In Indian philosophy we gave a great importance to shruti. You merely say that God exists and the moment you hear it, it is such a statement that you cannot help asking, whether this statement is true or not and you are oriented. As soon as you ask this question and you cannot ask immediately, you become oriented towards it and until you resolve it you cannot rest peacefully. It will go on even if you set aside for some time, at a certain moment of life again the question will come. Again you will be grinding your mind on that question and you will try to find out means by which you can settle that question. That will uplift you. You will try to find out as to how to resolve this problem.
Many ways have been found by people as to how to answer this question. Of course, the best answer is when you raise yourself to such a level that you experience God then there is no question, the question is answered. But till that time there is a mill, which has been started by mere shruti, ‘God exists’. Many people are there, who will simply say, ‘I believe in it whether it is proved, not proved, I believe in it’. Some people can work throughout their life in an orientation on the assumption that God exists − this is called belief.
A belief is that for which you do not have complete proof but yet you somehow feel comfortable with holding that idea and you say to yourself I will continue on the assumption that God exists, which is also helpful. This is from where the whole idea of faith arises. When you hear the word that God exists you may either put a question is it true, is it false or you may say, well since the word has been heard and it has come from some very great person who has spoken it, therefore I believe in it. This belief is may be only intellectual but also it may be much deeper without your knowing, there is something in you which feels happy − there is shradha in you.
There is an element called shradha in our consciousness. Many people believe that there is no such thing like shradha at all anywhere in our human consciousness and they are welcome to that view but there are some people who experience shradha in them. The very fact that this word has been spoken to me by somebody, who is worthy of great reverence and he says that God exists, your heart immediately responds to it. People might say that you are gullible, that you simply have a blind faith, blind belief, but many people will say it doesn’t matter. After all I don’t know everything in the world. Somebody who has seen God, tells me that God exists, so what is wrong in saying that alright I accept it. I may not have gone to America at all and never seen New York but somebody who says that I have gone to New York and describes to me and the person who tells me is quite trust worthy so why should I disbelief it.
Not only that but this orientation towards God is so important that as far as your life movement is concerned, it makes a difference between life and death. If you don’t believe in God then you have one type of life. If you believe in God, you cannot but have a different kind of life. So this word, ‘God exists’ is a very peculiar word, it is not like saying New York exists or Madras exists, it is not a statement like that. The moment you hear the word God exists, it makes a revolution in your life. Either you don’t believe in him or you believe in Him, you question, either you go on a long search of debate in your mind, which may take 20 or 25 years. Or even if you want to demolish it, it takes a long time to demolish it; it may take 20–30 years to demolish this statement. So that also makes a lot of difference to your life. If you believe with faith that yes, somebody has talked to me about it, who is trustworthy then to believe that God exists, it’s a tremendous revolution in your life. If I know or even if I believe that even though I am not experiencing God, God is present here.
If I believe that God exists even though I don’t see God, I have to act as if God exists as if God is watching me that I am not alone in this world and this experience of being alone is a tremendous experience and terrible experience. How many people in the world experience loneliness they are absolutely alone and they feel as if in this vast universe, which is unimaginably huge and an individual struggling and crawling on this earth feels that he is absolutely alone in which everybody, everything, in the world as it were attacking him from every side there is nothing but attack and in this field of attack he is constantly striving to move forward and most of this world is dark. In fact we do not know that most of the world is dark because of the fact that sun and earth have a very good distance so that at least twelve hours of the day you have the light. But if you go into the vast space, where the distances in between suns and stars are so great that you can live eternally in darkness because even the light’s movement from one to the other one takes what is called light years. Actually speaking when you look at the whole world basically you feel you are in darkness, crawling about in the world, not finding anywhere, lonely and you don’t know where the enemy lies and when the attack will come. A terrible experience is experienced by many people in life at one stage or the other, when they feel completely alone. At that time, if you know God exists, you have just heard shruti, God exists, what a tremendous difference it makes to you. Even if you have not seen God there is an orientation and you know that God is there and according to whatever is said about God – he is all loving, he is so compassionate, he is so friendly, he really wants to lift you up, he wants to help you and his help is unfailing. It can never fail, as Christ said: ‘you just knock and the door will be opened ask you will be given’, it is as easy as that. On this basis in fact there is a great philosophy of faith which has been developed that even if you do not have the experience of God and even if you can never have an experience of God, if you just start with the faith that God exists and since God really exists, your life will be always under the protection of God and you will always have the help, whenever you need it and you will be always be uplifted.