Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 7
Month : October
Issue Number : 4
Year : 2008

Faith, as it appears to me, is an elusive phenomenon, not easily amenable to any rationalization. Faith as per the Chamber’s Dictionary has varied meanings: trust or confidence; belief in the statement of another; belief in the truth of revealed religion; confidence and trust in God; the living reception of religious belief; that which is believed; any system of religious belief, esp. the religion one considers true; fidelity to promises. Thus the words; belief, trust, confidence and faith could be considered synonymous and are applied in varied ways depending on the context. For example, faith in oneself is termed self-confidence, belief or trust in one’s religion or God is termed faith and so on.

Now, when we talk of faith in the context of God (or Amma here) it is worthy of recalling the following slokas from ‘Srimad Bhagavad Gita’. Referring to the ways of attaining Divine wisdom it is said; 

Shraddhavaan labhate jnanam tatparah samyatendriyah

Jnanam labdhva shantimachirenadhigacchati

(Sloka 39; Chap.4) 

[A man of implicit faith (in God, in the Guru and in the scriptures) and intense all-absorbing devotion will attain the highest wisdom through the control of the senses’.

‘Faith and devotion are potent factors in quieting the mind. Without faith there can be no devotion and without devotion there can be no absorption…….A man of faith and devotion will also have spiritual illumination’.]*

Further it is said;

Ajnaschasraddadhaanascha samshaya atma vinasyati 

Nayam loko’stina paro na sukham samshayaatmanah

(Sloka 40, Chap.4)

[A man of Tamasic temperament who can neither discriminate for himself nor put his faith in others, but doubts everything and at every step, is lost.’

‘Tamasic mind is suspicious of everybody and everything and is obsessed by doubt at every step’.]* Referring to doubt and faith in the context of attaining spiritual wisdom, Sri Sri Ram says:

“The spiritual gain is spiritual loss. It is by running between doubt and faith that we can strengthen the muscles of our spiritual limbs. This is the root reason why doubts retain their roots in spite of stable awareness. Even the constant occurrence of the ‘miraculous’ does not and cannot completely neutralize the recurrence of doubts……

“Though it is difficult to believe, it is a fact that doubt is a ‘cosmic crowbar’ that digs our faith deep. Doubt and faith are dramatically divided and polarized components of the same cosmic consciousness.”

“The intensity of doubt may vary; one’s ability to make sense of doubts for positive spiritual growth may vary. But the existence of doubt is a must for the existence of faith.”

“It is undoubtedly true that doubt is faith and faith is doubt. There is absolutely no difference between them.”+

Now, Amma declared once that ‘Faith (itself) is God’. This brings to my mind several instances which bear testimony to this statement. In some of them, the faith gets established even before the person is bestowed an experience (call it blind faith or implicit faith), in some cases personal experiences relating to Amma work as anchor for their faith to lead an illumined path of life thereafter, and in some cases they remain doubting Thomases in spite of several experiences which they would clearly and categorically attribute to Amma. Here, I must add another class of persons at the higher end of the spectrum, a rare species, who perceive God’s (Amma’s) act or hand in every event or incident of their life and lead an unperturbed life of bliss and tranquility in the Divine contemplation (Gordon Westerlund, Bhaskara Rao annayya and the likes of them)

An incident that happened during or around 1961 would illustrate and serve as example to the first category: The servant of a village Head (Karanam), a muslim by birth, accompanied his master, an ardent devotee of Amma, to Jillellamudi for the first time. He was cured of his chronic peptic ulcer, merely by following the gesture of Amma to him, along with others there, to have his food. This man, who was writhing with pain barely an hour before reaching Jillellamudi after eating a soft item of snack, after removing all the spices, did not hesitate to eat the food served there along with others, brushing aside the warnings of his master. He went ahead, as he took it to have been ordained by none other than Amma, whom his master was worshiping.

Then we have some brothers who based their faith in Amma even in the worst of circumstances or during a critical juncture of their life. And thankfully to Amma, and to their great relief, they were saved; restoring them to their normal life.

But there are some instances that keep me wondering at the way faith operates and fortifies my belief in Amma’s statement. I have come across people who somehow develop faith in persons, whom we consider very ordinary, with no spark of spiritual fervor, but find their words or advice come true in their personal lives, uplifting them to unexpected levels. In such instances, I feel, it is their faith that redeems them and not the person to whom they show their loyalty or reverence.

Then finally we have persons who, in spite of several years of association with Jillellamudi and Amma and having had several experiences throughout those years, waver at every step doubting if Amma would come to their help to rid them of the worries and anxiety they are thrown into. Here, we may seek solace (but not slip into complacency) in the assurance of Sri Sri Ram (as already stated) that constant occurrence of the ‘miraculous’ does not and cannot completely neutralize the recurrence of doubts.

Since Amma said ‘Faith is God’ and since Amma is God by logical deduction, ‘Faith is Amma’.

So, let us pray to Amma to bestow on such beleaguered persons who are low in confidence, the required mental strength and fortitude and restore their faith so that they can lead a life of peace and tranquility in the contemplation of Amma!.

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