Chapter 7.2 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
return to contents index

7.2 FAITH

WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do all the faithful. Each believes in God and God's angels, and God's books and God's envoys. We do not make a distinction among individual prophets of God. And they say "We hear and obey. We ask your forgiveness, our Lord; for the journey is to You"."    Mohammed

"He who is full of faith and zeal and has subdued his senses attains knowledge; having attained knowledge, he soon attains the Supreme Peace."    Sri Krishna

"For verily, I say unto you if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto the mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you."    Jesus Christ

"Courage! It is I. Don't be afraid. How little faith you have! Why did you doubt!"    Jesus Christ

"Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kindly conduct, and let your happiness depend, not upon external things, but upon your own mind."    Buddha

"Belief in Ahura Mazda gives meaning to existence, lends colour to life, and gives us peace of mind that passeth all understanding."    Zarathushtra



FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA


CULTIVATE FAITH

What exactly is the Divine? What are its characteristics? How can it be defined? No person can claim authority to announce the attributes which mark out Divinity, the activities through which Divinity can be identified, and the Form in which Divinity can be recognised, and no one has the power to assert that no other attributes or activities or forms can be divine. It is sheer effrontery and foolishness to make pronouncements on the nature and work of God. When Divinity is immanent in everything, conscious and unconscious, in every form of being and becoming, how can a thing be condemned as bad or commended as good? Water quenches thirst and drowns people. Fire gives light and warmth, but also burns and reduces things to ash. Sound terrifies and also thrills. They are all three Divine: Divinity is inscrutable. The Divine will is ever free and fresh. The Divine has no selfishness or pride or greed or envy. But you suffer from all these illnesses. So your judgement is narrow and crooked. The Divine can functio as It pleases and will, for It has no wants.

Every object maintains its inner genuineness. When it does not, it degenerates. When fire loses its capacity to burn, it reduces itself to cold coal. Sugar can no longer be sugar if it loses its sweetness. God is identified with heat in fire and sweetness in sugar. You may deny God or affirm God - that is dependent on your predominant mood. But God is in all. God is all. You may accept or reject but Divinity will adopt any means It will in order to revive reverence for Scriptures and observance of morality. You cannot gain by discussing about the means and pronouncing your opinions on them. You have only to cultivate Faith and exult. (271082)

Self-knowledge is the key to all knowledge. For this, you must approach the proper person to teach you the means to discover your true Self. If you are not prepared to undertake this self-inquiry, cultivate faith, if not in God, at least in your own Self. The man who has no faith in himself can have no faith in anybody. He cannot have faith in God. Make faith (viswaasa) your life-breath. The man without faith is a living corpse. Therefore, worship Krishna. Nothing else will save you when the last moment comes. Remember always the Divine name. It is your saviour; all else binds you. (061089)

Have faith in yourself, your own capacity to adhere to a strict time-table of spiritual practice, your own ability to reach the goal of realisation. When you have no faith in the wave, how can you get faith in the ocean? A small lump of steel can become a beautiful efficient watch through the application of intelligence and skill; can man not be transmuted into a sage who has realised the ultimate through the instruments of discrimination and detachment? The sacred books of all religions help man to reach his eternal Abode of Peace. All caravanserais are built to help the pilgrim on his way to the goal. He stays there for a time; he is instructed about the next stage of the journey and then, he moves on refreshed by the stay. (080966)

STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH

If the name of the Lord is not recited in the proper spirit, of what use is all the spiritual practice? Faith is the primary requisite. Chanting the name endlessly without faith is utterly useless. When there is confidence, there is Love. Where there is Love, there is Peace. Where there is Peace, there is Truth. Where there is Truth, there is Bliss. Where there is Bliss, there is God. If faith is lacking, how can bliss be experienced?

