Esoteric Exposition of a Christian Text


“CALL upon me in the day of thy trouble, and I shall deliver thee.”
( The Bible. )

How sweet and how cheering are the above words of the merciful creator. They are as balm to the hurt minds and beacon-light to the be-nighted souls. In this world of grievious cares and misfortunes, in this life of never-ending sorrows and trials, we look in vain for a faint ray of hope except in the faith that God Almighty will deliver us, for He is the last “anchor” that “holds” and friend and to those who are friendless and fatherless. “Sorrow” it is said, “is at once the lot, trial and privilege of mankind” and though “uses of adversity” are also held to be “sweet” but life would have been unbearable and we should have lacked an adequate amount of mental energy to bear the ills “flesh is heir to,” had not our hearts been cheered and animated by the hopes that we are under the watchful care of an All-wise providence and that “all is best though we often doubt”, what the unsearchable dispose of Highest wisdom brings about. Human wisdom and human resources often prove useless in the critical periods of our lives. The utmost that can be done by man is as nothing compared to that strength of mind which we acquire by our reliance on Divine help and guidance. This is proved daily and hourly by the united testimonies of the lives and experiences of thousands of men and women. Indeed there are men who would fain argue out God and who would look upon faith in religion as nothing short of folly and brain-weakness. These men may depend as much as they can upon their individual exertions and act as much as possible independently of God, but nevertheless there will be moments in their lives, when they will find themselves weak and helpless, and they will naturally seek for aid and support, as it were, from some higher powers. It is generally seen that men who at other times entertain atheistic tendencies, and scout the very idea of Divine help, become hopelessly bewildered and nonplussed in the hour of danger or death and even go the length of confessing their follies and evincing faith in God in no mistakable terms. Such being the state of things at all times and in all places we can emphatically assert that it is impossible for man unless he be, under certain circumstances, devoid of all his desires and passions, to live peacefully in “this vale of tears” without depending on god and calling upon Him in the day of calamity.

Now why do calamities come at all? If they are the dispensations of an angry God, how can we appease His wrath by calling upon Him. Is Divine nature fickle and changeable as man’s? If not, how is it possible that God should send us calamities and deliver us at the same time on account of our prayers and solicitations? And lastly what is prayer after all? Let us try to answer briefly some of these questions and get at the true import of the text we have quoted as the motto of our article.

Those who are aware of the end and aim of life, firmly believe that calamities, such as they are, must come as the result of their transgressions or in fulfilment of the law of Karma. This law of Karma is nothing but the law of nature working as inflexible and as forcibly in the moral and spiritual world as in the physical. Working with this law man gradually achieves his deliverance and working against it, he falls back in the race of eternal life and pays dearly for his disobedience. Whenever we violate this law of nature on the physical, moral, or spiritual plane, we engender certain Karmas which bring in their train, as a necessary consequence, evils or calamities. These calamities are of our own making, and they must come in the ordinary course of nature, bound as it were, in the chain of cause and effect. We cannot evade them, nor can they fail to produce their desired effects in the fullness of time. As we sow so we must reap. When our Karmas bring forth their fruits we are bound to take them. Many succumb to the overwhelming load of their evil Karmas, while others carry the load in a cheerful and submissive spirit, and in a manner triumph over their misfortune. The success of these latter is mainly due to an overabundance of calmness and fortitude which are the direct outcome of faith in the infallible justice and goodness of God. But this faith again, when properly analysed, is found to be the result of good Karma. Unless a man tries to bring himself by prayer and meditation to believe in a just and merciful God, and unless that belief takes possession of his entire soul, so as to produce on it certain permanent impressions and fixed tendencies, he will have no faith in the true acceptation of the term. Sometimes it is seen that an unbelieving man, under adverse circumstances comes suddenly to show faith in God. In his case there seems to be no preliminary preparation for the possession of true faith. But we must bear in mind the fact that man, as he is, is but a bundle of habits, a sum total of the various tendencies both intuitive and acquired. If therefore an unbeliever happens suddenly to become a man of faith, we must look beneath the surface and try to trace his socalled suddenness of faith to some latent possibilities in him, which he had been carrying all along, it may be from birth to birth, and which could not find ample scope and opportunity of developing themselves until now. What then appears sudden and fortuitous will on careful consideration be found to be the result of a long series of previous actions. Thus we see there is nothing like what are called accidents. This view receives and additional weight when we remember that all Hindu philosophers, who alone may be supposed to have given a true and rational explanation of the deep problems of life and death, are unanimous in saying that our present lives with all their strange vicissitudes are but a result and continuation of our past and previous lives. Thus the ordinary expression ‘man is the architect of his own fortune’ bursts upon our mind’s view with a fresh flood of light. We come to know how the great Dispenser gives us rewards and punishments in the shape of prosperity and adversity or happiness and misery strictly according to our several merits and demerits.

