In the course of our daily lives, we meet many people who feel broken down or victimized, and who focus themselves on their inherent weakness and the failures they experience in their lives. As a matter of course, every human being has times and moments when he is assailed by doubt and loses faith in his own destiny, capacities or eventual success in his endeavors. Great Rishis and Yogis have all experienced the “dark night of the soul” when all spiritual support is seemingly withdrawn and one is left with the overwhelming weaknesses and limitations of the unenlightened parts of the being.
Ultimately, there must come a realisation and recognition that it is the Divine carrying out His manifestation through the action of the Shakti which guides, influences and transforms the individual, who is a nexus of the activity rather than the originator of it. In the interim, however, there must be the ability to sustain the faith in the Divine and His Shakti even when the awareness is blocked or limited by the screen of the ego-personality in the mind-life-body.
Sri Aurobindo notes: “The faith in the Shakti, as long as we are not aware of and filled with her presence, must necessarily be preceded or at least accompanied by a firm and virile faith in our own spiritual will and energy and our power to move successfully towards unity and freedom and perfection. Man is given faith in himself, his ideas and his powers that he may work and create and rise to greater things and in the end bring his strength as a worthy offering to the altar of the Spirit. This spirit, says the Scripture, is not to be won by the weak…. All paralysing self-distrust has to be discouraged, all doubt of our strength to accomplish, for that is a false assent to impotence, an imagination of weakness and a denial of the omnipotence of the spirit. A present incapacity, however heavy may seem its pressure, is only a trial of faith and a temporary difficulty and to yield to the sense of inability is for the seeker of the integral Yoga a non-sense, for his object is a development of a perfection that is already there, latent in the being, because man carries the seed of the divine life in himself, in his own spirit, the possibility of success is involved and implied in the effort and victory is assured because behind is the call and guidance of an omnipotent power.”
It is important, however, in having this faith in oneself and one’s capacity to achieve, that this not become an arrogant or egoistic faith. “The Sadhaka should keep as much as possible in his mind the idea that his strength is not his own in the egoistic sense but that of the divine universal Shakti and whatever is egoistic in his use of it must be a cause of limitation and in the end an obstacle.”
“The power of the divine universal Shakti which is behind our aspiration is illimitable, and when it is rightly called upon it cannot fail to pour itself into us and to remove whatever incapacity and obstacle, now or later; for the times and durations of our struggle while they depend at first, instrumentally and in part, on the strength of our faith and our endeavour, are yet eventually in the hands of the wisely determining secret Spirit, alone the Master of the Yoga, the Ishwara.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 18, Faith and Shakti, pp. 751-752