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Descent of divine grace

CHENNAI: : Descent of divine grace is the turning point in the spiritual evolution of a bonded soul. Mystics of all spiritual traditions speak of it, often quite eloquently, in their hymns, which are standing testimony to their spiritual experience. The Tiruvasagam of the Saiva saint, Manikkavasagar, is an exemplar of this genre of devotional literature. Just as a stone thrown into a pond causes a ripple effect in the still waters, so also, the life of one who has been chosen by God undergoes a total transformation. Caught in the whirlpool of transmigration the spiritual growth of the soul in bondage takes place according to its Karma in its several births.

In his discourse, Sri T.V.Venkataraman said the ardour of the devotee for spiritual experience increased after the descent of grace. The overwhelming feeling after a devotee comes face to face with God by His grace is one of humility and often he is left wondering what he had done to merit His grace. The seers speak of different steps, which are distinct subtle experiences that they experience on the path to realisation. They have made it clear that it is neither the mind nor the body which has this experience. We are familiar only with the human personality (body, mind) but it is only an instrument, which is ultimately a non-entity in spiritual experience. It is the soul, which experiences God but it cannot be seen. The soul is a spectrum of consciousness, will, energy, knowledge and bliss. The ego gives the soul a separate identity and the body-mind personality acts in tandem with it. The soul's activity cannot be visualised but can be seen manifested in the body-mind.

All experiences are learning processes in the evolution of the soul towards liberation and it learns through the pain and pleasure it undergoes. Learning about the material world is easy because this happens through the instrumentality of the body-mind. But, spiritual knowledge is subtle and hence difficult to grasp because man has severed himself from God long, long ago. How is it possible to experience God if man is full of himself? So, spiritual progress involves emptying oneself of the ego. Experiencing God must happen through the instrumentality of another agency— God Himself. So, the Lord chooses and moulds the soul. After God takes charge of the devotee, he has to surrender totally to Him.

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