The Doctrine of Grace
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is a chapter from the book Essence of Bhakti Yoga.
You can notice Lord’s grace in every inch of His Creation. In a hot summer you enjoy the delicious sweet juice of grapes, cucumber, oranges and pomegranates and cool Ganga water of Rishikesh and Haridwar. This is Lord’s grace. When you suffer from any serious ailment, you get immediate relief and cure from herbs. This is Lord’s grace. When you walk in a dark night, the stars twinkle and throw light on your path. This is Lord’s grace. When you are unable to bear extreme pain you become unconscious. This is Lord’s grace. When the weather is sultry, a gentle breeze blows and refreshes you. This is Lord’s grace.
Lord’s grace will descend in proportion to the degree of surrender. The more the surrender, the more the grace.
Kathopanishad says in a thundering voice: “Not by study or discourses, not by argument, not by intelligence is the Self attained. He whom the Lord chooses attains Self-realisation. He reveals Himself to such a chosen person.”
The subtle forms of lust, anger, egoism, pride, etc., can only be totally destroyed through the grace of the Lord. However hard you may strive and do Sadhana, these subtle forms cannot be eradicated through your Sadhana alone. The Lord’s grace completely purifies your heart.
It is the Lord only who stirs the aspirants to do Purushartha or right exertion.
You should not sit idle and say “Lord’s grace will do everything for me. Why should I do any Sadhana?” This is wrong philosophy. God helps those who help themselves. God’s grace will descend on those persons only who exert. You cannot expect the Lord to do self-surrender for you. Be up and doing. Strive. Plod. Persevere. The Lord will shower His grace upon you.
Mira abandoned everything. She renounced kingdom, husband, relatives, friends and property. She remembered her Lord Krishna, whole day and night. She shed tears of Prem. She sang His praise with single-minded devotion. She gave up food. Her body got emaciated. Her mind was ever absorbed in Lord Krishna. Only then, did Lord Krishna shower His grace upon her.
The Lord has five duties. He is Karta (actor), Akarta (non-actor), Anyatha Karta. He veils the Jiva (Tirodhana, Tirobhava). He removes the veil through His grace (Anugraha).
People will become idle and say “The Lord will do everything for me. Why should I do any Sadhana? I depend upon His grace alone.” In order to remove the inertia, Sri Vasishtha and others have preached the “Purushartha Vada.” In reality it is all Lord’s grace only. Even a leaf or an atom will not move without the sanction of the Lord.
May you all obtain Lord’s grace through faith and devotion! May Lord shower His grace upon you all.
Glory to the Lord and His grace (Kripa, Anugraha, Prasad).