Question: In the beginning I pushed very hard with personal effort, with aspiration, and I thought that this was good. But recently I realised that the transformation that I have already made was not made by me, but by you. So how much do I have to make personal effort and how much do I have to surrender? What should be the balance between personal effort and surrender in my case?

Sri Chinmoy: If you say that by virtue of your personal effort you have made 50 per cent of your progress and that by having faith in me or in your soul you have made another 50 per cent, if you are trying to balance what percentage you want to give to your personal effort and what percentage you want to give to the higher force — your surrender or your faith or God acting in and through you — then you are making a mistake. Your personal effort also has come from the Grace of God.

If we are sincere, then we will realise that there is no such thing as personal effort. Yes, I am taking exercise in order to lift heavy weights. I am lifting my hand, this and that, but inside my hand, Who is doing this? Why is He not doing it through someone else? If gratitude dawns in our life, then we will give 100 per cent credit to God. You are doing something — you are meditating most powerfully, let us say. Somebody else is not doing it. So whatever we call personal effort is an action that is being done in and through us by an invisible force. If you are conscious, you will see that Somebody is acting in and through you. If you give credit to God or that invisible Force, let us say, then you will be happy. Otherwise you will entirely depend on your personal effort. And if you do not do something for ten days, then on the eleventh day you will say, "I will not be able to do it." You will not be able to imagine how you can do it, because you are depending only on your personal effort.

Personal effort cannot live by itself even for a minute, because its inner nourishment is the Grace from Above. The Grace is inside your personal effort. That is why you are doing this or that on the physical plane. If Grace is not there, personal effort will be very, very limited. After some time you will give up. You will say, "I have worked for so many days, so many months. Now I am not getting any results. I should give up."

Those who have realised the Highest do not give any credit to personal effort because they realise that personal effort is coming from a Source and that Source is God's Grace. In my own case, I always give 100 per cent credit to God's Grace. Personal effort is an action that is being done in and through us by the Grace. This moment it is using our hands, next moment it is using our legs, next moment it is using our mind, next moment our breath or our heart. When any action is being done by our hands or our arms or our legs, we have to feel that it is the Grace that is operating in and through that action.