Within everyone, whether learned or rustic, there is something called faith. I am not talking about the mind, intellect or logic. Faith is different. Faith is always blind. In the High Court there is a statue of the goddess of justice. She holds the scales of justice in her hands and a black cloth is tied over her eyes. Just as the goddess of justice is blind, faith is also blind.
If faith is well established, a person can become a Vishnu or a Shankara. But in that faith there must be not even a pinch of doubt. Doubt comes from the mind. These days when a person becomes a BA or a BComm, he thinks he knows a lot. He thinks, “Let me put my guru to the test.” No! Faith is not to be tested. For faith, there must be belief. Belief, shraddha, and faith, vishwas, are considered to be a form of Bhavani and Shankara. Shiva and Parvati symbolize belief and faith. In the Ramacharitamanas, it is said: Bhavaanishankarau vande shraddhaavishvaasaroopinau, Yaabhyaamvinaa na pashyaanti siddhaah svaantahsthameeshwaram – “Bhavani and Shankara are the embodiments of belief and faith, without which even the yogi does not see the God residing within him.” Spiritual wealth is within but it is not visible. Belief and faith are essential. They cannot be put to the test or on trial.
The day you were born, you entered life as a stranger; this world was unknown to you. We were strangers even to the mother to whom we were born. The relations we have established, such as father and son, are just beliefs, that’s all. There is no doubt in it. This is belief and faith.
Belief and faith are very peculiar. Once it comes, it becomes so firmly placed it gets stuck. When I left home, I kept on moving from place to place in search of spiritual knowledge. But I could not find it anywhere. I left each place one after the other. In the end I stayed with a saint in Udaipur, Rajasthan, for six months. He was old but he was very good. He looked after me very well and taught me all the principles of tantra, samayachara and kaulachara, meticulously. He thought I was a good boy, young, educated and smart, and that I could manage the ashram. But it didn’t suit me, why I cannot say. I thought, this is not right for me, so I left.
From there I went to Rishikesh. I went to Kalikamliwala Kshetra, who settled me in a gurudwara. The next day, the manager came to see me. He was from Kumaon and had somehow found out that a boy of eighteen also from Kumaon had come. I was very young then. I told him that I had come in search of a guru, not in search of a job. He advised me to go to Kailash Ashram. I told him that I had come to take sannyasa. He said, “Look, I do not give sannyasa initiation. Go somewhere else, take sannyasa, come back and I will teach you Vedanta.” I asked him where I could get sannyasa. He told me about Swami Sivananda. I went to his ashram and the moment I saw Swamiji my mind settled. Then, I did not move from there.
Swami Sivananda’s ashram was very small. There was no place to live, or to go to the toilet, so we had to go to the forest. There was no arrangement for food so we had to walk three miles for alms from Kalikamliwala. We had no blankets, no water, nothing. At times we were affected by jaundice, hepatitis, malaria or some other disease. But once my mind became settled, I felt better and never moved from there.
This means that wherever one’s mind settles, in whoever faith is established, there is no confusion. Always keep this in mind. If there is any doubt at all, faith is broken. Just as there is intellect and logic in the mind, in the same way there is an element called faith in a human being. As a matter of fact, the concept of God is based on faith, and such faith is always blind. Now, whoever wants to take advantage of this faith can do so. If there is no faith, there is nothing left in life.