The Divine Grace
A Special Number of All India Magazine
Feb-Mar 1998. VOLUME XXVII
Words of Sri Aurobirldo and The Mother
What Is Grace By Its Breath of Grace Our Lives Abide Grace and Our Collaboration Another Aspect of the Grace Invoking the Grace Humility and Gratefulness Difficulties = Grace = Progress Cure of Illness by the Grace Catastrophes, Wars and the Future Karma and the Grace Universal Justice and the Work of the Avatar The Concept of Grace If Grace Can Do Everything, Why Tapasya When One Enters the Spiritual Path The Lord's Assurance The Supreme Wisdom
There is in Love, at its Origin, something which is translated constantly as the intervention of Grace: a force, a sweetness, something like a vibration of solace spread everywhere...
The Grace, the Grace is a thing that surpasses all comprehension, with its clear-seeing kindliness.
...the Grace... is the expression of the Supreme.
The Grace is something that pushes you towards the goal to be attained. Do not try to judge it by your mind, you will not get anywhere, because it is something formidable which is not explained through human words or feelings.
The closer you come to the Divine, the more you live under a shower of overwhelming evidence of His immeasurable Grace.
Grace is not an invention, it is a fact of spiritual experience.
Grace is something spontaneous which wells out from the Divine Consciousness as a free flow of its being.
When you are in a particular set of circumstances and certain events take place, these events often oppose your desire or what seems best to you, and often you happen to regret this and say to yourself, "Ah! how good it would have been if it were otherwise, if it had been like this or like that", for little things and big things.... Then years pass by, events are unfolded; you progress, be come more conscious, understand better, and when you look back, you notice - first with astonishment, then later with a smile - that those very circumstances which seemed to you quite disastrous or unfavourable, were exactly the best thing that could have happened to you to make you progress as you should have. And if you are the least bit wise you tell yourself, "Truly, the divine Grace is infinite." So, when this sort of thing has happened to you a number of times, you begin to understand that in spite of the blindness of man and deceptive appearances, the Grace is at work everywhere, so that at every moment it is the best possible thing that happens in the state the world is in at that moment. It is because our vision is limited or even because we are blinded by our own preferences that we cannot discern that things are like this.
Human intelligence is such that unless there is a contrast it does not understand. You know, I have received hundreds of letters from people thanking me because they had been saved; but it is very, very rarely that someone writes to thank me because nothing has happened, you understand!.. People are not aware of the workings of grace except when there has been some danger, that is, when there has been the beginning of an accident or the accident has taken place and they have escaped it. Then they become aware. But never are they aware that if, for instance, a journey or anything whatever, passes without any accident, it is an infinitely higher grace. That is, the harmony is established in such a way that nothing can happen. But that seems to them quite natural. When people are ill and get well quickly, they are full of gratitude; but never do they think of being grateful when they are well; and yet that is a much greater miracle!
At each moment of our life, in all circumstances the Grace is there helping us to surmount all difficulties.
The Supreme's power is infinite - it is our faith that is small.
The Divine help is much vaster than what any human being is able to receive.
With the Divine's help nothing is impossible.
THE MOTHER Grace and Our Collaboration
I have said somewhere, or maybe written, that no matter how great your faith and trust in the divine Grace, no matter how great your capacity to see it at work in all circumstances, at every moment, at every point in life, you will never succeed in understanding the marvellous immensity of Its Action, and the precision, the exactitude with which this Action is accomplished; you will never be able to grasp to what extent the Grace does everything, is behind everything, organises everything, conducts everything, so that the march forward to the divine realisation may be as swift, as complete, as total and harmonious as possible, considering the circumstances of the world. As soon as you are in contact with It, there is not a second in time, not a point in space, which does not show you dazzlingly this perpetual work of the Grace, this constant intervention of the Grace. And once you have seen this, you feel you are never equal to it, for you should never forget it, never have any fears, any anguish, any regrets, any recoils... or even suffering. If one were in union with this Grace, if one saw It everywhere, one would begin living a life of exultation, of all-power, of infinite happiness. And that would be the best possible collaboration in the divine Work.
...when one begins to see it, one enters upon a state of wonder which nothing can describe. For behind the appearances one perceives this Grace - infinite, wonderful, all-powerful - which knows all, organises all, arranges all, and leads us, whether we like it or not, whether we know it or not, towards the supreme goal, that is, union with the Divine, the awareness of the Godhead and union with Him. Then one lives in the Action and Presence of the Grace a life full of joy, of wonder, with the feeling of a marvellous strength, and at the same time with a trust so calm, so complete, that nothing can shake it any longer. And when one is in this state of perfect receptivity and perfect adherence, one diminishes to that extent the resistance of the world to the divine Action; consequently, this is the best collaboration one can bring to the Action of the Divine. One understands what He wants and, with all one's consciousness, adheres to His Will.
In the whole manifestation there is an infinite Grace constantly at work to bring the world out of the misery, the obscurity and the stupidity in which it lies. From all time this Grace has been at work, unremitting in its effort, and how many thousands of years were necessary for this world to awaken to the need for something greater, more true, more beautiful. Everyone can gauge, from the resistance he meets in his own being, the tremendous resistance which the world opposes to the work of the Grace. And it is only when one understands that all external things, all mental constructions, all material efforts are vain, futile, if they are not entirely consecrated to this Light and Force from above, to this Truth which is trying to express itself, that one is ready to make decisive progress. So the only truly effective attitude is a perfect, total, fervent giving of our being to That which is above us and which alone has the power to change everything. When you open to the Spirit within you it brings you a first foretaste of that higher life which alone is worth living...
