Yesterday, someone very smart asked me what is Grace? So, guess what,I asked the people I worked with today, what is Grace? The answers were
- What we say before meals – is grace
- Dancing is done with Grace….
- Sometimes we get a grace period when we are behind say payments
No one actually gave me a clear idea. However, my friend did say, very impressively, that Grace is not about getting material things but spiritual growth.
In Sanskrit and in Gujarati and hindi, there is a specific work for Grace, it is called Krupa. The word Krupa is conveys the meaning a little more appropriately. But bear with me, when i explain it you, will understand it better.
Lets say you are taking an exam. You study hard and do very well in the exam and get an A or A plus, would you say it was luck or grace? Probably, not.
So if you are righteous, and God gives you something, that is not grace. You might even say, it was worked upon and you got it. In fact, if you dont get, you may feel you have the right to complain. It was your merit. This merit, you can even call it your “karma”. Strong karma like this, can override past bad karma…and you can do very well in an exam, even though your destiny called you to fail. But difficult to do.
Aurobindo described Krupa or Grace the best. Lets face it, then Grace is not something that you get because you worked hard or merit it.
Then the other aspect then is can you say that, did God took pity on you and you got it? No, that is not the case either. You are the rightful heir to God and his kingdom. So there is no question of taking pity.
Krupa is something which no rational mind can figure out. It does not follow the logic of karma (which is more or less like a vending machine), nor is it sympathy or pity. It is something that the divine or your Guru, suddenly has a thought, that let this person be enlightened, and it just happens!. And on the other hand, someone who worked all his life very very hard, making a million sacrifices in life and still does not get the Krupa of God. Who can fathom it? Sadly, there is no recourse and you cannot complain. It is the divine will. The divine is not compelled to follow our petty thoughts of I did this, now you give me that! Guru or Shakti has her own unfathomable way of doing things. Lets leave it at that. So can I give you examples?
- Jesal and Toral : Jesal was a dacoit who had killed, looted, plundered and possibly even raped. He kidnapped Toral. Toral was a divine person, a great Guru. As she was kidnapped and in the boat going from one shore to the other, with her captor Jesal, the boat started to sink. Jesal panicked. Toral then opened her mouth and said, why do you panic, there is nothing to fear. Just declare all your sins, and I will forgive you and liberate you. Jesal got liberated that life and went to one of the highest levels and gave up his body took samadhi at will. This is a rare feat. (Happened within a few years)
- Bilwamangal was another person who was instantly changed
- Neem karoli baba changed another person who came to attack him. The change occurred in a fraction of a second, while the person had a weapon in his hand. He instantly fell at the feet of Neem Karoli baba and asked forgiveness
- One of Shankaracharya disciple was not very wise but he had unlimited faith in his Guru. Once when Shankracharya was about to give a talk, he waited for this disciple to come over. The other disciples protested and said, he is not very smart, he wont understand, can you start the talk? Shankracharya felt offended. He closed his eyes and said, let that disciple become enlightened this very second. Instantly he became enlighted and came to Shankaracharya singing in”totak” lyrics and became known as Totkacharya. Totkacharya was not even physically near Shankaracharya
- There was another person named Paul. He was born in 5 AD. He was from Tarsus. He had taken upon himself to arrest and prosecute anyone who knew Jesus and followed him or was christian. He was not very nice about it either. He was a Jew and had Roman citizenship. Anyway, once when he had left Jerusalem , Jesus appeared in front of him. The dazzling light from Jesus, blinded Paul. (Not the paul who was one of the 12 apostles). He remained blind for 3 days and then regained his eyesight. But that vision of Jesus, converted Paul and made him an ardent follower.
So in other words, Grace or Krupa is something that is unfathomable by our very limited intellect. The conversion to faith in God is instant and beyond all logic. In a rare instance, it gives instant liberation
This is spiritual Grace. The highest.