Belief and faith1Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, with your soul's permission, I wish to say a few words before I give my talk. At the beginning of this year it was the fervent wish of myself and my students to be of dedicated, soulful service to seekers all over the country. In each state we decided to give a talk and offer our dedicated service. Today marks the end of this series. Today, I shall be offering my last talk.
I am most grateful to Mr and Mrs Addison, who have been extremely kind and hospitable to me. Their son, John Addison, is a devoted, energetic and dynamic student of mine. Here his parents have offered a similar kind of service to the Supreme in me and for that, to both Mr and Mrs Addison, I offer my heart's deepest gratitude. I also offer my loving joy to all the seekers who are present here this evening.
I wish to give a talk on belief and faith from the spiritual point of view. Belief and faith: these are of paramount importance in our spiritual life. They play a significant role in our ordinary life as well.
Belief is usually in the mind, whereas faith is in the heart. Belief, unfortunately, has doubt as its immediate neighbour. What is doubt? Doubt is nothing short of poison. In the spiritual life, when doubt enters into our mind, we can make no progress. Even in the ordinary life when we doubt someone, in no way do we gain anything from our doubt. Today we doubt someone, tomorrow we try to cultivate some faith in that person, and the day after tomorrow we doubt our own capacity to make any judgement. When we doubt someone, we may not lose our faith all at once. But when we doubt ourselves, that marks the end of our inner progress. Doubt is a dangerous road that leads to destruction.
Faith has conviction as its immediate neighbour. We can be very happy and very cheerful when faith abides in our heart. What is conviction? Conviction is the precursor of God-discovery and Self-discovery. Self-discovery and God-discovery are one and the same. When we discover ourselves, we come to know that God-realisation was always our birthright, but we had forgotten to exercise that birthright.
Belief does not discriminate. Very often mental belief accepts both good and bad, divine and undivine, the fleeting and the eternal, the finite and the infinite, the mortal and the immortal. But we have to be very careful when we are dealing with something finite and transitory, something undivine and hostile, for we may be totally ruined when we play with the undivine forces that are within us or outside us.
Faith is very careful. It always discriminates. It accepts only the real, the divine, the eternal, the infinite, the immortal. If we accept the real in us and not the unreal, then we grow into the transcendental Reality. If we accept Infinity and Immortality, then naturally in the course of time, in the process of our evolution, we will grow into Infinity and Immortality. If we accept the divine in us, then we will eventually grow into divinity.
Human belief has two good friends: imagination and inspiration. Very often we are told that imagination is sheer mental hallucination, but this is absolutely absurd. Imagination is the harbinger of realisation. If there is no imagination, there can be no creation. All the great discoveries of science were founded on the inner, illumined imagination. What we call imagination today, tomorrow will become realisation. Inspiration is always significant, both in the ordinary life and in the spiritual life. When we are inspired, we enter into the field of creativity. If our goal is a far cry, on the strength of our inspiration we can cover half the distance almost sooner than at once.
Belief has rational values. Faith has constructive and creative values. When we cultivate our inner faith we see that the Inner Pilot is experiencing His own Silence-Height in and through His earth-sound. What He was in silence is being manifested in sound as a divinising and immortalising force on earth. The supreme Artist is the Inner Pilot. When we have constructive and creative values, life itself becomes a supreme art.
Belief, in the human mind, quite often has to convince itself. Also, it dares to convince others, even though very often it is wanting in conviction itself. Belief can be shattered by the buffets of life, but it can be strengthened when opportunity continuously knocks at our mind's door. But faith is always conviction itself. In faith there looms large man's inseparable oneness with the universal Consciousness, with the transcendental Height.
Faith is always giving and becoming. Faith is self-giving and faith is God-becoming. Faith has the inner, indomitable strength to transcend its own height of light and delight and enter into the ocean of infinite Light and Delight. Belief is just a tiny drop in the ocean of Consciousness, while faith is the ocean itself.
From the spiritual point of view, in the inner or psychic plane, belief and faith have two distinct and different roles. Belief tries to free us from the earth-bound time. Time is binding us; therefore, we wallow in the meshes of ignorance and treasure consciously or unconsciously our existence there. But when belief looms large and comes to the fore we try to go far beyond the domains of earth-bound time. Then, when faith starts playing its role, we see that Heaven-free time, eternal Time, becomes our friend and encourages and inspires us to live in the everlasting Reality of universal Truth and transcendental Bliss.
Belief has; faith is. Belief has God-vision, God the cosmic Vision. Faith is God-reality, God the transcendental Reality. Belief and faith are like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. They are like complementary souls. Belief carries us to the highest realm of consciousness. Faith brings us down from the highest transcendental Consciousness so that we can distribute Peace, Light and Bliss to the world at large.
In order to cultivate belief and faith in ourselves, we need two intimate and constant friends. These friends are prayer and meditation. Prayer helps us realise the highest Height. In prayer we climb high, higher, highest and see the Face of God. We cry and He listens to our fervent cry, our inmost cry. When we meditate, the Supreme Lord, our Eternal Beloved, comes down and dictates to us what to do, how to transform our nature, how to immortalise our life and how to derive satisfaction from our day-to-day, multifarious activities. If we listen to God's dictates, we feel that our life on earth is not a tissue of unrealities, but that a supreme Reality is operating in and through us. We feel that we are the chosen instruments of God. He utilises us in His inimitable, supreme Way. We consciously take part in His cosmic Journey. Him to embody, Him to reveal, Him to manifest, we come to earth again and again. This realisation dawns in our devoted heads and surrendered hearts when we give due value to our ever-mounting belief and to our ever-descending and all-illumining faith.
FFB 183. Alaska Methodist University; Anchorage, Alaska. October 29, 1974; 7:00 p.m.↩