(below are a number of questions presented to Br. Martin and his answers) 

The question was: what is the difference between belief, faith and trust? 

There are different ways we relate with God. The first level is belief. We create belief systems of who God is and who we are. These belief systems are like umbrellas under which we take shelter. Or they are like clouds through which we see the Sun or God.  Our belief systems create clouds around us so our concepts of God are conditioned by our belief systems. Belief systems are also like boats through which we travel on the immensity of the ocean of life and the ocean of the divine. There are so many boats(belief systems) on the ocean of life.  Belief systems divide humanity.  

The second level is having a direct experience of God. It is walking under the Sun without umbrellas. Looking at the Sun without any clouds. We are like the moon that receives the divine light of the Sun and gives to the world.  It is like walking on water without the support of boats. It is the experience of the mutual indwelling with God. Experience of God as antaryamini.  A person says: I am in God and God is in me. Here there is no belief but trust in God.  In belief we put God or Truth in a box. We are in control of God. In Trust we are under the control of God. We know that we are in God and God in us but we do not know how God would take us into the future. God remains incomprehensible mystery and fascinating.  We live in Trust. There is a subtle difference between belief and faith. Generally people identify belief with faith. Faith is going beyond beliefs. It is a transition from belief to trust.  There is also subtle difference between faith and trust. In faith we do not have an experience of God. Trust comes from the experience of God. We have the potential to grow from belief to trust. 

The life of Abraham was the life of Trust. He had an experience of God and then his journey was from the known into the unknown. The life of Jesus Christ was the life of Trust. He had an experience of God and then accepted everything as the will of God including his death on the cross. 

Beliefs divide us, trust unites us.

Faith is the transition:

from belief to trust, 

from divisions to unity.

from violence to peace.

Faith is the birthing process:

from umbrellas without umbrellas,  

from a boat into  water, 

from clouds into the moon.



The question was: what is surrender?  Can we surrender? 

Surrender can be understood in different ways. 

In a combat a person who has less strength surrenders to the person who has more strength. In the same way in a war, a country surrenders to the country when it is not able to fight or defeated. In surrender we accept our inability or incapacity. 

When it comes in our relationship with God, it is creatures surrendering to the creator. 

It is surrendering our will and intellect to the will and intellect of God. 

It is surrendering our will and intellect to a particular religion or a particular scripture or a particular person and accepting the authority of that religion, that scripture and that person.

In surrender our will and intellect are involved. In this surrender there is a necessity of loyalty to a particular religion, particular scripture, particular person or particular philosophy. 

Ultimate surrender comes from seeing the truth.  It is not imposed surrender but accepting the truth as a choice-less choice. 

For example a tree is hundred percent dependent on the earth. But it is not aware. It imagines that it is independent of the earth. One day it realises that it is hundred percent dependent on the earth. It has no choice. It has to accept the truth. This is called surrender in our spiritual life. We are one hundred percent dependent on God or on Infinite being. But we are not aware. We think we are independent of God. When we become conscious of this truth then we accept it unconditionally. There is no choice. This surrender is not to a particular religion, to a particular person, to a particular scripture or to a particular philosophy. It does not demand loyalty.  It does not divide human beings rather it unites all human beings. Similarly a leaf imagines to be independent of the tree. It is in ignorance. When it realises that is one hundred percent dependent on the tree then it surrenders. It accepts the truth without any choice.

A parable

One day there was a king who went to the forest for hunting. In the forest he came across a shepherd boy who was taking care of sheep. A mark on the face of this boy reminded the king of his lost son. So the king asked him: who are you my boy?  The boy said: I am the son of a shepherd from the village. I come to the forest every day to take care of our sheep. 

The king called the shepherd and asked: Is this boy your real son? 

The shepherd said: yes, he is my real son. 

When the king frightened him to tell the truth, he confessed that the boy was not his real son but found him in the forest as a baby. 

What happened was that the king had a boy in his old age. His relatives wanted to take over the kingdom so they plotted that the boy be taken to the forest and be killed. The soldiers who took the boy to the forest had compassion on the boy so did not kill the boy and left him in the forest. The shepherd came to the forest and found the boy. As he had no children he accepted the boy as God's gift and brought him up as his own son.  The boy grew up as the son of the shepherd. Now he realised that he is not the son of a shepherd but the son of a king.  He had no choice. He had to accept this as the choiceless choice. This is one way of understanding surrender. It is accepting our true identity. We are all sons and daughters of a divine king. But we live as sons and daughters of a shepherd, in a false identity. We are all sons and daughters of eternity but we grow up thinking that we are the sons and daughters of time. When we know our true identity we accept it choicelessly.  That is surrender. 

When it comes to our personal difficulties it is offering to God. A man was travelling in a train. He was standing as there was no seat. He was carrying his luggage on his head. Later he realised: the train is carrying me and my luggage. Why should I carry my luggage on my head? So he removed it and placed it in the train. 

