12. Visitations of God
This earthly existence of ours is more brittle than the glass bangles that ladies wear. You can keep glass bangles for thousands of years if you treasure them in a chest and let them remain untouched. But this earthly existence is so fickle that it may be wiped out in the twinkling of an eye. Therefore, whilst we have yet breathing time, let us get rid of the distinctions of high and low, purify our hearts and be ready to face our Maker when an earthquake or some natural calamity or death in the ordinary course overtakes us.
Harijan, 2-2-1934, p. 5
I share the belief with the whole world– civilized and uncivilized – that calamities (such as the Bihar earthquake of 1934) come to mankind as chastisement for their sins. When that conviction comes from the heart, people pray, repent and purify themselves.... I have but a limited knowledge of His purpose. Such calamities are not a mere caprice of the Deity or Nature. They obey fixed laws as surely as the planets move in obedience to laws governing their movement. Only we do not know the laws governing these events and, therefore, call them calamities or disturbances.
Harijan, 2-2-1934, p. 1
There is a divine purpose behind every physical calamity. That perfected science will one day be able to tell us beforehand when earthquakes will occur, as it tells us today of eclipses, is quite possible. It will be another triumph of the human mind. But such triumphs even indefinitely multiplied can bring about no purification of self without which nothing is of any value.
Harijan, 8-6-1935, p. 132
I ask those who appreciate the necessity of inward purification to join in the prayer that we may read the purpose of God behind such visitations, that they may humble us and prepare us to face our Maker whenever the call comes, and that we may be ever ready to share the sufferings of our fellows whoever they may be.
Harijan, 8-6-1935, p. 132
When we know that God Himself is the mystery of mysteries why should anything that He does perplex us ? If He acted as we would have Him do or if He acted exactly like us, we would not be His creatures and He our Creator.
The impenetrable darkness that surrounds us is not a curse but a blessing. He has given us power to see the step in front of us and it would be enough if Heavenly Light reveals that step to us. We can then sing with Newman ‘One step enough for me’. And we may be sure from our past experience that the next step will always be in view. In other words the impenetrable darkness is nothing so impenetrable as we may imagine. But it seems impenetrable when in our impatience we want to look beyond that one step. And since God is love, we can say definitely that even the physical catastrophes that He sends now and then must be a blessing in disguise and they can be so only to those who regard them as a warning for introspection and self-purification.
“My Dear Child”, (1959), pp. 104-05