Divine Grace

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Grace is an important factor in the practice of bhakti yoga. It is inherent faith which is responsible for the realization of grace. It is said that nature is always benevolent; that the higher laws are always trying to help in every possible manner. However, man in his ignorance violates these higher laws.

Innocence

Grace is a higher law or the law of higher nature. It is present everywhere, in everybody, and in order to experience this grace, one has to open one's mind, heart and spirit. The greatest obstacle in the experience of grace is one's limited ego. Human beings are guided mostly by ego. When one loses one's innocence, one loses touch with grace.

In order to experience grace one should be as innocent as a child. The ego is critical and always tries to prove differences. It tries to like one thing and dislike another. Anyone, including yoga aspirants, who has likes and dislikes, is far from grace. For example, a mother is full of love, but the child cannot experience her grace or love. If he wants to experience her love, he has to improve his mind.

In the same way the higher nature is always full of grace and compassion for all living beings, but man has lost his innocence. He has become intelligent. This intelligence is not the divine intelligence, but a crooked intelligence of an evil-minded being. This is precisely the reason why everyone is unhappy.

If an opinion poll of all human beings throughout the world were conducted, one would not find a single happy person. There would be something causing unhappiness. Even if he is deeply religious, still he will be unhappy. A priest is unhappy,; a clergyman is unhappy; a yoga teacher is unhappy; yoga practitioners are unhappy; a person living on the mountains is unhappy; a person who has no desires is also unhappy. Only a person who has no ego is innocent and has a simple heart, is happy as he is in direct contact with transcendental grace.

Faith

Grace is not like the beam of light. It is not something which comes to you, for grace is not far from you. It is closer than your breath, closer than your mind. Grace is so close to you that you cannot think about or understand it.

In fact, you exist because of grace. Not only you, but the earth which is suspended in space, exists just by the grace of a higher nature. How can it be experienced? I do not believe that people have experienced grace. Once they have experienced grace they have no fear. People who realize grace in their lives become fearless.

What will happen to my son, my wife and husband? What will happen if I have no money, or do this or that? These thoughts come to a person who has no faith, and therefore, no grace. If one can experience grace even for a split second, one will become a different person.

Do not talk about grace, instead, try to feel it. Try to be­come like a child, without taboos, without prejudice, without definitions, without categories. Try to be spontaneous in your expressions, your actions and your feelings.

— Early 1970's, India