Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
REASON V. FAITH
I said in my article “Image Worship” that faith begins where reason fails. That is to say, faith is beyond reason. Many readers argued from this that if faith is beyond reason, it can only be blind. My view is just the opposite of this. That which is blind cannot be faith. If someone asserts with full conviction there are flowers in the sky the assertion cannot be considered valid. For the experience of the vast masses of people contradicts it. Belief in the existence of flowers in the sky is not faith; it is crass ignorance. Whether there are flowers in the sky is something that is amenable to rational inquiry and such an inquiry will prove the falsity of the assertion. On the contrary, when we say, “God is”, no one can prove that the proposition is false. However hard we might try through reason to disprove the existence of God, some doubt would still remain in the mind of everyone. On the other hand the experience of millions proves the existence of God. In every matter, faith must be supported by empirical knowledge for ultimately experience is the basis of faith and everyone who has faith must at some time pass through experience. He who has faith, however, does not desire experience for true faith does not admit of doubt. This does not mean that one having faith becomes dull-witted. He whose faith is pure always has a sharp wit. His reason tells him that faith is higher than experience, that it transcends experience that it reaches where reason cannot.
The seat or reason is the mind that of faith is the heart. It has been the uniform experience of man that the heart is a thousand times more potent than the mind. Faith makes ships sail; faith makes men do great deed even Move Mountains. None can vanquish one who has faith. The wise are always afraid of defeat. The child Prahlad was perhaps to some extent lacking in intellect but his faith was unshakable as the Meru Faith does not admit of argumentation. Therefore the faith of one man is of no use to another man. One man with faith will ford a river, while another who blindly follows him will surely be drowned. That is why Krishna says in chapter XVII of the Gita: A man is what his faith makes him. The faith of Tulsidas was unsurpassed. It was his faith that presented to the Hindu world a treasure like Ramayana. The Ramayana is a work filled with learning, but the effect of its learning is nothing compared to the effect of its bhakti. Faith and reason belong to two different spheres. Faith helps us to cultivate inner knowledge, self-knowledge, and thus leads to inner purity. Intellect helps us to acquire external knowledge, worldly knowledge, but it has no causal connection with inner purity. Men of great intellect are also sometimes the most depraved in character. But it is impossible to associate moral depravity with faith. Readers can understand from this how a child may reach the highest point in faith and yet retain intellectual balance. How to find that faith? The Gita and the Ramacharitamanasa provide the answer. It can be had through devotion, through cultivating the company of the good. Those who have had the benefit of satsang will have realized the truth of the saying: “What good will not satsang does to men?”