"An enlightened being is neither
faithful nor faithless. He simply
looks at life as it is "
The whole world functions somewhat smoothly by this vital aspect of life called faith. It is the sheer faith or trust that someday this world would be a much better place to live in, that people would change for better, that there is no further disasters and calamities facing humanity. At an individual level, everyone places faith in some handful of people as friends and relatives hoping that they would stand by, in the times of need and crisis.
People place faith in Gods and religion pretty much similarly. Hoping for a trouble free life, stress free work, illness free and sustained health to enjoy all the goodness in life, seeking support and strength in the testing circumstances. Wanting providential intervention every time there is a challenge.
Faith works like a drug. A general anaesthesia to the mind. It simply numbs the pain and sorrow whenever the faith is restored that life is going to be fine upon waking up from sleep. No wonder they say religion as opium of the masses. The comfort and security given by faith can also be understood and interpreted wrongly as bliss and beatitude.
Watch the people singing hymns and bhajans and those reading the holy scriptures loud on a daily basis and others who play along with it. They would be seen immersed in some bliss like state, but it is the faith and belief that is working. The calling out the names of God can be such a 'blissful' experience because it has this well spread root called faith underneath which keeps everyone within its protective spell.
Faith is the most amazing quality one can ever think to possess. It has the ability to heal, search, to motivate, to inspire, to stay focused, to be 'spiritual'. People without faith can never be focused in life. Faithlessness is directly proportionate to being suspicious.
Disciple : What am I to understand from this now ?
Master : Faith is important. But not for ever.
Disciple : Why is it so?
Master : Because the faith can become an obstacle
at some point of time on the spiritual path.
Disciple : How ? Please explain ?
Master : Because faith is an outcome of your expectations.
Disciple : Whats wrong in having expectations?
Master : Expectations need not be wrong
but what you expect can be.
The faith and trust are expressions of expectations in life. People with stronger expectations have deeper faith and trust. That's why the God is remembered and trusted deeply whenever there is a deep trouble. A criminal waiting for court verdict, his faith in judiciary system may help him survive through the charges levelled against him. Before he was proclaimed as a criminal, he would not have bothered to have faith in the judiciary system. But now when he is in crisis and is in a state of doubt, his level of trust and faith would have increased manifold. He 'expects' to get a fair judgement and be set free.
Illness of the near and dear will increase the faith in some never-met-before doctor and the unfamiliar medical system tremendously. The 'expectation' here is to have the loved one recovered from illness soon. In a spiritual context, faith is for the dummies, or the beginners only. As you grow spiritually you would realize that your faith and trust seem to be losing relevance.
But the ordinary mind immediately can jump to the other side always. When it is told faith is not required it would jump to the other end saying OK ! "I have no more faith in anything". Least they know that when faith is removed, the safely hidden doubt, like a monster from the closet, will stick out its ugly head and lash the venomous fang.
Watch a person who lost faith in someone or something and is presently faithless, he would talk and behave like a madman. While faith covers all the doubts and provides a comfort, the faithlessness will bring out all the doubts from inside which has been covered by the fancy lid called faith till that moment. That is the most painful experience any human being can ever go through. From the most faithful to the most faithless. But faith and faithlessness, both functions from ignorance only.
Disciple : You don't seem
to allow me either this
way or that way ?
Master : Yes ! So that
you can go beyond both !
When a disciple approach a master for spiritual quest, he needs to have faith in the master. The master never has any faith in the disciple, nor he is faithless too. He just 'accepts' the disciple. He has no great expectations from the disciple. Its like the mother who need not have any faith in the just born baby. You don't trust a just born baby, do you ? You accept the child as she is. You simply cannot expect anything from the just born baby. That does not amount to being faithless. But there is no need for faith with reference to the child.
The just initiated disciple too is like that. Just like a baby. The baby needs to find security and comfort in the bosom of the mother. Perhaps the baby has a faith in mother, for the comfort and security to last forever. You would have to place the trust in your child, only when the child is developed fully with a mind and wants to go to the weekend party to some unknown club in town.
If any master has a great faith in disciple, he cannot be truly a spiritual master, because he has certain expectations from the disciple. The authenticity of a Master is in his acceptance of the disciple as he is. He may progress well or may dropout for a petty reason, but the Master accepts him both ways, when he showed reverence or when he failed. Usually the most faithful disciple is the one who gets most disturbed than anyone else.
His expectations are high and when the expectations are not met, he can toss his so called incredible 'faith' and detract quickly. Their inability to accept what the master says and does, causes this shattering of their expectations in the form of faith and trust. While it is good that their so called faith has gone, but it would be unfortunate when it is replaced by faithlessness. Most people who suffer in their relationships are those who have too much faith or never had any faith in their relationships. Because when you enter a relationship it appears that you have only two options to be faithful or faith less.
Disciple : What is being faithful?
Master : Covering all the doubts
beneath with a shield, called
being faithful !
Disciple : What is being faithless?
Master : Letting the doubts to
surface from beneath without
a shield is being faithless !
Disciple : I got it !