Not for Myself, Lord

from Swami Kriyananda

It was a Sunday morning, and I had the worship service to conduct in our temple at eleven o’clock.

At nine o’clock, I had a sudden kidney stone attack. It was the most intense pain I have ever experienced. My body was shaking like a leaf. Friends tried to persuade me to let them drive me to the nearest hospital, but that would have meant going some twenty-five miles on a winding road. The very thought was—well, unthinkable!

A principle of mine is, in suffering, not to pray for myself. I’ll pray for others, but to pray for personal relief seems to me an admission that I am attached to this ego, and this I won’t do. I have dedicated my life to the practice of seeing God, in everything, as the Doer. Accordingly, I sat there, trembling, too much in pain even to speak.

At a certain point, I looked at my watch. 10:45. I’d been enduring this unbelievably intense pain for an hour and three quarters. Now I thought of a way of praying that would not be for myself, but for others.

“Divine Mother,” my prayer went, “the worship service is about to begin. If you want me to conduct it, You will have to take this pain away!”

In the length of time it takes to inhale one breath, the pain simply disappeared! It was replaced by a joy so intense that, still, I could hardly speak! But I was able to conduct the service, and though I wept throughout my sermon, my tears expressed the intense joy I felt, not my former pain.