Sensing path of faith

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Jun 2017 12:53:00





 By Vijay Phanshikar

Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the Dawn is still dark

- Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore

OF COURSE, faith has been described variously by various people, but this one perception by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore underscores the intensity of emotion that ‘faith’ stands for. When there darkness everywhere, when there is no hope anywhere, when there is no support from any quarter, when there is this killing lonesomeness, there is no despair. Much to the contrary, there is certain raw and deep-seated feeling that things would be all right. That is ‘faith’, Tagore appears to insist.

There may not be any better definition of faith per se. When he was sleepless and restless in the dark of the night in his solitary confinement on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela was an embodiment of despair, so to say. Life had ceased to hold any meaning for him.

True, he kept his sanity intact and his dreams alive -- of someday banishing totally the monster of aperthheid in South Africa. Yet, on that particular night when everything appeared dark, amid shrill whistles of security guards and jailors, a very satiating and
melodious song-like siren of a bird reached his ears. That little sound let out hope as well as promise -- that after a few hours, there would be Dawn, there would first ray of light and hope, there would be morning when darkness would be dispelled, when the sleeping world would come to life, when maybe a new route to success could be carved ...! Mandela’s mind darted and danced in its small confine and bounced and battered despair in an almost-ecstacy! In moments, Mandela was rejuvenated.

This is how faith has often acted.
Rabindranath Tagore’s poetic mind captured this act of faith in the siren of a bird’s coming from darkness, sensing of the Dawn a few hours away, feeling the rising of the Sun in the Orient, expecting the winds to warm up in welcome of light.
Human history has often been scripted on this article of faith. Some good thought, some basic goodness, some core value, some fine virtue -- all are often lonely and lonesome, without a company, without a compliment, without a complement. Yet, they survive and thrive. And what fuels that process of thriving?

It is faith!
It is faith that helps that good thought, goodness, core value, fine virtue, sublime emotion to survive. Human history has seen many such moments when everything that stood for goodness and collective good was dared by forces of evil. Despite that, goodness has survived and thrived, thanks to faith, thanks to human belief that after a dark night, there would be a bright morn.

The upanishadic philosophy promotes a beautiful thought:
Tamaso Maa Jyotirgamay ....
(Let me travel from darkness to light ...)
Asato Maa Sadgamay ...
(Let me travel from untruth to truth ...)
Mrutyor Maa Amrutogamay ...
(Let me travel from mortality to immortality ...) ...!

This is not just a matter of faith, but this is a matter of assurance by the inner voice, from the deepest core of one’s being! This is something deeper than faith.
Yet, at one level, this also denotes certain faith that the soul entrapped in human shell has to travel to the sublime all along. When the soul -- Shiva-- is trapped in human shell afflicted with material confines -- Jiva -- what elevates it from the quagmire is faith that it has the freedom to make the choice -- of travelling to light, to the zone of the sublime!

But then, let us not miss the reality that this is not a God’s grant to us; this is, so to say, a matter of our inner faith. This is, therefore, a very subtle and silent process of feeling and sensing the light of Dawn when it is still dark.