What is suffering, causes and remedial measures?

It is self-evident, in life, nobody who is born on this planet can say with surety that he/she has not suffered or is suffering in one form or another in his/her life. Even the mightiest or the lowliest cannot escape from suffering in one manifestation or another. This suffering may be due to sickness, injury or any unpredictable incident, body pain, loss of relative or friend, fear of some sudden happenings – natural or manmade. Then, we’ve mental and psychological fears of loneliness, emotional maladjustment, frustration due to some reason beyond our control etc.

There are examples of people who suffered immensely due to their poverty owing to financial stringency but weathered all sorts of storms and worked hard and proved their mettle. This proves that working sincerely can deliver us from the sufferings.

Suffer means to endure, stand, put up with or to undergo pain or distress due to being placed at disadvantageous position vis-à-vis person due to whom suffering is being inflicted on us.

We all want freedom from pain or suffering to the extent possible both mental and physical.  It is in fact not possible to insulate ourselves from suffering totally but could exert for mitigating the same to some extent by limiting our anger, greed, controlling our wants besides being totally reining in our egocentric tendencies. When somebody subjects us to undue physical or mental pain we lose our peace of mind and behave irrationally we suffer.

Examples of suffering in different religions:-

  1. Suffering for others. Those who suffer for others set an example for us all to follow:-
  • Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us, leaving all of us an example to follow, that you should follow in his steps.
  • Holy Quran emphasizes that:  It is God’s design to put the human through hardship and adversity or sufferings so as to test their faith and their resolve and trust in God. Suffering tend to remind us that we’ve to be grounded always.
  • Guru Arjun Dev, Guru Teg Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh along with all his four sons and his mother made supreme sacrifices for protecting the human rights and freedom of the common men. Even thousands of Sikhs gave their lives for the same. This is a historical truth which will remain guiding us.
  • In Bhagad Gita it has been emphasized that lack of realization and understanding of some truths in life results in suffering. These are:-
  • Our soul is eternal but our body is impermanent,
  • there is ONE GOD
  • Salvation (Moksha) could be attained to escape from births and deaths through prayer, knowledge.
  • Right karma by a Yogi – free from attachments of fruits of action, free from ego, and full of determination.
  • There are five factors of action: Pace of action (body), the doer, five senses, efforts put and important of all is our Creator’s assistance.
  • Equanimity both in success or failure.
  • Right action (Sattvic Yoga) in the performance of duty without attachment with the result of action and without mental affectation.
  • One who believes and does his karma in the mode of passion (rajasika).
  • When one is engaged in only one type of work without following any convention or KNOWLEDGE (gyan) that is in the mode of ignorance (tamsik)
  • Budhist Philosophy on suffering. This path is called the Noble Eight-(fold Path and consists of
  • Perfect Understanding,
  • Perfect Thought,
  • Perfect Speech,
  • Perfect Action,
  • Perfect Livelihood,
  • Perfect Effort,
  • Perfect Mindfulness
  • Perfect Concentration.

Buddhism’s  Four Noble Truth too expounds about suffering.


  • The First Noble Truth is that life is suffering.
  • The Second Noble Truth is that all suffering is caused by craving for more.
  • The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness attained.
  • The Fourth Noble Truth is the Path leading to the overcoming suffering – Nirvana. 
  1. Suffering of the girls in in-laws homes. We know the numerous cases happening presently on every day basis. It has been experienced that in-laws make the lives of brides in in-law’s house for demand of dowry, making the lives of these hapless girls suffering in silence. Many times they are compelled to take recourse to suicide.
  2. Suffering of the old parents. There are the people who do not look after their aged parents. They leave them to the mercy of unpredictable conditions. When one of them dies, the other one feels very lonely, physically and emotionally shattered. Such a suffering, perpetrated willfully, is highly immoral and unethical. God will not pardon those perpetrators.
  3. Suffering of children who lose their parents. The children who are orphaned due to the death of their parents are left in the lurch. Unless society or individual takes cares for them there is nobody for them to bank on. Uncared children grow up to be law breaking citizens due to whom the society suffers ultimately.
  4. Suffering due to terrorism. The scourge of terrorism has brought about untold misery to the humankind wherever it is prevalent. These disgruntled people resort to sporadic bomb blasts, fire at the unarmed general public besides suicide bombing at the public places resulting in mayhem and destruction to life and property.
  5. Suffering due to death of our dear one. Those who lose their love ones at the prime of their lives or at any age to that matter know what actual suffering is?
  6. Suffering caused due to acquiring something for which we are not competent. When we resort to corrupt method for acquiring something for which we are not competent, the others who are competent suffer. What happened in one of the States in India (MP) due to VIAPAM scam is a case in point. This employment scam resulted in the deaths of many besides the candidates who were meritorious suffered.
  7. Suffering due to feeling of hurt. When somebody hurts us, especially so when we least expect such things from that person, this produces a ripple effect on our system. This hurt does an untold repercussion on the person(s) concerned. The hurt feeling too results when somebody passes unsolicited remarks on us or suspects our integrity.
  8. Excessive cravings. When we have excessive hunger for material possession and want to have that from any source, this craving bring in its wake untold misery to the person concerned because this material possession is not earned due to sincere efforts and hence a bad karma.
  9. Continuous sickness or when one or more parts of our body do not function properly causes untold suffering.
  10. Suffering perpetrated by hapless law breakers. Suffering could be perpetrated by unscrupulous and inhuman people who break laws of the land with impunity by their strong arm twisting methods. These bahubalis are the enemies of the humanity and should be dealt with as such.
  11. Due to loss in business or loss due to failure of crops . We must have observed the condition of the people who invest their life’s savings on a particular business and suffer losses due to one reason or another. Some commit suicide due to sudden loss. Or when the crops of the farmers suffer due to untimely rains or worst still there is no rains at all. Owing to this unexpected loss to the farmers they suffer. Their suffering is compounded when they fail to pay back the loans taken from banks etc. Finding no solace and succor from any quarter, many tend to commit suicide. This has been the case in many states in India recently.
  12. Suffering due to Natural Calamities. We know how much deaths and destruction is caused due to earthquake (as has happened in Nepal recently) or sudden floods or tsunami etc. All these cause suffering to the affected people.
  13. Suffering defeat in elections etc. When somebody most suitable for the election to represent the people of the locality fails to get elected due to rigging of polls by the other candidate then honest person suffers because that person suffers on two fronts – loses both money and goodwill.

