new terrains, running races or worshipping God,
faith in others,
faith in oneself and
faith in God is essential.
Life is full of such challenges
and it is faith which fuels
all our endeavours to tackle them. It is this dynamo which drives our actions. Energised by faith, any task -
material or spiritual -
will be accomplished.'
Something for Nothing
For many centuries, man has tried, and failed, to make the hypothetical perpetual motion machine that will continue to run, once it is set in motion, without need for any further energy to power it.
Many have tried to achieve this impossible feat. Desperation has led many to produce elaborate and complicated machines that are so cunningly designed that they fool others into believing that the impossible has been achieved. But scientists the world over realise how futile this pursuit is.
In fact, since 1775 the French Academy of Sciences has refused to consider patents for such machines. And for many years now the British and US patent offices have declined to examine patent applications unless the applicant submits a working model or "other demonstration of the operativeness of the invention." So far, none have been received.
Step Aside Science
However, where science has failed, religion has succeeded. Everyone who wants to, can have access to a perpetual spiritual motion machine. There are no disputes over patent rights. No worries about meeting consumer demand. No time restrictions on usage. And once set into motion, it will supply its user with an endless stream of spiritual energy. What is this machine? This is the perpetual spiritual motion machine called FAITH.
Faith in God is a powerful source of spiritual energy. This firm belief and trust in God is strong enough to move mountains. Developed properly, faith will recharge the spiritual aspirant with inexhaustible vigour and enthusiasm.
What is Faith?
Faith, in a spiritual context, is a strong unshakable belief in God; it is absolute trust in God, His form, actions and words.
But faith is also necessary in oneself and others to help accomplish tasks successfully.
Robert Scott, the British explorer, overcame many hardships on his way to the South Pole. Despite weak lungs and his slight physique, Scott, at the age of 42, set off with his team of eleven men, fully-loaded sledges, ponies, dogs and other necessary equipment, on 24 October 1911. On the way, the ponies had to be shot and the dogs sent back. Yet, powered by their faith and determination, the team continued pulling the sledges themselves. On 31 December, Scott sent seven of his men back to base camp. Then, finally, 86 days after setting off, Scott and his four remaining colleagues reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912. To their tremendous disappointment, they discovered that Roald Amundsen's Norwegian team had beaten them there by a month. Sadly, on their return journey, Scott and his four companions perished in the icy cold as they attempted to return to base camp. However, even today, Scott's faith in pursuing his goal, despite overwhelming difficulties, has become immortal.
Faith in Oneself
Faith in oneself is an indispensable quality for any sports professional. A firm belief in one's own abilities can lead to much success.
Many times, unfancied athletes supercede more recognised runners in the closing stages of a race to record an unexpected victory - all because of their self-belief.
Often, the underdogs in a football match overpower and defeat the favourites - because of their self-belief.
Boxers who have tremendous self-belief, will invariably beat their less confident opponents. Even in the pre-fight build-up, boxers with more self-belief will out-talk their opponent and intimidate him verbally. This is where half the battle is won.
In fact, faith is required to allow the world to function. Without faith, there would be no trade, no exchange of information (since no-one would believe each other) and no exchange of money or goods (since people would not trust each other to pay). In fact, the world goes round only because of faith.
Faith in God
In essence, faith in oneself is self-confidence. Such self-belief, without faith in God, boosts one's ego; and this has negative consequences in all one's endeavours. The outcome of success or failure, relying merely on one's efforts alone, produces frustration, jealousy, ego and other negative and destructive results. Thus faith in God is essential.
As was described earlier, faith in God means to have absolute belief in His form, words and deeds.
The first requirement is to believe in the existence of God. In this age of logic and reason, many entertain doubts about God's existence.
Many scientists argue that because God cannot be seen, He does not exist. But then, contrary to their own logic, even though electrons and other sub-atomic particles cannot be seen, they believe in the existence of these entities. Admittedly, their effects can be recorded by particle accelerator studies. But that requires the right equipment, and even then, only the effects of their existence is observed. This is the same with God. The whole of creation is the work of God. So even if the cause, God, is not seen, it does not disprove His existence. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that we lack the spiritual equipment to see God. Faith is that equipment, since, "Faith is to believe in what cannot be seen and the fruit of one's faith is to see what one believes."
Even so, many scientists have professed their belief in the existence of God. Sir Isaac Newton, in his famous work, Principia Mathematica, has stated, "This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being." After Newton, many others, including, Edison, Einstein and Steinmetz have expressed their faith in the existence of God.
