Question: Should we understand that the extent of self-realisation that we can achieve is subject to our effort and our will, which is what I did understand from your last response, or is it ultimately determined in some way by something beyond our own will?

Sri Chinmoy: Two things go together — individual effort plus the Divine Grace. If I sleep all the time, God is not going to liberate me, but at the same time if I feel that on the strength of my personal will, by hook or by crook, I will be able to realise God by exerting all my power, it is foolishness. So we have to know that God is on the third floor and I am on the first floor. There should be a rendezvous, a meeting place. I have to go to God; I have to go to the second floor with my personal effort, that is to say, with my tears, my soulful cry. And then God will come down from the third floor to the second floor with his infinite Grace, Compassion, and there we meet together. He has to give what He has, His Compassion, the flood of Compassion, and I have to give my little personal effort and my tears, the flood of my tears. Then if we come together, there we meet together.

Here I wish to say something. A woman spiritual Master once was asked by her disciples how much personal effort she made in order to realise God. She said before she had realised God she thought that her personal effort was 99% and God's help, God's Grace, was only 1%. She was working so hard in order to realise God. But when she realised God, then she found that it had been just the reverse; that God's Grace was 99% and her personal effort was only 1 %. There she did not stop. Then she said, "My children, this 1% of personal effort was also God's Grace. It was the divine Grace which I got and others did not get. And this Grace of God allowed me to make that most insignificant personal effort."