15, Suffering children due to bickering between spouses. This is a huge travesty of our times. Due to incompatibility between husband and wife due to one reason or other or due to ego clashes, children are the sufferer. The parents either should not opt for giving birth to the children or if exercised this option then maintain peace and tranquility in the household. Hard words, but these are true.

  1. Suffering due to miscarriage of justice. It is unfortunate that when somebody has not committed a particular crime even then he/she is sentenced due to some misinterpretation of law or misrepresentation of rules in vogue or worse still if there is no witness to testify the justifiability or otherwise of innocence. In such cases there is miscarriage of justice by which an individual undergoes suffering because of no fault whatsoever.

17, Suffering when our most logical, time-tested and reasonable viewpoint is spurned. This happens at homes and at work places. We feel pained when nobody believes our side of truth despite presenting our viewpoint to the best of our belief and ability.

  1. Suffering for Maintaining the honour and dignity of family tradition. Many a times we sacrifice our comforts for upkeeping the honour and dignity of our family traditions. For this, sometimes, we are forced to forego our needs to meet the needs of somebody dear to us. Lord Shri Ram had to leave Ajodhya for 14 years’ exile to fulfill two promises given by his father, King Dhashratha to his wife Kakayee; firstly to leave Ajodhya for 14 years’ exile and secondly to bestow the kingship to her son Bharat.
  2. Studies of the students suffer because of loud noise. / lack of concentration. Studies require focused attention / concentration. Due to excessive noise, the studies of students suffer.
  3. Suffering ue to drug addiction in our youth. This malaise is prevalent in many due to which the very foundation of the household gets adversely affected. This drug abuse, if not checked and controlled sooner, it will’ve severe implications for the family as a whole.


  • Meditation (Bhakti Marg) is the best course that we should follow in order to rid ourselves from the unpredictable sufferings.

 Less wants.. We should not crave for more. Whatever has been earned earnestly should make us satisfied.       Yearning or craving for should be avoided for the amelioration of our sufferings.

  • Being sincere with our life partner. Sincerity pays in the long run therefore we should cultivate those traits which keeps our love with our spouse and all our love ones intact thus rid ourselves from impending sufferings.

Less Expectations. Our expectations from others is the results of our suffering when these are not met. So, it is worthwhile to have less expectations from others. If expectations are to be have really, we should have from our CREATOR. He’ll certainly meet all our requirements.

  • Our Failings and experience gained therefrom. Our negative life experiences are nightmares which should be experienced and lesson learnt from them. We should never ever run away from problems but face them squarely. If failure comes, no problem, try again. If still failure comes. Think that God does not want me that I should succeed in that field. Try something else with new vigour taking cue from previous experiences.
  • Unreasonable importance to important things in life. We should not give much credence to our body except keeping it neat and tidy/free of germs etc and should always keep in mind that all our sufferings will come to an end after our death. This is a metaphysical truth but it is the one, sure.
  • Helping others to help ourselves. After meeting for the sustenance of ourselves, we should also render help to those who need our help. This gives us satisfaction and also grace of our Lord.
  • Living a selfless life. Sincerity, honesty, purity, empathy and others positive principles should be our guiding force. We can acquire all these by pursuing positive and selfless behavior.

Gaining Knowledge. Knowledge delivers us from all forms of negativity from us and thus delivers us from rampant suffering prevailing in us.





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  1. Whosoever is born here on this planet is put up with ups and downs in life. We have to know the ways and means to know what is suffering and tackle the same accordingly.

    1. No, not at all mam. Whatever happens, happens for the best. If you ‘delay response’ you introspect about the subject matter still more seriously and give a wisely held view point in your response. To be ‘slow’ means considerate and doing everything after due consideration.

      Sincere intention comes from heart and it has immense graces of our LORD.



  2. wow….it took me long to complete reading the whole article……but i am enriched again by ur writings……specially the buddhism philosophy part….liked it 🙂

    1. Nehaji thanks a lot for appraising the write up. Actually Buddhist philosophy is time tested and if implemented in our life can change our lifestyle. All the great religions refine our behaviour and make our life sublime.



      1. yes,the whole june month i was in rishikesh….and i can truly say that that only month has changed a lot of me….i wil surely read more about buddhist philosophy,,,thank u 🙂

      2. It is a fact that whenever one puts the theories into practice then only some semblance of change dawns on us. Mere reciting something and doing nothing about it practically will not any difference. For example, we say that we should be sympathy towards others but till such time you feel sympathy towards others and do something tangible, nothing matters.

        Change is always a welcome and when it brings forth peace of mind, it is all the more better.



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