Guiding Light of The Month

THERE is a great difference between being in the midst of active work, of external action, while keeping one’s thought constantly fixed on Thee, and entering into that perfect union with Thee which leads to what I have called “absolute Consciousness, true Omniscience, Knowledge”. - The Mother


Grace. This is the theme for the special issue of our August Newsletter. This month marks the advent of Sri Aurobindo into the terrestrial sphere, some 138 years ago. Those who know Him intimately, those who live with Him in their hearts, those who have consecrated their lives to Him unconditionally would probably refer to this advent as the descent of Grace itself.

In wanting to know about this phenomenon, Grace, one need only to revisit one’s past and sieve out incidents which one clearly perceives as acts of Divine Grace. When these are examined thoroughly, clearly and carefully, indeed, Grace may seem something quite inexplicable. One is able to relate with the fact that the giver of this boon we call grace follows His own movements, other than what we know to be workable or intelligible.

What is this “Grace”, really? Nolini Kanta Gupta, a senior sadhak of integral yoga referred to Grace as a “gift” or a “boon” from the Divine. However, it is a gift or a boon that is given according to how the Divine chooses. The Divine alone chooses what His devotee needs, and when it is to be offered to him and for what purpose. The Divine grace follows no human law, or judgment or discretion. The Divine alone, in His almighty wisdom dispenses what one needs most at a given point in time, for His high purposes.

M P Pandit, another senior sadhak, notes that the Divine does not show any concern for “whether the recipient is virtuous or sinful, deserving or non-deserving from the human point of view”.

Sri Aurobindo throws some light on Grace with these lines, “It is a power that is superior to any rule, even to the Cosmic Law….. Yet it is not indiscriminate – only it has a discrimination of its own which sees things and persons and the right times and seasons with another vision than that of the Mind or any other normal Power.”
One can know, on occssions, when Grace arrives and showers one with her bounty. However, in order to understand in full what Grace is, one needs to be party to God’s vast, Divine plan. How is this possible? We are once again posed with the one option, and that is to know the Divine, the high point of spiritual sadhana.

Sri Aurobindo considered Grace and aspiration as two pillars in spiritual sadhana. He says, in ‘The Mother’:

“There are two powers that alone can effect in their conjunction the great and difficult thing which is the aim of our endeavour, a fixed and unfailing aspiration that calls from below and a supreme Grace from above that answers.”

The Grace is a “power”, one that answers from above to a particular call. The Grace answers from the highest spheres of the Divine. The call that sounds from below is the call of the human. It a call of an ardent aspiration for the Divine Himself.

Grace is said to answer only in conditions of Light and Truth. In order to receive Grace, to perceive Grace as Grace, some inner preparations seem inevitable. However, it is also said that Grace may appear without such preparations too. Grace alone decides.

Perhaps Grace is around us, working in and around us from moment to moment. It is just that perhaps, one needs the eyes to see Grace or the ears to hear. One can only invoke the descent of Grace silently, even for this purpose, then, while keeping the aspiration fixed, constant, skywards.

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