“According to one's existence under the various modes of nature, one evolves a particular kind of faith. The living being is said to be of a particular faith according to the modes he has acquired.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 17.3)
“’Yes, we can.’ I believe in that slogan. This new politician isn’t like the others; he’s not anything we’ve seen before. He’s post-partisan. He’s post-racial. He will eliminate the bickering that goes on in the nation’s capital. He will get all factions together to really sit down and hammer out the big issues. I believe in his ability to heal. Once he is elected, the nation will be better off. No more discrimination. No more worrying over jobs. No more worrying about whether we’ll be forced to join a war.”
“I love her with all my heart. If she would only love me back, then everything would be alright. She is my everything. We would have so much fun together. We would go to this place and that. We would stay up late watching movies and talking. We would never tire of each other’s company. Without her, I can’t see myself being happy in life.”
“I believe in the team. I can’t do this on my own. I have abilities for sure, but not the ability to manage everything. I must rely on my teammates. I know that they will carry me through. They will bring us to where we need to go. Without them, I don’t think I can be happy. I’m comforted knowing that they are here to support me. We support each other in fact.”
The human being evolves so many different kinds of faith. The ones mentioned above relate to basic human interaction, but there are also different faiths with respect to spiritual life. Those are more or less the acknowledged faiths. “I belong to this religion or that, which I inherited from my parents.” After the acknowledgement is made, the individual returns to extending faith in human interaction. Interestingly enough, if one really learns the true nature of the head of spiritual life, they would see that He is a person as well. This means that we can invest faith in Him too. Unlike the other kinds of faith, faith in Him brings a permanent condition.
When I invest faith in a politician and the situation they intend to bring, in the unlikely scenario that they are able to fully deliver on their campaign promises, the result is not permanent. Let’s say that I vote for someone because they promise to save my business. Okay, fine. The business is saved. Now what? Will the savior automatically make it profitable? Will my company continue to appeal to the general public infinitely into the future? Even the most profitable company in the world constantly has to watch its back. Competitors are awaiting their opportunity to pounce. They eagerly anticipate each quarter’s earnings report to look for any weaknesses.
If the politician supposedly ends discrimination, this is also a temporary condition. Understandably, discrimination is only viewed in the short term, and with respect to dominant and minority parties. What’s forgotten, however, is that the situations can change very quickly. Depending on time and circumstance, the same two parties can switch roles. Then what do you do about discrimination? The form of it that you loathed is still practiced; though you can’t recognize it because the discriminated against becomes the party doing the discriminating.
The association of the paramour seems like it is the only thing needed in life, but that is never the case. Sense gratification is not permanent. You eat pizza today and you want something better tomorrow. You watch a great movie today and you want to watch it over and over again to try to relive the excitement. The behavior of the couple who has been married for many years is markedly different from the newlywed couple. This is all due to the effect on sense gratification; an effect that is not permanent.
You can rely on your team to help you out, but the highest possible end with this route is limited. At best, you can hope for success. Okay, fine, but then what? What happens after you win? Can the team bring you lasting satisfaction? Can they give you something to do every day for the rest of your life, so that you’ll be invigorated each morning? Can they make you full of loving feelings that only increase with time?
Of course, the side arguing against these kinds of faith has the obvious leg up. The single point to end the argument can be mentioned at the beginning or it can be mentioned at the end, as a sort of checkmate. That point is that none of the above situations addresses death, which is the great eraser. In the Bhagavad-gita, death, which is also known as time, is described to be the greatest subduer.
“Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Vishnu.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.30)
Death can devour anything. Think of it like the most powerful garbage disposal system. The garbage disposal is supposed to handle smaller items, like stray pieces of vegetables and the like that fall into the sink. You put anything larger through it and it will get clogged. Death is undefeated. It takes away whatever gains you have accumulated. It removes whatever relationships you have, no matter how much you value them.
There is a controller of death, though. He is the origin of time, which is another name for death. As mentioned before, He is a personality. This is known only to those who wish to know it. If you view God solely as an order supplier, once He apparently fails to give you what you want, you’ll turn to others. If you view God only as an impersonal force, you will be bereft of service. Others, then, will serve as objects of service. If you view God only as an object to be meditated on in quiet, again you will be lacking service, as there is seemingly no reciprocation to your effort.
If you know Him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-attractive in His features, then you can serve Him directly. You can invest faith in Him. This faith will yield the best results. Those results arrive under any circumstance as well. Once a five-year old son of a king was being tortured for having this faith. And yet the very faith saved him. A beautiful princess was once about to be shown naked against her will in front of an assembly of kings. Her faith saved her. A devoted warrior was once about to give up in his reconnaissance mission because he had failed to achieve success after so much time and effort had been spent. His faith saved him.
The faith in these instances led to short-term success that was also tied to long-term satisfaction. In each case the ability to serve was protected. That is the ideal boon to faith. We are happiest when we are serving, and service to someone who is all-powerful is the best. All other faiths are extended to beings who are not all-powerful. Therefore such beings are not guaranteed to deliver on that faith in the first place, and if they do the result is situations that are tenuous at best. Such is not the case with the Supreme Lord, who protects what the devotees have and brings to them what they lack.
“This politician unlike any other man,
I believe in his ‘Yes, we can.’
Beauty of my beloved to sing,
Her association happiness to bring.
So fortunate to be on this team,
For support on them I will lean.”
These faiths through life evolve,
That they’re flawed in mind resolve.
With death they don’t deal,
So how results can be real?
The controller of death there is, faith He deserves,
Brings what you lack, what you have He preserves.