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Faith Is Most Important
Rushikesh: Pranam, Swamiji. Sometimes intellect becomes a block/hindrance in spiritual pursuit by raising questions in the form of why? how? what? etc. So I thought to address/resolve it, the explanation for which is as follows:
What one can say for sure in the phenomenal world is knowings only. Search for identity is futile in the phenomenal world. Nothing in the phenomenal world satisfies the criteria for identity.
Faith is required not only in spirituality but in any branch of knowledge. Science proceeds based on axioms alone, which are not provable, maybe at the most experimentally verifiable. Belief in the axioms based on which entire theory is developed is faith in science. Axioms are like the base of the entire science, which do not have any proof. In a way, science is a broadly two-way process: first is about finding deeper axioms, second is about developing theory based on axioms that can explain unknown phenomena. In this, the second step might be relatively logical, based on reasoning and easy, but the first step of finding or figuring out the deeper axioms is not based on any logic. Maybe it is based on intuition.
If we apply the above process to finding out reality then we have to accept that reality can never be proved; maybe it is verifiable based on the test that everything else must follow or can be explained based on the reality. This is because reality is the most basic thing that does not depend upon anything else. So in a way, reality is like the deepest axiom which can never be proved but based on it everything else can be proved/explained.
Ironically, this also means that there is no way, other than believing in the reality, because nothing can prove it. Reality is inherently unprovable. Hence faith is indispensable. And I think that even the self-realized one cannot prove reality.
And I think that the faith that is required in spirituality is: there must be something that is opposed to phenomena that is partless, continuous, quality-less and eternal.
With this line of thought it becomes clear that the status of faith is in fact much higher than the reasoning aspect of intellect. And I think this fact about importance of faith was known to the rishis and hence in Taittiriya Upanishad faith is termed as “the head” of the intellect.
Faith is to believe in something that one does not see, and the reward of the faith is to see/realize what one believed.
James: Hi, Rushikesh. Your logic is correct. Shraddha, faith pending the result of an investigation, is perhaps the most important qualification for moksa.
But reality can be proved/revealed if you follow the logic of the sruti, which is actually the unexamined logic, i.e. knowledge, of your own experience. But a qualified teacher needs to work the logic on you until it becomes your own. So you need faith in the teacher as part of your trust in the pramana, the sruti. The logic, the teachings of Vedanta, “prove” reality by removing ignorance. Very few understand the nature of reality because what they think is self-knowledge (“I am a limited experiencing entity”) is actually ignorance.