Chapter 8.5 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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8.5 GRACE

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"And do not desire that with which God has graced some of you more than others: there is a portion for men from what they have earned, and there is a portion for women from what they have earned. But ask God from divine bounty, for God knows everything."    Mohammed

"And among the signs of God is that the winds are sent as bearers of glad tidings and to have you taste of the mercy divine; and that the ships may sail by divine decree, and that you may all seek from the bounty of God, and that you may be thankful."    Mohammed

"I thank Thee Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou has hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father for such was Thy gracious will."    Jesus Christ
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."    Jesus Christ

"An earth of existence, the world of yama, the Lord of Death, the human world and heaven  ....  of these, who would any knowledge by his wisdom hold? Who would enlighten himself by the excellent teaching, just as a clever maker of garlands selects and gathers that with beauty would unfold?"    Buddha



FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

DUTY AND GRACE

However long you may live, whatever scientific knowledge you may acquire, whatever positions you may hold, sometime or other you have to know the truth about your Self. Start knowing it from now. You have to be on the alert all the time. You can never know when the Lord's Grace, His love and benediction will be showered on you - at what time and at what place and in what circumstances. You cannot see what is happening in the spiritual world, nor can you understand the workings of the Spirit. When you go on performing your duty and enjoying what you do, that itself will confer bliss on you. (210590)

WHOSE FAULT IS IT?

Likewise, judging from the thoughts and behaviour of different persons, I mete out different types of treatment appropriate for each of them. I do not look at some persons. I do not talk to some others. I turn away from some others. All these are different types of prescriptions. Why am I giving these medicines? I have a certain principle. I attach great value to my words, irrespective of how you regard them. When I notice that some do not respect my words and act properly I do not like to waste my words on them. Because I desire to maintain the value of what I say I refrain from talking to some persons.

People who complain that Swami does not talk to them, why don't they realise that they have not acted according to Swami's words? Once you realise that your behaviour is responsible for Swami's attitude, you will correct yourself and behave properly in the future. Devotees tend to complain against Swami, but do not recognise their own lapses. There is no need to appeal to Swami to speak to them. When you correct yourself, Swami will talk to you of His own accord. If you pray for rain, all other things like growing crops and reaping the harvest will follow naturally. Separate prayers are not needed for each of these operations. If you implicitly carry out Swami's injunctions, Swami's grace will be obtained immediately.

First of all, impart value to your own words. You are endowed with a pair of eyes, with two ears, but only one tongue. Truth is the life-breath of speech. (310590)

THE LORD'S VIBHUTHIS

In the Bhagavad Gita, there is a canto devoted to the 'vibhuthis' of the Lord. What are these vibhuthis of the Lord? What are these vibhuthis - the glories of God? Everything in the universe testifies to the glory of God. Everything is a gift from the Divine. To the one who has unqualified faith in God, there is nothing good or evil. He welcomes everything equally. When a child is well, the mother gives it all eatables. But when it is unwell, it is given bitter medicine by the doctor. Likewise, the man who is groping in the darkness of ignorance has to be enlightened by the discipline of wisdom. The enforcement of such discipline does not mean that the Divine is angry or displeased. There is grace even in the severity of the discipline. It is like the surgeon's knife which is used to perform a necessary operation. The devotee should look upon pain and pleasure alike as designed for his good. He will not then be affected by troubles. He will regard them as stages in the evolution of his consciousness. Pain an pleasure are inseparable twins in life. One leads to the other, even as the New Moon culminates in the Full Moon. These are manifestations of the Wheel of Time, expressions of the Divine Will. (090188)

DEVOTION AND GRACE

Annamacharya (the composer) sang many songs in which he hailed God as his sole refuge and support. Later he had the realisation that he had been trying to deceive God by his words. Then a great change came over him. We should realise that we cannot please God by our books or our songs or by our learning and scholarship. Nor is it possible to please God by intellectual eminence or clever tricks. Annamacharya declared: "The degree of everyone's (spiritual) attainment depends on the nature of his thoughts. O Lord! Whatever the feeling with which anyone envisages you, you appear to him within that form." Divine Grace is in proportion to the measure of your devotion. You can take from the vast ocean only the amount of water your vessel can contain.

According to the purity of our actions, we will get the fruits thereof. Our precious human birth can be redeemed only by developing human qualities and leading a righteous life. you (the students) must make good use of the golden opportunity you have got now. Besides worldly education, cultivate meditation on God and develop the inner vision.

Become Rajayogis. Rajayoga implies doing your duty without concern for the results and dedicating yourself to the service of society and welfare of humanity. This is the penance which Emperor Janaka did. (170788)

SURRENDER AND GRACE

Students should bear in mind the rules of right conduct that should govern their life. They are passing through the most precious and sacred period in their lives. This should be well used. Dedicate all your thoughts and aspirations to God and surrender yourselves to the will of the Divine. Surrender may appear to be difficult, but it is not so. It is, in fact, like keeping your money in a bank. You will be able to draw money from the bank whenever you need it. Similarly, when you have entrusted all your concerns to Bhagavan, you can draw from Him whatever you need. What is it that stands in the way of this surrender? It is your ego and your possessiveness. You do not have sufficient trust in the Lord. People desperately cling to their possessions saying: "My money, my house", and so on. They forget that when you surrender to the Divine, you acquire His grace. Some time or other your wealth will go. But once you have earned the grace of God, you can feel secure and satisfied. Bhagavan does not need your wealh. He is always a Chittachora (one who steals the heart), not a Vithachora (a stealer of wealth). It is you who have to change from stealers of wealth to stealers of hearts. (170788)