... this [fixing rigid laws] cuts you off from the creative Power of the Spirit, it cuts you off from the true Power of the Grace, for you can understand that if by your aspiration or your attitude you introduce a higher element, a new element - what we may now call a supramental element - into the existing combinations, you can suddenly change their nature, and all these so-called necessary and ineluctable laws become absurdities. That is to say that you yourself, with your conception, with your attitude and your acceptance of certain alleged principles, you yourself close the door upon the possibility of the miracle - they are not miracles when one knows how they happen, but obviously for the outer consciousness they seem miraculous. And it is you yourself, saying to yourself with a logic that seems quite reasonable, "Well, if I do this, that will necessarily happen, or if I don't do that, necessarily this other thing will happen", it is you yourself who close the door - it is as though you were putting an iron curtain between yourself and the free action of the Grace.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the spiritual aspiration of man was turned towards a silent, inactive peace, detached from all worldly things, a flight from life, precisely to avoid battle, to rise above the struggle, escape all effort; it was a spiritual peace in which, along with the cessation of all tension, struggle, effort, there ceased also suffering in all its forms, and this was considered to be the true and only expression of a spiritual and divine life. It was considered to be the divine grace, the divine help, the divine intervention. And even now, in this age of anguish, tension , hypertension, this sovereign peace is the best received aid of all, the most welcome, the solace people ask and hope for. For many it is still the true sign of a divine intervention, of divine grace. In fact, no matter what one wants to realise, one must begin by establishing this perfect and immutable peace; it is the basis from which one must work; but unless one is dreaming of an exclusive, personal and egoistic liberation, one cannot stop there. There is another aspect of the divine grace, the aspect of progress which will be victorious over all obstacles, the aspect which will propel humanity to a new realisation, which will open the doors of a new world...
People believe that the Grace means making everything smooth for all your life. It is not true... When the Grace acts, the result may or may not be pleasant - it takes no account of any human value, it may even be a catastrophe from the ordinary and superficial point of view. But it is always the best for the individual. It is a blow that the Divine sends so that progress may be made by leaps and bounds. The Grace is that which makes you march swiftly towards the realisation.
If you come to the spiritual life with a sincere aspiration, sometimes an avalanche of unpleasant things falls upon you: you quarrel with your best friends, your family kicks you out of the house, you lose what you thought you had gained.... I knew someone who had come to India with a great aspiration and after a very long effort towards knowledge and even towards Yoga. That was long long ago. At that time, people used to put on watchchains and trinkets. This gentleman had a golden pencil which his grandmother had given him to which he was attached as the most precious thing in the world. It was fixed to his chain. When he landed at one of these ports - at Pondicherry or perhaps elsewhere in India or at Colombo, I believe it was at Colombo - they used to get into small boats and the boats took you ashore. And so this gentleman had to jump from the gangway of the ship into the boat. He missed his step, somehow got back his balance, but he made a sudden movement and the little gold pencil dropped into the sea and went straight down into the depths. He was at first very much aggrieved, but he told himself: "Why, that is the effect of India: I am freed from my attachments...." It is for very sincere people that the thing takes such a form. Fundamentally, the avalanche of troubles is always for sincere people. Those who are not sincere receive things with the most beautiful bright colours just to deceive them, and then in the end to enable them to find out that they are mistaken!
Sir Philip Sidney said of the criminal led out to be hanged, "There, but for the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney." Wiser, had he said, "There, by the grace of God, goes Sir Philip Sidney." (Sri Aurobindo)
Q: I have not understood the meaning of this aphorism.
Sir Philip Sidney was a statesman and a poet, but in spite of his success in life, he retained his humble nature. Seeing a criminal being taken to the gallows, he is supposed to have said the famous words which Sri Aurobindo quotes in his aphorism and which could be paraphrased like this, "That could have happened to me too, but for the Grace of God." Sri Aurobindo remarks that had Sir Philip Sidney been wiser he would have said, "That could have happened to me too, `by the Grace of God." For the divine Grace is everywhere, always, behind everything and every event, whatever our reaction to that thing or event may be, whether it appears good or bad, catastrophic or beneficial. And if Sir Philip had been a Yogi, he would have had the experience of human unity and he would have felt concretely that it was himself or a part of himself which was being led to the gallows and he would have known at the same time that everything that happens happens by the Grace of the Lord.
Q: Does the intervention of the Grace come through a call?
When one calls? I think so. Anyway, not exclusively and solely. But certainly, yes, if one has faith in the Grace and an aspiration and if one does what a little child would when it runs to its mother and says: "Mamma, give me this", if one calls with that simplicity, if one turns to the Grace and says "Give me this", I believe it listens. Unless one asks for something that is not good for one, then it does not listen. If one asks from it something that does harm or is not favourable, it does not listen.
Q: What is the cause of this effect? of the call?
Perhaps one was destined to call. That is: Did the hen produce the egg or the egg the hen? I don't know whether it is the Grace which makes you call the Grace or whether because the Grace is called the Grace comes. It is difficult to say. Essentially, it is quite possible that what is most lacking is faith. There is always a tiny corner in the thought which doubts and debates. So that spoils every thing. It is only just when one is in an absolutely critical situation, when the mind realises that it can do nothing, absolutely nothing, when it stands there quite stupid and incapable, then, at that moment, if one aspires for a higher help, the aspiration has exactly that kind of intensity which comes from despair, and that takes effect. But if your thought continues to argue, if it says: "Yes, yes, I have aspired, I have prayed, but God knows if this is the moment, and whether it will come and whether it is possible", well, then it is finished, it doesn't work. This is one of the commonest of things.
...if one has... trust in the divine Grace, if one has the faith that there is something in the world like the divine Grace, and that this something can answer a prayer, an aspiration, an invocation, then, after making one's mental formation, if one offers it to the Grace and puts one's trust in it, asks it to intervene and has the faith that it will intervene, then indeed one has a chance of success. Try, and you will surely see the result.
Q: But, Mother, when one prays sincerely for the intervention of the Grace, doesn't one expect a particular result?
Excuse me, that depends on the tenor of the prayer. If one simply invokes the Grace or the Divine, and puts oneself in His hands, one does not expect a particular result. To expect a particular result one must formulate one's prayer, must ask for something. If you have only a great aspiration for the divine Grace and evoke it, implore it, without asking it for anything precise, it is the Grace which will choose what it will do for you, not you.
Q: That is better, isn't it?