Therefore, strengthen your faith. Alas; this is the Kali age. People are blind, lacking the eyes of faith. A rich man will trust a Ghurkha watchman for the safety of his home. One will trust a driver for the safe driving of his car. A man will trust a dhobi for washing valuable clothes. One submits his head for tonsure to a barber wielding a sharp razor. But, unfortunately, in spite of all their studies, educated persons do not have faith in God. People are prepared to place their trust in an array of inferior beings, but have no faith in the Supreme. That accounts for all their troubles.

Faith is very essential for the pilgrim on the spiritual path. Man is now caught up in temporary and trivial preoccupations in the too short interval between birth and death, and he deceives himself by placing faith in these, rather than on truer and more lasting realities and experiences. He does not hold on to discrimination and deeper realities, so he is carried away by every gust of doubt or disappointment.

Faith is the basis of every act; you do not run away from the barber because he is armed with a sharp razor. You place faith in him and allow him to give you a hair cut, quietly submitting to his idiosyncrasies. You give away costly clothes to the washerman, since you have the faith that he will return them washed and ironed. You have faith in the driver of your car, in the engineer who built your house. So, too, believe in the Inner Motivator, the Atman within, the Voice of God. People are going about now, advising that one should believe only things that one has 'seen' and 'experienced'. Something happens somewhere and the news is published in the papers. It is believed without question. So, too, believe in the experience of seers and sages, who had no other purpose than discovering the Truth and sharing it with others who are unaware of it. In India, we have had millions who believed in God and in the seekers after God, and who have themselves realised the Truth of God. This has made their lives happy andcontented.

Of course the seeker has to encounter many obstacles, both inner and outer. But each one of them is a challenge which must bring out his latent faith. Where there is no darkness, there can be no appreciation for light. Without the pangs of hunger, no one will seek food. It is the possibility of death that makes even the mother love the child and deal with it affectionately. (231178)

If the devotee has dedicated his all, body, mind and existence, to the Lord, He will Himself look after everything, for He will always be with him. Under such conditions, there is no need for prayer. But, have you so dedicated yourself and surrendered everything to the Lord? No. When losses occur, or calamities come, or plans go awry, the devotee blames the Lord. Some, on the other hand, pray to Him to save them. Avoiding both these, as well as the reliance on others, if complete faith is placed on the Lord at all times, why should He deny you His Grace? Why should He desist from helping you? Men do not rely fully and unswervingly on the Lord; therefore, though you have to be the agent and the instrument doing everything, keep on praying with devotion and faith. Faith is the product of peace, not of haste and hurry. (Prasanthi V 16)

FAITH PRECEDES EXPERIENCE

Egoism and Divinity are incompatible. An egoist can never aspire for the life divine. Ego should be completely annihilated in order to progress along the path of spirituality. However, self-confidence, as different from ego, is of supreme importance in spiritual progress. A man who has no faith in himself cannot have faith in God. Self-confidence and faith in God are always found in juxtaposition. They complement each other.

Faith is a cardinal virtue and faith in God is a prop in life. Though God dwells in everybody, unless one has faith in God, he cannot become Divine. Some people might say that they will believe only after they experience. But that is like putting the cart before the horse. In spirituality, faith always precedes experience. (SSB 79,142)

Faith comes first and then experience. Students must not only know the answers to questions. The answers must be in the conduct of their lives, and on this basis they must teach others. Faith is natural to each person. Each person has some faith in himself, some confidence in himself. And the core of his being, of himself, is Atma. From this is the foundation of faith in himself. A small example: One does not remember his birth and mother tells him the date. He does not know by himself, but through faith he accepts what mother says. Father may not have been present at that event, but mother gave birth. She does not need to ask anyone. Some reflection will indicate that for the coming into being of the universe there must also be a basis. God is that basis. He knows. He need not ask anyone. In that subtle area, beyond body and intellect, only faith can exist. Faith is natural with each person, and so also is love. Love is directed to various objects and to various persons, but love of God is the essential facor. Looking at that tree we note that the many branches, leaves and twigs have one trunk as the factor common to all of them. The trunk in turn relies on the roots. To try to water each leaf and each branch would take much time and the water would be wasted. But if we direct all the water to the roots of the tree, then each branch and leaf and twig will naturally receive moisture in the way that is best for it. As it is now, people say they love friends and relatives, but do not love God. God is the basis of all individuals. He is the root from which all have their being. It is best to love God first and to love Him with all one's heart. Then your love will naturally include the various individuals. (CSSB 40)

