Madame Guyon was one of the most beautiful young women of her town. Ever since she was a little girl, her heart was inspired with the love of God. She did not know where to find Him. As she grew up, she went into society and, for some years, lived a worldly life. Her marriage was a very unhappy one. And the yearning for God, which slumbered within her heart woke up again.
Not receiving what she expected from her husband, she turned her attention to God, whom she had neither seen nor heard nor touched. This unhappy, fashionable woman was out in quest. She sought for Him here, there, but could find Him not! She realised that God is found by those to whom He reveals Himself. The true approach to God is, therefore, by the way of simplicity.
One day, there came to her town a holy man. She met him and placed before him all her difficulties. He was a man of few words. To her, he said: “Madame, you are seeking without, that which you have within. Accustom yourself to seek God in your own heart, and you will find Him!” The words pierced her heart as an arrow; and she was wounded with a wound whose healing lies in a vision of the Beloved. She herself describes her state in words which are so beautiful that I am tempted to quote them.
“I felt in this moment,” she says, “a profound wound which was full of delight and of love— a wound so sweet that I desired that it might never heal. These words had put into my heart that which I sought for so many years, or, rather, they caused me to find that which was there.
O, my Lord, you were within my heart, and you asked of me only that I should return within, in order that I might feel your presence. O Infinite Goodness, you were so near, and I, running here and there to seek you, found you not!”
From that day onwards, she gives up “running here and there”. She gives up her “practices” and “exercises”. She has found her “center”. And for her all wandering ceases. She quietly surrenders herself to the Lord: she finds Him within her heart.
(Dada J.P. Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)