Is Faith required?
Didi, what is the meaning of faith? An experience, made me think about what faith means to me anymore. From my understanding I think there are no Gods up there in the sky, there is nobody to hold onto. I see the flow brings situations into life and just like in the game of Chess I’m moved around.
I felt there is no need and nothing to keep Faith in now. Whether I want it or not ‘flow’ puts me in situations and I have to go through it without creating more karma. As I have no control, no doer-ship, no craving, no judgments, I think, there’s nothing in life to name as ‘good’ or ‘safe’ or need protection from. Am I right to think this way?
A child has complete faith in his parents and is totally surrendered. He does whatever he is told. Slowly with years passing by, he develops faith in his school teacher and then college professor to learn the material sciences. Later he develops faith in the system of society to achieve name/fame/recognition/power etc. Finally, he develops faith in his OWN abilities to be able to lead a successful and materially flourishing life devoid of external support.
Everyone starts with dependency on an external crutch and ends with self-sufficiency. This is a natural maturity that happens to all in the material world. If it doesn’t happen, it is probably the lack of self-integrity.
Similarly, on the spiritual path, one initially needs external support/external dependency on someone who has walked the spiritual path. The Faith on that external support helps one start the path. Some depend on religious traditions to start with. Some prefer Idol worship. Some choose to believe in the stories of Gods in the sky. Some utilize a human spiritual guide to carve their initial path. Whatever their path is, when one reaches a higher stage, natural spiritual self-sufficiency evolves.
Finally, this external support/ dependency DROPS AWAY automatically to enable Spiritual sufficiency. This is called Spiritual Maturity.
Why does one need to let go toward the end?
Because one can climb the Himalayan mountain range with a mountain guide all the way except for the last stretch to the highest peak; that must be climbed alone by oneself to pull his/her own weight up to the peak…. Nobody can carry your weight for you up there. You must walk alone – Ekla chalo re!
What does this mean in the spiritual context?
I can tell you how to take the steps from initial Yoga Asanas to superficial levels of sound meditation to deeper levels of silent Meditation and finally to the end destination of Samadhi. I can even facilitate your journey into silence by creating a conducive environment for you. But finally, you will have to find your own way around your treacherous mind and dive into the silence of the void, alone by yourself. This is the point where your Faith in the external agent MUST give way to your OWN TRUTH that comes from your own self-experience.
This is why I commend the Buddha. He was totally in favour of people walking the spiritual path by themselves. He said, “Don’t believe me! You experiment with your own mind and arrive at your own TRUTH!” He shunned blind faith. He encouraged using intelligence to arrive at Awareness. He said ‘Aapo Deepo bhava!’ – Be your own light!
How to become one’s own light?
At this last stretch, ones’ own experience becomes one’s knowingness. This knowingness is now his GURU, his GUIDE. This is the Guru-Tattva that is present within everyone. To begin with, it needs to be kindled by diving into spiritual knowledge and meditation led by an external agent. After the initial dive into spirituality, one finds the Guru-Tatva within oneself. Then the external dependency sheds away. One learns to follow his own self. This is a natural stage that MUST happen on the spiritual path otherwise it means there is a lack of self-integrity.
Vasishtha has explained this beautifully in the last few pages of the Yogavasishtha scripture to Lord Rama [Pg 362 of the Supreme Yoga]. He says that ‘Superior Non-attachment or Superior Freedom’ is that where one abandons all dependency, above, below, within, without, sentient, insentient, tangible and intangible. Then he enjoys peace, contentment, virtue, purity, and SELF-ENQUIRY.
That was the beauty of the Masters of yesteryears like Vasishtha and Buddha. They were true teachers. A true teacher/guru delights in letting go of your bicycle and watching you balance yourself [unless you are with a fraud Guru whose Ego is relishing in holding onto you for some material gain]. The true joy for a true Guru is in witnessing the disciple becoming a teacher to him/her self. The true Guru does not crave for your Faith but he wants you to reach the highest point of Self-knowing & Self-dependence on the spiritual path. His job is done when you become your OWN GURU.
Shedding of external dependency is a very natural progression on the path, let it happen without any resistance. You will automatically reach a point where no Faith is required once you KNOW the Truth.
Example – You don’t ever say that you have Faith that the Sun will rise tomorrow. In fact, you always say you KNOW that the Sun will rise tomorrow.
Graduate to KNOWING… Aapo Deepo bhava!
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