The man who has faith is never a fanatic, cannot be. He is open, he is available, he is reachable, he is vulnerable. He is ready to listen; he is in every way ready to understand the opposite viewpoint. Who knows? The opposite viewpoint may be right. The man of faith has no prejudice to protect; he has no a priori idea; he is not rooted in any ideology at all. He is simply open, inquiring, searching, seeking. He is ready to listen to everything; all his doors and windows are open. He is not a Leibnitzian monad – he is not a windowless phenomenon. He is available to the sun and the rain and the wind; he is available to God in whatsoever form it comes. He is ready to search for truth. He has no prejudice that the truth should be like ‘this’. He does not start with an idea; he starts with a great longing to know, but with no idea to impose on reality.
The man of faith is never a fanatic. A buddha is never a fanatic. The man of faith is very rational: the man of belief is utterly irrational. He cannot allow reason because he is afraid – reason may disturb his belief . Somehow he has managed to live in a cozy belief, and the reason may come like a storm and disturb everything. He cannot open his doors and windows; he has to remain closed in his own darkness – only then can he go on believing. He functions like an ostrich. He closes his eyes so that he has never to change what he believes. The man of faith lives with open eyes, alert, watchful.
Herman Hesse is right about belief but not right about faith. But there is a third meaning also: that is trust. First meaning is belief – belief is ugly, avoid it. Second meaning is faith – faith is beautiful, imbibe it. And the third meaning is trust – trust means faith has arrived at the goal. Faith is fulfilled, one has come to know, then trust arises.
Trust means “I know,” not “I believe.” And the person who knows, he need not believe at all – for what? He knows! so there is no question of belief. Only those who don’t know believe. Believers never reach the ultimate meaning, trust – only those who have faith reach trust. Faith is the pilgrimage and trust is the destiny. Begin in faith, end in trust.
These are the three meanings of faith. The word is very vague; you will have to understand all the three meanings, because sometimes it is used in the first meaning, sometimes in the second, sometimes in the third.
The second question:
Is there really a hell?
You are living in it. Hell is a certain psychology; hell is a certain way of looking at things. If you are in misery, that means you are living in hell. Hell is not a geographical place; it is not somewhere underneath the earth: it is in your way of looking at things. It is living in an unconscious way that one creates hell around oneself.
And so is heaven: that too is again a psychology, not something geographical. It is not somewhere above the clouds – it is not anywhere except in you. These are the two alternatives to live in: to live in hell or to live in heaven. And it is up to you what you choose.