Faith in Form
One also needs to have faith in the glory of God's form. In Vachanamrut Gadhada III-8, Shriji Maharaj reveals that God has a human form and that He incarnates on earth to help redeem the jivas entrapped by maya. Even though He appears in a human form, He is divine. He is not affected by maya. In fact, anything God comes into contact with becomes divine. (Vachanamrut Vartal-7, Vachan- amrut Gadhada I-66). The infinite cosmos is the creation of God and He is the controller, the all-doer of everything that happens (Vachanamrut Gadhada I-27, Vachanamrut Gadhada II-21).
In this way, faith in the existence of and in the glory of God's divine form is a foundation for spiritual progress.
Faith in Words
Having established faith in God's form, one must develop faith in His words - spoken and written. Whatever He has said is recorded as scripture. Other texts written either by Himself (for example, Shikshapatri) or by others are revered as shastras. Faith in these words of wisdom imparted by God and the conviction to follow them, however difficult they may be, enables one to make rapid spiritual progress.
Faith in Deeds
Very often, our opinion of a person's character changes when we observe him in action. But, a person who has full faith in God has a resolute belief that whatever God does is divine. Since God has assumed a human form to facilitate interaction with mortals, He may sometimes exhibit mundane behaviour which generate doubts regarding His divinity. However, actually, all of God's deeds are divine, even if they appear to us to be otherwise. Thus, believing even the most mundane actions of God as divine is a very important aspect of our faith in God.
If faith in oneself and others can achieve so much, just imagine what resolute faith in God can achieve.
In his discourses, Gunatitanand Swami has said that each of our baser instincts - anger, ego, jealousy, greed, lust, etc. - is like a mountain within us. Each is difficult to conquer, just like a formidable mountain. Each of these baser instincts, on its own, can topple a person from his spiritual heights. Each is a hurdle in our attempt for spiritual perfection.
But to climb these mountains, Shriji Maharaj has revealed the technique. In Vachanamrut Sarangpur-18, Shriji Maharaj says, "A person with intense faith, by association with a true sadhu and with absolute trust in his words, ... is freed from his baser instincts such as lust, anger, etc."
So faith is the force, the power which will move the mountains of baser instincts lodged within.
Faith for Moksha
One's faith in God is the determining factor in the level and limit of one's moksha - salvation.
Once, Kansa had invited Lord Krishna to a wrestling match. As Lord Krishna appeared in the courtyard of the palace arena, the crowd stared at him, spellbound. The people gathered saw Lord Krishna according to the way they perceived him. The wrestlers believed Lord Krishna would defeat them and consequently they saw a thunderbolt personified in him. The virtuous among the spectators saw Lord Krishna as the best among men. The gopis saw the love flowing out of their Lord. And Kansa believed Lord Krishna would kill him and thus he saw Krishna as death incarnate. There was only one Lord Krishna. Yet everyone saw him according to their faith. They saw only what their faith revealed.
That is why faith is the most significant force moulding our life, and the way we perceive God determines our destiny after this life. The greater our understanding of and faith in God, the more likely we are to attain liberation.
We have seen that faith is an important requirement for success in worldly and religious pursuits. We need faith in not just anything - but the right thing.
The faith that we have in God reaps the same spiritual rewards if it is established in the guru - who is the living representative of God on earth. In Vachanamrut Gadhada I-54, Shriji Maharaj states that He remains ever-present on earth through such a God-realised guru. This provides the genuine spiritual seeker with a specific living focus on which to concentrate his faith and so power his spiritual endeavours.
However, many find this faith difficult to develop. But why do we find this difficult, since everyday we put our trust in innumerable people who we have neither seen nor met. People whose credibility, background and psychological fitness is unknown to us - the bus driver, the pilot, the barber, the doctor, and many others. We rarely give even the slightest thought as to their intentions or state of mind. The bus driver may well be drunk and cause an accident. As may the pilot. The barber could easily slit our throats and the doctor may give us improper treatment. Yet we ignore these possibilities and put our undivided faith in them.
So why not put our faith and trust in the God-realised guru. It is a win-win situation. If we can put our faith in people who are unknown to us, can we not put our faith in our guru who knows us, cares for us and loves us. Such firm faith in the guru will lead us to God. And it is this firm faith in God and guru that will energise us to serve them and to move the mountains which hinder us in our quest for spiritual perfection.