Thursday, January 8, 2009

35. Stages in spiritual development (third installment) afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest

We were talking of the first day of the second stage. For purposes of clarity, it would be better if you read posting 34 first.

This is the start of the journey. Stage 1 was flying here and there; stage 2 is flying in a fixed direction. The road is unimaginably difficult. One reaches the depths of despair. Many times one cries out loud, “Oh! My God why do you make it so difficult?” “ Why don’t you ever help me”? “God, please, have mercy on me.”

If the yearning for God is real, one never gives up. As I mentioned earlier, thought of quitting never enters one’s mind (25. Why do they travel)? There are great sorrows. As one progresses, over the years, great joys also occur. As Mayorga writes (Hunger of the soul. See sidebar ) about the life of Thomas Merton:

“Mystics, it seems, suffer greatly all their lives, more than other men. But they have joys far greater than other men”

I had previously thought that misery and sorrow are inevitable in spiritual journey, but that is not always the case. I know of a fellow traveler who has lead a happy and contented half a century of life (except troubled childhood and early manhood). Swami Yogananda, author of famous book (see sidebar, “Autobiography of a yogi”) did not seem to have encountered grave sorrows or anguishes, and he appeared to achieve the pinnacle of spiritual growth. These two may be the exceptions, because they were perhaps pure to begin with.

Why is suffering necessary? Because one calls upon God in suffering. One is unlikely to call on God for help when one is happy, and contented. We reviewed average person’s life in posting 33. There is hardly any place for God. On the other hand, one cries for help to God, from the depth of one’s soul, when all avenues of help are exhausted, and there is pitch darkness everywhere. Relief is impossible. There is only one Entity in the universe that can make impossible, possible. So one appeals to Him.

Why does God answer to some prayers?

Because He starts paying attention to you. Your prayer has crossed some barrier, by dint of your sincerity, and reached Him.

In order for God to intervene in one’s affairs, God has to be invited in one’s life. One has to ask Him to help, to intervene. Normally, He is aloof to human affairs. Whatever happens is the result of the law of cause and effect. He may help or He may not help. We do not know His criteria. But we do know that sometimes prayers are answered, and miracles happen. I personally know three instances, where God’s help was sought, and it came, miraculously, but not supernaturally, through human instruments. Therefore I believe without an iota of doubt, in personal God. I will narrate them sometimes in future.

It is also true, that God responds in His own way, which may not be what we had in mind, and we may not like it, and it may be too slow.

To be continued

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