© Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust

Faith and Trust
5 May 1954

This talk is based upon Sri Aurobindo's Elements of Yoga, Chapter 4, "Sincerity" and Chapter 5, "Faith".

"Q: What is the right attitude to stick on to this path till the Supramental Truth is realised?

"A: There is the psychic condition and sincerity and devotion to the Mother."

What is "the psychic condition"?

The psychic condition? That means being in relation with one's psychic, I suppose, being governed by one's psychic being.

Sweet Mother, I don't understand very clearly the difference between faith, belief and confidence.

But Sri Aurobindo has given the full explanation here. If you don't understand, then...

He has written "Faith is a feeling in the whole being."

The whole being, yes. Faith, that's the whole being at once. He says that belief is something that occurs in the head, that is purely mental; and confidence is quite different. Confidence--one can have confidence in life, trust in the Divine, trust in others, trust in one's own destiny, that is, one has the feeling that everything is going to help him, to do what he wants to do.

Faith is a certitude without any proof.

Mother, on what does faith depend?

Probably on Divine Grace. Some people have it spontaneously. There are others who need to make a great effort to have it.

How can faith be increased?

Through aspiration, I suppose. Some have it spontaneously...
You see, it is difficult to pray if one doesn't have faith, but if one can make prayer a means of increasing one's faith, or aspiring, having an aspiration, having an aspiration to have faith... Most of these qualities require an effort. If one does not have a thing and wants to have it, well, it needs great, great, great sustained efforts, a constant aspiration, an unflagging will, a sincerity at each moment; then one is sure, it will come one day--it can come in a second. There are people who have it, and then they have contrary movements which come and attack. These people, if their will is sincere, can shield their faith, repel the attacks. There are others who cultivate doubt because it is a kind of dilettantism--that, there's nothing more dangerous than that. It is as though one were letting the worm into the fruit: it eventually eats it up completely. This means that when a movement of this sort comes--it usually comes first into the mind--the first thing to do is to be very plucky and refuse it. Surely one must not enjoy looking on just to see what is going to happen; that kind of curiosity is terribly dangerous.

It is perhaps more difficult for intellectuals to have faith than for those who have a simple, sincere and upright heart, and no intellectual complications. But I think that if an intellectual person has faith, then that becomes very powerful, a very powerful thing which can truly work miracles.

Mother, where does determination come from?

Usually it is in those who have a will and bring their will to bear upon their actions.

If one has faith in the Divine and also trust, what is the difference between faith and trust?

Faith is something much more integral--that is what Sri Aurobindo has written--much more integral than trust. You see, you have trust in the Divine, in the sense that you are convinced that all that comes from Him will always be the best for you: whatever His decision and whatever the experience He sends you or the circumstances in which He puts you, it will all be always what is best for you. This is trust. But faith--that kind of unshakable certitude in the very existence of God--faith is something that seizes the whole being. It is not only mental, psychic or vital: it is the whole being, entirely, which has faith. Faith leads straight to experience.

Can't trust be total and entire?

Not necessarily. Well, there is a shade of difference--however, I don't know, it is not the same thing.

One has given oneself totally to the divine work, one has faith in it, not only in its possibility, but faith that it is the thing which is true and which must be, and one gives oneself entirely to it, without asking what will happen. And so, therein or thereon may be grafted a certitude, a confidence that one is capable of accomplishing it, that is, of participating in it and doing it because one has given oneself to it--a confidence that what one is going to do, what one wants to do, one will be able to do; that this realisation one wants to attain, one will attain. The first does not put any questions, does not think of the results: it gives itself entirely--it gives itself and then that's all. It is something that absorbs one completely. The other may be grafted upon it. Confidence says: "Yes, I shall participate, realise what I want to realise, I shall surely take part in this work." For the other, one has faith in the Divine, that it is the Divine who is all, and can do all, and does all... and who is the only real existence--and one gives oneself entirely to this faith, to the Divine, that's all. One has faith in the existence of the Divine and gives oneself; and there can also be grafted upon this a trust that this relation one has with the Divine, this faith one has in the Divine, will work in such a way that all that happens to him--whatever it may be, all that happens to him--will not only be an expression of the divine will (that of course is understood) but also the best that could happen, that nothing better could have happened to him, since it is the Divine who is doing it for him. This attitude is not necessarily a part of faith, for faith does not question anything, it does not ask what the consequence of its self-giving will be--it gives itself, and--that's all; while confidence can come and say, "That's what the result will be." And this is an absolute fact, that is, the moment one gives oneself entirely to the Divine, without calculating, in a total faith, without bargaining of any kind--one gives oneself, and then, come what may! "That does not concern me, I just give myself"--automatically it will always be for you, in all circumstances, at every moment, the best that will happen... not the way you conceive of it (naturally, thought knows nothing), but in reality. Well, there is a part of the being which can become aware of this and have this confidence. This is something added on to faith which gives it more strength, a strength--how shall I put it?--of total acceptance and the best utilisation of what happens.

There is a state in which one realises that the effect of things, circumstances, all the movements and actions of life on the consciousness depends almost exclusively upon one's attitude to these things. There is a moment when one becomes sufficiently conscious to realise that things in themselves are truly neither good nor bad: they are this only in relation to us; their effect on us depends absolutely upon the attitude we have towards them. The same thing, identically the same, if we take it as a gift of God, as a divine grace, as the result of the full Harmony, helps us to become more conscious, stronger, more true, while if we take it--exactly the very same circumstance--as a blow from fate, as a bad force wanting to affect us, this constricts us, weighs us down and takes away from us all consciousness and strength and harmony. And the circumstance in itself is exactly the same--of this, I should like you all to have the experience, for when you have it, you become master of yourself. Not only master of yourself but, in what concerns you, master of the circumstances of your life. And this depends exclusively upon the attitude you take; it is not an experience that occurs in the head, though it begins there, but an experience which can occur in the body itself. So much so, that--well, it is a realisation which naturally asks for a lot of work, concentration, self-mastery, consciousness pushed into Matter, but as a result, in accordance with the way the body receives shocks from outside, the effect may be different. And if you attain perfection in that field, you become master of accidents. I hope this will happen. It is possible. It is not only possible, it is certain. Only it is just one step forward. That is, this power you have--already fully and formidably realised in the mind--to act upon circumstances to the extent of changing them totally in their action upon you, that power can descend into Matter, into the physical substance itself, the cells of the body, and give the same power to the body in relation to the things around it.

This is not a faith, it is a certitude that comes from experience.

The experience is not total, but it is there.

This opens new horizons to you; it is the path, it is one step on the path leading to transformation.

And the logical conclusion is that there is nothing impossible. It is we who put limitations. All the time we say, "That thing is possible, that other, impossible; this, yes, this can be done, that can't be done; oh yes, this is true, it is feasible, it is even done, but that, that is impossible." It is we who all the time put ourselves like slaves into the prison of our limits, of our stupid, narrow, ignorant sense which knows nothing of the laws of life. The laws of life are not at all what you think they are nor what the most intelligent people think. They are quite different. Taking a step, especially the first step on the path--one begins to find out.