HOW VALID IS A BELIEF?
Belief is a word that is not understood, and as a matter of fact, I do not support belief very much in its totality. In other words, a belief is not enough because one’s mental conditioning necessarily creates a belief that might believe that this chair is red when it meanwhile is yellow. A colour-blind person might go through the red robot light believing and seeing that it is green. So how valid is belief?
The validity of a belief lies in the fact that it must produce a definite result in a person’s life. Belief also has its value. If you believe something strongly enough, you can make that belief materialise with your mental capacity and the force of thought generated by your power. If you think this chair can move independently and your belief is strong enough, your thought will assume a physical power, taking it from its subtle level to a grosser level of control whereby it can be moved. Therefore, most theologies say, “Believe.”
In this modern age, belief is insufficient because with the advance of technology, with the accent put more on mind development, people tend to become more and more sceptical. A few thousand years ago, you could say, “Believe”, and people would believe. At that time, they were more heart-orientated because their belief was not subject to any form of analysis. Because once you start analysing belief, then belief ceases to be belief. Belief knows no analysis. Belief, in this sense, is synonymous with a feeling that wells up within you. You say, “I believe this man is good.” You might not even know the person, what the person has done, or the person’s background, and yet you would say the feeling wells up that you believe in this person, which applies not only to people but also to things. Most of the things that we do in life are done on belief.
BELIEF IS ALWAYS ACCOMPANIED BY TRUST
Belief necessarily has as its counterpart trust. All the most significant things in life are done on trust. You came to this Course believingly and trustingly that Gururaj will be here. The biggest business deals are done over the luncheon table. With the shake of a hand, there is trust. That we have discussed. The problems of the business deal and the contracts only follow a few weeks later when the typist gets to type it out. And signatures are appended. So, with belief, there is always trust. I believe my father is my father because I have been told that by my mother, and I trust my mother. So, belief always is accompanied by trust.
How trusting are we? That is the question. That is the significant lack in the lives of modern man that he does not count. He wants everything to be proven to himself before he can trust. You tell a man, “Believe in God.” He might nod and say, “Yes”, but inwardly, he would say, “Believe in God? What is God? Who is God? Where is He? To me, He is non-existent.” Where is belief? But if some tangible proof can be shown in the various areas of life, then in this modern age, the person will start believing, and that is why I could come and talk and talk on philosophy or various practical subjects; they would mean nothing to people if they did not meditate and find some benefit from the meditation so that the theory that goes with the meditation would be firstly believed. After belief, there would be faith.
TRUST IS ACCOMPANIED BY FAITH
So far, we have three things. Belief is accompanied by trust, and trust is accompanied by faith. When we want to know about a person’s religion, we usually never ask what religion you follow. We always ask, what faith do you follow? In what have you got faith? So, the person might say, “Oh, I am of the Christian faith, or the Hindu faith, or the Buddhist faith”, but that is also done mentally. Because I was brought up in a Hindu home, or I was brought up in a Christian home, or a Muslim home, so, therefore, I am a Muslim. And because tradition has taught me this, I condition my mind to have faith in the things taught to me. That is not faith. That is just the primary step of belief.
Because my parents, elders, church minister or priest have said such a thing, I assume that I have faith, while in reality, it is not. Faith can only be had by experience, and you have to have some experience to have faith. You can describe the heat in the fire, and you could even start believing that the fire is hot. But only when you are nearer to the fire and feel the heat, experience the heat, then you have faith within yourself that fire has heat. So, belief, trust, and then comes faith. But that is not the end and aim.
WE STRIVE FOR THE WISDOM THAT IS WITHIN US
These are but just steps on the ladder. The goal to reach is to know. To know and knowingness is not on the level of the mind because the mind does not know anything. There is a remarkable difference between acquired knowledge and wisdom. What we strive for is the wisdom within us, and once we know, faith strengthens, belief strengthens, and trust becomes an actuality and not just a conception or presumption. So man progresses – belief, trust, faith into knowingness, that is what we are after.
When we find the deep peace within ourselves, having experienced the peace, we know there is that peace and that peace cannot be analysed. You cannot believe in peace until you have experienced it. So, the next stage is the experiential level. Belief has intellectual and mind levels, while knowingness has an experiential level. You believe that chilli is robust; it burns your mouth. But until you have eaten the chilli and have your mouth burnt, you cannot know.
So therefore, the modern age, today’s age, requires a sense of knowing. Then all else follows. Man does not need total wisdom because that could never dawn all simultaneously. But there is one area of wisdom, which is very important, and that is to be found through meditation by diving into the more profound and deeper levels of the mind where that area of silence is reached, where you stop pursuing happiness.
The other day, I got a beautiful card that said that happiness is like a butterfly; the more you pursue it, the more it disappears. You are chasing it away. But if you sit still, it might alight upon you. So, once we touch that area where that peace is, everything else to be known becomes known.
