Blind Faith and Skepticism


Is blind faith a good or a bad thing?

Is it better to be sceptical or should you believe everything Yogananda says blindly?

—A0, World


In fact, skepticism and blind faith both will obscure completely our ability to perceive things as they truly are.

An avatar, such as Yogananda, who is fully liberated, speaks only the truth. Yogananda said that he never did anything, nor said anything, that Divine Mother didn’t tell him to. That’s very clear and powerful. And yet, he never expected nor encouraged his students, disciples, even audiences to follow him or God blindly.

We are capable of understanding and should aspire in self-realization. God has given us a brain and a heart in order that we can inwardly sense the truth of things. Having said that, if we are lacking in experience and have not yet developed clear, perceptive abilities, it is helpful to have some truth to follow, at the least as a guideline, what to speak of inspiration and support. When Swami Kriyananada first came to his guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, he was unable to sort out all of the spiritual information and references coming his way from other enthusiastic students. He was new and didn’t have the experience that would give him this discernment. What really was the truth? As a solution, he made a vow inwardly to listen only to his guru. “Did Master say it,” he would ask, when someone shared with him some point or teaching. In this way, Kriyananda developed a strong foundation upon which to exercise discrimination. As well, he cultivated attunement inwardly by trying to feel the consciousness of Yogananda. He meditated for hours on countless points that his guru made over the course of his life. What did he mean? Why did he say it? From this practice he came to inwardly feel Yogananda’s guidance and validation on any point of proclaimed truth and upon the course and direction of his own life.

We should not be skeptical in the sense of being callous and not trusting of what anyone else has to say. This makes us an unwelcome conversationalist at the least! We need, rather, to maintain an attitude of respect for others, for what they have been through, for what they are learning. However, we do need to feel within whether what is said, even by a saint or master, is true. When we have experienced this process, over and over again, we can hold an attitude of deep faith in all that the Great Ones say, even if it is not yet our experience, because we have come to trust the validity and scope of their consciousness in God.

Paramhansa Yogananda said that no belief is necessary to practice yoga and meditation. Try it for yourself. Experiment with calming the breath and mind and see if you have the experience of inner peace. A skeptic doubts to such a degree as to think there is no value. He does not conduct the experiment and therefore he does not truly know.

Many blessings, Nayaswami Maria