03 Sep Grace Of A Teacher
Among early spiritual aspirants it is an endless controversy whether divine grace alone can help them, or if the entire path is to be built ip by their independent self-effort. The scriptures, however, are very clear about this. When the mind of a seeker is purified through self-effort, divine grace will rush in to flood his life with light and joy. Self-effort is required first – ask, seek, and knock, and divine grace will follow , “it shall be given to you.”
In Hinduism, the guru’s grace itself is God’s grace, since the guru is none other than the Lord Himself expressing in a manifest condition so as to help the disciple. Spiritual teachers have advised seekers to remain where they are, and with true devotion progressively purify themselves, keeping constantly a deep and consistent inner demand for a teacher. To such a seeker living the honest life of a spiritual student, the teacher will appear.
When the right type of student – one who is fit for the knowledge – meets a true teacher, the transformation that takes place in the student is almost miraculous and certain. Sri Narada (in Narada Bhakti Sutra) says that the influence of a true master is unerringly sure and infallibly helpful at all times to all sincere and serious students.
A devotee must try to spend his time in accomplishing mental and physical changes in his ways of thinking and acting so that he will come to open up his heart in true devotion to the inflow of the Lord’s grace. All that stands between him, as he is, and his God, whom he is trying to attain and experience, is his own ego which is fed by misconceptions and by the consequent body-mind identification. When the ego is surrendered the individual consciousness merges with the supreme Consciousness, and the sense of limitation experienced earlier by the seeker is lifted. The required guidance will always reach one who decides to turn sincerely toward the Lord during regular prayer and habitual loving service to others.
– excerpted from ‘The grace of the teacher’ written by Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda
compiled in the Mananam series book ‘Divine Grace’