Who says you are wanting in faith? When you aspire, you have faith in God. When you desire, you have faith in yourself. When you deny the significance of your own existence, you have faith in the undivine. To be sure, you are always endowed with faith.
— Sri Chinmoy
Spirituality is a very significant word, but it is vague. Each one enters into the spiritual life with a different motive. For an ordinary person, spirituality denotes just a little fleeting peace of mind. For him, spirituality means harmony in the family: the husband and wife will no longer fight and the children will no longer remain unruly. That is why some people enter the spiritual life. For an aspirant, a true aspirant, spirituality means something that will give him realisation. He wants spirituality only for the sake of realisation. If somebody wants to get realisation by hook or by crook, then he will learn that realisation does not come in that way. In India, many people have tried to realise God within a fixed period of time, in two or three or six years, but God did not come to them. Only death came to them; they committed suicide. But a real aspirant feels that realisation Will come at God’s choice Hour. He will do his part; then he feels that the rest is up to God. The real seeker who is crying for infinite Light must surrender to the Will of God, to the Hour of God. To be one with God’s Will means to surrender to the Hour of God. If one can consciously surrender to the Hour of God, that means that one has abundant faith in one’s own life of aspiration and in God’s Will. In the spiritual life we use the word ‘faith’ rather than ‘belief’, which is used in a more general context. Faith is a gift, but it is not like an ordinary gift. We have it inside us as an achievement or as a reality. Faith is our inner recognition of the universal Truth within and without. In order to recognise the Truth, we have to have faith first in our soul. Our soul will reveal to us abundant Light, as well as the source that is offering us Light. Then we have to give our ignorance totally and implicitly to the Light within us. The real, infinite trust comes from the soul, which is in touch with the highest Absolute. If we remain in our soul, we will have all trust, all faith.
We always have to have faith in something or someone. If we have faith in nothing else, we have faith in our physical existence, in our human life and body. We have faith that our hands can work and write. If we don’t have that kind of trust or faith, then we will see that our hands will not be able to function the way we want. Once we consciously take the trust away from our hands, we will see that no matter how sincerely we try to write, we will not be able to do so. It is not that we just say that we can’t write with our hands, and then, once we try, we see that we were mistaken. No! If we take our full consciousness away from our hands, we will not be able to write at all. It is just because consciousness is operating in our hands that we are able to write.
We know that we are conscious beings; within us consciousness is always playing. Not only do we have a conscious part, but we also have a subconscious part. Sometimes we enter into the subconscious while we are awake: we also enter there during sleep. From the strict spiritual point of view, the subconscious plane starts below the navel; below the knee it is all the realm of inconscience. Inconscience is something absolutely useless. From inconscience we do not get Light, because inconscience is not aspiring to enter into the Light.
When we live in inconscience, we do not see with the eye of faith. We believe something only after we see it. In this ordinary, human, unaspiring world, we have to see something ourselves in order to believe it; we always need first-hand proof. If we see that one individual is striking another, we believe it. We are an eyewitness. If we see things happening right in front of us, we have more belief in our mind. But when others tell us something, it is up to us to decide whether to believe it or not. We read in the newspapers many things which we discard as false. We can’t believe these things. But if we see them ourselves, we do believe them. So when we enter into the lower world, seeing is believing.
Then there comes a time when we aspire. When we live in the world of aspiration, first we believe something and then we see the truth. If we have faith and believe in something, only then can we see that thing. We have faith in something; that is why we realise the truth.
The higher we go, the more clearly we will be able to see. Faith is the precursor of our seeing, which is realisation. To have faith is to have realisation. Faith tells us what is coming after it, our realisation; but faith also becomes totally one with the thing that we are going to realise. When we actually realise the Truth, at that time we will see that our realisation of the Truth was all along totally one with our faith.
What is realisation? Realisation is our discovery that we are not finite but infinite. In realisation we come to know that it is in the finite that the infinite is playing its tune. Tagore, India’s greatest poet, said, Majhe asim tumi — “In the finite, You are the Infinite; You are playing Your own Tune.” Amar majhe tomar prabash — “Your Revelation is inside me. That is why oneness is so sweet, so gentle.” When the Infinite plays through the finite, it uses the finite as its instrument. When the finite can claim the Infinite as its very own in the field of realisation and in the field of manifestation, then only can God the Infinite and God the finite — God in Heaven and God on earth — become totally fulfilled.