We have seen that calamities are merely the fruits of our own Karmas. Now, how can we avert them by calling upon God? And what is the nature of God Himself?

Every philosophic enquirer knows and believes that Divine nature is always immutable. It can never be hardened by man’s ingratitude or softened by man’s prayer. If God is just and merciful, He is always so, irrespective of man’s behaviour towards Him. It is nothing short of spiritual blindness to suppose that God can act like fickle men, now smiling and now frowning, favouring certain individuals and casting away others. What we then achieve by prayer is not to pacify an angry or vindictive God, but to generate certain actions which have a tendency to neutralise the effects of those actions which have brought upon us calamities. It must be observed, in this connection, that our thoughts and prayers are no less potent, nay more so, ingenerating actions than our socalled deeds on the material plane or those that are performed by means of our external senses. Indeed our mental actions are always more powerful and more lasting in their effects than our physical actions. We all know how much may be done by will-power, which is but another name for prayer;for prayer truly means a particular attitude of the mind to have certain desires satisfied. Now the stronger is the prayer or mental force the greater is the result. This explains how our sincere prayer only and no wordy demonstration can win for us the grace of God or the fulfilment of our desires. For sincere prayer means nothing more than genuine Will force.

Considering in this light we see that faith is nothing but a vivid perception of the nature and working of the law of Karma, which is based on justice and has for its object the deliverance of the ego or self by re-establishing his relationship with the God-head. Prayer again is but an attempt towards producing certain Karmas, such as will have power to counteract the effects of our past deeds. What is then the real meaning of the Text put into the mouth of God and serving as the motto of our article? Well it means nothing more than this:--‘Man, do not fret or murmur at thy present evils. They are the necessary results of thy past doings. Triumph over them, if thou can’st by prayer or will-force. Abide by the laws I have made. They are intended to lead thee, to thy destination and to save thee, if properly acted upon.” The motto carries only this much assurance for man and no more. If we expect anything greater from it we are likely to be self-deluded. It then unmistakably teaches us to believe in the law of Karma and to take lessons for the future. It involves the inflexible justice of God and His saving mercy as well. His justice consists in dispensing the fruits of our actions with an unerring hand and His mercy consists in giving us chances after chances, both here and elsewhere, for reforming our ways and securing our final emancipation by getting rid of all wrong actions. The mercy of God as is commonly understood is an anomaly and an absurdity. We should not measure Divine Nature by our human standard. God’s mercy must be taken to mean that disposition in God which helps us by innumerable, unsearchable ways to reach the final goal – conscious relationship with Him and “calm of mind, all passions spent.”

Calling upon God should therefore be explained, with an eye to man’s ultimate destiny, as involving firm faith in the law of Karma and genuine prayer or total abnegation of the lower self which is the author of all wrong actions. The day of trouble is certainly the day of the fruition of our bad deeds; and God’s delivering us is helping us to know our true ‘selves’ by His inscrutable dispensations of good and evil, whereby we are knocked up, as it were, from our sleep of ignorance and brought in a position to emancipate ourselves by breeding good Karmas or devoted service of God.

Thus we come to understand the all importance of Karma and the nature of divine mercy. We also see what ‘faith’, and ‘prayer’ mean. The explanations we have given should be acceptable to devout men of all religious denominations. The Vaishnavas firmly believe in the inexorable law of Karma and the impossibility of redemption without the destruction of all seeds of bad Karma. Let us conclude this article by quoting a remarkable significant sloka having a bearing upon the subject hitherto discussed:--

“namasyāmo devānnanu hatavidheste’pi vaśagā
vidhirbbandyaḥ so’pi pratiniyatakarmmaikaphaladaḥ ।
phalaṁ karmāyattaṁ kimamaragaṇaiḥ kiñca vidhinā
namastatkarmmabhyo vidhirapi na yebhyaḥ prabhavati ॥”