Grace and Love

Grace and Love

09 Jul 2023

"Śiva's innate power, Spanda, is wholly responsible for the entire creation of the Universe and the same power reacting in the individual leading to final liberation is called Bhakti (devotion). The same power, Spanda, in the reverse trend is liberation. In reality there is no difference between Sakti and Bhakti — the operating forces of Spanda." - Anubhava Sutra, tr Constantina Rhodes Bailly

"Grace may be seen as a manifestation of prakasa (conscious light), emanating from the world as Śiva, transcendent, constant, and eternal. Devotion, in turn, is vimarsha (reflective awareness); it is the sense of I" or the individual expression through infinite variations. Devotion is dynamic, ever-seeking, ever-changing, while at the same time complemented by the steady illumination that is grace" - Shaiva Devotional Songs of Kashmir, Constantina Rhodes Bailly

The word for divine Grace in this system is Anugraha which is one of Śiva's 5 actions - Creation, Preservation, Destruction, Hiding and Revealing. Grace here corresponds to the act of revealing, the shining forth of one's true essence which is at the same time, the essence of the highest Divinity. The greatest blessing is thus the revealing of who and what one truly is in contrast to the act of concealing, which hides this truth from plane sight. This hiding is accomplished by identification with the particulars of the objective sphere as one's own self - the body, the mind, the personality. It creates a false sense of isolation and limitation by identifying with the part rather than the whole. Revealing is accomplished in reverse fashion where the scales fall from ones eyes and one sees that they are indeed, a unique expression of the whole, in no way separate or different from that oneness and not bound by the diversifying and limiting constraints of the phenomenal realm.

"one cannot call down divine love by any exercise, since it is entirely subordinated to grace. Śiva inspires love and the love awakens; then, grace and love form an endless circle, with love we see grace and in grace is born the seed of love. "You are satisfied, O Lord, only by love, and there is love only if You are satisfied. You alone know how to bring remedy to this closed circle." - La Bhakti La Stavacintanami de Bhattanarayana, Lilian Silburn

Here we find the divine conundrum. How can one awaken to the highest truth of existence? It is only through grace, the Self-showing of the Divine, that this truth can be known. Yet, this grace is totally beyond the reach of the limited individual self. One cannot bargain for grace and one cannot force the 'hand of the Divine' through any method. Divine love, devotion, is both the means and the goal itself, for the true love is the recognition of one's own blissful Self and the longing that makes this recognition arise.