It is faith that will clear away the obstructions on our path. We have to have faith in our spiritual Master. We have to have faith in our life of aspiration and in the divine Grace. We have to have faith in ourselves and feel that we can become the chosen instrument of God. If we can have this kind of faith, then we know that we are going to see the Truth, feel the Truth and become the Truth. We have to have faith in our Master in infinite measure. If the Master says, “You are making good progress,” we have to believe him. But if we let the mind enter in and say, “Oh, the Master is just flattering me,” then we are making a serious mistake. We have to have faith that our Master is a realised soul and that he can grant us realisation. The Master gives realisation to the disciple at God’s chosen Hour. Not only that, but it is actually the Master who strikes the Hour when God, the Supreme, tells him that it is time for realisation to take place. But if we do not believe what our Master tells us, how are we going to have faith in his capacity to grant us realisation?
We also have to have faith and confidence in ourselves. If we do not have confidence in ourselves, there can be no divine faith in our life. It is confidence that gives us the faith to say, “I have come from God and God is thinking of me twenty-four hours a day. Now it is my turn to think of Him. God has given me these twenty-four hours. The same twenty-four hours that He is using to observe me, He has also given me to think of Him.” So it is through confidence that we can create our faith. Without confidence, the so-called blind faith is of no use. If we have the confidence to say, “Yes, I am God’s son and I shall realise God,” then God is bound to give us faith in what He is constantly doing for us.
Faith in ourselves is like a ladder. We see a ladder and we notice the first rung. When we step on the first rung, we see that it is solid; it does not break. Then we get faith. We say to ourselves, “Yes, perhaps now I should put my foot on the second rung.” We see that this rung also is solid. In this way we test the third, fourth and fifth rung and finally all the rungs. Each time we place our foot on the ascending scale, we get a higher and deeper assurance of our own capacity, of our own experience and realisation. But we have to climb up one step at a time. We cannot immediately jump and touch the highest. No! We see the first step and then slowly and steadily we start climbing up all the steps. This is how we create faith in ourselves on the strength of our own confidence.
Faith is like a muscle that one can develop. Everybody is divine; everybody is of God. And God has endowed each soul with faith. But still there are quite a few individuals who are not exercising their faith. Today we may have only a little faith, but tomorrow we will have more faith in ourselves. Faith is like a box. Inside the box is a jewel, but we are not opening up the box in order to see our jewel.
Tremendous will is also necessary, We have to say at each moment, “My fate shall be changed by my unchanging will.” Fate can be changed, but willpower can never be changed. Nothing is impossible for our willpower. This willpower is not aggressive; it is not something that tries to get its way by hook or by crook. No! Willpower is the conviction of our soul. Within us we have a soul which is all the time united with God, the Supreme. Our soul declares, “When I am one with God, is anything impossible? No!” This firm conviction of our soul is the divine willpower. Divine willpower is a far cry from the aggressive way of acting which we often call willpower in the ordinary life.
How can we have faith in ourselves? First we have to feel that our existence in this world has a special significance. We can feel anything we like whether it is right or wrong, good or bad. Faith is not involved in feeling. So let us start with the feeling that we have a particular aim, a particular mission here on earth.
The next thing is to observe and to separate ourselves from our achievement. We and our achievement are not one and the same. We have to put our achievement at one place and then stand one step behind or ahead of our achievement. If we do this, we will see that we are not at all satisfied with our present achievement. We appreciate what we have, but we are not satisfied. We want to go beyond this achievement. We feel or sense that there is a world beyond. What is the ultimate Beyond? That Beyond is God. When we try to transcend our physical, it is the Beyond that is beckoning us. When we try to transcend our mind, it is the Beyond that we begin to approach. The moment we try to transcend ourselves, we will have the feeling of the Beyond.
The moment God or the feeling of the Beyond comes into our existence, we will see God. The moment we repeat the name of God, or chant Aum, immediately the sound travels to the Beyond, and from there we hear the vibration echoing and re-echoing. When we call God, He will not simply remain in the Beyond: He will echo our call. God immediately receives our call in the Beyond and from the Beyond He sends His divine vibration into our heart. When this happens, faith is bound to come into our life.
When we have faith in someone or in something, we feel that that person has some power or some capacity. Even when we have faith in someone or something, we are aware that the capacity of that person or thing is limited. But when we think of infinite Light, which is our Source, at that time we see quality, quantity and every capacity in boundless measure. Every capacity, every good quality, is a gift from God. If we can remain in God, our Source, we will not only see good qualities in infinite measure but actually possess these qualities and capacities ourselves.
There are many ways to feed our faith and make it stronger. Daily we must try to feel the importance of time. When we can enter into the heart of time, then we will see and feel how the fleeting second is part and parcel of the infinite, eternal Time. We have to feel that in fleeting time is our fleeting faith. This faith is insignificant to some extent and not fully sincere or promising. But let us feel that this momentary faith is coming from the soul’s infinite Faith. Always we need to feel that our faith is now just an insignificant, infinitesimal part of the infinite Faith, but that it has every right to enter into the infinite sea of Faith which is God’s Light.
