Blessed spiritual presence, Gurudev, who art the heart of this holy abode of thine on the right bank of Divine Mother Ganga in sacred Uttarkhand!
May you ever continue to shine and manifest in the hearts of all thy followers, thy seekers, thy devotees and disciples as one-pointed adherence and wholehearted devotion to the ideal of divine life. May thy grace manifest and shine in their hearts and minds as earnestness of bhav and sincerity of purpose. May your grace and spiritual presence manifest and shine in all as perseverance and a determination to stick to the divine life of truthfulness, purity, compassion and kindness, of service, devotion, meditation and a dedication to Self-realisation every moment of their life, so that their life itself becomes a monument worth being enshrined in human memory, so that their life, dedicated to a lofty and sublime ideal, becomes a reward in itself, so that their life becomes a great blessing to mankind of today and tomorrow. May thus their life be endowed with beauty, spirituality and divinity. This is my humble prayer at thy feet.
Radiant Atman! This morning I share something with you that came to me from across the Ganga. Yesterday afternoon a holy man was admonishing gathered seekers and devotees at Swarg Ashram, and as it was otherwise quiet, I could hear what he was saying over the loudspeaker. He was telling them that all individual souls who are striving to attain the good life, striving for Self-realisation which is the purpose of human birth, it is better, early or late, that they should know one truth very, very clearly, and it is this: “No one can give salvation to any individual except that individual himself or herself.”
He was saying: “You have to work for liberation from sorrow and the attainment of bliss; no one can give it to you; you obtain it by your own effort. In spite of all that has been said about Guru’s grace and divine kripa and miracles, nevertheless, the truth is that supreme state of blessedness is something you can give to yourself; no one else can give it to you.”
He went on to elaborate: “What is it that makes it so very specific that it is the seeking soul that must ultimately grant to itself whatever it wishes to attain? Abundant divine grace of the Lord Almighty is always available; it is never denied, it is ever available. But it will enter into your being and transform you only if you open yourself to it. If you do not open yourself to it, then there is no means by which grace can force itself into you, try to do something against your wish, will and co-operation.”
Coming to the practical aspect in the life of the seeker, he went on: “What is it that enables the seeker to attain grace, and what is it that prevents one from attaining grace? You will attain grace if you always place yourself in front of the Lord. If you want grace you must face the Divine. You must place yourself in the presence of the Divine, and you must lift up your face and look at the Divine. As long as your attention is diverted to other things, to that extent, it is you yourself who deprive yourself of His grace, not He. His grace is abundantly present at all times, to all beings.”
He then gave two examples. One is, a number of earthen pots are left outside during the rainy season. Some face upwards towards the sky, some are on their side, some are upside down. When the rain falls, only those pots that are upright, open to the skies, will be fully filled. In the self-same open space and rain, those on their side will be partially filled and those that are upside down will receive nothing.
He gave another analogy: “On a day when the sun is shining brightly, if you open all the doors and shutters, your house will be brilliantly lit up, illumined. But if you close the doors and shutters, sunlight may be everywhere else, but the inside of your house will be in darkness.”
“In this way,” he said, “it is only you who can give liberation to yourself, not anyone else, because it depends upon whether or not you recognise this truth. If we expose ourselves to God, God pours into us, and blesses us and makes our life divine. If we are not ever in a state of being exposed to Divinity, then naturally our life, to that extent, will be denied divinity, peace, bliss, light.”
He said: “The onus, the main responsibility, is on the seeking soul and not upon God. God did not want to lay the responsibility of granting liberation upon God. Therefore, you must face the fact that it is you who can give liberation to yourself, for God’s grace, that grants liberation, is always available; it is never denied, never withheld.” This is the truth. I am thankful I have been able to share this with you for your sincere reflection.
Sivananda Yoga (Yoga DVD)
Yoga, A Way of Life - Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
"Yoga and Health" - a complete book with Question & Answer section by Sri Swami Adhyatmananda
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