Ah! that's quite another question. Why, it is higher in its quality, perhaps. But still, if one wants something precise, it is better to formulate it. If one has a special reason for invoking the Grace, it is better to formulate it precisely and clearly. Of course, if one is in a state of complete surrender and gives oneself entirely, if one simply offers oneself to the Grace and lets it do what it likes, that is very good. But after that one must not question what it does! One must not say to it, "Oh! I did that with the idea of having this", for if one really has the idea of obtaining some thing, it is better to formulate it in all sincerity, simply, just as one sees it. Afterwards, it is for the Grace to choose if it will do it or not; but in any case, one will have formulated clearly what one wanted. And there is no harm in that. Where it becomes bad is when the request is not granted and one revolts. Then naturally it becomes bad. It is at that moment one must understand that the desire one has, or the aspiration, may not have been very enlightened and that perhaps one has asked for some thing which was not exactly what was good for one. Then at that moment one must be wise and say simply, "Well, let Thy Will be done." But so long as one has an inner perception and an inner preference, there is no harm in formulating it. It is a very natural movement. For example, if one has been foolish or has made a mistake and one truly, sincerely wishes never to do it again, well, I don't see any harm in asking for it. And in fact, if one asks for it with sincerity, a true inner sincerity, there is a great chance that it will be granted. You must not think that the Divine likes to contradict you. He is not at all keen on doing it! He can see better than you what is really good for you; but it is only when it is absolutely indispensable that He opposes your aspiration. Otherwise he is always ready to give what you ask.
Q: What is the way to accept the Grace with gratitude? Ah! First of all you must feel the need for it. This is the most important point. It is to have a certain inner humility which makes you aware of your helplessness without the Grace, that truly, without it you are incomplete and powerless. This, to begin with, is the first thing.... This is the first condition. And then, if you become aware that it is only the Grace which can do that, that the situation in which you find yourself, from there the Grace alone can pull you out, can give you the solution and the strength to come out of it, then, quite naturally an intense aspiration awakes in you, a consciousness which is translated into an opening. If you call, aspire, and if you hope to get an answer, you will quite naturally open yourself to the Grace. And later - you must pay great attention to this (Mother puts her finger on her lips) - the Grace will answer you, the Grace will pull you out of the trouble, the Grace will give you the solution to your problem or will help you to get out of your difficulty. But once you are free from trouble and have come out of your difficulty, don't forget that it is the Grace which pulled you out, and don't think it is yourself. For this, indeed, is the important point. Most people, as soon as the difficulty has gone, say, "After all, I pulled myself out of the difficulty quite well." There you are. And then you lock and bolt the door, you see, and you cannot receive anything any more. You need once again some acute anguish, some terrible difficulty for this kind of inner stupidity to give way, and for you to realise once more that you can do nothing. Because it is only when you grow aware that you are powerless that you begin to be just a little open and plastic. But so long as you think that what you do depends on your own skill and your own capacity, truly, not only do you close one door, but, you know, you close lots of doors one upon another, and bolt them. You shut yourself up in a fortress and nothing can enter there. That is the great drawback: one forgets very quickly. Quite naturally one is satisfied with one's own capacity.... Ah, it is very difficult to be sincere.... That is why the blows multiply and sometimes become terrible, because that's the only thing which breaks your stupidity. This is the justification of calamities. Only when you are in an acutely painful situation and indeed before something that affects you deeply, then that makes the stupidity melt away a little. But as you say, even when there is something that melts, there is still a little something which remains inside. And that is why it lasts so long... How many blows are needed in life for one to know to the very depths that one is nothing, that one can do nothing, that one does not exist, that one is nothing, that there is no entity without the divine Consciousness and the Grace. From the moment one knows it, it is over; all the difficulties have gone. When one knows it integrally and there is nothing which resists... but till that moment... And it takes very long.
THE MOTHER Difficulties = Grace = Progress
When difficulties besiege you, know that the Divine Grace is with you.
All the circumstances of life are arranged to teach us that, beyond mind, faith in the Divine Grace gives us the strength to go through all trials, to overcome all weaknesses and find the contact with the Divine Consciousness which gives us not only peace and joy but also physical balance and good health.
If one has within him faith in the divine grace, that the divine grace is watching over him, and that no matter what happens the divine grace is there, watching over him, this one may keep all one's life and always; and with this one can pass through all dangers, face all difficulties, and nothing stirs, for you have the faith and the divine grace is with you. It is an infinitely stronger, more conscious, more lasting force which does not depend upon the conditions of your physical build, does not depend upon anything except the divine grace alone, and hence it leans on the Truth and nothing can shake it.
... the argument of weakness does not hold. The divine Grace is always there to help those who have decided to correct themselves, and they cannot say, "I am too weak to correct myself." They can say that they still haven't taken the resolution to correct themselves, that somewhere in the being there is something that has not decided to do it, and that is what is serious. The argument of weakness is an excuse. The Grace is there to give the supreme strength to whoever takes the resolution. That means an insincerity, it does not mean a weakness. And insincerity is always an open door for the adversary. That means there is some secret sympathy with what is perverse. And that is what is serious.
All depends on what you want. If you want Yoga, take all that happens as the expression of the Divine Grace leading you towards your goal, and try to understand the lesson that circumstances give.
For those who have given themselves to the Divine each difficulty that confronts them is the assurance of a new progress and thus must be taken as a gift from the Grace.
To one who has the aspiration for the Divine, the difficulty which is always before him is the door by which he will attain God in his own individual manner: it is his particular path towards the Divine Realisation. There is also the fact that if somebody has a hundred difficulties it means he will have a tremendous realisation - provided, of course, there are in him patience and endurance and he keeps the aspiring flame of Agni burning against those defects. And remember: the Grace of the Divine is generally proportioned to your difficulties.
The big difficulty in Matter is that the material consciousness (that is to say, the mind in Matter) has been formed under the pressure of difficulties - difficulties, obstacles, sufferings, struggles. It has been, so to say, "worked out" by these things and that has left upon it a stamp, almost of pessimism, defeatism, which is certainly the greatest obstacle.... The most material consciousness, the most material mind is accustomed to act, to make an effort, to advance through whippings; otherwise, it is tamas. And then, so far as it imagines, it imagines always difficulty, always the obstacle or always the opposition, and that slows down the movement terribly. Very concrete, very tangible and often repeated experiences are needed to convince it that behind all its difficulties there is a Grace, behind all its failures there is the Victory, behind all its pains, its sufferings, its contradictions, there is Ananda.
