Faith is nourished by divine revelation, saintly reiteration and personal realization

Faith is a precious asset on the spiritual path. Our faith is nourished by the revelation coming from God, by the reiteration of that revelation by great saintly teachers and by the realization that we ourselves get when we apply their teachings in our life.

The trajectory of such faith-growth is evident in the Bhagavad-gita’s flow. Krishna gives his essential message in a four-verse nutshell (10.08-11). After hearing these verses, Arjuna declares (10.12) that he accepts Krishna to be the highest spiritual reality, the Absolute Truth, the eternal supreme person. He then indicates (10.13) that his faithful acceptance of this truth is based on not just Krishna’s divine revelation, but also the reiteration of that revelation by exalted saintly teachers such as Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa.

Earlier (09.02), Krishna has indicated that spiritual knowledge is verifiable by one’s own experience. Arjuna takes steps towards such verification soon after understanding the Gita’s four nutshell verses. On hearing that devotees delight in discussing Krishna’s glories (10.09), Arjuna seeks a similar taste by asking Krishna to speak his glories (10.18). The enlightenment and fulfillment coming from such a discussion is evident in Arjuna’s faithful surrender to Krishna at the end of the Gita – he single-mindedly resolves to do Krishna’s will (18.73).

The discussion of Krishna’s glories gives taste to not just Arjuna but also Sanjaya, the Gita’s meta-narrator. Sanjaya states twice (18.76-77) that meditating on the Gita’s message and on Krishna is making him incessantly jubilant.

When we sense our faith weakening, we can strengthen it by studying the Gita, by pondering its import as explained by saintly teachers, and by practicing bhakti-yoga to realize for ourselves the potency of absorption in Krishna’s glories. Being thus nurtured, our faith will propel us towards pure spiritual love, thereby granting eternal fulfillment.

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