We generally abhor pain, since we consider pain as something undesirable. The word pain is also defined as mental or emotional suffering. However, is pain all bad? Can we achieve anything valuable without undergoing some kind of pain? Can pain be entirely avoided in this material world?
Mamupetya punarjanma dukhalyam shashvatam!
naapnuvanti mahatmana sasseedam parmam gathaha!
Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Geeta says it is not possible that the nature of this material creation is only painful.
Maatra sparshastu konteya sitoshna shukhduha khadaha!
aagma paaheeno nitayastaam stiti shasav bharat!
But such sufferings are not permanent; they come and go.
Let us see this in the practical sense. How about birth? Surely, it is a painful occurrence both for the mother. What about learning anything? How about bringing up children? What happens when we try to excel in something? Then, we all know that death is a very painful experience.
The fact of the matter is that pain is inevitable. Either we accept it willingly or it is imposed upon us. For example, either we exercise regularly or in sickness, we resist sensual pleasures or we pay a price for them; we avoid attachments or suffer; we make no sacrifices and have no friends; and if we donít do any tapasya, we make no progress.
The advantages of such willing embracing pain are manifold. First of all, our minds donít play havoc on us; we become peaceful. Our health is generally good. We make friends. There is acceptance for us. And, we may achieve salvation if our tapasya is properly executed. But, unfortunately, our instincts are against such voluntary acceptance of pain. We like maximum comfort; unlimited sense enjoyments, our minds are given full freedom; etc.
How do we convince ourselves otherwise? These may help. We are souls, and these bodies are like vehicles for us; we should make the optimum use of them while they are with us, just like we do with our cars. Let us look at the lives of our icons. Did anyone succeed without rigorous efforts? How much time is spent in tapasya compared to the time in which we reap its benefit? After a while, accepting pain becomes a habit, which has a motive force in itself. Plus, keeping focus on the future gains helps greatly. The contrary is also true. The time of pain taking like in an exercise is small compared to the time one suffers pain through some disease.
The choice is ours that is whether to take pains willingly and make progress or get pain helplessly and lose. There is no third choice; tapasya is the only means to achieve all goals of the human life. No wonder it is said: no pain, no gain. And, the added bonus is: one doesnít fear that much.