Higher Teachings of Sri Swamiji

Jewel of Faith

Faith in God is a glorious, wish-fulfilling jewel. If your heart is full of faith, your mind will always be radiant. Faith dispels ignorance like sunlight dispels clouds. Knowledge of God does not necessarily bring you closer or guarantee communion with Him, but faith does. If you can attain this jewel, all obstacles will disappear. Shraddha and vishwas, faith and belief or deep conviction, are inherent in everyone just as butter is dormant in milk and fire in wood. Just as the body is infused with prana, faith and bhakti are embedded in the human heart from birth. If faith and trust become solid and stable, they switch on God’s power.

Faith is the basis of spiritual life. The main purpose of faith is to develop bhakti, even while living in the external, transient world. Faith and trust are necessary to develop an experience of God. You can develop these qualities through satsang, association with truth. The truth is God.

Faith needs to be awakened from within. The first inspirer of faith is the mother, the second is the ishta devata and the third is the guru. The mother is the first symbol or basis of faith. Without faith in your mother, you are robbed of faith in life. Your faith can never deepen or develop.

The second basis of faith is the ishta devata or chosen deity. The devata is the one who lights up the darkness and reveals the hidden essence. There are as many devatas as there are people. Some worship Vishnu, some Shiva, some Ganesha or Hanuman, Durga and Kali. You may not see your ishta devata or have any logical proof of its existence, but you still worship your chosen deity regularly.

The third basis of faith is the guru. Through faith in the guru one sees the reflection and splendour of God. If your faith in the guru is strong and unchallenged, then the guru becomes equal to God for you. One who has abiding faith in the ishta devata and the guru alike attains enlightenment. It is not difficult to have faith in the devatas who are regarded as superhuman godly beings, but it is difficult to have faith in the guru who lives in a human body and is subject to the laws of prakriti or nature.

The guru is the ultimate test of one’s faith. Your faith in the mother may be unshakeable, your faith in the ishta devata may never shatter, but your faith in the guru is vulnerable. The guru does not fit into any preconceived mould. You have to search for faith within the recesses of your heart and mind. A disciple with unwavering faith can even have darshan of God. The guru’s place is thus considered to be the highest.

Faith is the brahmastra, the ultimate power of spiritual life. It turns the most mediocre person into a great person. Bhakti brings spontaneity into your life. Even if you don’t want to love God, you will love Him. Even if you don’t want to surrender, you will have to. Even if you don’t want anything from Him, He will give you everything. Faith in God brings spontaneous blessings.

God can be attained only through faith, trust and spiritual endeavour. God may be in the brain, heart or somewhere else, but you must feel, realize and experience Him. Merely talking about Him is not enough. Through intellect you learn about God, but through faith you experience God. Without faith and trust you cannot have divine experiences, even though He is close to you, closer than your breath, closer than your thoughts, closer than your prana.

Faith does not change. The intellect changes, the brain changes, but faith is eternal. It comes with you and stays with you. Faith is impossible until the hard crust of the ego breaks. To break your hard-hearted ego, you have to worship God in His visible form. When the jewel of faith in God abides in your heart, there is no suffering. This jewel is manifest in the world, but cannot be found without the grace of God. Any creature who searches for Him with love finds the jewel. Firm faith in God is the reward of all spiritual efforts. But no matter what sadhana you do, ultimately, you have to seek the help of a saint. Whosoever bears this in mind finds devotion to God an easy attainment. It is the saints who bring this wisdom to people. The ultimate of life, of all our ambitions and convictions, should be faith.