Bhakti Song 42 – Grace and Efforts

On 24-01-1993 when I was thinking that along with the grace of God our efforts also important, I wrote this song.


அருளும் முயற்சியும்

துணிவும் இறைவன் அருளும்

ஒன்றாய்த் துணைசேரும் போது

கலக்கம் ஆங்கே மனதில்

கணநேரமும் நின்றிடாது

முயற்சியில்லா வேண்ட.ல்

மூடத்தனமான செயலே

அருளைநாடா சுயமுயற்சி

ஆணவத்தின் உச்ச நிலையே

முயற்சி திருவினையாக்கும்

முயன்று அதில் முனையும்போது

அருளும் அதனைத் தொடரும்

அவனடி பணியும் போது

முடவன் தேனெடுக்க முயன்று

முயற்சி பலவும் செய்தும்

வெறும் விரல் நக்குவதன்றி

வேறொரு பயன் அடையான்

அருளற்ற முயற்சி முடமே

அறிவாய் இதனை மனமே

அருளும் முயற்சியும் இணைந்தால்

அடைவாய் வேண்டிய துணிவே!


English Translation

When courage is accompanied

by the grace of God

no disturbance will stand

even for a moment in the heart


Prayer without efforts

Is a foolish act

Self-effort without seeking grace

Is the climax of pride?


Efforts bring result

When press forward with interest

Grace will follow it

When we seek His feet


Though a physically challenged man makes several efforts

To get the honey from the bee hive

Without simply licking his fingers

He won’t get anything


Efforts too without grace is a waste

O mind know this now

When efforts and grace join together

You will get enough courage



Bhakti brings a balance in theology. It will never take to one extreme. This is true even with grace versus karma. Though faith and bhakti are one and the same, as bhakti emphasizes more on personal relationship it reminds us to keep the balance between grace and karma. No friendship sustains for a long time unless it is nurtured by both sides. Similarly grace never works independently without our efforts. Though God is not limited, He is happily limiting Himself to work only through our efforts in every area of life. Of course He has the power to overrule our efforts in extraordinary situation. Yet He won’t step in unless we are exhorted by doing our part. We cannot do God’s part and He won’t do our part. In this context I like Philippians 4:6-7—which includes thanksgiving, our efforts and God’s grace which brings the peace which guards our heart and mind to think properly on our part.

We give thanks to someone only after receiving the help. But Sevanand asks us first to begin with thanksgiving. Because he reminds us that our prayers will be answered. That could be even a ‘no’, but it is an answer. When confronted by any challenge either we use our emotion (efforts) or reason (brain) to overcome it. But a supplication with thanks giving will first bring the peace of God which passes all kinds of understanding. As it will guard our heart (emotion) and brain (reason), then we think soberly using the same heart and brain to handle that challenge. In these verses I see a combination of efforts and grace of God woven together with a practical application than going one extreme.

No doubt that I have to turn to the Muktiveda for practical guidance to lead a normal life—which never philosophies any situation. That is why the Muktiveda is of the people for the people and by the people rather than a work of an independent philosopher sharing her views after contemplation in isolation. No doubt that Muktiveda is more people-oriented than God-oriented.