We shall have made a great leap towards realisation when we have driven all defeatism out of our consciousness. It is by perfecting our faith in the Divine Grace that we shall be able to conquer the defeatism of the subconscient.
The Grace is always there ready to act but you must let it work and not resist its action. The one condition required is faith. When you feel attacked, call for help to Sri Aurobindo and myself. If your call is sincere (that is to say, if you sincerely want to be cured) your call will be answered and the Grace will cure you.
Q: When one is caught in an illness, how should one pray to the Mother?
Cure me, O Mother!
... that kind of "miracle" can happen only as the result of an absolute sincerity in the consecration to the Divine and an unshakable faith in the Divine Grace. This was not the case, she was full of fears, desires and demands and terribly concentrated on her exterior being and what she called its needs. This is just the opposite of a sincere consecration.
There is also this habit of not looking the difficulty straight in the face, which is translated by taking flight. When suffering comes, fly, fly, instead of absorbing the difficulty, instead of holding tight, that is to say, not stirring within, not yielding, yes, above all, not yielding when you feel within: "I cannot bear it any longer." Hold your head as quiet as possible, do not follow the movement, do not obey the vibration. That is what is needed, just that: faith in the Grace, perception of the Grace, or else, intensity of call, or better still, the response, the response, the knot opening, breaking, the response to this wonderful love of the Grace.... The most terrible thing is when you do not have the strength, the courage, something indomitable. How often they come and tell me: "I want to die, I want to run away, I want to die." They get the answer: "Well, then, die to yourself! You are not asked to let your ego survive! Die to yourself since you want to die! Have that courage, the true courage to die to your egoism."
When physical disorder comes, one must not be afraid; one must not run away from it, must face it with courage, calmness, confidence, with the certitude that illness is a falsehood and that if one turns entirely, in full confidence, with a complete quietude to the divine grace, it will settle in these cells as it establishes itself in the depths of the being, and the cells themselves will share in the eternal Truth and Delight.
... as soon as one feels a wave of physical disequilibrium, of ill health coming, well, to concentrate in the right spirit is to concentrate in an inner calm, a trust in the divine Grace, and a will to remain in physical equilibrium and good health. This is the right spirit.
It is the inertia - not to mention the bad will - which causes the catastrophe. It is not that the catastrophe was intended, nor even foreseen, it is caused by the resistance. And then, there is added the vision of the action of Grace, which comes to moderate the results wherever possible, that is to say, wherever it is accepted. And this explains why aspiration, faith, complete trust on the part of the earthly human element, have a harmonising power, because they allow the Grace to come and set right the consequences of this blind resistance.
Q: You have written: "They [wars] may serve to destroy a past which refuses to disappear although its time is over, and they make room for new things." Now that the Supermind has descended upon earth will war be necessary to change the present state of the world?
All will depend on the receptivity of nations. If they open widely and quickly to the influence of the new forces and if they change rapidly enough in their conceptions and actions, war may be avoided. But it is always threatening and always in abeyance; every error, every darkening of the consciousness increases this threat. And yet in the last analysis everything really depends on the Divine Grace and we should look towards the future with confidence and serenity, at the same time progressing as fast as we can.
This sort of fatality that one sometimes feels weighing heavy on one's life, which is called Karma in India, is the result of past lives; indeed, it is something that has to be exhausted, something that weighs on one's consciousness.... But because it is a Karma, you have to do something yourself. Karma is a construction of the ego; the ego must do something, everything cannot be done for it. The truth is this: Karma is the result of the actions of the ego, and it is only when the ego abdicates that Karma is dissolved.... Generally, when the time has come for a Karma to be conquered and absorbed by the Grace, there also comes the image or the knowledge or the experience of the exact facts that are the cause of the Karma, and then at that moment you can start the cleaning.... One day a moment comes when the thing has to be done, when one must make the true inner gesture that liberates. To tell the truth, just now there is upon earth an opportunity which presents itself only after thousands of years, a conscious help with the necessary power. It was once believed that nothing had the power to wipe away the consequences of a Kamra, that it was only by exhausting it through a series of purificatory acts that the consequences could be transformed, exhausted, effaced. But with the supramental power, this can be done without the need of going through all the steps of the process of liberation.
Up there is the domain of absolute freedom.... Who tells you that a sufficiently sincere aspiration, a sufficiently intense prayer is not capable of changing the path of the unrolling ? This means that all is possible. Now, one must have a sufficient aspiration and a prayer that's sufficiently intense. But that has been given to human nature. It is one of the marvellous gifts of grace given to human nature; only, one does not know how to make use of it. This comes to saying that in spite of the most absolute determinisms in the horizontal line, if one knows how to cross all these horizontal lines and reach the highest Point of consciousness, one is able to make things change, things apparently absolutely determined....
Q: You have said here that we are "tied to the chain of Karma", but then sometimes when the Divine Grace acts, that contradicts...
Completely, the Divine Grace completely contradicts Karma; you know. It makes it melt away like butter that's put in the sun. That is what I was saying just now.... There you are, if you have an aspiration that's sincere enough or a prayer that's intense enough, you can bring down in you Something that will change everything, everything - truly it changes everything. An example may be given that is extremely limited, very small, but which makes you understand things very well: a stone falls quite mechanically; say, a tile falls; if it gets loose, it will fall, won't it? But if there comes, for example, a vital or mental determinism from someone who passes by and does not want it to fall and puts his hand out, it will fall on his hand, but it will not fall on the ground. So he has changed the destiny of this stone or tile. It is another determinism that has come in, and instead of the stone falling on the head of someone, it falls upon the hand and it will not kill anybody. This is an intervention from another plane, from a conscious will that enters into the more or less unconscious mechanism.... The key, as I told you just now, is the sufficiently sincere aspiration or the sufficiently intense prayer. I said "or", but I do not think it is "or". There are people who like one better and others the other. But in both there is a magical power, you must know how to make use of it.... Some dislike prayer; if they entered deep into their heart, they would find it was pride - worse than that, vanity. And then there are those who have no aspiration, they try and they cannot aspire; it is because they do not have the flame of the will, it is because they do not have the flame of humility. Both are needed. There must be a very great humility and a very great will to change one's Karma.
