Can faith alone save us?

—K.M.

The Christian Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.”

Faith, or the intuitive experience of all truth, is present in the soul. It gives birth to hope and the desire to achieve, but it also hides behind the wall of ignorance. Many people know almost nothing about the intuitive faith which is latent in the soul, and the secret spring of all our hopes.

The words “belief” and “faith” have different meanings. Belief means to imagine the reality of something without knowing it to be certain, but with the expectation that someday you will know. For instance, you may say, “I believe in the existence of an Almighty Power, and expect that someday I shall know for certain.”

You ask if faith alone can save us?  Faith is good only so long as it gives you an incentive to realize what you believe. Blind faith will not bring results. You must use the methods that bring results. Yoga is the scientific method of uniting soul and Spirit. You must learn the laws of concentration and meditation and use the methods again and again; then you will get results. Blind faith is dangerous because it gives you the false expectation that God will come to you without any effort on your part.

We are all made in the image of God, or Spirit. The nature of Spirit is omnipresence and omniscience. To be “saved” means to free yourself from the limitations that are imposed upon the soul by the body. Delusion possesses you as soon as you are in the wakeful state. To be “saved” means to destroy that delusion.

If you want to be saved, you must make a continuous effort to give first importance in your life to God. Do not think that someone else can give you salvation. Salvation can only come through your own efforts. All the great saints have told us that we must work to contact God – that we must meditate and pray unceasingly and earnestly, and keep one thought in our mind – GOD. If you follow the law and have devotion, you cannot fail.

I used to want salvation for myself alone, but my Master in India once said to me, “You selfish thing! You want to eat the cheese of Eternity all by yourself, when you should acquire it for the purpose of giving some of it to others. Final happiness lies in sharing your happiness with others.”

You must realize your divinity within
Blind belief in God will not get you anywhere, but God will take care of you if you adopt the measures and activities that bring salvation. If you shut yourself up in a room and say, “God will make me rich,” you will find that He will not do it. No, you have to work in order to obtain wealth or anything else.

You must work systematically, scientifically, and steadily to realize your divinity within. You must use both divine and human laws. Faith is good if you exercise it as a spur to drive you to put forth greater effort.

You can never find God if you camouflage your reason. Blind faith camouflages your reason. You may believe you are prosperous, but that does not make you so. God has given you the power to take care of yourself, and when you do not use your reason in the right way, you are bound to suffer. Imagination, knowledge, and realization are not the same.

You are not the controller of the destiny of the world. Do not worry uselessly about the terrible things that are happening. You must realize that God never forsakes the righteous, loves all equally well, and that through His love we shall see a new world. He who has given us life will rehabilitate the world in a better way. But you must also help the world by your constructive thoughts.

Probably you have failed to realize your divinity within. Why do you think that your body is aged or diseased? Every time your body deludes you, close your eyes and see that the body exists no longer. You are consciousness. You are vastness. All these laws have to be realized. Belief alone will not suffice.

God can be attained if you are very sincere and persistent, and if you can convince Him that you want Him more than anything else in the world. Just as the breeze can be felt, although it is invisible, so also is the joy of God tangibly present within your mind and around your body. Feel His presence. Taste the Divine in reality and you will never enjoy anything more than that. The experience of the Divine is sufficient to overcome all useless desires. The fulfillment of all worthwhile desires comes with the attainment of the Divine.

From Inner Culture, January 1941.