What is a Miracle?-M.S. Srinivasan

A seeker went to see a great saint who used to perform miracles like materialisation etc. The saint waved his hand, produced a wrist-watch and gave it to the seeker. The seeker asked. “Why a spiritual man like you doing such cheap miracles”. The saint shot back. “It is a miracle to you but not to me.” But the seeker said hesitantly “But still what is the need for doing such miracles”. The saint replied.

“Let me tell you a story. A modern scientist went to a remote tribal village in Africa which never had the touch of modern civilisation. He saw a tribal man, took a photo of him with his instant Polaroid camera and gave the photo to him. To the tribal man it is an astonishing miracle. But to the scientist it is a perfectly logical and scientific process. But now if the tribal man asks the scientist “You are a respectable scientist. Why are you indulging in such miracles” What do you think about such a question? Is it justified?”

The seeker, intelligent man he is, understood what the saint is trying to convey and remained thoughtful and silent. “Listen now” said again the saint “to another story”

“An insect which can never see or even conceive the third dimension was crawling in the floor. A small bird flying above the insect, dropped a tiny pebble in front of the insect. To the insect it was an absolute miracle, a sudden materialisation of a massive object from nowhere. But the insect accused the bird “You are a much more evolved species than me. Why then are you performing such miracles”. But to the bird the accusation of the insect appeared ridiculous”.

After telling the stories, the saint asked the seeker “Do you understand the significance of the stories? Do they answer your question?” The seeker nodded his head:” “Yes, I think I am getting at what you are telling”. The saint concluded: “So what I am doing is to bring objects from a higher dimension which you cannot see but which I can see, to the lower dimensions in which you live and can see and by a process which I know but which you don’t know. This may appear as a miracle to you but to me it is as natural as moving an object from one place to another”

The seeker said “Yes, I understand your point. But to me the real miracle is the miracle of inner transformation, like for example the transformation of a sinner into a saint, examples like Angulimala, Bilwarmangal, St.Augustine”

The saint smiled and asked “But are they really more miraculous or here also we see a “miracle” because we do not see or understand the process?”

The seeker asked eagerly “Do we? I would like to know.” The saint went on:

“We tend to judge people by their externals. We hear about the brutal external life of an Angulimba who, according to the legend, used to cut peoples’ finger and wear it as a garland. And we wonder at the “miracle” of transformation of such a terrible “sinner” into a saint. But the conversion may not be as miraculous as it appears to be. Behind the brutal and terrible exterior of Angulimala there was probably an advanced inner being and soul of saint which came forward at the spiritual touch and influence of the Budha. While the ordinary man sees only the exterior of Angulimala, Budha can also see the saintly inner being and soul of Anguliomala. What Budha did here is to simply activate the inner being of Angulimala and make his external being conscious of the inner being. This of course requires great spiritual power. Only a spiritual man like Budha can do it. But to someone like Budha who can see the whole being of the person, there is nothing miraculous about it; it is like releasing a hidden potential which is waiting behind the external being, ready to come forward. This is more or less what happens in sinner-to-saint transformations or “miracles” which are recounted in the religious history of the world, What is sinful is only the outer nature, but the inner being is an advanced soul in the higher levels of evolution”.

“But why” asked the seeker, “such an advanced soul has to incarnate in a sinful nature”.

“May be for working out some negative Karma. Such discrepencies are possible in the complex process of Karma.”

“What then will you call as a real miracle”

“It will be truly a miracle if a sinner who has no potentiality of a saint in his inner being is suddenly transformed into a saint. For example take a child-soul who was in animal bodies in its previous birth and has assumed human body only in this birth or only for a few births. It may take probably many thousands of births for such a child-soul to acquire the spiritual possibility in his inner being. He has to pass through a long process of natural evolution from the physical man governed by the needs and instincts of his body, the vital man governed by his emotional and pragmatic mind and will to the mental and moral man governed by his intellectual, ethical and aesthetic being. Only after passing through these stages he acquires the potentiality of becoming a spiritual man. If such a child-soul which is in the very early stage of its evolution is suddenly transformed into a spiritual man, then we can call it a miracle.”

“Can such a miracle possible”

“Whether it is possible or not, it is not desirable. We can accelerate the rate of natural evolution in each stage of development by an inner and outer discipline. This is what Yoga does to the psychological and spiritual evolution of the individual. But I believe neither Nature nor the Divine allows skipping of the entire stages of evolution. That will rudely upset the delicate balance of the cosmic rhythm.”

“So no miracle happens in this universe, and everything follows the process of law”

“You are making it into a dogma. It is a matter of perspective, how you look at thing. When you look at the world from the summit of a pure, bare and austere impersonal consciousness, it may appear something like what you said, an impersonal law and process and nothing else. But bring or add to this impersonality an aesthetic vision which perceives the creative beauty of the universe, then everything a miracle. When you look at this creative beauty of hits universe with a fresh mind free from the burden of the past and future then you will see that every moment the universe is created anew; every object, event is experienced as perpetually and miraculously new every moment. And again when you look at the universe from altogether different spiritual perspective, as the creative expression of a universal and transcendent Being, then also you see behind the working of the law and process, the miraculous action of His Grace. In this vision, law and process is only a subordinate and instrumental action of His transcendent Grace, Love and Wisdom beyond the cosmic Law.”

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