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Faith is an indispensable ingredient and an indestructible weapon for fighting one's battles in life. It stems from conviction and is synonymously associated with trust, belief, expectation and inferences.
Every one of us has an inborn definition for this concept of faith that has made mountains move. Faith is a derivative of the Latin "fides", which means 'trust'..
One may be able to hold on to faith by using your reason every time in every situation, but it is ultimately an unquestionable belief in something that sustains one's faith in a miraculous way. True faith requires no external proof as it is just a state of being and an indelible truth that can not disappear by arguing it out or scoffing at it. Whatever we say or do, does not negate its existence. Truth goes on, oblivious of all comments, apprehensions and cutthroat arguments, has held on to itself strongly, so far and so will it in the future.
Faith can exist without the crutch of religion although it is a part of it. Faith is beyond religion, creed or sect, that is closest to the human soul, and humanity. Having faith in yourself is important as you need peace of mind and healthy self-esteem for cultivating, which you need to have faith in your abilities so that rest will fall in place.
Faith according to Hinduism
Faith in the Sanskrit language is known as 'sraddha'. Devotion and faith are the pivots of the Hindu spirituality practice. Faith in god, scriptures, spiritual master, dharma and ethics are parts of faith which is the edifice of Hindu spiritual schools. Vedic studies reiterate that faith is the only thing that takes us to the Supreme godhead as God cannot be seen heard or felt. We might not have seen our predecessors but we believe they existed as we have their photos, or because our parents told us about them. Just because they are gone, they are not forgotten.
They live in our hearts and in our faith and also as proofs of our existence on the planet earth. We cannot see them in the dimension that we live in, and hence we believe that they existed. Some ancient texts say that faith and intuition are two sides of the same coin. As per the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, faith rests in one's heart whereas the reason is in the mind.
Sometimes it can mean dedication to the cause you are wholly involved with. For example, when you are convinced that you get concrete results for your efforts, you invest your time and dedication in the job at hand. It is possible to get a positive outcome from the effort, only if you have faith in yourself, your efforts and the task.
Achieving excellence in any field or discipline depends on how much of faith you have in the subject. If it is music that you are pursuing, you should first keep your faith intact towards the subject throughout the learning process. If you show faith towards music, it stays faithful to you by getting imbibed in you.
Faith can also be seen as an outcome or result of your accumulated worldview, your values and beliefs. The Bhagavad Gita affirms that those who worship God with faith, who contemplate upon him and undividedly focus on him are dearer to him, and they will be quickly uplifted from the quagmire of birth-death cycles.
It is said that people with faith are not misled by his formlessness and myriad forms. Their faith helps them recognise him when he appears before them. People without faith will not perceive him due to ignorance. Faith helps you to hold on to the process of devotion which ultimately helps you achieve union with God.
Three Types Of Faith
The kind of faith you have, depends on the prakriti or your natural instincts. If you are of sattvic prakriti, you will be gentle and pleasant, rajas prakriti makes you ambitious and competitive, whereas tamas makes you harsh or cruel.
These prakritis have a say in your faith. This is explained in the 17th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. A person is made up of faith.. As is the person so are his faith and his living and eating habits. Sattvic people worship gods, rajasic people worship yakshas and rakshasa and tamasic people worship ghosts and elemental spirits.
- A sattvic person believes in God and in Dharma, He offers all his deeds or karma to God without expectations. Thus, his faith is selfless.
- A rajasic person treats God like a business deal and looks up to him only if he fulfils his wish. His love is conditional. He clearly has a selfish faith.
- A tamasic person envies God or looks condescendingly at him. He deals with rituals with scant regard, although he is a part of the process. He does not respect the priests who perform the pujas for his welfare. Hence his faith is foolish and delusional. It is virtually non-existent.
The Advantage Of Faith
You establish your presence through your faith as it speaks for you, and reveals your personality and attitude. It shapes the way we carve our destiny. Usually, faith helps us cross all barriers of fear and overcome our limitations. Faith is what answers you in your moments of uncertainty, insecurity and fear, It is faith that inspires you to keep working even when the odds are against you.
