Chapter 4: Some Other Ganges
It is interesting that your religions are only an expansion of your fears. Your so-called gods are concepts born of your own fears, and out of fear you have accepted them. You are afraid of doubting and so you raise no question, but real faith is not within you. If you are a believer out of fear, then faith is only superficial and doubt lurks within. How then can you meet the most mysterious, the most profound?
Mulla Nasruddin stood for election. He got only three votes: one his own, the second from his wife and a third from a stranger. When his wife heard this she cornered him: “So who is she?”
What lies hidden within surges up on the slightest pretext; it does not take long for superficial faith and love to break down. Any slight happening and doubt raises its head; a thorn pricks and you begin to doubt him, your head aches and your faith is gone; you lose your job and your love for God flies out of the window.
When the hidden doubt bursts out it is like an ulcerated boil; a slight knock and pus begins to flow. You may try to cover it with the ointment and plaster of faith, but it serves no purpose. Who is there to cheat? You can’t even fool yourself, because you know very well that your faith is because of your fear, and you are filled with internal doubts.
You may bathe in the holy places or pray in the temple, church or gurudwara, but to no avail; unless the note of faith and trust arises within, you have not really called him. Also, when you go out of fear, you are bound to ask for something; fear always begs. If you get what you ask for you are satisfied; if not, the doubt becomes more intense. You are forever asking. Faith is only a form of thanks: “Already you have given too much. Your grace, your compassion is so great.” Faith is always filled with gratitude; and gratitude dispels all sign of doubt. Where there are demands, doubt is lurking. The demands are a form of test.
There is a story in the life of Jesus. After he performed the excruciating forty-day ordeal, Satan appeared to him and said, “Since it is said in the scriptures that when a prophet is born God always protects him, if you are really the son of God jump from this mountain and he will save you!”
Jesus said, “That is correct, but the scriptures also say that only those who doubt test him. I have no doubts. I am sure that the angels are standing there to protect me. I am thoroughly convinced. Had I the slightest doubt that perhaps they are not there, or that perhaps I am not the son of God, then I would have tested him.”