So also when we realise we are standing on the train of God and carrying our luggage of burdens on our head.  We see the stupidity of it and remove our burdens and place on God.

This is one way of understanding surrender.

Real surrender is not forced but happens naturally from understanding, like a woman who gives birth when the time has come. 

Surrender should not be forced but should be allowed to happen naturally. So we need to wait patiently and not to force surrender.



The question was: some Christians think that Hindus worship many Gods and their worship is an idol worship. Some Christians use uncharitable words towards Hindu beliefs and worship. Do you have any thoughts on this? 

According to my knowledge Hinduism does not believe in many Gods and Hindu worship is not idol worship. The fundamental truth of Vedic tradition, to which Hinduism belongs, is that there is only one God and one infinite Being. Rig Veda says: Ekam sat vipra bahuthi vadanti: Infinite Being or God is one but sages call it by many names. So Hinduism is monotheistic. Hinduism is monotheism. 

But this one God has infinite attributes. They are called Sahasra nama, thousand names of God. Thousand means infinite. We can say that all names are names of God. People choose a particular attribute of God according to their need to worship God in and through that particular attribute. For example we have Jagannath temple.  Here God is worshipped as the Lord of the world. We have Viswanath temple. Here God is worshipped as the Lord of the universe. We have Sri Ranganatha swami temple. Here God is worshipped as the Lord of the stage or the director of the world. Sri Venkateswara temple. Here God is worshipped in the attribute that he purifies or takes away our sins. (Christians believe that Jesus Christ takes away their sins. In sanskrit it means Sri Venkateswara swami).Brahma is worshipped as the creator of the worlds. Vishnu is worshipped as the preserver of the worlds and Shiva is worshipped as the discontinuer or transformer of the worlds. 

The consorts of these Gods are worshipped as the energies of these Gods. It is like the spirit of God in the Biblical tradition but personified as feminine.  But these Gods and Goddesses are the various attributes of one supreme God, Brahman. 

Christians believe that God is the Lord of this world(Jagannath)  Lord of this universe(Viswanath), director of this world(Sri Ranganath)  the Lord who takes away the sins of the world(Sri Venkateswara). They believe that God is the creator(Brahma)preserver(Vishnu) and transformer (Shiva) of this world. 

For Christians there is only one God and one Christ. But they worship Christ through many attributes,  many names. This does not make many Christs but only one Christ. Catholics believe in one Mary but they venerate her through many attributes. This does not make many Marys but only one Mary. 

Building temples:

Human beings have the innate need to worship a higher being,  God. In order to worship we need a form. In order to live, human beings need a shelter,  a house, a space between four walls. We cannot live in the open space. People build houses according to their needs and possibilities. All the houses are not the same. What is important is the space between the walls,  between the forms. It is because of the empty space we are able to  live in the house. Different temples are built to the different attributes of God and according to the particular needs of the people. People do not worship the walls but they worship the space in the walls.  People do not worship idols but the presence of God in idols. In the Bhagavat Gita Krishna tells Arjuna that in whatever way people worship him in that way he accepts their worship. It gives tremendous freedom to individuals and to communities to worship God the way that satisfies their need.  Worship creates community. Brings people together. Creates social relationships.  It is the human need. Supreme God allows these human needs. So Hindu worship cannot be called idol worship. Christians believe that the Bible is  the word of God. It is also a form of God. It also can become an idol if people worship it. 

Of course human beings are called to outgrow external worship of God and discover God in their hearts,  to discover God as antaryamini, as the indwelling presence. The Vedic  sages declared : ayatman Brahma. Atman is Brahman. The ground of human consciousness (Atman) is one with the ground of the universe(Brahman). This realisation is the ultimate goal of spiritual life. It is the transition form the external worship to the inner realisation. But we cannot begin with it. We have to grow into it. We begin with the external worship. 

Jesus Christ said: the kingdom of God is within you. I am in the Father(God) and the Father is in me. I and the Father are one(Atman is Brahman). He also said that in the future people do not worship in the temples or on the mountains but they worship God in spirit and truth,  as indwelling presence. But how many Christians can begin with this truth proposed by Christ? They cannot. They have to grow into it. Christians still worship God as if God is outside of them. God is somewhere in heaven. 

I am very sorry to say that some Christians are not aware of the profound wisdom of the Indian scriptures and Indian sages. It saddens me when I hear the uncharitable words some Christians use  towards Hindu scriptures,  beliefs and worship. This  comes from ignorance.  ( Of course there is always possibility of limitations and even oppressive structures developed in the historical process by vested interests. Christianity also has its limitations and  oppressive structures that need to be purified). These Christians are doing great injustice and disservice to the person of Jesus Christ and to the universal,unifying and liberating truth that Jesus Christ discovered and bore witness to it even by accepting a humiliating death on the cross.

What these christians need is to open their hearts and minds to see the grace of God manifested through the great Indian sages who ardently searched for the eternal truth  and then  revealed their discoveries through the sacred scriptures.