Faith must lead to effort. Faith is essential for human progress in every field. Knowledge and, through knowledge, wisdom can be earned only by means of faith and effort. Equipped with these, man can venture into the heights and emerge victoriously. Of course, one has to be warned against cultivating too much faith in things that are merely material. One has to develop it deep in the eternally valid Truth, God.

Faith is power. Without faith, living is impossible. We have faith in tomorrow following today. That is what makes us take up activities and projects that extend beyond this day. People with no faith cannot plan; they court misery by want of their faith.

A rich man in South Africa once heard a Divine voice which promised him a gold mine, if only he would dig at a certain place. He dug at that place to a depth of 60 metres and failed to discover any vein of gold. His faith waned. He doubted the authenticity of the voice. He talked to others how the voice had played false. When another rich man heard his story, he developed great faith in what he believed to be God's command. He dug in the same areas and laid bare a rich gold mine barely three feet below the surface of the earth. That became the richest and the most famous of the gold mines in South Africa. (270681)


EVERY ONE MUST HAVE FAITH IN THEMSELVES

There is no one who does not love himself, has no belief in himself and has no ambition to rise higher and higher. Even a man who does not have faith in God has faith in himself and desires to have the strength by which to cultivate faith in himself. There was once a guru communicating wisdom to people who came for his blessing with flowers and fruits. One day, as the offerings were plenty, he called a disciple and asked him to cut the fruits and arrange for its distribution as consecrated food. The disciple reported to the guru that all was ready for distribution and asked him who should be given first. The guru asked him to start with the person in whom he has the greatest faith and the highest confidence. All the people assembled there thought that the disciple would first give the fruit to the teacher and then distribute to the others. But the disciple did not do so. He took the first fruit himself. When the surprised onlookers asked for an explanation he said that since he had the greatest confidence an affection for himself, he took the first fruit. (Chinna Katha 6)

Once you develop faith in the existence of the Atma in you, you are freed of hatred and attachment. The secret of greatness is man's faith in himself.

Students, the entire universe is encased in you. Never give room to the thoughts that you are the body. You are neither the body nor the mind. The body is transitory like a bubble and the mind is crazy like a mad monkey. Hence, never set faith on the mind and the body, but pin your faith on the conscience within you. The human body, though decked with the finest of ornaments and dressed elegantly, carries no value, once the breath of life ceases. For man, faith is his life breath. All the attainments achieved by the body carry no value if he lacks faith. The key is the life of the lock, similarly the self is the key of our life. (SSB 93,5)


IMPLICIT FAITH IS THE ROAD TO SPIRITUAL SUCCESS

Once Krishna and Arjuna were going together along the open road. Seeing a bird in the sky, Krishna asked Arjuna "Is that a dove?" He replied, "Yes, it is a dove." He asked Arjuna "It is an eagle?" Arjuna replied promptly, "Yes, it is an eagle." "No, Arjuna, it looks like a crow to me. Is it not a crow?" asked Krishna. Arjuna replied, "I am sorry, it is a crow beyond doubt." Krishna laughed and chided him for his agreeing to whatever suggestion was given. But Arjuna said, "For me, Your Words are far more weighty than the evidence of my eyes; you can make it a crow, dove or an eagle and when you say it is a crow, it must be one." Implicit faith is the road to spiritual success. (Vijayadasami 1953)

Faith in God is the bed-rock on which one's life should be built. All the scriptures one may read, all the rituals one may practise, the mastery of the Upanishads or the Gita, will be of no avail if there is no deep faith in God. They will be mere physical or intellectual exercises only. (210786)


return to contents index
return to top of this page