Shraddha means faith. Faith is needed when you have found the limit of your knowing. You know something this far, and you don’t know anything beyond that. Your willingness to know the unknown is shraddha, is faith.
If your mind is fixed and says, “That’s it, I know it, there is nothing beyond,” that is fanaticism, that is ego—I know it all. When you know the whole entire creation is unknowable, existing, but beyond what you can know, there is faith. Recognition of the unknowable is shraddha.
Faith in yourself, faith in the Master, faith in the Divine, faith in the infinite order of things, faith in that love of infinity, this is shraddha. We can look at faith in a simple way.
Doubt has three divisions. The first one is you doubt yourself, the second is you doubt others, and the third is you doubt the whole. Ninety-nine percent of people doubt the whole, because they do not believe that there is a whole that is functioning. People talk about God a lot, but if you look deep into it you find their faith is really shaky. There is no faith that there exists an infinite, organizing, intelligent power that is in total control of everything. This faith is absent. When it appears to be there, it’s just an outside decoration, like a badge they wear. Next, there is the doubt in people.
When someone says, “I love you,” you doubt them. You ask them, “Do you really love me?” If someone is angry with you, you never ask, “Are you really angry with me?” Just notice your doubt is always about the positive side of other people. You don’t believe you can trust anyone, then you try to find the trust in this person and that person, and you are unable to do it. This is most common and this pains you, because trusting others is connected to yourself, your faith in your own self.
Self-doubt is the third division. You never doubt your own anger, your depression, your sadness, your sorrow, your misery, but you doubt all the positive qualities that you have. You doubt in your capabilities; you don’t doubt in your incapability. Instead you should doubt in your limitations, doubt in your incapability! Who knows what you will become in the next moment? Who knows what noble, beautiful characteristics are inside you and when they will blossom? Perhaps you will blossom into another Buddha. When you doubt in your incapability, then the faith in your capabilities grows.
Then you will doubt in the negative tendencies of people and attribute the negative tendencies to their stress, not to them. Your trust in everyone will begin to grow, and your faith in the Divine, in the universal existence, also grows. This whole existence is one. There is ultimately only one mind, one intelligence, one being.
The master is there to practically demonstrate to you, and tell you, there is only one. I am you, you are me. When the master says this, seeing the master as he is, not through blocked vision or suspicious eyes, that is shraddha, faith. The master doesn’t have to get anything from you. If you see the master with the same suspicious eyes, you will wonder what he is up to. Then you’re stuck, reeling around in your own small mind unable to peep through into the Divine, the Infinite, the whole existence. You’ll miss the whole joy. You’ll miss the whole essence that you’re longing for, knowingly or unknowingly.
When you start some practices because you are told they will be good for you and then you start feeling some result, some influence, you will want to keep doing it. Without faith you will not do it at all. Without faith it would be like someone saying, “First let me learn swimming, and then I’ll get into the water.” You have to get into the water in order to learn swimming! Having too much preparedness, being too cautious, you miss the whole joy in life. Only when you have faith in the teacher will you get into the water and learn swimming.
Shraddha, faith, is necessary. No activity can happen in this world without the element of faith. You have faith in your bank, so you put your money in the bank. You have faith in the law and order of this country. You park your cars outside believing they will be there when you return. You have faith in the way the airlines function, so you relax and fly. The telephone company believes in you, so they put the telephone connection in your home. They are sure that somehow they can collect the money from you.
Faith is a beautiful quality of your consciousness. Faith is a beautiful blossoming of your being.