Volume - 7 : Issue - 1

Published : Jan. - Mar. 2008

Group : Think About It

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During my monastic wandering, I was once doing the circumambulation around the holy river Narmada.

For a while I lived with the tribal people in the forests in that area. They were very simple, honest and sweet people, extremely hospitable. I stayed with them for a few months. One day in front of the hut I was staying in, across their temple, they erected a new hut. When I enquired about what it was for they said that this was for a festival.

Later that day, a pregnant woman walked into that hut. Ten minutes later, she walked out smiling, a baby in her arms. No one went in with her. There was not a squeal when she was inside that hut. Soon after she left they dismantled the hut.

I asked a village elder about the festival that was to take place. He simply said that it was over and the birth of that child was the festival. Next week the same exercise was repeated. Another hut, another pregnant lady, another child and another festival!

This time I could not contain my curiosity. I asked the elder, 'I am amazed at the simplicity with which the ladies deliver their babies; no doctors, no midwife even and no pain. How is this possible?'

In my experience I had never seen something like this. Mothers-to-be have so many examinations, they check in to hospitals and scream in pain during delivery; but here it was so different. It was painless. It was unbelievable.

The old man said, 'pain, what pain? Why should there be pain while delivering a child? Yes, there is pain if an animal attacks and hurts you or you have a physical injury like breaking an arm or leg; but, why at child birth?'

In their language there was no word for pain. They had no concept of pain during childbirth. They asked, 'animals deliver their offsprings naturally and do not cry, why should humans?'

I had no answer. I could not comprehend what I was seeing.

It was only after meditating upon these incidents I understood that pain is the result of our verbalization. These words such as pain, hurt and suffering create the feeling of pain in us.

Our mind drives our body. Our mind creates thoughts and concepts and embeds them as verbalized and visualized realities within us. Pain has no reality outside of our mind. The neuro sensors that evoke the pain response cannot create the pain unless our mind accepts the fact that there can be pain.