Divine Grace

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Grace is a very 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 us in every possible manner. Man in his ignorance violates these higher laws.

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, then one loses the touch with grace.

In order to experience grace one should be as innocent as a child. The mind, the ego is very critical. It always tries to prove the differences. It will try to like one thing and dislike another. Anyone, even yoga aspirants, who have likes and dislikes, are far from grace. For example, the mother is full of love, but the child is insane. He cannot experience her grace or love. If he has 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 very intelligent, but the intelligence which man has developed is not the divine intelligence. It is crooked intelligence. It is the intelligence of an evil-minded being. This is precisely the reason why everyone is unhappy.

Closer than your breath

If you conduct an opinion poll of all human beings throughout the world, you will find not one happy person. There will be something which will be causing him 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 in the mountains is unhappy and a person who has no desires is unhappy. Only one person is happy, he who has no ego, who is innocent, who has a very simple heart, because such a person is in direct contact with the transcendental grace.

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

In fact you are existing because of grace. Not only you, but your earth which is suspended in space, is existing just by the grace of a higher nature. How to experience it? I do not think and I do not believe that people have experienced grace. Once you have experienced grace you have no fear. Those people who realize grace in their lives, they become fearless.

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

When I go to holy men, I hear from them about grace. When I go to see priests they always talk about grace, but they are so worried about their affairs. Therefore, 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.

—1970s, India