Everything is God's Grace1Seventy-five years ago in India there lived a great spiritual Master with about fifty disciples. Their ashram was situated at the edge of a forest, not far from the small village where the Master had spent his childhood. Because he devoted all his time to his spiritual children, the Master rarely saw any of his old friends from his youth. Inwardly, though, he kept a close connection with a few friends who had shown him much affection and admiration, in spite of the fact that they had not accepted his spiritual path.
One day the closest of these friends knocked at the door of the Master's cottage. "Come in, please come in, my friend," said the Master. "To what do I owe the honour of your visit?"
"You call me friend," said the man, "but I consider you my older brother, my mentor. I just happened to be passing through this forest on my way to another village. I have not been there for many years and I have totally forgotten the way. I suppose you could say it was by God's Grace that I stumbled upon your ashram."
"Indeed," said the Master, "without God's Grace, we cannot budge an inch."
"Already you are cutting jokes with me," said his friend. "As a matter of fact, I walked almost from one village to another without God's Grace. Only when I discovered your ashram could I say that His Grace began operating. Anyway, I am so happy to see you again."
The Master said, "I am so grateful that you have come. I have always felt that you were extremely spiritual. But I am serious, you know, when I say that without God's Grace nothing can happen and with God's Grace everything can happen."
"All right," said his friend, "let us see. Can you give me a gun?"
"A gun?" asked the Master. "What for?"
"If you give me a gun, I will shoot you and then we will see how God's Grace operates."
The Master smiled. "Now who is the one who is cutting jokes?"
"I may not be totally serious," his friend said, "but I am curious to know what your answer will be."
The Master replied, "My friend, it is God's Grace that I do not have a gun to give you."
"Your answer is simply perfect," said the man. "Now I shall tell you a secret. Very soon I shall be giving up my ordinary life. After seeing you today, my heart is sure that you will be my Master. Losing my way was a blessing after all."
The Master said, "It was God's Grace that you could not find your way, just as it was God's Grace that I could not give you the gun. Come back soon, my friend. I shall be waiting for you."
GRP 10. 23 September 1974.↩