- Mar 12, 2009
GRACE OF THE GOD/ਗੁਰੁ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦ/ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ
Grace is an expression of Divine benevolence and is a cardinal doctrine in Sikhism. It manifests itself and occurs as Karam, Nader, variously called Mehr, Bakhshish, Parsad, Daya, or Kirpa. It is sought through prayer and devotion. Its descent is the ultimate Divine mystery. No amount of austerities, no amount of intellectual search or performance or ritual or yogic praxis or Akhand Paths or any such devices can force it out of God’s hand. Grace is a pre-requisite for any spiritual growth in Sikhism.
ਨਾਨਕ ਨਦਰੀ ਕਰਮੀ ਦਾਤਿ ॥
Nanak Nadree Karmee Daat.
O Nanak; Devotion to Akal Purkh is a blessing, which comes through Its Grace. -----Guru Nanak, Japji, AGGS, Page, 5-11
Salvation, while earned through devotion love and good deeds, comes ultimately through Divine Grace. The fullness of God’s liberating grace is beyond human appreciation. Its power of emancipation is beyond comprehension. No human can have full knowledge about Grace. The riches of his goodness cannot be expressed in words by a mortal’s tongue. We can admire the beauty of Divine Grace but cannot really explore its depths. The depth of the riches of Its wisdom and knowledge are unreachable. Grace is governed by the Universal, eternal laws of nature, which do not show any partiality. It is needed to control mind, so one can perform selfless service (ਸੇਵਾ) to progress in spirituality.
ਕਰਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਗਲੀ ਵਾਉ ਦੁਆਉ ॥
Karam Milai Taa Paa-ee-ai Naahee Galee Vaa-o Du-aa-o.
If one receives God's Grace, then such honors are received, and not by mere words. -----Guru Nanak, Siri Raag, AGGS, Page, 16-8
Guru Nanak describes in Japji that even if you could live throughout the four ages, or even ten times more, and even if you were known throughout the nine continents and followed by all, with a good name and reputation, with praise and fame throughout the world. In spite of all this, no one would care for such a person, if he is not blessed by the Grace of Akal Purkh.
ਜੇ ਤਿਸੁ ਨਦਰਿ ਨ ਆਵਈ ਤ ਵਾਤ ਨ ਪੁਛੈ ਕੇ ॥
Jay Tis Nadar Na Aava-ee Ta Vaat Na Puchai Kay.
Still, if the Akal Purkh does not bless you with Its Glance of Grace, then who cares? What is the use? -----Japji, AGGS, Page, 2-15
ਕਰਮਿ ਮਿਲੈ ਤਾ ਪਾਈਐ ਹੋਰ ਹਿਕਮਤਿ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥
Karam Milai Ta Payai Hoar Hikmat Hukam Khuaar.
When the Akal Purkh bestows Its Grace, then alone it is received; other tricks and orders are useless. -----Guru Nanak, Asa Di Var, AGGS, Page, 465-1
ਵਿਣੁ ਕਰਮਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਪਾਈਐ ਨਾਹੀ ਜੇ ਬਹੁਤੇਰਾ ਧਾਵੈ ॥
Vin Karma Kich Paaee-aa Naahee Jay Bahutayra Dhavai.
Without Akal Purkh’s Grace, nothing is obtained, although one may run around frantically. -----Guru Nanak, Raag Tilang, AGGS, Page 722-9
ਜੇ ਬਹੁਤੇਰਾ ਲੋਚੀਐ ਵਿਣੁ ਕਰਮੈ ਨ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥
Jay Bauhtera Loacheyai Vin Karmai Na Paeyaa Jaey.
No matter how much one may wish, without the Akal Purkh's Grace, It is not found. -----Guru Amardas, Gujri Ki Var, AGGS, Page 516-2
Grace is bestowed on to those who humble themselves in submission to Akal Purkh’s Will, with development of higher instincts or virtues. When Truth and rigorous honesty have reached their highest levels in a person, he may become a candidate for it:
As one progresses in spirituality, Grace is lovingly bestowed.
One must be a good steward of whatever gift of Grace, he has received and should remain steadfast in his devotion to God, lest he falls from grace.
