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Chapter 9: Your Suffering Makes You Special

Why is it so difficult to get rid of pain, misery, suffering or anguish, while knowing perfectly well that one has just to understand and drop them?

It is difficult to get rid of pain, misery, and suffering for the simple reason that they have been your companions for your whole life. Except them, you don’t have any friends in the world.

It is easier to be in pain, misery, suffering, than to be utterly lonely, because there are ways you can have pain-killers, you can have drugs, as an escape from misery. You can get engaged in all kinds of stupidities to forget your suffering. But there is no way - no painkiller is going to help you out of your loneliness, no drug, no stupidity.

Loneliness is so deep that all these superficial methods cannot reach to it, cannot touch it. That’s why it is so difficult to get rid of these few friends that you have got. This is your world, your family.

In my professorial days in the university, I had lived for a few months in the university campus. My neighbor was a newly-married man, a professor of physics, Nityanand Mukhopadhyaya - a very sharp, intelligent teacher, with a great future ahead, because he had such a grip on physics that even older professors of physics used to come and ask him things about new physics.

He had been married not more than two or three months, but the marriage was finished. They were constantly fighting, quarreling. The wife was also educated, a postgraduate, and in a beautiful subject, in music. The walls that separated me from this couple were not very thick - so thin that it was impossible not to hear what was going on.

It was almost thirty years ago. I was only their neighbor for a few months; since then I have not seen them, but they have given me one thing to which I have become addicted: earplugs. Even today when I don’t have any neighbors for miles.and even those who live miles away don’t consider me their neighbor. In the whole of America I don’t have a neighbor. And anyway, tourists are not supposed to have neighbors.

But I cannot get rid of those earplugs. I cannot go to sleep without earplugs. I have tried. The moment I think of dropping them I start thinking of Nityanand Mukhopadhyaya. From morning till midnight they were quarreling, on every point, on every single thing. There was no agreement on anything. And almost every night it ended with them throwing things - a pillow fight. I even heard them slapping each other.

Once or twice I interfered. I just knocked on their door in the middle of the night, and they opened the door. I looked at the scene - things all over the floor - and I said, “Don’t be embarrassed, because I have been hearing the whole thing since the morning. I know every detail of it, so you do not have to be hypocrites before me.

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