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  1. Manohar
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. 12 March 2019
What is faith and what would be blind faith?

प्रपन्नम् - take refuge requires faith. How do you overcome doubt that it may not be right for me or will it work for me?

Sometimes if you prayed for something and that did not happen. Do you attribute it to blind faith? This also creates doubts.

So I would like to understand what is actually faith and how to develop constant, unwavering faith.
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  1. Nandini
  2. 6 months ago
  3. #58
Hari OM! Faith is unwavering belief in something. When I go to my doctor,I have faith that she will bring succour to me and not harm my body. When I go to a lawyer, I have faith in him that he will take up my just cause and battle it out in the Court to get me justice. When I go to my teacher,I have faith that she will teach me everything in the curriculum and help me absorb the knowledge. If any of this did not happen,then I would have learnt my lesson to judge people better.This is at the worldly level.
At the spiritual level, When I approach my Guru it is with the faith that he will show me the direction towards the spiritual path and helps me walk that path, first by holding my hand and explaining the road map. Once I am established in that path, he will tell me what is the ultimate destination. He will remove my doubts and gives a helping hand when I am slipping. Ultimately he gives me enough strength to go alone in that path and reach the destination all by myself.
When I pray, with full surrender of my ego, I have faith that the Lord will listen to me. He may not always answer all my prayers-knows some he will and some he will not! He is the Karmaphaladhyaksha. I have done so many actions in the past and present and Law of Karma ensures that fruits will come of those actions. Doing the action is my volition but what result I will get is not in my hands. A mother has implicit love in her child.For her own good,she will have to administer bitter potion. For disciplining her child,she will administer a few gentle snaps or deny her a toy. It does not mean that the mother does not love the child. Just as a child has faith in her mother, so do we have faith in the Lord. Our prayers may or may not get answered, but the Lord is always there for us. Sometimes He is teaching patience to us.
Faith is the sustaining force along with hope.Without faith,we live miserable lives. Faith in our parents, our Acharyas, our Guru and God propels us to move forward in the spiritual path.
Faith is genuine and can not be blind. God has given us enough VIVEKA or discrimination.Let us use it to our advantage and develop abiding faith!
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Hari Om!
Br. Vedji clarified a question in the Q&A that faith is not belief -- That explanation is at the link below (it comes around 37:40) - Perhaps that may clarify.
https://www.chinfo.org/mastergitamasterlife/mgmlcourse_videos/chapter_02.html?crce_id=30&&lssn_id=739

My notes on that Q and A as a transcript is provided below for convenience
<<Begin transcript>>
Question:
If reality is indeed as defined aparichinna (i.e. not limited by space, time and object) then everything is unreal. Rationality is denied since Sadhana Chatushtaya required faith. This defeats rational thinking. Is it not too much to ask from a rational person? Is it rational to have faith in Guru and Scriptures?

Br. Vedji:
Faith begins with little knowledge. If you don’t know at all faith is not possible. If you don’t know completely then faith is required. If total knowledge no faith is required
Faith doesn’t mean belief -- faith is belief pending inquiry to find out if what you believed is correct. Without faith there is no inquiry. If inquiry doesn’t follow then it becomes blind and irrational. Rationality is when you believe and inquire on “how”, not “why”! To have that inquiry faith is required but that is not the end.
So have faith in Shastra that everything is unreal but also inquire (Shastra tells ways to inquire also)
<<End transcript>>

Lastly, some references below may help for further reading:
In one of the introductory texts (Tattvabodha), Faith (श्रध्दा) is elaborated as "Faith in Guru, Vedas and Ishwar". In another text (Vivekchoodamani), a further elaboration is provided as "That by which one understands the exact import of the scriptures as well as the pregnant words of advice of the preceptor is called श्रध्दा (faith) by the wise, by this alone does Reality become manifestly clear"

Thanks
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I agree with Mahavir Ji's notes on this topic of faith.
For this statement - "Sometimes if you prayed for something and that did not happen. Do you attribute it to blind faith? This also creates doubts.
I just wanted to add that one of Guruji - Sw.Tejomayananda's quotes is applicable here - "God is your well-wisher not a wish-fulfiller". If we doubt faith each time something doesn't work in our favor then its not faith.

