What are the things necessary to get a good crop in the field of nama-smarana? (1) Righteous conduct; it is like the protective fence. (2) Pure heart; this is like fertile, friable soil. We have to clean it by removing weeds and pebbles that is, purging the heart of malice, hatred, and similar passions. (3) Repeated remembrance of nama. This corresponds to the seed sown in the soil; it should not be rotten, polluted, or infected with any desire or the ego. The best seed is to practise nama for its own sake. (4) Pilgrimage to holy places, blessings of saints, and suchlike; these correspond to water channels for the growing crop. (5) Last, but by far not the least, the grace of God. This corresponds to rain-water, which, however, is not in our control and command. Lack of it may nullify all our care. However, this field of nama-smarana has its own speciality; it has a magnet-like attraction which draws down showers of God’s grace. So it never happens that the crop is lost for want of rain.
Now suppose there are two farmers owning adjacent fields. One of them diligently attends to all the operations outlined above, while the other is negligent and indolent, inattentive to his field. When, in the usual course, the rains do come, the field of the first farmer will produce a rich yield, whereas that of the other will naturally give a poor crop; that is, even if God showers His grace equally on both, the first of the two farmers will have a bumper harvest, while the field of the other may yield next to nothing.
The moral of this parable applies equally well to spiritual life. God showers His grace on all; the benefit will accrue according to the degree to which each man’s heart is purified. It is in this sense that God and the saints are equanimus, impartial. They harbour no discrimination between persons; it is we who must prepare ourselves to utilize their grace. The saints have already told us what we should do; it is upto us to understand and put their advice into practice. The ‘partiality’ which some of us ascribe to them is a result of our own action. If we repeat nama with purity of heart, we are bound to find God’s grace.
* * * * *