So long as one repeats one's mistakes, nothing can be abolished, for one recreates them every minute. When someone makes a mistake, serious or not, this mistake has consequences in his life, a "Karma" which must be exhausted, but the Divine Grace, if one turns to It, has the power of cutting off the consequences; but for this the fault must not be repeated. One shouldn't think one can continue to commit the same stupidities indefinitely and that indefinitely the Grace will cancel all the consequences, it does not happen like that! The past may be completely purified, cleansed, to the point of having no effect on the future, but on condition that one doesn't change it again into a perpetual present; you yourself must stop the bad vibration in yourself, you must not go on reproducing the same vibration indefinitely.
Who is worthy or unworthy in front of the Divine Grace? All are children of the one and the same Mother. Her love is equally spread over all of them. But to each one She gives according to his nature and receptivity.
The Grace is equally for all. But each one receives it according to his sincerity. It does not depend on outward circumstances but on a sincere aspiration and openness.
Justice is the strict logical determinism of the movements of Universal Nature. Illnesses are this determinism applied to the material body. The medical mind, basing itself upon this ineluctable Justice, strives to bring about conditions that should lead logically to good health. The moral consciousness acts in the same way in the social body and tapasya in the spiritual domain. The Divine Grace alone has the power to intervene and change the course of Universal Justice. The great work of the Avatar is to manifest the Divine Grace upon earth. To be a disciple of the Avatar is to become an instrument of the Divine Grace. The Mother is the great dispensatrix - through identity - of the Divine Grace, with a perfect knowledge - through identity - of the absolute mechanism of Universal Justice. And through her mediation each movement of sincere and confident aspiration towards the Divine calls down in response the intervention of the Grace. Who can stand before Thee, Lord, and say in all sincerity, "I have never made a mistake"? How many times in a day we commit faults against Thy work, and always Thy Grace comes to efface them! Without the intervention of Thy Grace, who would not oftentimes have come under the merciless blade of the Law of Universal Justice? Each one here represents an impossibility to be solved, but as for Thy Divine Grace all is possible. Thy Work will be, in the detail as in the whole, the accomplishment of all these impossibilities transformed into divine realisations.
It is the work of the Cosmic Power to maintain the cosmos and the law of the cosmos. The greater transformation comes from the Transcendent above the universal, and it is that transcendent Grace which the embodiment of the Mother is there to bring into action.
In her universal action the Mother acts according to the law of things - in her embodied physical action is the opportunity of a constant Grace - it is for that that the embodiment takes place.
The more one develops the psychic, the more is it possible for the Grace to act.
Q: Is the Mother's Grace only general?
A: Both general and special.
Q: How to receive what she grants in general?
A: You have only to keep yourself open and whatever you need and can receive at the moment will come.
The more complete your faith, sincerity and surrender, the more will grace and protection be with you. And when the grace and protection of the Divine Mother are with you, what is there that can touch you or whom need you fear? A little of it even will carry you through all difficulties, obstacles and dangers; surrounded by its full presence you can go securely on your way because it is hers, careless of all menace, unaffected by any hostility however powerful, whether from this world or from worlds invisible. Its touch can turn difficulties into opportunities, failure into success and weakness into unfaltering strength. For the grace of the Divine Mother is the sanction of the Supreme and now or tomorrow its effect is sure, a thing decreed, inevitable and irresistible.
Each mind can have its own way of approaching the supreme Truth and there Is an entrance for each as well as a thousand ways for the journey to it. It is not necessary to believe in the Grace or to recognise a Godhead different from one's highest Self - there are ways of yoga that do not accept these things.... For, as to this "Grace", we describe it in that way because we feel in the infinite Spirit or Self-existence a Presence or a Being, a Consciousness that determines, - that is what we speak of as the Divine, - not a separate person, but the one Being of whom our individual self is a portion or a vessel. But it is not necessary for every body to regard it in that way. Supposing it is the impersonal Self of all only, yet the Upanishad says of this Self and its realisation: "This understanding is not to be gained by reasoning nor .by tapasya nor by much learning, but whom this Self chooses, to him it reveals its own body". Well, that is the same thing as what we call the Divine Grace, - it is an action from above or from within independent of mental causes which decides its own movement. We can call it the Divine Grace; we can call it the Self within choosing its own hour and way to manifest to the mental instrument on the surface; we can call it the flowering of the inner being or inner nature into self-realisation and self-knowledge. As something in us approaches it or as it presents itself to us, so the mind sees it. But in reality it is the same thing and the same process of the being in Nature.
I cannot very well answer the strictures of Russell, for the conception of the Divine as an external omnipotent Power who has "created" the world and governs it like an absolute and arbitrary monarch - the Christian or Semitic conception - has never been mine; it contradicts too much my seeing and experience... But when I speak of the Divine Will, I mean something different, - some thing that has descended here into an evolutionary world of Ignorance, standing at the back of things, pressing on the Darkness with its Light, leading things presently towards the best possible in the conditions of a world of Ignorance and leading it eventually towards a descent of a greater power of the Divine, which will be not an omnipotence held back and conditioned by the law of the world as it is, but in full action and therefore bringing the reign of light, peace, harmony, joy, love, beauty and Ananda, for these are the Divine Nature. The Divine Grace is there ready to act at every moment, but it manifests as one grows out of the Law of Ignorance into the Law of Light, and it is meant, not as an arbitrary caprice, however miraculous often its intervention, but as a help in that growth and a Light that leads and eventually delivers.
It is not indispensable that the Grace should work in a way that the human mind can understand, it generally doesn't. It works in its own "mysterious" way. At first usually it works behind the veil, preparing things, not manifesting. Afterwards it may manifest, but the sadhak does not understand very well what is happening; finally, when he is capable of it, he both feels and understands or at least begins to do so.
