Happy are men anchored on fixed belief
In this uncertain and ambiguous world,
Or who have planted in the heart’s rich soil
One small grain of spiritual certitude.
Happiest who stand on faith as on a rock.
Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book VII, Canto III
What kind of faith is Sri Aurobindo talking about? Is it the fragile faith which crumbles at the slightest change of weather of life? Or is it that we just keep preaching to others and not practicing ourselves. Why are we reduced to a sheer nervous wreck and all the wisdom seems to fly out of the window just when we need it the most? Reason – “WE NEITHER HAVE FAITH IN OURSELVES NOR IN THE DIVINE”, we “JUST” talk about it like a weather report which keeps changing and is certainly not dependable!
Sri Aurobindo talks about the faith which “HOLDS US” when every thing seems to go against us, disintegrating our body, mind and soul. Clearly the life we lead and the world we live in is uncertain and ambiguous at times beyond our comprehension. Let us analyse what faith is? Though each one can have one’s personal view about faith, it primarily is of two types –
(1) Faith in self
(2) Faith in the divine.
For the success of any project be it spiritual sadhna or any mundane job an amalgamation of both these is required. Faith only in oneself can make a person vain and arrogant and believing that all will be done by the divine without raising a finger can turn a human-being (a divine creation) into a vegetable. However, Faith in the self must precede faith in the divine, but finally be humbly submitted to the divine.
It is common experience that we are full of enthusiasm and confidence as we embark upon a project. As the project proceeds and difficulties crop up, we begin to loose hope, doubt our capabilities, and even begin to doubt our decision about the work in hand. Here in comes the power of faith in our self. Faith in our self is that spark which can light our way through the shadowy alleys of self-doubt and hopelessness. Once having decided a course of action, the tenacity of thought and action with perseverance till the goal is achieved is FAITH in our self even when the conditions are adverse! In simpler terms it is called self-confidence, but again it comes not by talking but by doing. Only then it gets etched into our subconscious and we draw on it whenever we want. Thereby, the common saying is – self-confidence is the key to success!
Just as self-confidence forms the substratum for concerted effort and continuity in progression, faith in the divine gives completeness to the project. At the same time confidence in the self should not be coloured with egoism and vanity, as nothing happens without the divine will. We must be able to offer as it were our efforts, our trials and tribulations, success and applause at the altar of the divine with humility and grace. Always living in sync with the truth that whatever happens is for our good. That we have not been abandoned, and our life is not controlled by a ruthless insensitive power but we are constantly and benevolently being watched over and guided by the divine. We are being shaped at every step at the anvil of life into blissfully divine beings spreading love, light and peace…in the words of Sri Aurobindo as the “becomings”
To me this is the kind of faith Sri Aurobindo talks about, even a small glowing ember of our belief in the supreme can surely warm our souls shivering in the biting frost of failure and despair.Then alone we can rise as phoenix from the ashes and take a flight to everlasting peace!!!
I am reminded of the rock temple raised in the memory of Swami Vivekanand at Kanyakumari – a virtual symbol of faith – the rock temple is situated in the sea, away from the shore and stands solidly grounded bearing the waves of the wild raging sea. One can almost visualise the persona of Swami Vivekanand standing like a stalwart on the rock inspiring millions of people all over the world with faith in the self and the divine. His famous words Arise, Awake And Stop Not Till The Goal Is Achieved…. can be a torch to the contemporary youth who seldom have faith in themselves and completely deny the presence of the divine. As explained by Sri Aurobindo,
First man needs faith in himself, his ideas, his powers that he may work and create and rise to greater things and in the end bring this strength as a worthy offering to the altar of the Spirit. The spiritual certitude is……faith does not question anything, it does not ask what the consequence of its self-giving———will be———-it gives itself, and———-that’s all; while confidence can come and say,”That’s what the result will be”.
As for me I have not yet been able to cultivate such an unwavering faith in the divine and even myself. There are times I feel the upsurge of this rock like faith; those are the glorious moments, and then again the ego and the mind play their trick and the game goes on. So they say………….Arise Awake……………And Stop Not Till The Goal Is Achieved.
Archana Sharma is an M.Phil in Life Sciences and practises in Astrology, Numerology and alternative therapies. She is currently pursuing research in Medical Astrology.