Receptivity, Purity, Aspiration and Gratitude. Thursday's Homily For the Devout 9, to Nikki Khan
When he was about 14 years old, the great Sage of Arunachala, Sri Ramana Maharshi, suddenly had an experience of dying, which he lived through. In fact, so profound was this effect upon him, that he left home soon after, leaving a note to his parents which read something like this:
“The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their prarabhda karma (destiny to be worked out in this life, resulting from the balance sheet of actions in past and current lives). Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.” --Ramana Maharshi
It took a few more years before his mother finally found him on the hills of Arunachala, by which time he was a fully God-realized soul with many disciples. She never left.
Vivekananda was once given a spiritual experience by the great Spiritual Master Sri Ramakrishna, with a simple touch, which sent him – Vivekananda – straight into a deep trance-like state of Bliss called Samadhi.
Why did these things happen? Why don’t I have the experience of dying, like Paul and become a Sage? Why am I not touched and sent straight into this deep spiritual state? Sri Chinmoy teaches that God has given him this capacity. So why not give me the experience? The answer is simple, Guruji teaches that we all have inner vessels and that if we are not ready, the vessel will simply break.
What made both Sri Ramana and Vivekananda ready? Does a farmer get a bumper harvest without tilling the soil and looking after his crops? Same thing is necessary in spiritual living. Both great souls had what we call receptivity – a crucial tool from God, necessary to attract the divine forces, raining down from above, (Grace). Grace is always flowing, but we do not attract it, as we are not receptive to it. Why aren’t we receptive?
Loosely speaking, Receptivity is the inflow and outflow of cosmic energy and cosmic light. Put simply, if the sun is shining and we leave our curtains drawn, it will not come in. If we open the curtains, it is only then that our bedrooms or living rooms, will be flooded with Light. There is a veil on the Heart, a dirty mirror, which has to be cleaned. Once this happens, then the shining nuggets, which we all are, will glint again in their original pristine glory.
All scriptures, whether it’s Christianity, or the Zend Avesta of the Zain’s; the Dhammapada of the Buddhists, as well as Sri Krishna’s Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism or the Koran of Islam, all speak of an Ultimate Reality – a Divine Ground, a perennial existence from which all things come, live and have their Essence. Again, all scriptures speak of recommendations which we have systematized and called rules. You know them:
Prayer, both verbal and silent, meditation, reading of devotional works, breathing, exercise, music for the soul, love – a pretty vague word - and so forth. The four words in my title are also mentioned and quite crucial.
What hinders Receptivity? It is Ignorance … it is our ‘nafs’ or ego, inherent weaknesses, imperfections and bondage. It is the lower forces that have not yet been touched by the light divine: fear, lust, greed, anger, passion, insecurity and so much more. This brings me to the second quality:
Wisdom from the Master
Purity is the inner vessel that holds the Light … the clean mirror, so to speak. Purity is both physical and internal. When there is malice or hatred in the Heart, the psychic Heart, we cannot be pure. Grace is very subtle and so its descent requires a very pure Heart:
“Blessed are the pure in Heart”, says the Christ, “for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
“Purity is the Light of our soul expressing its divinity through the body, the vital and the mind. When we are pure, we gain everything. If we can retain our purity, we will never lose anything worth keeping.” -Sri Chinmoy
When the inner purity is increased, our faces will radiate and we will reflect God’s Light.
“Purity is like a divine magnet. It pulls all divine qualities into us. If you have purity, then you have everything. There are two ways to have purity. One is by seeing God inside everyone, consciously and constantly. The other is by imagining God and consciously repeating His name as many times as possible. If you have purity, you do not have to go to God. God Himself will make you see His infinite Divinity.” -Sri Chinmoy
Aspiration is the beginning and the end of the journey. It is the burning intensity for Light, for divine oneness with the Higher Reality. It is the longing, earnestness or inner cry for Allah. Without this cry, we cannot reach God. The child cries for its mother and the good mother comes running, how much more will our Lord run towards us, if we seek or knock on Her door.
What prevents our knocking and seeking? This is a very complex issue. Some are ready and aspiring, but the longing needs to be triggered. The pull of the material world is extremely strong and rather paradoxically, God Himself has made it this way.
So, the second point is that some are really meant to be where they are right now as this is necessary for the game. Nevertheless, how do you know that it is not your turn to walk, march, run or sprint to the Divine?
Practice selfless service, it will break down the ego and open up the Heart. Pray regularly and punctually without ceasing, every single day of your life, a half-hour at least. Avoid expectations and reduce ‘clinging’ or attachments, both are extremely difficult to do. Work, as if it’s your duty, but offer the results of your actions to God. Do not create boxes as everything belongs to God and only He is indispensable.
More wisdom from the Master
Gratitude is the life-breath of the Supreme. You may find it useful, to make it a habit of offering Gratitude when you are awake and throughout the day. Pray for protection from dark or hostile forces that may affect or attack you. We are made in Love’s image and we are all It’s children – the children of Light. As such we affect this world by the vibrations that we give out.
A good or useful exercise is to think of others around the world who have not and will not wake up; who does not have food to eat. Yet God has chosen to give us warmth, shelter, air, security, education, parents and good food. Offer the joy of the Heart in Silence.
At this time and on this day of Thanksgiving, which is none other than God’s Gratitude to us, let us long for His grace and compassion; serve and never be tired of serving; see the divine and the innate goodness of all our brothers and sisters: mankind. Happy Thanksgiving!
Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 28th November, 2019
How essential is this divine virtue?
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