Chapter 7: A Bold Experiment
The first question:
What is faith? Also, Herman Hesse has said, “Faith and doubt belong together and govern each other like inhaling and exhaling.” Can you please comment?
Faith can have three meanings. First is belief - belief is a lie, it is insincere, dishonest. To believe something means you don’t know it and yet you believe. It is hypocrisy. Belief is out of fear or out of greed. Belief is a conditioning by others imposed upon you; it is a slavery.
The true religious man cannot be a believer and he cannot be a disbeliever either - because disbelief is nothing but belief in a negative form. The catholic and the communist are not very different; the atheist and the theist are not very different - in fact not at all. They are aspects of the same coin. One believes in God, one believes in no-God. One loves God - the love is based on conditioning; it is not true - one hates God - that hate is also based on conditioning; that is not true either.
Those who start by belief never arrive, they cannot arrive. They will go round and round, but they will never penetrate the truth of existence. The beginning has to be open - neither of belief nor of disbelief. The beginning has to be innocent. And if the beginning is innocent, then it is faith.
Faith is not belief: faith is faith in truth. “If there is truth, then we will know it, there is no need to believe. There is no need to believe in the Bible or the Vedas or the Koran. If truth was revealed to Mohammed and Christ and to Krishna, why not to me?” This is faith.
Faith means faith in oneself. Faith means a confidence, a respect for oneself. Belief is other-oriented: faith is self-oriented. Faith is a totally different world! It has nothing to do with belief. Belief divides people into Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, Buddhists.
The man of faith knows no religion - except the religion of inquiry. He believes not in beliefs but in inquiry. And his faith is so much in his own being that he goes unguarded into the unknown, that he moves into the uncharted without any fear. His faith in existence is such that he needs no other support. Faith is self-oriented; faith has a beauty. Belief is ugly. Avoid believing, because believing is lying. Faith is a search, an inquiry.