The Action of Grace
The Grace is something that pushes you towards the goal to be attained. Do not try to judge it by your mind, you will not get anywhere, because it is something formidable which is not explained through human words or feelings. When the Grace acts, the result may or may not be pleasant—it takes no account of any human value, it may even be a catastrophe from the ordinary or superficial point of view. But it is always the best for the individual. It is a blow that the Divine sends so that progress may be made by leaps and bounds. The Grace is that which makes you march swiftly towards the realisation.
It is not indispensable that the Grace should work in a way that the human mind can understand, it generally doesn’t. It works in its own “mysterious” way. At first usually it works behind the veil, preparing things, not manifesting. Afterwards it may manifest, but the sadhak does not understand very well what is happening; finally, when he is capable of it, he both feels and understands or at least begins to do so. Some feel and understand from the first or very early; but that is not the ordinary case.
Providence is not only that which saves me from the shipwreck in which everybody else has foundered. Providence is also that which while all others are saved snatches away my last plank of safety and drowns me in the solitary ocean.
With the touch of the divine Grace, how do difficulties become opportunities for progress?
Opportunities for progress? Yes! Well, this is something quite obvious. You have made a big mistake, you are in great difficulty: then, if you have faith, if you have trust in the divine Grace, if you really rely on It, you will suddenly realise that it is a lesson, that your difficulty or mistake is nothing else but a lesson and that it comes to teach you to find within yourself what needs to be changed, and with this help of the divine Grace you will discover in yourself what has to be changed. And you will change it. And so, from a difficulty you will have made great progress, taken a considerable leap forward. This, indeed, happens all the time. Only, you must be truly sincere, that is, rely on the Grace and let It work in you—not like this: one part of you asking to be helped and another resisting as much as it can, because it doesn’t want to change… this is the difficulty.
All that he is saying, all the time, is: completely, totally, sincerely, without reserve. For there is one part of the being which has an aspiration, there is one part of the being which gives itself, and there are other parts—sometimes a small part, some times a big one which hides nicely, right at the bottom, and keeps absolutely quiet so that it may not be found out, but which resists with all its might, so as not to change.
And so one wonders… with, “Oh, I had such a beautiful aspiration, I had so much goodwill, I had such a great desire to change, and then, see, I cannot! Why?” Then, of course, your mental arrogance comes in and says, “I didn’t get the response I deserved, the divine Grace doesn’t help me, and I am left all alone to shift for myself”, etc., etc.
It is not that. It is that hidden somewhere there is a tiny something which is well coiled up, in there, doubled up, turned in in upon itself and well hidden, right at the bottom, as at the bottom of a box, which refuses to stir. (Mother speaks very softly.) So when the effort, the aspiration wane, die down, this springs up like that, gently, and then it wants to impose its will and it makes you do exactly what you did not want to do, what you had decided you would not do, and which you do without knowing how or why! Because that thing was there, it had its turn—for small things, big things, for the details, even for the direction of life.
If one has within him faith in the divine grace, that the divine grace is watching over him, and that no matter what happens the divine grace is there, watching over him, one may keep this faith all one’s life and always; and with this one can pass through all dangers, face all difficulties, and nothing stirs, for you have the faith and the divine grace is with you. It is an infinitely stronger, more conscious, more lasting force which does not depend upon the conditions of your physical build, does not depend upon anything except the divine grace alone, and hence it leans on the Truth and nothing can shake it.
There is a great difference between this and the idea that you are bad and so “I won’t look after you, I shall throw you far away from me, and whatever is to happen to you will happen, I am not concerned about it.” This is the common idea. One says, “God has rejected me”, you know. It is not that. You may not be able to feel the Grace, but It will always be there, even with the worst of sinners, even with the worst of criminals, to help him to change, to be cured of his crime and sin if he wants to be. It won’t reject him, but It won’t help him to do evil. It wouldn’t be the Grace any longer. You understand the difference?
But there is a sentence here that’s… here we are, it is absolutely true: “You are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you”, and then there is a… (The lamp had to be switched on and this made a noise in the mike. Mother shows a little surprise, then continues turning the pages of the book to find the sentence.) I thought it was here… (She finds the sentence and reads) “Then…” here we are, “… always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you.” You see, this… (silence) It is not the Grace which recedes from you, it is you who recede from the Grace. It is a feeling, and the expression of the fact. For in the sentence… a preceding sentence, we have: “You are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you.” This is just the thing. You are yourself pushing the divine Grace away from you. But after having pushed It away, you have the impression that It has receded from you; and it is rather this: “… then always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you.” It is not a fact that It recedes from you, you have the impression that It recedes from you.
While reading it I noticed this. I don’t know what it is in English. Here it is on page seven. I don’t know, it must be approximately on the same page, I suppose: “If you call for the Truth…”, something like that.
(Someone looks up the required sentence in the English book and reads: “the Grace will recede from you.”)
Ah, yes. “Recede from you…” “… then always you will be open to attack and the Grace will recede from you.”
It expresses one’s impression. But it is not that the Grace withdraws. For it is written here, you see, just a little before, “it is not the divine Grace you must blame”, it is you who push It away from you.
In one case he takes the position of the Grace and in the other he takes the attitude of the person who says, “The Grace recedes from me.” But it is not the Grace that recedes, it is he himself who pushes It away, that is, he has put a distance between himself and the Grace. In fact, even “pushing away” doesn’t give the correct picture; you see, this is not written, it was not written to a philosopher, and it is not in philosophical terms. In one case, you see, he has taken this particular attitude, but the phenomenon is the same; that is, there is a kind of psychological distance created between the Grace and the individual. And due to this psychological distance the individual cannot receive the Grace and feels that It is not there. But It is there, in fact; only, as he has established this distance between the two, he doesn’t feel It any longer. This is the real phenomenon. It isn’t that the Grace goes away, it isn’t even that he has the power to push It away, for if It doesn’t want to go, no matter how much he tries, It won’t go. But he makes himself incapable of feeling It and receiving its effect. He creates a psychological barrier between himself and the Grace.
It is only the Divine’s Grace that can give peace, happiness, power, light, knowledge, beatitude and love in their essence and their truth.
The grace is equally for all. But each one receives it according to his sincerity. It does not depend on outward circumstances but on a sincere aspiration and openness.
Have faith. There is no disease which cannot be cured by the Divine Grace.
“At the very moment when everything seems to go from bad to worse, it is then that we must make a supreme act of faith and know that the Grace will never fail us.”
The Grace is always there, eternally present and active, but Sri Aurobindo says that it is extremely difficult for us to be in a condition to receive it, keep it and make use of what it gives us.
Sri Aurobindo even says that it is more difficult than to drink from the cup of gods who are immortal.
To receive the divine grace, not only one must have a great aspiration, but also a sincere humility and an absolute trust.
For the Grace to help you, you must fulfil the conditions, and the very first condition is to reject all doubts, however slight.
Strictly speaking, the Grace does not withdraw; people make it impossible for themselves to receive it. But you have only to take the right attitude and keep it, so that the Grace can once more do its saving work.