I should like to say something about the Divine Grace - for you seem to think it should be something like a Divine Reason acting upon lines not very different from those of human intelligence. But it is not that. Alga it is not a universal Divine Compassion either, acting impar- tially on all who approach it and acceding to all prayers. It does not select the righteous and reject the sinner. The Divine Grace came to aid the persecutor (Saul of Tarsus), it came to St. Augustine the profligate, to Jagai and Madhai of infamous fame, to Bilwamangal and many others whose conversion might well scandalise the Puritanism of the human moral intelligence; but it can come to the righteous also - curing them of their self- righteousness and leading to a purer consciousness beyond these things. It is a power that is superior to any rule, even to the Cosmic Law - for all spiritual seers have distinguished between the Law and Grace. Yet it is not indiscriminate - only it has a discrimination of its own which sees things and persons and the right times and seasons with another vision than that of the Mind or any other normal Power. A state of Grace is prepared in the individual often behind thick veils by means not calcu lable by the mind and when the state of Grace comes, then the Grace itself acts. There are these three powers: (I) The Cosmic Law, of Karma or what else; (2) the Divine Compassion acting on as many as it can reach through the nets of the Law and giving them their chance; (3) the Divine Grace which acts more incalcu lably but also more irresistibly than the others. The only question is whether there is something behind all the anomalies of life which can respond to the call and open itself with whatever difficulty till it is ready for the illumination of the Divine Grace - and that something must be not a mental and vital movement but an inner somewhat which can well be seen by the inner eye. If it is there and when it becomes active in front, then the Compassion can act, though the full action of the Grace may still wait attending the decisive decision or change; for this may be postponed to a future hour, because some portion or element of the being may still come between, something that is not yet ready to receive. But why allow anything to come in the way between you and the Divine, any idea, any incident? When you are in full aspiration and joy, let nothing count, nothing be of any importance except the Divine and your aspiration. If one wants the Divine quickly, absolutely, entirely, that must be the spirit of approach, absolute, all-engrossing, making that the one point with which nothing else must interfere. What value have mental ideas about the Divine, ideas about what he should be, how he should act, how he should not act - they can only come in the way. Only the Divine himself matters. When your consciousness embraces the Divine, then you can know what the Divine is, not before. Krishna is Krishna, one does not care what he did or did not do: only to see him, meet him, feel the Light, the Presence, the Love and Ananda is what matters. So it is always for the spiritual aspiration - it is the law of the spiritual life.
It is a question to which no clear-cut answer can be given because it puts two sides each of which is a truth. Without the Grace of the Divine nothing can be done, but for the full Grace to manifest the sadhak must make himself ready. If everything depends on the Divine intervention, then man is only a puppet and there is no use of sadhana, and there are no conditions, no law of things - therefore no universe, but only the Divine rolling things about at his pleasure. No doubt in the last resort all can be said to be the Divine cosmic working, but it is through persons, through forces that it works - under the conditions of Nature. Special intervention there can be and is, but all cannot be special intervention.
That, I suppose is what something in you is always asking for - the supramental miracle of Grace, some thing that is impatient of the demand for tapasya and self-perfection and long labour.
What Brahmananda says about tapasya is, of course, true. If one is not prepared for labour and tapasya, control of the mind and vital, one cannot demand big spiritual gains - for the mind and vital will always find tricks and excuses for prolonging their own reign, im posing their likes and dislikes and staving off the day when they will have to become obedient instruments and open channels of the soul and spirit. Grace may sometimes bring undeserved or apparently undeserved fruits, but one can't demand Grace as a right and privilege - for then it would not be Grace. As you have seen, one can't claim that one has only to shout and the answer must come. Besides, I have always seen that there has been really a long unobserved preparation before the Grace intervenes, and also, after it has intervened, one has still to put in a good deal of work to keep and develop what one has got - as it is in all other things until there is the complete siddhi. Then of course labour finishes and one is in assured possession. So tapasva of one kind or another is not avoidable.
Then again you may say, "Yes, but whether I love or not, I want, I have always wanted and now I want more and more, but I get nothing." Yes, but wanting is not all. As you now begin to see, there are conditions that have to be met - like the purification of the heart. Your thesis was, "Once I want God, God must manifest to me, come to me, at least give glimpses of himself to me, the real, solid, concrete experience, not mere vague things which I can't understand or value. God's Grace must answer my call for it, whether I yet deserve it or not - or else there is no Grace." God's Grace may indeed do that in certain cases, but where does the "must" come in? If God must do it, it is no longer God's Grace, but God's duty or an obligation or a contract or a treaty. The Divine looks into the heart and removes the veil at the moment which he knows to be the right moment to do it.
Destiny in the rigid sense applies only to the outer being so long as it lives in the Ignorance. What we call destiny is only in fact the result of the present condition of the being and the nature and energies it has accumulated in the past acting on each other and determining the present attempts and their future results. But as soon as one enters the path of spiritual life, this old predeter mined destiny begins to recede. There comes in a new factor, the Divine Grace, the help of a higher Divine Force other than the force of Kama, which can lift the sadhak beyond the present possibilities of his nature. One's spiritual destiny is then the divine election which ensures the future. The only doubt is about the vicissi- tudes of the path and the time to be taken by the passage. It is here that the hostile forces playing on the weaknesses of the past nature strive to prevent the rapidity of the progress and to postpone the fulfilment. Those who fall, fall not because of the attacks of the vital forces, but because they put themselves on the side of the hostile Force and prefer a vital ambition or desire (ambition, vanity, lust, etc.) to the spiritual siddhi.