One of the Upanishads starts with the question, “What is there to know by knowing which everything else is known?” That is the area of that deep silence and peace that resides within us, and every man can do this. For example, I could sit here, and you can ask me any question you like, and I will know about it. Why? The secret is effortless. All of you can do it if you have reached that area inside and become one with that peace, joy, or that bliss; call it God, call it whatever you want. Once you know that area, everything else is known.
HUMAN MINDS ARE INSEPARABLY CONNECTED
So, belief, trust, faith, and knowingness. This knowingness can express itself in many different ways. People talk of the sixth sense, and that is also in the area of knowingness. The mother just feels, “Oh, my daughter is going to come and visit me today,” she turns up a little while later, and the doorbell rings. I experience it here, with these people that work so hard with me. I think of tea, and here one of them comes and asks me, “Guruji, would you like to have a cup of tea?” I say, “I have been thinking about this for five minutes.” This happens all the time, all the time.
The reason is that every human mind is inseparably connected, and if that mind is sensitive enough, it will pick up what the other mind is thinking. You can ask Ted, who will tell you where he records the most profound thoughts in his meditations. He is going to publish a book very soon. It is a beautiful book. I have read part of it. Very, very beautiful. In Cape Town, I am doing a Satsang on a Saturday morning and then Saturday afternoon, or the next day, the exact things I have been talking about in the Satsang; he is recording it down on his typewriter through meditation.
USE BELIEF AS A STEPPING-STONE
This proves the interconnectedness of every mind at the subtle level. It has nothing to do with telepathy. That is shallow, low, low, low level, and anyone within six months of practice can attain that. But we are talking about that quiet area where everything is just known. So, back to the question of the Upanishads, “What is there that can be known and by knowing which all else is known?” That is that quiet area within. So, do not just rely on belief. Use belief as a springboard; use belief as a stepping-stone. And if you are not sure that is the right stepping-stone or the suitable springboard, ask those who know the Scriptures of all the major religions are immense to help you channel your thought properly, morally, and ethically. And when that thought is channelled in an honest and appropriate ethical manner, you will start gaining specific experiences, and by gaining those certain experiences, even minute glimpses of them, you will begin to trust. And when the trust is sufficiently developed, you will start having faith, and that faith can become so powerful. As it is said in the Scriptures, “Faith can move mountains.”
WE WANT TO FIND THAT INNER PEACE WHICH IS WISDOM ITSELF
The energy released within man’s mind by faith is so powerful that it can move mountains, and science is only discovering that today, while this was written two thousand years ago and even before that. You see how powerful a man’s mind is. So, from faith, we proceed into the space of knowingness. You do not need to know every subject on earth; which is acquired knowledge.
One of our meditators, a wonderful young man in Cape Town, is a living encyclopaedia. I do not need to turn up the Britannica if I want to know data or details. I pick up the phone. I say, “Harish, this, this, this, this, that, what is it?” And he will quote you the time, date, and substance, just like that, ad verbatim. But then he says, “You know, Guruji, I am like a donkey, with a whole load of books on my back, because this what I have, is acquired knowledge. It is the donkey carrying the books on his back.” But we want experiential knowledge, not acquired knowledge, and experiential learning becomes wisdom, which is the area in which our movement is trying to lead people.
If you want to start a business, you do not need first to become an accountant or become a Master of Business Administration. You do not need to study Mercantile Law to run your business. I have had business associates, multi-millionaires, who could just barely sign their name on a cheque. But there is that other sense of knowingness, that inner business deal; you could only see up to that wall, but the excellent businessman can see behind the wall while sitting here. That comes from that inner sense of knowingness; call it intuition if you want to. But it is that inner sense of knowingness. And that is where our movement will lead people to find that inner wisdom, that inner experience of that peace, which is wisdom itself. And because of that, every answer in life is answered, every question in life is responded to, and every problem is resolved. Because once you are in that area, you are swimming in this vast ocean, and you do not need the little well anymore.
WE NEED THE GUIDANCE OF A QUALIFIED GURU
So, in the beginning, belief is necessary. When one is puzzled, “Am I believing the right thing?” Then let us consult people that know. If they are not available, our Scriptures are full of things that could guide our belief into faith and knowingness. Some people could be fortunate to live in an Ashram, for example. The greatest Ashram in the world is your own home. There is no better Ashram than that. Your room is the finest shrine; even better than that, the greatest Ashram and shrine are within your Heart. There is where all wisdom is, and there is where all knowledge is, but because we have not been able to un-fathom that, we need an external source. We need this geographical change where conditions are conducive to make us dive deeper within, and this has to be under the guidance of a qualified guru, and by a qualified guru, I mean a guru that has experienced the areas of life and of living so that life and living to him is synonymous with Divinity. That is the guru, a real guru.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1978 – 62