There are several instances wherein, people, with just the support of their faith, have been able to overcome the worst adversities. Faith sustained us during the period between the two world wars. Faith lets us establish a beyond-the-usual communication with God that transcends the human boundaries of thinking and feeling. It helps us to see facts and not just sense and feel them. So many times,, it is difficult to win challenging situations if you are not armed with faith. it is difficult to navigate through the problems and uncertainties of life without the support of faith.
Faith heals the mind and the body. When you are supremely self-confident, when an adversity befalls you, you will give your best to the situation, or learn to manage yourself well and keep your peace by responding well to the situation. When all else fails, when things go beyond the humanly manageable limits, you will learn to face the aftereffects of the situation, in order to come to grips with reality. But when you summon your faith, at that time of adversity, it wipes the trouble out of the situation that has befallen you.
We honestly are not the masters of our own minds and hence cannot fathom the mysteries of creation. So, we believe certain things as they are. Our conclusions about people, relationships and the world in general is based on our faith or beliefs rather than facts. That is how the world goes around. Certain problems cannot be sorted out by just using reason. It is faith that comes to your rescue during these phases. Our civilization is based on the concept of faith.
The Crisis Of Faith
When we lose faith, we may be in self-doubt. When something we are expecting is not realised, we lose faith. Many sadhakas relinquish their spiritual quest and their masters once they lose faith. When people lose faith in the political system of their country, it leads to social upheavals, wars and revolutions, When the religious faith is lost, it affects their lifestyle choices, values and morals, marital relationships, social and religious and political issues. When you lose faith, you lose hope and you cannot keep a balanced head over your shoulders. You may turn irrational and overly emotional which leads to undesirable consequences. When faith is destroyed, a part of you is destroyed forever.
Lastly, our behaviour is influenced by our false assumptions and expectations, which are an aspect of our faith. It always pays to recheck your decisions to avoid mishaps.
Putting Your Faith In Order
Belief is nothing but the inferences you draw from your experiences. If you conclude that someone is good, bad, or ugly, it is your belief that decides it. It is your beliefs that hurt you and hence you must examine your beliefs at their core.
To develop good faith, understand the below concepts.
- Faith influences your thinking, behaviour and worldviews.
- Your major beliefs form your worldview and faith.
- Preferring certain things and situations in your life and avoiding others is a part of your nature or prakriti.
- It is important to dispute the irrational beliefs that do not allow you to be yourself or to tap into your fullest potential.
- Introspect and check for any beliefs that inspire you to sabotage you and your interests.
- Try to understand which beliefs inspire you and improve your focus. Similarly, see which of your beliefs hold you back.
Ramanujacharya, the Vaishnava seer declared that absolute faith helps you achieve salvation and he called it prappati-absolute self-surrender. There is a hymn that explains it as given here. 'You are my father, mother; my relative and my friend; You are my learning, my wealth and all that I have from start to finish, " Mirabai says thus. " 'Mere to Giridhar Gopal Dusro na Koi' (Lord Krishna is the one who truly belongs to me and there is nobody else.). Tulsidas referred to faith as complete surrender and said: 'Je vidh hoi nath hit mora karhu begi das main tohra' (Oh Lord! Do whatever is good for me).
According to the Gita "The faith of all beings is dependent on their minds. The person is predominantly made up of faith as he is what his faith is." Faith decides his outlook on life, and his choices and finally decides his fate.
Lord Rama explains the nine types of faith or devotion to Shabri, when she asks him to explain the basic concept of faith,
- The first step towards devotion is to keep company of the good and thesaintly.
- The second step is to enjoy listening to spiritual discourses.
- The third step towards devotion is to selflessly serve the guru.
- The fourth step towards devotion is to praise the Lord with a clean and clear heart.
- Vedas reveal that chanting Lord's name takes you towards faith.
- Always practice self-control, good conduct, and worldly detachment.
- Perceive the world as a manifestation of God himself, and give greater respect to saints.
- Have no desires left and be happy with what you have.
- In the ninth stage, a devotee will relinquish his pretenses and becomes childlike. He entirely depends on the almighty. He has no depression or ecstasy at any point in time. He remains calm all the time, think logically and take decisions accordingly.
Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Kindly consult the concerned expert before practising or implementing any information and assumption.
Image sources: Wikimedia Commons
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