The Mother Divine
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This happened many years ago. There’s this filmmaker friend of mine. He was shooting a film on an interesting subject. The shooting went on discontinuously; it would be on now and then it would be off. “What’s taking you so long?” I asked.

“It’s just not happening,” he said. I probed and asked him to put forth his best efforts, but he said he had been trying his best but it was just “not happening.”

A script might just not come together though there’s a story.

An act may not come together though there are dialogues.

A song may not come together though there are lyrics.

Inspiration has to come; it can’t be done. This seems so clear when it comes to any creative pursuit. A creative artist’s job therefore consists as much in waiting for it to happen, as in doing it himself. Waiting part is important, because that’s when something higher gets to work. Mughal-e-Azam took a decade to happen. The Great Wall of China happened in over more than two thousand years.

This particular filmmaker (his name is Rajat Kapoor), quoted a French filmmaker in this context. Apparently, this Frenchman would just put up a set in the studio or in an outdoor location and wait. Just wait! He felt while he shot his film, something extraordinary should happen. Something that’s not planned but will come about. Something that’s not intended, but will materialise. Something that would touch what’s being done and reform it, transform it, recreate it. He would call it Grace.

Here’s what he said about his process of filmmaking:

“Wait for the Accident to happen, wait for Grace, then wait for Divine Intervention.”

Obviously he used these three quantities viz. Accident, Grace and Divine Intervention as gradually unfolding stages of a miracle that supports a divinely inspired creation. In his lifetime, this filmmaker created a few amazing masterpieces.

Now, what’s true of creative process is true of spirituality as well. Things have to happen. We do our dutiful action. But that action serves only to build the oyster. The pearl has to happen. Our action is just a host. A strange, benevolent and divine force has to breathe a life into it.

I had once asked a Tridandi Swami, “Maharaj, how does one do dhyana?” He replied: “How to do dhyana? Did you say do dhyana? Well, dhyana can’t be done. You keep up the act of concentration with your mantra and wait. Dhyana will happen.”

“How may it happen, Swamiji?” I asked, bemused.

“It will happen by itself. Dhyana cannot be done, it has to happen.” That was it!

Bhakti, dhyana, samadhi— these things cannot be done, they have to happen. And like the French filmmaker, the spiritual aspirant just keeps doing things which ought to be done and then waits for the Accident, Grace and Divine Intervention.

Everyone instinctually knows that even in day-to-day life, some things can be done and a whole lot has to happen. Man is so zealous about the gospel of action, but he knows human action is not enough. The better things are simply not done, they have to happen.

Roughly speaking, we could divide these two as the human act and the divine act. There’s an act of man and then there’s an act of God (not entirely as it’s portrayed in the movie OMG!) Both have to work together. The trick is to tread the path between the two realities.

In this issue of The Mother we are bringing you a path-breaking article by Dr. Rajeshwari Pandharipande. It’s titled INDIA: THE ‘HAPPEN CULTURE’. The author argues that the ‘language is the DNA of a culture. By understanding the underlying meaning of the language, we can understand the meaning of a culture. She then proceeds to point out a cultural category, which she believes, ‘is deeply embedded into the Indian psyche and marks Indian-ness’. She calls Indian culture as “Happen culture.” ‘What this means is that the people in India divide their experiences and actions into two categories, those which they perceive as the results of their own actions, and the other which happen to them (without their effort). Furthermore, the Indians believe that the events and experiences they value most in life (birth, love, friendship, marriage and death) “happen” to them as opposed to those which are caused by their own intentions/actions. In India these are perceived as unintended events or acts which should happen naturally as the wind blows, the sun shines and it rains. Human beings do not control them.’

I quote another part from her article, “To say that something “happens” is to acknowledge that there are other agencies beyond the obvious actor/agent which are also instrumental in bringing about the result. Implicit in this acknowledgement is the perception that this is an interconnected universe where nothing happens independently of other existences. An event is a result of many visible and invisible forces, energies or agencies working together! The use of honaa in usko khushii huii, “happiness happened to him”, places the event at the same level as baarish huii “the rain happened”, where many forces such as evaporation of water and then condensation of it and the right temperature, are implicitly accepted as causal forces….A striking contrast to this vision of the world is the view in the culture in the US. While in India the “babies happen” in the US, it is a fine statement, “we are starting the family soon” (a euphemism for having babies) or in the modern US culture, a husband can ask his wife, “do you want to make babies? (Are you ready to have children?)” Also, if one gets injured, in India, the normal question is, “what happened?” while in the US, the question, “what did you do?” is perfectly fine! The former implies the lack of control over event while the later implies control.

…Indian culture celebrates un-intentionality, and downplays agency of the human subject even when it is clear that the event would not have happened without human action!

Though she launches this enquiry via linguistics, this has profound spiritual implications. In accepting the happening, in welcoming the happening, in acting in such a way as to inspire the happening, we actually imbibe lessons in surrender. These lessons are a part of the common wisdom of every Indian. When this native knowledge in the Indian cultural psyche is taken to the next level, it becomes a lesson of living the human life within the larger divine context of environment and destiny. The classic concepts of nishkaam karma, non-doership, akartaa bhaav etc. which are enjoined in the Bhagavad Gita become clearer with this world view.

Enjoy this article and all the others in this issue of The Mother. We take pleasure in introducing the ‘The Mother Questions of the Quarter’. Questions by readers- Answers by The Mother! These are supposed to answer the seeking. The insights contained in these answers issue from patrons of The Mother, among who are saints, holy men, scholars and advanced seekers. To submit a question, send email to

Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
The Editor