No matter how far we have progressed, our desires may lead us in a direction away form the Grace of God.
It seems plain that the Grace of God will not enter until and unless one recognizes and admit fearlessly the flaws in one’s character.
One can then humbly ask God to remove the falsehood in his character and imbue the virtue of truth.
Grace of God will not be bestowed upon until one has cleared the baggage of the ego (ਹਉਮੈ). Before we ask him humbly, we have to let go the ego.
If ego is stilled then the God’s grace is seen. Ego is a chronic disease but it does have a remedy – honest contemplation of Naam with a true heart.
ਹਉਮੈ ਦੀਰਘ ਰੋਗੁ ਹੈ ਦਾਰੂ ਭੀ ਇਸੁ ਮਾਹਿ ॥
Haumai Deeragh Roug Hai, Daru Bhi Iss Mahe.
Ego is a chronic disease, but it also has a curing medicine. -----Guru Angad, Asa Di Vaar, AGGS, Page, 466-18
Grace of the God can do for us what we could not do ourselves.
God, in Its Mercy, destroys the impurities and limitations of the human ego and bestows upon him the true knowledge and everlasting existence. When freed from the gravitational pull of the world of corruption one becomes weightless and purified with Truth, that is, the Word.
ਨਦਰਿ ਕਰਹਿ ਜੇ ਆਪਣੀ ਤਾ ਨਦਰੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
Nader Kareh Jay Aapni Ta Nadri Satgur Payeaa.
If the Merciful Akal Purkh shows Its Mercy, then the True Guru is found. -----Guru Nanak Asa Di Var, AGGS, Page, 465-2
In accordance with affirmations in the Bani, without proper prayer, humility, wakefulness in the way of God, grace may not come. The path to attain is hard, long, and yet the result is in God’s hand. It does not come by man’s own efforts and by the calculation of good and bad deeds. As borne out in the following affirmation, even the balance of good deeds does not help:
ਲੇਖੈ ਕਤਹਿ ਨ ਛੂਟੀਐ ਖਿਨੁ ਖਿਨੁ ਭੂਲਨਹਾਰ ॥ ਬਖਸਨਹਾਰ ਬਖਸਿ ਲੈ ਨਾਨਕ ਪਾਰਿ ਉਤਾਰ ॥
Lekha Kateh Na Chhuttiyai Khinu Khinu Bhoolan Har,Bakhshanhar Bakhash Lai Nanak Par Utaar.
We cannot get away from reaping the fruits of our actions in this world, as we can make mistakes at every step. O, Nanak if the Akal Purkh benefactor is pleased and pardons, then only one may be liberated. -----Guru Arjan, Gauri Bawan Akhari, AGGS, Page, 261-1
The process of gaining Grace by Divine mercy is to engage in devotion.
ਜਿਸੁ ਦਇਆ ਕਰੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਿੰਦੁੜੀਏ ਤਿਸੁ ਮਨਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਵਸਾਏ ਰਾਮ ॥
Jis Daya Karay Mera Par-Braham Meri Jindariyie, Tisu Man Wasa-ay Ram.
On whomsoever the Supreme Akal Purkh showers mercy, in his self It lodges the holy Name. -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Bihagara, AGGS, Page, 541-12
Naam and selfless service are the paths to gain God’s grace. To rely on God’s shelter in humility inspires the inducement to prayer that opens the gateway to grace. Thus, it may seem that the law of Karma, operating under the Command of Divine Will is supreme. However, through loving devotion this law may be transcended.
ਸੇ ਭਗਤ ਸੇ ਸੇਵਕਾ ਜਿਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ॥ ਤਿਨ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਤੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਈਐ ਸਿਰਿ ਨਿੰਦਕ ਕੈ ਪਵੈ ਛਾਰਾ ॥
Say Bhagat Say Sayvkaa Jinaa Har Naam Pi-aaraa. Tin Kee Sayvaa Tay Har Paa-ee-ai Sir Nindak Kai Pavai Chhaaraa.
They alone are devotees, and they alone are selfless servants, who love the Akal Purkh's Name. By their selfless service, they find the It, while ashes fall on the heads of the slanderers. -----Guru Ramdas, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 733-17
Virinder S. Grewal