GRACE FALLS EQUALLY ON ALL

Like underground water, the Divine is there, in every one, remember. The Lord is the inner reality of all beings, present everywhere. He is the Atma of every being. He is in you as much as in every one else. He is not more in a rich being or bigger in a fat being; His spark illumines the cave of the heart of everyone. The sun shines equally on all; His grace is falling equally on all. It is only you who erect obstacles that prevent the rays of His grace from warming you. Do not blame the Lord for your ignorance or foolishness or perversity. Just as underground water wells up in a gushy spring when a bore is sunk down to that depth, by constant Ram Ram Ram Ram, touch the spring of Divinity and one day it will gush out in cool plenty and bring unending joy. (SS May 88)

The grace of God cannot be won through the gymnastics of reason, the contortions of Yoga or the denials of asceticism. Love alone can win it, love that needs no requital, love that knows no bargaining, love that is paid gladly, as tribute to the All-Loving, love that is unwavering. Love alone can overcome obstacles, however many and mighty. There is no strength more effective than purity, no bliss more satisfying than love, no joy more restoring than devotion, no triumph more praiseworthy than surrender. The Gita says, you must be without hatred to all beings; but, that is not enough. A wall has no hatred towards any being! But is that the ideal? No, you must positively love all beings, actively love, actively engage yourself in acts of love. That alone wins the grace you crave for. (SS 89,164)

POWER OF DIVINE GRACE

However, there is one way of getting over the results of karma. If you earn the grace of the Divine, even mountains of sin can be reduced to dust. Only the Divine has the power to confer such grace. A spark of fire can burn down a mountain of cotton. How is that spark to be got in the human predicament? Only through love. Develop love. Serve all with love, ever remembering the Lord's name. Without the name of the Lord on your lips, the mind will be running hither and thither. The mind is the birth-place of unsteadiness. Hence, engage yourselves in action, concentrating your thoughts on God. (231187)

You might say that the karma of previous births has to be consumed in this birth and that no amount of grace can save man from that. Evidently, someone has taught you to believe so. But I assure you, you need not suffer from karma like that. When a severe pain torments you, the doctor gives you a morphine injection and you do not feel the pain, though it is there in the body. Grace is like the morphine; the pain is not felt, though you go through it. (SS 90,278)

UNDERTAKE SACRED ACTIVITIES TO RECEIVE GRACE

Devotees should realise that by merely uttering "Rama! Rama!" you cannot ensure the Lord's grace. To what extent are you carrying out the injunctions of Rama, Krishna or Baba? How far are you practising the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita? Without practising the precepts, no amount of repetition of the name of the Lord is of any use. It is merely like playing a gramophone record. The Lord's name must get implanted in your heart.

Today, on account of the special prerogative of the Kali Age, people think that it is enough to recite the Lord's name alone for achieving the goal of life. But this is a mistake. Can you have the current merely by having the negative wire? Only when the negative and positive lines are combined will the current flow. Devotion must find expression in dedicated service to the Lord.

Embodiments of Love! When you recite the name of the Lord with love, when you carry out with your limbs the injunctions of the Lord, and look upon the world as a manifestation of the Divine, you are bound to receive the grace of the Lord. Have this firm conviction. Do not labour under the misconception that mere chanting of God's name alone is necessary and adequate. Along with it you have to take part in sacred activities. You must not mind whatever obstacles you may encounter. This is the lesson which Hanuman conveyed when he overcame every one of the obstacles he met with when he set out on the search for Sita. Hanuman stands out as a supreme example of dedicated and determined service to the Divine. (080290)

So, too, one of you may be working in an office, another in a shop, a third in the press but everyone must engage in spiritual practices with devotion, discipline and a sense of duty. Do not feel that your role is low and another person's high. Do not be depressed when you find your role is minor; do not be proud when you discover that your role is a major one. Give your best to whatever role is allotted to you. That is the way to earn Grace.

When can you secure Swami's Grace? In what form? One may get it as a chance to have Divine audience: another as a chance to touch the feet, a third as a chance to exchange a few words. Others may not be the recipients of any of these. Why? Their ideals and desires may not be proper. Even if they are proper, they may not be gladly pursued in daily lives. (May 81)

DEVOTION AND SERVICE

Devote every day at least five minutes for reciting the Lord's name and a few minutes for rendering some kind of service to the needy and the forlorn. Include in your daily prayers a prayer for the welfare of all people in the world. Do not be engrossed in your own well-being and salvation. Try to lead a life free from ill-will and harm to others. Regard this as a type of spiritual discipline and redeem your lives. (080290)

It is not easy to explain in what form and in what manner karma follows a person. A cow, which may feel proud about its horns and its size, finds itself controlled by a rope through its nostrils on account of its karma. Hence one must bear with whatever troubles that may come, treating them as the consequences of past actions. But the effects can be mitigated or removed by earning the grace of the Divine.

Men today do not view things in this manner. Considering some person as the author of their misfortunes, they tend to abuse him, without thinking about their own actions. They should realise the truth of the saying: "As you sow, so shall you reap." Your present state is the result of your past actions. Therefore, by doing good acts in the present, you must ensure beneficial results in the future. Everyone should realise that for happiness or sorrow, profit or loss, his own actions are responsible. (210288)

 
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