FAITH

Faith, as we all know, is a deep belied in something. It is of two kinds; the type acquired by direct witness of the proof (Pratyaksna Pramana) and the type which depends on a feeling of the mind, but not on the actual perception of the evidence (Paroksha).  You cannot reject a thing just because you cannot see it.  For instance we cannot directly perceive the current in an electric wire but we know about it by virtue of the fact that when we attach a bulb to a socket which the wires run into there is light. Thus indirectly, by experiment, we gain knowledge of a fact. The same principle applies in the spiritual realm.  The Holy Bible defines faith as,"Full confidence in things we hope for. That is, being certain of things we cannot see".

 

Faith is the basis for everything we do in life. In other words, there is no life at all without faith of some Sort or other. All religions preach faith in God as a fundamental value and it is a universal fact that people pray to God in order to fulfill their desires, whether they be worldly (such as requesting wealth. health, relief from trouble) or spiritual (Such as the desire for liberation).

 

Some people by such worship and prayers, gain their ends, are cured of ailments, relieved of difficulties and so on. So the question arises as to what it is that gives the hoped for Results .Is the Grace of God that responds to the prayers and grants the desired booms or is it the operation of the individual's own faith?

 

Amma of Jillellamudi says, "The Grace of God is Always there. The successes and the failures which occur in your life are both due to His Grace." Again Mother Says, "What you wish for does not happen and what is destined for you, you cannot escape from.  You pray for your own satisfaction (Trupti) and not in order or God to give you something."

 

Since the favorable and the unfavorable are equally the results of Grace we can see that it is not accurate to single out the favorable results and attribute them alone to the Grace of God.  Also, since God gives according to His own sovereign will and not according to our wishes, it is clear that, when our prayers seem to be answered, the Power of Faith must be the intermediary by which God gets done His unalterable will.

 

Faith is indeed a powerful and mysterious force.  Shirdi Sai Baba said, "Have faith in a broken piece of an earthen pot and worship it and see if you don't profit thereby."  Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said. "If a man has faith in God then even if he is the greatest of sinners he will be saved through that faith", Amma puts things very succinctly when she says "Faith itself is God". Once some persons came to see Mother and they told her. "Now that we have had your darshan our illnesses will surely be cured. Though we have been thinking of coming to you for a long time, we could only come now". Amma asked them "Do you have that belief?" They said "Yes" At that point Mother said "Then the illnesses should be cured".  Here, Mothers idea is that the Power of their Faith itself is the Divine Power.

 

The following instances are concrete illustrations of the workings no Faith in a story from the Mahabharata we see how Ekalavya, despite Dronacharya's refusal to accept him as his disciple and teach him the art of archery (Dhanur Vidya} still clings to him as his guru and with determination and faith practices archery keeping the gurus picture in front of him.  He succeeds in his efforts and even surpasses Arjuna the beloved disciple of Dronacharya.

 

There was once milkmaid who used to visit several nearby villages to sell her milk and curds and thereby earn a living. To reach the surrounding village she had to cross a small stream.  One morning when it was swollen by floods, the stream could not be crossed and so who had to wait on the bank quite long time for the waters to recede. When she reached The house of one Rama Sastry, a customer of hers, he questioned her as to why she had come so late.  When she explained to him the circumstances he replied "Oh floods so what? You should have simply taken the name of Rama, closed your eyes and entered the waters.  Rama Himself would have taken you by the hand and led you to the other shore. This way no flood can come in your way?"  Sri Sastry spoke this in jest, but the milkmaid took it as a literal truth because of the great faith and reverence that she had in him.  Next time the stream was in flood the simple lady followed Sastriji's advice in all earnestness and crossed the waters with ease.  When she reached the far shore she was so happy that she ran straight to Sastry's house and related to him about her success .Rama Sastry heard her with great surprise and was left wondering as to how it could have happened.

 

There are innumerable such instances of where faith yields the desired results.  The factors or Grace and Fate are net denied, but the working of Faith is stressed as the visible intermediary it does produce results.

 

"What is faith? Unquestioning surrender to Gods will is faith.  Whatever happens is attributed to the workings of God. God Is taken as great, good and kind.  He is the sole dispenser of all things Since all events, changes and movements proceed from a heart ever filled with goodness, love and mercy. There is nothing to grumble at. Nothing to be anxious about. and nothing to be afraid of; all, all is His doing."Swami Ramdas."

Author: 
N C Anantha Chari
Source: 
Matrusri Monthly Journal (English) | Vol.13 | February - 1979 | No.11