...the supreme Grace will act only in the conditions of the Light and the Truth; it will not act in conditions laid upon it by the Falsehood and the Ignorance. For if it were to yield to the demands of the Falsehood, it would defeat its own purpose. These are the conditions of the Light and Truth, the sole conditions under which the highest Force will descend; and it is only the very highest suprarnental Force descending from above and opening from below that can victoriously handle the physical Nature and annihilate its difficulties.... There must be a total and sincere surrender; there must be an exclusive self-opening to the divine Power; there must be a constant and integral choice of the Truth that is descending, a constant and integral rejection of the falsehood of the mental, vital and physical Powers and Appearances that still rule the earth-Nature.... If behind your devotion and surrender you make a cover for your desires, egoistic demands and vital insistences, if you put these things in place of the true aspiration or mix them with it and try to impose them on the Divine Shakti, then it is idle to invoke the divine Grace to transform you. If you open yourself on one side or in one part to the Truth and on another side are constantly opening the gates to hostile forces, it is vain to expect that the divine Grace will abide with you. You must keep the temple clean if you wish to instal there the living Presence. If each time the Power intervenes and brings in the Truth, you turn your back on it and call in again the falsehood that has been expelled, it is not the divine Grace that you must blame for failing you, but the falsity of your own will and the imperfection of your own surrender.
The Divine Grace and Power can do everything, but with the full assent of the sadhak. To learn to give that full assent is the whole meaning of the sadhana.
Do not allow any discouragement to come upon you and have no distrust of the Divine Grace. Whatever difficulties are outside you, whatever weaknesses are inside you, if you keep firm hold on your faith and your aspiration, the secret Power will carry you through. Even if you are oppressed with opposition and difficul ties, even if you stumble, even if the way seems closed to you, keep hold on your aspiration; if faith is clouded for a time, turn always in mind and heart to us and it will be removed.
Strength, if it is spiritual, is a power for spiritual realisa tion; a greater power is sincerity; the greatest power of all is Grace. I have said times without number that if a man is sincere, he will go through in spite of long delay and overwhelming difficulties. I have repeatedly spoken of the Divine Grace. I have referred any number of times to the line of the Gita: "I will deliver thee from all sin and evil, do not grieve."
An absolute faith and trust in the Grace is, in the last analysis, the Supreme Wisdom.
The grace and the help are always there for all who aspire for them and their power is limitless when received with faith and confidence.
To receive the divine grace, not only must one have a great aspiration, but also a sincere humility and an absolute trust.
... once one has not only understood but also felt that the Supreme Lord is the originator of all things and one remains constantly in contact with Him, all becomes the action of His Grace and is changed into calm and luminous bliss.
It is only the Divine's Grace that can give peace, happiness, power, light, knowledge, beatitude and love in their essence and their truth.
Divine Grace, Thy goodness is infinite. We bow before Thee in gratitude.
Sources of the Passages Published In this Compilation CWM Vol. 11, pp. 42, 206; CWM Vol. 8, p. 279; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 101, 93; SABCL Vol. 23, pp. 611, 790; CWM Vol. 8, p. 257; CWM Vol. 5, pp. 406-407; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 93, 93, 90, 90; CWM Vol. 8, pp. 251, 257-258; CWM Vol. 9, pp. 420-421; CWM Vol. 8, pp. 316-317; CWM Vol. 9, p. 298; CWM Vol. 14, p. 101; CWM Vol. 5, p. 159; CWM Vol. 10, pp. 50-51; CWM Vol. 5, pp. 367-368; CWM Vol. 8, pp. 254-256; CWM Vol. 6, pp. 322-324; CWM Vol. 14, p. 101; CWM Vol. 10, p. 323; CWM Vol. 5, pp. 298, 306-307; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 100, 101; CWM Vol. 3, p. 143; CWM Vol. 11, p. 2; CWM Vol. 16, p. 425; CWM Vol. 14, p. 91; CWM Vol. 15, pp. 164, 165, 392-393, 152; CWM Vol.6, p. 340; CWM Vol. 10, pp. 233-234, 53; CWM Vol. 15, pp. 391-394; CWM Vol. 5, pp. 89-93; CWM Vol. 9, p. 57; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 88, 89; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 86-87; SABCL Vol. 25, pp. 50, 50, 332, 125, 10; SABCL Vol. 23, pp. 608-609; SABCL Vol. 22, p. 174; SABCL Vol. 23, pp. 610, 609-610; SABCL Vol. 23, pp. 576, 611-612, 612-613, 787-788 SABCL Vol. 22, p. 475; SABCL Vol. 25, pp. 1-3; SABCL Vol. 23, pp. 583, 583, 611; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 93, 91; CWM Vol. 16, p. 252; CWM Vol. 10, p. 247; CWM Vol. 14, pp. 88, 87; SABCL Vol.16,p.391.
CWM = Collected Works of the Mother, Centenary Edition. SABCL - Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library.
Some think it presumption to believe in a special Providence or to look upon oneself as an instrument in the hands of God, but I find that every man has a special Providence and I see that God uses the mattock of the labourer and babbles in the mouth of a little child. SRI AUROBINDO Information Letter
At the Ashram, on 1st December 1997, Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, marking its 54th anniversary, staged the annual cultural programme titled, Return to Earth. It was based on Sri Aurobindo's Smitri, Book XI, which ends with the following lines: A power leaned down, a happiness found its home Over wide earth brooded the infinite bliss. On 2nd December, the department of Physical Education presented its annual physical demonstration, marking the 125th Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo and the 50th Anniversary of India's Independence. The theme of the programme was "Harmony and Beauty". About physical culture the Mother has said: Build in yourself the total harmony, so that when the time comes Perfect Beauty can express itself through your body. The 5th December was the 47th anniversary of Sri Aurobindo's withdrawal from his body. Meditation around the Samadhi at 6 a.m. was followed by a visit to Sri Aurobindo's Room. The day ended with meditation at the Playground from 7.45 to 8.15 p.m. The message card contained the following words of the Mother: Go deep, very deep down in the silence of your heart, and you will find the Lord there radiant and merciful. It is not an impression or an imagination - it is a concrete experience that fills you with a lasting and powerful joy. On 9th December, Samadhi Day, there was meditation around the Samadhi in the morning and at the Play ground in the evening. On 25th December a programme was held at the Ashram theatre to celebrate Christmas, the festival of the Return of the Light. The Mother once said on the eve of Christmas: Let us celebrate the Light by letting it enter into us. The New Year, 1998, was ushered in at the Ashram with recorded music composed by Sunn played in the Ashram courtyard at dawn on the 1st January. In the evening there was March Past followed by meditation at the Playground. A beautiful calendar with the Mother's picture was issued by the Ashram. The Bonne Annie message folder contained the following words of the Mother: We surrender to Thee this evening all that is artificial and false, all that pretends and imitates. Let it disappear... May only what is perfectly true, sincere, straight and pure subsist in the year that is beginning.
