Question: When we suffer unpleasant experiences and make mistakes, does that mean that the Supreme has withdrawn His Grace?

Sri Chinmoy: No, no, that is not true. It is just that ignorance-forces are there. A child goes and puts his finger in the fire. That doesn’t mean that the mother has less concern for the child. The mother has tremendous concern. But the mother is upstairs and the child has gone into the kitchen and placed his finger in the fire. Does that mean that the mother has no concern for the child? No. But the child is still ignorant. He does not know the power of fire.

When we do something wrong, at times it is because we do not know, and at times it is because we are tempted to do the thing. Sometimes the child knows that the fire will burn his finger, but he gets a kind of malicious pleasure in touching fire. With us also, in spite of knowing better, sometimes we enter into ignorance. It is like eating food. We know there is something called a sufficient quantity, but we overeat. We eat voraciously, and then we pay the penalty. But when we become, consciously or unconsciously, a victim to temptation, we can’t say that God’s Grace has withdrawn from our lives. Far from it! The only thing is that we are deliberately entering into ignorance. The mother can prevent the child from touching fire. She can say, “Don’t do it, don’t do it.” But the difficulty is that if the determination does not come from within, no matter how many times the divine forces try to prevent us from doing the wrong thing, we will feel a sense of loss. We will feel that we have missed something.

From within we have to feel that we are not losing anything by not entering into ignorance; or we have to feel that it is only a temporary necessity for us to make mistakes, because of our ignorance. If we live in light, there is no necessity to make mistakes. It is not because the divine Grace has been withdrawn that we become victims to ignorance. Far from it. But what can the divine Grace do? Limited freedom God has given us. To everybody He has given it. This limited freedom is like a knife. Somebody will use the knife to cut a mango and share it with others, and somebody else will use the knife to stab another person. We are suffering not because God has withdrawn. God has given us the capacity; so now let us use it wisely with our discretion and wisdom.