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Thru his Grace......or..ego....

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" It is rather intricate and complicated. There are only two systems of sadhana -- of spiritual practice. The basis of one system is resolve, and that of the other is surrender. Both lead to the same goal but they are diametrically the opposite of each other.

The methods of Mahavir and Patanjali and Gorakh are based on resolve, on effort. All life-energy is devoted to the effort. When there is absolutely no energy remaining outside that effort, when you have given yourself up to it wholly, that very day the event will occur; when you have left nothing for yourself, your resolve will be complete and perfect.

Nanak, Meera and Chaitanya have followed the second path, the way of surrender. It is entirely different; the seeker believes that nothing happens through one's own effort -- only through His grace do we achieve. Now this does not mean you make no effort, but don't put too much faith in your prowess. Try you must, but remember that the outcome will happen only through His grace.

This is very, very important. If you rely only on your own labors, you will strengthen your ego. Therefore it is easy for a yogi to be proud, because he begins to believe that things are happening because of him.

Once this ego develops it is very difficult to be rid of it. It is easier to be rid of the arrogance of wealth, it is not difficult to renounce the pride of position, but it is very difficult to be rid of the ego of one's own endeavors.

There is every possibility of the seeker feeling that whatever is happening is because of him; the I becomes primary and God secondary. Because of this danger, Mahavir, Patanjali, Gorakh and others who follow this path lay great stress on the annihilation of the ego.

Make the effort, put your all into it, but renounce your ego is what they stress so emphatically. If the ego functions along with the effort, it will get stronger and stronger. Then you feel in whatever you do, I am doing it: I have done japa, I have done penance, I have attained occult powers. And if this arrogance is not eradicated in good time, you will have opened many doors but not the last. All your efforts will have been in vain.

Therefore, Nanak says: Try with all your might, but remember, His grace alone can bring about the happening. With this precaution, the risk in the method of resolve is removed. But there is a different risk in the path of surrender, which arises at the very beginning.

The danger is in feeling that there is no need to do anything. If the happening occurs only through His grace, what can we do? It becomes an excuse for not doing anything. So you remain involved in all the useless daily activities of life. You may assume it is not yet His will that you should set out on this path -- and so you wait. Meanwhile you indulge in all that is most contemptible in life; you wander in the maze of the material world.

Thus the danger in the path of surrender lies at the very onset -- you might become lost in laziness and inertia.

So try you must in the fullest measure, while remembering that the fruit of the endeavor is attained only through His grace. Therefore Nanak repeats over and over: His grace showers only on those within the gaze of His compassionate vision. On whom does this compassion descend but those who prepare themselves for it through their efforts?

Understand that in everyday life the meaning of a compassionate look is quite different. Does He too show partiality? Is He kind to His own but lets the rest be? Does He select a few to shower with His grace while He leaves others to suffer? We cannot associate God with such injustices. Things would become meaningless if a sinner might receive His grace while a saint is deprived of it. There would be no sense in doing anything.

No, this is not the meaning of the compassionate look. It is not that He chooses someone that suits His whim or fancy, or that He favors those who flatter and sing His praises. His grace showers on all, but there are some who have turned their pots upside down, so that they never get filled. If your pot is upright, it is bound to be filled. And don't imagine that your upright pot caused the grace to shower! Grace showers all the time.

Nanak says the filling takes place by His compassion, but some effort you have to make -- by placing your vessel in the proper position to receive.

And you will have to see that there are no cracks or holes in it, that it is not lying upside down or slanting so that the grace cannot reach the mouth of your vessel and enter it.

His grace pours on everyone incessantly. It is you who are not standing upright to receive it or in your twisting and turning, it slides off you.

There is an apparent contradiction: if you are deprived of grace you have only yourself to blame, but if you attain grace it is only because of Him. You attain through Him, lose through your own self.

When following the path of surrender it is imperative to remember that if I am losing, it is I who am wrong; if I am gaining, it is entirely by His grace. This way the ego cannot be fattened, because there is no space within for it to expand -- or even to exist. He who has no ego finds that God is within him. "

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