We often hear many people say the phrase “By the grace of God” when they refer to their life going on well. They are actually expressing an implicit faith in God; being thankful to God for everything that is going on in their life. In broader terms, it is the acceptance that everything that is happening is by virtue of God’s will to which we have to submit. It requires a lot of courage to declare the same phrase when people are hit hard by life. Would people say “By the grace of God” when calamities like hurricanes, floods, storms decimate their livelihoods? Although the implied meaning of that phrase is to accept whatever happens as God’s will.
To be conscious or having consciousness is by grace, It is not by coincidence or by our own will. In Kabir Panth, we strongly believe that being in the company of Saintly people, by welcoming Saints and Sages in our homes, by visiting our Guru, we are attracting grace in our life. It is the harmony which is created by being with Saintly people that makes us feel the grace of God.
“Saadhu bare parmaarathi, jyon ghan barse aaye Tapan boojhaawe aur ki, apnon paaras laaye”
Saintly people are benefactors who want the welfare of everyone just like rain clouds which benefit everyone indistinctly. As benefactors, Saintly people relieve people of their sufferings and at the same time transform devotees into pure souls. Similarly, prayers are not answered because of the prayer itself, but by the grace of God. In other words, everything happens by the grace of God; we need to be in harmony with our true Self to be attuned to that grace. One does not wake up in the morning because of his/her actions (good or bad); the time for him or her to depart from this worldly plane has not come, therefore one continues to breathe. Being thankful to the breaths we take is acknowledging the grace of God which allows us to fulfill our mission in this world.
But then we may ask the question : “If everything happens by the grace of God or by God’s will then why should we do prayers?” Acts of devotion such as prayers, selfless service, worship and so on are reminders of our human existence, of our identity, of the Universal presence of God and of our duty to perform good actions to ultimately attain our goal of salvation. Even people who have committed sins their whole life and happen to realise that they were on the wrong path and intend to redress themselves, they can be graced by God.
There was a noble gentleman who was kind, and always helped the poor and needy. He was always involved in doing good actions. However, he never prayed or went to temples. Everyone knew him as a very kind and loving person. It so happened that he was framed and was caught by the King’s soldiers, accused of theft. In the King’s court he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He became very sad and upset and thought to himself that God does not exist. As he was serving his sentence in the prison, his wife who was very religious went to her Guru, explained the situation and asked for the Guru to help her husband to be freed. The Guru told her that by the grace of God, everything will be fine. The Guru further requested that he visits her husband at the prison. After a week, the Guru was granted permission and went to see the gentleman at the prison. The latter was so upset that he did not want to meet with the Guru in the first place. Finally, he accepted to meet with the Guru. The latter told him that he should believe in the grace of God and he will soon be a free man. The Guru gave him a prayer mat and asked him to do prayers daily and that in 3 weeks or so, he will be free. After the Guru left, the prisoner thought to himself how he is going to do prayers, he who has never prayed in his life. Nevertheless he opened the mat daily and looked at it. After 10 days or so, he realised that the design on the mat was in fact an escape plan from the prison. Thus after studying the plan on the mat he was able to find his way out of the prison and was a free person again.
Of course this is just a story, but it contains a fundamental message of how being in contact with saintly people we can find our path to liberation. Just being in the presence of Sants, Sages, Saadhus we experience the positive vibrations which make us live by the grace of God. Saguru Kabir Saheb taught us to find God in the form of Saadhus and Sants.
“Jo Chaahe saakaar tou, Saadhu partach dev Niraakaar nij roop hai, prem priti se sev”
God is formless (niraakaar) so we cannot see Him; but if we want to see God in form (saakaar), then meet with Saadhus/Sants. They have all the divine qualities that God has. Sants grace us by their presence and bring relief and happiness to us. Just like in the story, Sants unlock the door to liberation for us. It is our duty to perform selfless service to them. Their grace in indescribable yet immensely beneficial to us.