Sri Chinmoy: A seeker can and must first surrender totally and unconditionally to God if he is to get realisation. If he cannot or does not do this, then he cannot get realisation. If I study hard, then I pass the examination. But if I don’t study, then how am I going to pass the examination? In the spiritual life study means to offer oneself devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally to the Supreme. Study is self-study, total self-giving. If I don’t study in this way, then I won’t get the result.
You can ask who helps and guides the seeker, who gives him the necessary capacity. We pray and meditate and this is what you call personal effort. But if we go deep within we realise that this personal effort is also a form of Grace. Grace and personal effort go together. God is on the third floor and I am on the first floor. With my personal effort I come up to the second floor and with His Grace God comes down to the second floor. There we meet together, and realisation takes place.
But if we are sincere, we have to know that it is God who has given us the necessary power, strength, capacity and willingness to come up from the first floor to the second floor. Otherwise, why are relatives and friends still fast asleep while we are so anxious and eager to go up and see the Face of God? It is just because God’s Grace has entered into us and awakened us. When our hour has struck, God has come and lifted us up and He Himself has descended, and the two eternal friends are meeting together. So I wish to say that personal effort is necessary, but if we are totally sincere, we will feel that this personal effort also is due to God’s unconditional Grace.