Divine intervention vs coincidence

As human beings, our perception of external events always has an internal basis. Whatever we are focused on or give priority to, we will tend to see patterns related to that in the external world. Hence a doctor who sees symptoms of patients all day will see them even when not working. An architect will see design faults even when not actively looking at buildings. We are constantly bombarded with stimuli from outside and as a survival mechanism the brain tries to filter out irrelevant information to make better decisions.

In the context of the spiritual path it means that we may start ascribing divine meaning to events which may just be happenstance. When I first started on this path, I faced this difficulty several times. An event which would have passed unnoticed by me earlier, now had a divine reason. These delusions are a trick of the ego to try and ensure it remains intact as the sovereign and master of the self. As Guruji says “The veil of maya is even more illusory when one walks on this path. One can be lost in this for years and feel that they are progressing.”

I have a few hypotheses on why this phenomenon occurs. I am not sure if they are correct but they do seem logical. The first one is that it is a case of old wine in a new bottle. While the perspective has shifted from a worldly goal to a spiritual one – the act is still one of chase or conquest or achievement. Spirituality is something to be attained and ‘I’ will attain it. The ‘I’ is still running the show and interpreting events to suit itself. The second is that it is an attempt made by the ego to survive. The ego can really delude us. By pretending to drop the worldly identity, the ego now wears the garb of a spiritual person. Hence, everything will now be interpreted in the spiritual paradigm to ensure that this new identity gets food to grow big and strong. The third could be that of the pendulum effect. Someone who has extreme views on one side will go to the other extreme at first before settling down in equilibrium position. Thus the prevalent phenomenon of the fanaticism of the newly converted.

I am not sure what happened in my case, it may have been a mix of all the three. It is not a healthy attitude to have on this path. It is easy to get astray with wayward delusions and visions. I am not saying that there are no genuine visions, darshans or experiences; but many a times it is the product of an overactive imagination. It would possibly take many years of sadhana before we can be at a level to ascertain the difference between a darshan and a figment of our imagination. Another reason why it is best to have no expectations in sadhana and just be in sharanagati to the Guru.

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