What Kind of Faith?
Published on September 30th, 2010 | by Harmonist staff4
By B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami
In the beginning, we shall have to drive out the misconceived idea of faith. That is, many people will say, “Faith is superstition. What is faith? It is not something tangible.” Our civilization will accuse us such that we are reduced to nothingness, to no worth—and this cannot have any good in it. This misconception of faith is blind. It is the worst type of superstition in our present civilization.
But faith is such that we are nothing at present and yet still we see that we can be utilized in our proper position. We are far from that position, but the negative side always progresses, with the foundation of sadhu-sanga, the association of devotees. With sadhu-sanga it becomes possible to select the agents of divinity. There are different kinds of agents from different conceptions of religion, and sadhu-sanga allows us to choose among them.
Our association, our selection of the agents from that eternal source coming to help us, depends on our faith. We are like birds of the same flock—same feather. So, we are to recognize that feather, and then we shall associate with them. Then, dedicated action will begin by that association. “You will be the teacher and I shall be the student.” But what kind of faith will we cultivate?
There is a plane of exploitation, renunciation, and dedication. The first, exploitation, may be easily eliminated. We are suffering from so many reactions and we can easily become disgusted with this exploitative, “elevationist” mentality. But then, the temptation of complete retirement in the renunciation school is staring us in the face. Many will flock there, “Oh, complete retirement. This world is not worth living for. We want to retire from here permanently.” Buddha, Sankara and others will come with their agents to try to bring you to that plane of renunciation or retirement.
Then, there is the plane of dedicated life: “I want to live, but not to renounce nor to exploit. Exploitation means to give pain to others. But I want to live without giving any pain to others, without any reaction.” Dedication means self-sacrifice. We shall try to give without taking, and this is safe when it has got connection with the center, who designs and destines everything. The connection with him will then be something substantial. Otherwise, all is futile.
We shall then gradually see only love, affection and beauty present in the autocrat and nothing else. He is a charmer who can enchant by his beauty and by his behavior. He is the only absolute autocrat. Affection, love, beauty, harmony and sweetness are the autocrat. If we can find him in this way then we shall go to his side, but the process of going also depends on him.
Selection will come from him, as we are nowhere, we are helpless. We are to increase our helplessness so much so that his agents will be attracted. They will come to recommend us. We will always be conscious that we cannot be masters of this land of exploitation. We are fully dependent on the center. If anything is given to us for food, we shall take it, otherwise not. Such sort of surrendered life is most desirable—that much self-giving is desirable. Then, we are given hope and inspiration that the center is of such high quality.
The Brahma-samhita will come and say, “The land is touchstone, cintamani. The vrksas, the trees, are wish-fulfilling entities. Who are the inhabitants? Their movement means dancing, their speaking means singing—such a land is there.” We may be accepted, recruited for that plane of life according to the degree of our surrender. This sort of sacrifice is a peculiar, unconditional sacrifice and does not come under any kind of calculation.
We are to know the Infinite in that beautiful land where the absolute autocrat plays according to his own sweet whims. So, be prepared for extreme self-sacrifice and self-abnegation. This is done through service: by increasing our serving attitude and our self-giving. We shall not be attracted by some ambitious life with ambitious ideals. No! Rather, we shall develop faith to give ourselves totally for his fullest satisfaction. This will be the perfection of all our endeavors.
Wow, this was really nice. I like how Srila Sridhar Maharaj summed up aims of life into karma, jnana and bhakti – exploitation, renunciation and dedication.
Indeed, I thought that was a powerfully fetching exposition too.
How sweet the surrender and thank you Gurudeva for allowing me to be in your flock
The issue of what kind of faith we are to develop is indeed central in all human pursuits, not just the spiritual ones.
Our faith changes it’s nature, waxes and wanes, affected by our experiences, our desires, and our taste. And by the company we keep…