering.

BRUCE P.: You mean limitation?

JOHN: I don’t understand.

SWAMIJI: Yes, limitation.

BRUCE P.: You mean instead of choosing God we choose limitation? Is that what choosing suffering is?

SWAMIJI: No, we are in search of that bliss.

BRUCE P.: But what do you mean to choose suffering?

SWAMIJI: No, actually we are searching for that blissful state of Lord Śiva, and because we are kept away, far away from that state, so we try, strive to get that blissful state . . .

ERNIE:  Other ways.

SWAMIJI: . . . in cheese, in potatoes, in a woman, anything . . . we want to get. It gives some indication of that bliss. When you taste cheese, it will give you some indication of that joy, that feeling, that internal feeling. And Śaivism has kept away all these examples and kept only one example, just to make you understand–that is sex. Because sex is very near to that joy, that blissful joy, which is the embodiment of Lord Śiva. That is only that sexual . . .

ERNIE:  Energy.

SWAMIJI: . . . no, sexual, just intercourse.

ERNIE:  Experience.

SWAMIJI: Yes. This is just like sexual intercourse, the joy of sexual intercourse, but it is eternal, it is not limited, it does not fade.

DENISE: It doesn’t fade after climax.

SWAMIJI: No. The climax is in continuity, there in sāmadhi, in the experiment [experience] of Lord Śiva’s state.

[Swamiji addresses John.]

What is your problem?

JOHN: No, the problem is, that you took the example of marriage and said that everyone got married . . .

SWAMIJI: No, these things are imitations, Lord Śiva has kept imitation for that. Otherwise, if there had not been imitations in this world of ignorance, nobody would accept ignorance. Because, after all, we have come out from that blissful state. We want to find out this [bliss], we must keep that blissful state.

ERNIE:  That memory is there somewhere.

SWAMIJI: Yes, in the background there is memory. We want to search that, we want to have that. So, if we are kept away altogether from that blissful state we would never accept this world. But there is imitation–this is a trick of svātantrya of Lord Śiva–he has kept imitation of that, just particles of that joy; particles of joy in cheese. And mostly in sex.

ERNIE:  Best imitation . . .

SWAMIJI: Best imitation is sex. So everybody is dying after sex, because it is that joy which he has been losing for the time being. Otherwise, he is not losing.

And once you are centralized in that joy (in elevated state not in sexual state), then you will find that this was the same; this was only a particle of that, that sexual joy was the same. You should understand that blissful state of Lord Śiva is just like sexual intercourse, the blissful state of sexual intercourse, but one billion times . . .

ERNIE:  More intense.

SWAMIJI: . . . more intense, and . . .

STEPHANIE: Always going on.

SWAMIJI: . . . always going on. It does not fade.

So, everybody dies for that . . . we are also, these individuals are dying after that. So we have got imitation, this is for the time being sweetmeat: that is sexual, that is cheese, that is . . .

JOHN: The problem was that you said we were doing these acts only to suffer, not to find joy but to suffer.

SWAMIJI: Because in the background there is suffering.

ERNIE:  No, because it is imitation.

SWAMIJI: This is imitation. This is not real.

ERNIE:  Suffering is the misconception.

SWAMIJI: This is not real. We try to find out THAT! We are in search of THAT!

DENISE: And we accept imitations.


For instance, you [Stephanie] embrace tightly Bruce; get that enjoyment, sexual enjoyment. After getting that sexual enjoyment you want to do something more other than that. Not this.

What is that?

STEPHANIE: Anything.

SWAMIJI: No . . . you want to get cheese, prepare cheese. And you eat it . . . what for? What is the background of your ambition to take cheese?

STEPHANIE: Enjoyment?

SWAMIJI: Just to find out THAT, from which you have been kept away. And cheese also won’t do. So, cheese won’t solve, give that solution. So you want to go to cinema then afterwards. Then cinema is also you will . . .

STEPHANIE: Is over, so then now what?

SWAMIJI: So you are roaming here and there. But once you are centralized in that God consciousness by the grace of master, then your hankering . . . 

STEPHANIE: Search is finished.

SWAMIJI: . . . search is finished.

This is what happens through śaktipāta.

JOHN: So people don’t consciously choose suffering then?


JOHN: People choose happiness.

SWAMIJI: People are in search of happiness, that eternal happiness, universal happiness.

JOHN: Yes, but the confusion came when you said, ‘we were all choosing to suffer . . . to be married is to suffer, you're choosing to suffer’.

SWAMIJI: Because it won’t quench your thirst.

JOHN: Yes, but you don’t know that. The problem is the person doesn’t know that.

SWAMIJI: No, you don’t know. Because you are residing in the ignorant scale of life.

JOHN: So you don’t think you are choosing suffering, you think you are choosing something . . .

SWAMIJI: Joy, yes, yes.

But that is ignorance.

ERNIE:  Misconception.

SWAMIJI: Misunderstanding.

BRUCE P.: But it doesn’t take long . . . you only have to do something a few times to find out it doesn’t get you there.

SWAMIJI: No, for instance, you enter in your twentieth year of young age; you are fond of, you become fond of this sex. You can die, you can kill anybody, you can shun your money for that. But at the age, when you are aged, you won’t mind this. But you are in search of that joy . . .

ERNIE:  Still.

SWAMIJI: . . . still, in search of that joy . . . what you do?

You throw this body, you die and get another body for the sake of, for the sake of THAT . . .

ERNIE:  That greater joy.

SWAMIJI: . . . that greater joy. And you enjoy that sex, there is imitation. Lord Śiva has created this trick. This is the trick of concealing his nature.

DENISE: But when he starts to reveal his nature does he show the individual that these are all imitations?

SWAMIJI: No, he doesn’t show, he does not show; it is just for getting fed up.

DENISE: Once he’s fed up, then what?

SWAMIJI: Once he’s fed up he’ll get entry. His doors are never closed.

It is . . .


GRACE - Audio 1 Track 2 (42:48)

svātantryamahimaivāyaṁ devasya yadasau punaḥ  /

svaṁ rūpaṁ pariśuddhaṁ sat-spṛiśatyapyaṇutāmayaḥ  // 105 (repeated)


Although he is residing in the limited way of limited being it is the svātantrya that carries him to God consciousness at once through the grace of Lord Śiva, by the grace of Lord Śiva and by the grace of master. He lifts him, but only when he is fed up.

He says, “No, I have tried my best, I have tried my best in cheese, in sex, in everything, for about one thousand lives; still my problem is unsolved, it is not solved, it has not come to any conclusion.”

So then when he realizes that, this is the time of grace. That is grace, when you understand that this was nonsense. And at that very moment, God shines in you, absolutely.

DENISE: Forever?

SWAMIJI: Yes . . . that is śaktipāta, that is śaktipāta

And that śaktipāta will be defined in twenty-seven ways.


To learn more about the levels of grace in Kashmir Shaivism continue with this blog post... 


Source: Online Course - Grace on the Spiritual Path in Kashmir Shaivism as revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo

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