This special issue of All India Magazine is a joint number for February and March 1998, on the occasion of the Mother's 120th Birth Anniversary on 21st February. It is also published as an 'AIM Booklet' captioned The Divine Grace. Priced at Rs. 10, it can be procured from SABDA, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry - 605 002. Swadhyaya Sessions will be organised by the Society at its Beach Office hall, Pondicherry, from the 15th to the 19th of February 1998, where Dr. H. Maheshwari will conduct Swadhyaya on Sri Aurobindo's book The Mother. Savitri Adhyayan Satra will be arranged by the Society at its Beach Office hall from the 23rd of February to the 5th of March 1998, where Dr. Mangesh Nadkarni will conduct the Savitri Adhyayan Satra (in English). He will continue his reading and explanation of the Book of Fate in Sri Aurobindo's epic Savitri. An Education Camp and a Teachers' Training Work shop will be organised by the Society at the Beach Office hall from the 19th to the 31st of May 1998 for teachers, educationists and those connected with educational work. Study, discussions, and exchange of ideas and ways and means for implementing the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on integral education will be taken up at the camp. The Teachers' Training Workshop will cover practical programmes for teachers at kinder garten, primary and secondary school levels. For further details and application forms, please write to the Coordinator, Education Camp 1998, Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry - 605 002. The last date for receiving filled - in application forms is 31st March 1998. One Rupee Booklet Series: Three new titles are added in this series: (i) Significance of Prayers, (ii) Significance of Meditation, and (iii) The Secret of Existence. In the past some centres and branches had expressed a general need for 8- to 16-page booklets which they could offer to aspirants who visit the centres and enquire about Sri Aurobindo's and the Mother's Sayings on certain subjects. The booklets published under this series are listed below. They can be procured from Sri Aurobirldo Society. Beach Office, Porldicherry - 605 002. Booklets in English (1) Sri Aurobindo - His Life and Mission, (2) Sri Aurobindo - An Introduction, (3) The Mother - Her Life and Mission, (4) Fear, (5) Faith in the Divine, (6) The Right Upbringing of Children, (7) The Aim of Life, (8) Remain Young, (9) Inner Peace, (10) Four Distinctive Characters of Our Culture, (11) To Women about their Body, (12) Significance of Prayers, (13) Significance of Meditation, (14) The Secret of Existence. Booklets in Hindi: (1) The Mother - Her Life and Mission, (2) Sri Aurobindo - An Introduction, and (3) Fear.
Significant Days in February, March, April 1998
21.02.1998 - the 120th Birth Anniversary of the Mother. Generally the Mother's Room at the Ashram is kept open on this day. It is a very special day, for it makes us more than usually aware of our depths by opening us up to her light and love with an intenser touch of Grace. 28.02 is the Foundation Day of Auroville. 29.03 is the anniversary of the Mother's first arrival at Pondicherry and her meeting with Sri Aurobindo (in 1914). 4.04 is the date of Sri Aurobindo's arrival in Pondicherry (1910). 24.04 is the date of the Mother's final return to Pondicherry (in 1920), "which was the tangible sign of the sure Victory over the adverse forces."
Shri T. Prakash Rao of Eluru and Shri Raju of Sri Aurobindo Ashrarn carrying the Relics of Sri Aurobindo for enshrimnent at Sri Aurobindo Vidya Kendram, Tenali (Andhra Pradesh) by Shri Raju on 5.12.1997.
At Chennai (Tamilnadu), at the function held on August 11, 1997 (L. to R.): Sarvashree C. D. Ayyar (speaking), R. Srinivasan, S. Sankaranarayanan and Swami Amritanandji of Sri Ramakrishna Mutt.
News from Centres
At Panaji (Goa) the branch organised two seminars on "Sri Aurobindo's Spiritual Philosophy of National Education" and "Sri Aurobindo's Spiritual Philosophy and Psychology" during October and November 1997. From the Aura Research Cell, a post-graduate and post-doctoral research cell established at the branch in 1996, Dr. Kamladevi Kunkolienkar and Ms. Sanjyot Pai Varnekar sent research papers on "From Mind to Supermind: A statement of Aurobindonian Approach" and "Aurobindonian Ontology: Salient Peculiarities" for the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy to be held at Boston in U.S.A., in August 1998. Both the papers were accepted and they are invited to present them at the Congress. At Una (Himachal Pradesh) the centre organised a public function in October in which devotees from Ambala, Rajput, Patiala, Chandigarh, and Ludhiana too participated. Shri N.C. Parashar, Minister for Education and Culture in the Government of Himachal Pradesh, was the chief guest. At Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), the centre arranged talks by Dr. B. L. Gupta and Dr. H. Maheshwari in August and September 1997.
When any payment is sent to the Society by MONEY ORDER please state in clear handwriting, in English or Sanskrit, your full address and the purpose for which the amount is sent in the space provided at the bottom of the money order form.
There is one divine Force which acts in the universe and in the individual and is also beyond the individual and the universe. The Mother stands for all these, but she is working here in the body to bring down something not yet expressed in this material world so as to transform life here - it is so that you should regard her as the Divine Shakti working here for that purpose. She is that in the body, but in her whole consciousness she is also identified with all the other aspects of the Divine.
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During the Civil War in U.S.A., in a discussion about the fortunes and setbacks of the Northern armies, Abraham Lincoln asked that people should pray for victory. One of his critics asked, "Are you sure, Mr. Presi dent, that God is on your side?" "I am much more concerned that we should be on God's side. That thought occupies me all the time," replied Lincoln.
Matter shall reveal the Spirit's face. Sri Aurobindo
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