With this post we conclude Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teaching about Divine Grace. In Part I he makes a distinction between law and love, and notes that while many people claim to have free will themselves, they deny the same freedom to God.
There is the Grace of God. Many know the Grace of God. And what does it mean? It means a wave of favor, a rising of love, a manifestation of compassion which sees no particular reason. One may say: “Does God close His eyes? Why must it be like this?” But in human nature we see the same thing. The Divine nature can be recognized by human nature. Ask a lover who loves someone: “What is the beauty of that person? What is in that person that makes you love her?” He may try to explain: “ It is because this person is kind or because this person is beautiful or because this person is good or this person is compassionate or intellectual or learned.” But that is not the real cause. If really he knows what makes him love, he will say: “ Because my beloved is beloved, that is the reason. There is no other reason.”
One can give a reason for everything. One can say: “I pay this person because he is good for his work, I pay for this stone because it is beautiful, but I cannot give a reason why I love, there is no reason for it.”
Love stands beyond law, beyond reason. The love of God works beyond reason; that Divine Love which is called the grace of God, no piety, no spirituality, no devotion can attract it. No one can say, “I will draw the Divine grace.” God apart, can anyone say in this world, “ I shall draw the friendship of someone.” No one can say this. This is something which comes by itself. No one can command or attract it, or compel anyone to be his friend; it is natural. God’s Grace is God’s friendship, God’s Grace is God’s Love, God’s Compassion. No one has the power to draw it, to attract it; no meditation, no spirituality, no good action can attract it. There is no commercial business between God and man; God stands free from rules which humanity recognizes. That aspect makes Him the Lord of His own creation. As the wind blows, as the wind comes when it comes, so the Grace of God comes when it is its time to come.
There is a story among the Arabs, that when Moses was going to Mount Sinai, he saw a man praying, and this man asked Moses, “Are you going to communicate with God?” Moses answered, “Yes.” The man said, “Will you ask about me? I have prayed all my life, and all my life I have been in difficulty. I feared God, I was always kind to man, and yet what have I got? Nothing. A hard life always – nothing else?” Moses said, “Yes, I will ask about it.” When Moses had gone a few steps further, he saw a man who was fully drunk. The man called, “Come along, come here, Moses. Will you take my message to God and ask Him what he thinks about me?” Moses was amused, and he took the messages of these two men. Naturally the answer was, “Moses you know our Law. The man who has prayed all his life, he will be rewarded, and the man who has been drunken will have his punishment.” Moses came back and told the first man, “Be sure and be happy. All you have done will be rewarded.” “I have no doubt,” said the man, “I am sure, I have always done good. God will not forget this.” When Moses came to the other man, he said, “You have well enjoyed your life, for you there is the worst place.” The man said, “ Yes? I am so happy, I do not mind where God puts me. But, that God thinks of me! There is nothing better for me.” Then he began to dance, he was so happy.
The result was that these two men were quite in the contrary place than Moses had expected them to be. And Moses asked God, “Why is it?” The answer was that all the virtues of the first man were wiped away by that thought of conceit: ‘Yes, I deserved it.’ Since that moment all his virtues were wiped away. The other man, he thought, ‘all the punishment there is, I have deserved it.’ His only happiness was that he was remembered by the Lord. This gives the picture. There is law and yet there is something beyond law and that is Love.
I have heard people say, ‘I am ill or I am suffering, or I am going through a difficulty, or things go wrong because of my karma of the past.’ I say, “If it is so or if it is not so, you thinking about it makes it still worse; everything that one acknowledges to be, it becomes worse because one acknowledges it.” That karma which could be thrown away in one day’s time, by acknowledging it will be kept with a person all his life. Some people think that they suffer or that they go through pain according to the law of karma. But when the thought of the grace of God comes and when one realizes the real meaning of the grace of God, one begins to rise above it, and one begins to know that my little actions, my good deeds, all my good deeds I must collect in order to make them equal to God’s mercy and compassion. His grace and Love He gives at every moment. God’s compassion cannot be returned by all life’s good actions. The relation of God and man apart, can one return a real thought of love, all that a friend has done for us? We can love that friend, his loving kindness and his compassion, but we can never pay for it.
In all our life we cannot pay for it, and still less when we see the kindness and the compassion of God which is always hidden from our view, because we are always only seeing what is lacking, the pain, the suffering, the difficulties. Man is so absorbed in them that he loses the vision of all the good that there is. We can never be grateful enough if we saw it like this, that it is not the law, but that it is the Grace of God which governs our life. And it is the trust and confidence in this Grace which does not only console a person, but which lifts him and brings him nearer to the Grace of God.