What is silence? 

The question was: what is silence? 

Silence can be understood in various levels:

External silence: when there is no external  noise around we can say there is external silence.

Internal silence: when our mind is not chattering then we can say we are in silence. 

Silence is basically an internal state of mind. 

When there is no movement of desire coming from emptiness in us then we can say we are in silence. The movement of desire is the movement of noise. 

Silence is like a virgin womb. There is no activity going on.

In a pregnant womb activity is going on.  It is not silent. 

In silence there is no movement of time, there is no movement of psychological becoming.  

Silence gives birth to eternity,  silence gives birth to fullness, silence unfolds eternity in relationships. 

In silence there are no burdens of the psychological past and psychological future. 

In silence time manifests eternity.  Time is freed from the burden of taking human consciousness to eternity. Time becomes a vehicle of eternity. 

Silence gives birth to freedom: freedom from desire,  freedom from time,  freedom from becoming. 

Hence silence is a state of mind. It is an attitude of mind. It is twenty-four hours of the day.


The question was: many Christians believe in the second coming of Jesus, do you have any thoughts on it?

We cannot say Jesus Christ does not come a second time or he comes. He may come or he may not come. Christians have been waiting for two thousand years.  The New Testament speaks of the second coming of Jesus Christ. This is the basis for Christians to believe that Jesus Christ comes a second time. In the Catholic mass we say: Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again. So the Catholic Church waits for the second coming of Jesus. 

In my personal opinion Jesus Christ would not come a second time. If he still remembers how he was treated when he came for the first time and if he is wise he will not come a second time. 

Suppose Jesus Christ comes a second time how do people recognise him. There were also many persons who claimed to be Christ and they had some followers but their end was tragic. 

Will the Christian Churches accept a person who claims to be the second coming of Christ? It may be difficult because each Church has its own idea of the second coming. 

The first coming of Christ was coming of a spiritual experience and a spiritual vision. It was not so much of coming of a person but of a spiritual experience and a spiritual vision.  Jesus called it the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the transformation of our life into the life of God. It is the experience of the fullness of truth,  the fullness of the love of God and the fullness of the love of neighbour. In Jesus Christ the evolution of human consciousness  reached its climax. Nobody or nothing can go beyond that vision or Truth. 

For me the second coming of Christ does not come from outside but it is human beings who have to enter into the fullness of Truth.  It does not happen externally but happens internally. Whenever a person enters into the fullness of truth at that moment the second coming of Christ happens. This happens millions of times and in millions of people. 

Jesus Christ opened the door to the kingdom of God. He made it accessible to everyone.  It is now our responsibility to follow the path that Jesus Christ has made and enter into the kingdom. It is not necessary to wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ from outside. In fact waiting for the second coming from outside blocks our spiritual evolution. 

Any second coming from outside gives absolute authority to that one person and people have to believe in that one person. If people do not believe that person then he or she becomes a source of division. This person from outside may also create spiritual apartheid between him or her and his or her followers.

Hence the first coming of Jesus Christ is the arrival of the fullness of Truth. This fullness of truth is accessible to everyone. The second coming is when people personalise or enter into this fullness of truth. Christ said: ' first of all seek you the kingdom of God and it's righteousness and all things will be given to you'.

We should outgrow being believers of the kingdom of God and become seekers of the kingdom of God. Then only we can experience the second coming of Christ. This second coming happens individually and unique way in one's life and in its own time. This second coming should happen in everyone's life. Jesus Christ said,  'unless you are born again  you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

Only when people are reborn the second coming of Christ happens.


The Nature of encountering the Infinite:

The question was:  why there are always differences among the so called enlightened beings, prophets and sages? 

Each prophet,  each sage and each enlightened person is unique. 

The Infinite  or God is one and the same but the way a person encounters that Infinite Being is very unique,  somehow it is a little conditioned. 

Our journey to the Infinite can be compared to climbing a hill. Symbolically the Infinite is on the top of the hill.  The way a  person experiences on the top of the hill is conditioned by that person's starting point at the bottom of the hill. Each person's starting point at the bottom of the hill is unique. 

In our spiritual journey the way a person experiences the Infinite or God is conditioned by the questions a person begins his or her journey. It also can be conditioned by the family conditions, social conditions, cultural conditions,  political conditions, economic conditions and psychological conditions with which a person is involved. 

It is for this reason each prophet,  each sage,  each enlightened person is unique and different.  We cannot have two identical enlightened persons. It is also possible that one prophet may point out the limitations of another prophet,  one sage may point out the limitations of another sage,  one enlightened or awakened person may point out the limitations of another enlightened person. There is nothing wrong in that.  It is possible that in our search we may not take into account all the questions that confront human beings. So our experience of the Infinite is somehow always conditioned. Hence it is necessary to integrate others' questions and concerns into our experience of God,  into our specific and unique questions. There is always a necessity of integration.



Make a free website with Yola