Also to your statement - "how to develop constant unwavering faith" - based on the current Chapter 2 second half's discourses, and what Br.Ved Ji said - "faith is belief pending inquiry" then I think practicing the technique of Karma Yoga for a sustained period of time will help in the development of faith. I suppose we have to try implementing it and then verify it.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 1
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In my opinion , Shraddha is precursor (or prerequisite) to knowledge ( Shraddhavana Labhate Gyanam ). Without Shraddha , there can'nt be any worthwhile knowledge . Shraddha inculcates trust (and thus it removes darkness of doubt ) in seeker that responses / answers to his / her questions / prayers will be provided in due course for sure and those responses ( whatever it may be ) will be eventually good ( Shreyash ) for him / her even if it does'nt look so in the short run.. With Shraddha inside you , you do'nt have any confirmation bias or any preset expectations. You accept whatever is the response / answer to your query with prasad buddhi using all your humility . With a sense of gratitude , you may still ask any number of questions / counter questions for your genuine concerns and existential issues in order to enlighten yourself not to check somebody's intellectual knowledge . Once you have shraddha , you do'nt have any doubt over the capability and intention of authority ( could be God / Guru / senior etc ).

However , we need to qualify those first who deserves for our shraddha. We can'nt have Shraddha on everyone. Also , either you have shraddha on someone or not ....there is nothing in between.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 2
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Thank you all for the wonderful responses. It has given me some clarity. However I am still looking for practical guidance / deeper understanding about faith.

Since this course is about mastering life, I would like to give couple of incidents that were reported in news and you may have read it. I am trying to understand how to apply faith
in these situations.

Several years back I read about a man somewhere in Latin America. He jumped inside Lion's cage saying if God is there, God will protect him. However in this case the Lion actually killed him. (I always think about Prahlada when I remember this. Any comparison with that story?)

The second instance is more closer home. I read about a poor father trying to raise school fees for his daughter. I think he had to deposit a small amount something like Rs 10,000 for his daughter to appear for the exams. He tried and could not do it and I read he committed suicide.

If you put yourselves in these situations, how would you apply faith? If one is on his/her own, is there any use of faith. Also there is no time for belief pending enquiry, how would you act in desperate times?

I think you cannot just say these are at worldly level; to live and strive in the world is the perfection of knowledge and faith.

Thank you for your time. Hari Om.
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  1. Mahavir
  2. 6 months ago
  3. #66
About the lion story:
a) God is supporter of all Dharma (and hence His quality of "Dharmasya").
b) God is also known as "Karma Phala Dhata" (i.e. bestower of results of action).
Now, dharma of Lion is to kill when someone else intrudes into its territory or when hungry. Additionally, as explained in Chapter 2, death of body does not mean death of Self - So, if the person going into the cage thought of himself as the body then it will perish whether in the cage or outside. That is the dharma of the body. So, God supported dharma of both.

There is an equivalent story to illustrate this point: A man walking on a trail hears a mahout on an elephant shouting, asking him to get out of the way since his elephant was running wild. That man thought God is in all beings so the elephant won't harm him. But the elephant did knock him off the road. After a while he meets the mahout who questioned why he did not avoid the elephant. When the man explained why, the mahout replied --- If you thought God is in all, why did you not listen to me? Wasn't God in me telling you to avoid that elephant? In other words, we all have a choice. Swamiji also explained that choice about actions described in karma kanda of vedas. If those actions are done selfishly they don't purify the mind and thereby greater understanding is not gained.

In the second instance, it is said desperate times are what gives understanding of the teaching (if one has received that teaching) --- Until that time, everything is academic. If Karma Yoga is practiced, seeking to raise money should be done but with an attitude of acceptance on results. There is an equivalent story about a devotee who is rich and another who is very poor and has only one cow. When Lord and Sage Narada visits earth, Lord kills the cow and blesses the rich devotee with more wealth. Narada was very puzzled and asked why? So, Lord explained that poor devotee was being held back in his devotion to Him by the cow and rich man worships Him seeking more wealth. So, Lord blesses both in that way!

Lastly, if there is no time for inquiry, especially after knowledge has been received, that is a complete surrender to base instincts. It is tragic waste of capacity to inquire that is given to us. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom !
  1. Manohar
  2. 5 months ago
  3. #70
Thank you Mahavir ji. I am more closer to understanding of Faith. Keeping the question open for some more time if someone has strong point or counter. After few days will mark it resolved otherwise. Hari Om.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Master Gita Master Life
  3. # 3
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