In Ramacharitamanas it is said that the servant of Rama, the servant of God, is greater than God Himself. Knowledge of God is one aspect and faith in God is another. Knowledge of God does not necessarily bring you closer or guarantee communion with Him, but faith in God does. Through knowledge alone you may or may not develop communion; it is never a certainty. Therefore, faith is the greatest asset. It is a valuable gem, like a rare diamond, pearl or ruby. The most precious and valuable jewel is faith. If you can attain this jewel then your path becomes clear. You will travel at the highest speed, like a racing car on the super highway with no traffic lights or crossings in your way. All the obstacles that arise on this journey will disappear and that is the highest path of bhakti.
You may say that God is my father or God is my mother, but the best relationship of all is: You are the master and I am the servant. That is our true relationship with Him. I am not God although the Bible says, “My Father and I are one”, and the Upanishads say, “Aham Brahmasmi”. But if you feel that this is true, why are you unhappy? Why do you cry? Why are you in ignorance? Why are you in avidya? Why are you subject to tamas, rajas and sattwa? Finally, as far as I am concerned my position today is - I am Thy servant and I shall carry out all Thy wishes.
You will discover that bhakti brings spontaneity into your life. Even if you do not want to love God, you will love Him. Even if you don’t want to surrender, you will have to. Even if you don’t want anything from Him, He will give you everything. Faith in God brings spontaneous blessings. You don't have to ask God for anything in a church, temple or prayer hall, because you are the servant. Your duty is not to ask, your duty is to serve. You are a servant so your duty is to act and not to ask. All disciples should live like servants, but they live like masters. They do what they want, not what I want, so there is no spontaneity of relationship. I have a spontaneous relationship with Swami Niranjan and I want to have this relationship with every one. Similarly, God wants spontaneity in His relationship with us. When He gives you pain, accept it. When you are in pain you say it is due to a curse or to bad karma because you feel that only good things are the blessings of God. Pain is a curse as well as a blessing of God.
Faith in God is a glorious, wish-fulfilling jewel. If your heart is full of the valuable jewel of faith, then your mind and heart will always be radiant. Throughout the day and night there will be no darkness. This illumination does not depend on any lamp or candle. Even if you are poor, it doesn’t matter. In fact, one who has faith is never poor, poverty never approaches. Remember that poverty has nothing to do with money. There are people without money who are very rich. There are very wealthypeople who, in fact, are poor. That is real poverty. Poverty means ignorance, avidya. Faith dispels the over powering gloom of ignorance like sunlight dispels the clouds. Vanity and ignorance automatically go away with the gem of faith. When faith and will develop, illumination arises from within, just as the sun rises and illumines the darkness.
Those of you who are Christian by background know what faith means. Faith is the basis of Christian dharma. I am teaching this not through the Bible, but through the Ramayana. Faith is the basis of spiritual life and the only thing you have to cultivate in life is faith. Even propensities like lust, anger and greed will never approach if that gem resides in your heart. Poison is transformed into nectar and enemies become friends. Those who are suffering from mental afflictions will find that their pain disappears. He in whose heart abides the jewel of faith in God cannot have suffering, even in dreams. Those who strive for that jewel are the wisest of people.
Of course, this jewel is manifest in the world, but no one can find it without the grace of God. There are easy ways to attain it, but luckless souls contemptuously reject it. The scriptures are like holy mountains, and the stories related to God in any form are like many glorious mines. The saints are the expert mineralogists and penetrating intellect is their pickaxe, while spiritual wisdom and detachment from worldly affairs are their penetrating eyes. Any creature who searches for Him with love finds the jewel. Faith is itself the mine of every blessing, of every benediction.
I have in my heart this conviction: the servant of God is greater than God. God is the ocean, and the good and the steadfast are the rain clouds. We have to be the rain clouds in order to fulfil him. Hari or God is the sandal tree and the saints are the winds which carry the perfume from this end to that. Firm faith in God is the reward of all spiritual efforts. Whatever you practise, whether asana, pranayama, kundalini yoga, raja yoga or re-birthing, the reward has to be faith. But nobody has ever acquired this jewel of faith without the help of saints.
So, no matter what sadhana you do, ultimately, you have to come to a saint. Who so ever bears this in mind and communes with the good finds devotion to God an easy attainment. It is the saints who bring this wisdom to people. That is faith which defends itself; with the shield of continence and slays the enemies of pride, ignorance and greed through know ledge, and wins the victory. There fore, the ultimate of life, of all our ambitions, of all our convictions, should be faith, or shraddha.