Guiding Light of The Month

THERE is a great difference between being in the midst of active work, of external action, while keeping one’s thought constantly fixed on Thee, and entering into that perfect union with Thee which leads to what I have called “absolute Consciousness, true Omniscience, Knowledge”. - The Mother


Faith. This seems ingrained in the very movement of life, in its very substance. Standing along a very crowded street of Bangalore, India, I watch a dog, waiting by the side of the road. It was watching the passing traffic, quite obviously deciding whether to cross and if so, when. I watched the dog make a move to cross as auto-rickshaws were speedily and noisily manoeuvring their way past cars and pedestrians. After a narrow escape from a speeding SUV, the dog made its way across the road. Was faith behind this movement, which over-ruled the inborn survival instinct which would have prevented any of us mortals from crossing the roads at great moments of peril, uncertainty and imminent danger?

What is it that is embedded as a seed deep inside an action that one carries out? Is it not the faith that one, firstly has to carry out an action, secondly, can carry out the action and thirdly, that the fruit that one was looking for through the action will fall right on one’s hands, no matter how long it may take and how many more efforts of that nature? It appears that there is a fundamental seed of faith in us that looks towards the future with optimism.

So what of the pessimists? Even in a pessimist, faith must be inherent though one would hear the voice of denial sounding strong. How many steps forward the pessimist would have taken in the dark, in blindness! Would it not have been still a faith inherent within that would have pushed him onwards, even in darkness although he strives on negating and denying all possibilities of the ideal and the better something from manifesting? It is indeed difficult to imagine a life without faith. Life would probably cease to exist without faith, in all likelihood.

How many of us can say that we have had the fore-knowledge of exactly how to chart one’s life? Faith seems a necessity in a thinking species that cannot divine its own future in concrete ways.

Faith brings one along virgin paths giving rise to ground-breaking discoveries and victories, big or small, internal or external. Faith is indeed, something intrinsically beautiful. Faith brings people closer. Faith makes things happen. Faith creates wonders. Absolute faith arises from the heart filled with love and if that love is an absolute love for the Divine, untold miracles happen.

For one who has plunged into the ocean of this yoga, sometimes supported by calm waters and sometimes thrown about and swept along by turbulent waves, faith is about the only rudder with which one may keep the boat of one’s life from capsizing and perhaps manage even to row towards the shores of God’s island. Demanded from the sadhak, according to Sri Aurobindo, is “not an ignorant but a luminous faith, a faith in light and not in darkness.” Contemplating upon these lines alone opens vistas of light before one! Faith is beautiful because faith is blind. Faith relies on nothing less than on seemingly unsubstantiated total trust in the highest that is to be realized. Faith has least reliance on mental reasoning and intellectual conjectures or on physical evidence.

Sri Aurobindo explains that there are four realms of action of faith, corresponding to the different planes of our being. Mental faith is that which “combats doubts and helps to open to the true knowledge”; vital faith “prevents the attack of hostile forces or defeats them and helps to open to the true spiritual will and action” and physical faith brings one through “physical obscurity, inertia or suffering and helps to open to the foundation of the true consciousness”. There is last, psychic faith that is in “direct touch” with the Divine, open to Its direct influence and “helps to bring union and surrender”, conditions for the upward spiritual march.

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