Some of us lose our faith because our immediate family or our dearest friends create problems in our life. At that time the conflicting, disturbing, destructive forces around our nearest and dearest ones try to weaken our faith. But who is asking us to act like a fool? We have to run fast. If somebody wants to be with us, then he has to stay on our shoulder as lightly as possible. The aspirant can give chances to his so-called dearest ones, but if they refuse to utilise these opportunities, then he must go alone. At that time the Supreme will not blame him. No! The Supreme will say, “I have rung the bell. Now you come and let the others sleep.” But if the aspiring souls try to make the unaspiring ones feel that they all have to go together, or if the aspiring souls feel that the Father will be pleased only if they wait and come to Him with the ones who are not yet aspiring sincerely, then it will be a matter of eternity before any of them reach the Goal.
On the one hand, it is absolutely necessary that we go to the Supreme with our near and dear ones. Otherwise, He will say, “Go back! I do not need you. You have not brought your entire existence with you.” On the other hand, the Supreme will tell us that it is He who is really our nearest and dearest. Many family responsibilities and family problems are absurd. If the real aspirant is getting pulled down by these problems, at that time God will say, “Who is your dearest? Your wife, your husband, your children, your friends? If you think so, then stay with them. They will bring you satisfaction.” But everlasting satisfaction we will get only from the Supreme, who is eternally the dearest. If we can please Him, then we have pleased the entire world. Our physical mind may not understand it, our outer physical existence may not understand it, but we must have faith that we live on earth only for the highest Divinity, the Divinity that has brought us into the world. If we are realised, certainly we will be able to help our dear ones much more than we are doing now. How can a blind man lead someone else who is blind? A man of Light, however, can guide and reveal.
Now, if inside our dear ones we can feel the existence of the Supreme, then we are saved. If we see our dearest Supreme inside the members of our family, then our faith can remain strong. But this is sometimes difficult. That is why it is the traditional Indian feeling that earthly human relationships stand in the way; that they weigh the seeker down like stones. When they stand in the way, the aspirant has every right to run towards the Light all alone if that is the Will of the Supreme. If the Hour strikes for one member of the family first, then this member of the family has to be prepared to leave the others in order to run the fastest toward his Goal. In such cases, the husband has to be prepared to leave the wife, and the wife has to be prepared to leave the husband; parents have to be prepared to leave their children and children have to be prepared to leave their parents. Only in this way can they run the fastest.
We have to feel the necessity of being inwardly brave. Outwardly we are brave if we are stronger than somebody else. We can strike a person if we feel that we are more powerful than he is. But inwardly we have to be very, very strong, and inner strength we cultivate through faith.
If we have a real inner conviction at every second, then our faith will grow into Infinity’s Light and we will be able to feel the divine Light inside us. We must feel only one purpose, one aim, one goal: to see the Highest and grow into the Highest as soon as possible. If the world around us is willing to run with us, then let it also run. If the world around us is obstructing us, finding fault with us, hindering our progress, then we do not need the world. When our inner necessity compels us to be totally removed from our earthly, human obligations, we will be able to feed our faith most satisfactorily. God alone will give us more faith to protect us, guide us and show us the Light.
We know the word God is spelled G-o-d. Just reverse these letters and they become d-o-g. God and dog go together. In this case, ‘dog’ means faithfulness. A dog, in the spiritual sense, represents infinite faithfulness; it is symbolic of God as faith. This is very significant. God has all faith in us, in humanity, and He wants us to have constant and spontaneous faith in Him. But we are ungrateful creatures and we are wanting in faith in God. He is infinitely superior to us; He is infinitely more powerful than we are. But at the same time, it is He who has abundant faith in us. We know thousands of stories about how dogs are ready to offer their very lives to save their masters. A dog follows his master all the time. It is ready to offer its very existence for the master at any moment. At night if robbers try to enter into the house, the first thing the dog will do is fight. And what does the dog get in return? A piece of bread. In God’s case, when an aspirant is crying for Light, for Self-Realisation, and the ignorance around him is trying to devour him, it is God who comes and tries to save the person.
As human beings, we have to know that here on earth we represent either the Divine or the undivine. It is we who have to make the selection. Are we going to take the side of the Divine or the side of the hostile forces? Immediately we come to the decision that we will take God’s side, the side of the Divine.
Divine satisfaction will come only when we are faithful to the inner cause, which is nothing other than God. So every day when we pray and meditate, let us try to feel that we can satisfy the Supreme only when we have total faith in our life and in God’s cosmic Will, which is God’s fulfilling Will in and for us and our spiritual brothers and sisters. As a dog always follows its master, so our aspiration must always follow the Light, which is God the Realisation. Today we are God the Aspiration. Tomorrow, on the strength of our faith in our inner Divinity, we shall become God the Realisation.