Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path  
by Swami Amar Jyoti
Seeker: Could you speak about the difference between imagination and vision?
Imagination, if perfectly done, will lead you to vision. Let’s say you are meditating upon God. You are imagining, actually, but that will lead you to God’s vision, when you see His full glory. Go on imagining your spiritual ideal or goal over and over, without doubting and without any back thought. It will result one day in that vision. All of a sudden it will flash, or maybe in a dream. Do not doubt it; just persist if you want to have that vision.

Suppose you want to walk through this wall. People will call you mad. How can you go through a wall? No one ever does this; you are only going to hurt yourself if you try. But persist in imagining that you can do it. You have to find the secret. That search makes you a scientist or a yogi. Keep up the imagination that you must go through the wall. Do not give up. Gradually you will find a way. Go to a Master. Study how others have done it; they dematerialized their body into the astral, went through the fourth dimension, or whatever. Concentrate on achieving the vibratory aspect of the phenomena. Then when you become astral and vibratory, the wall is no longer solid. You have to be mad after your goal in order to achieve it.

Apply this to seeking the Ultimate or God. When you go on imagining God, eventually you become mad after God. Others may think you are crazy and pity you. Imagination is a technical or scientific term; the spiritual term is faith. As you persist in this imagining, or faith, you will see what is obstructing you: the desires, conceptions, greed, attachments, possessiveness, and so on, and you will begin to give these up one by one. This is called detachment or renunciation. You begin to renounce those things because they are obstructions in your mind, obstructions to that vision. The Sanskrit term for detachment is vairagya. Gradually your mind becomes emptier, lighter; there is no doubt or fear or obstruction. Then the imagination becomes more crystallized. When that culmination happens, the vision shines.
Daily practice is very necessary, as much as you can. Sit down, remember, contemplate, pray to God and meditate. Chisel your imagination or consciousness to its fine point. Otherwise your consciousness becomes thickened or blunt, which is called ignorance. When you begin to pray, meditate, contemplate and renounce unnecessary desires, your consciousness becomes finer and finer. Daily practice purifies you and makes you remember. It should give you more energy, longing, aspiration and strength.

How do we learn to have faith and to trust?
Actually faith cannot be taught or trained. It has to come from you. The fewer desires you have the more faithful you will be. If you are too occupied with mundane desires you will have less faith in God. And those very desires you are praying to God to fulfill! Reduce your desires and your faith will grow. This is one explanation. In some cases, suffering teaches you to be faithful. If God does not seem to listen to you in times of misery, you may turn away, or it may increase your faith and understanding—“Because I didn’t have faith I’m suffering. If I had faith I would not suffer.” Therefore you cultivate more faith, but it has to be by your own will. We can teach you meditation, mantras, yoga, study and reading, but we have never heard of faith classes. Either suffering teaches you, or the reduction of your desires increases your faith. Otherwise, if the mind is occupied with desires, it has no space left for faith.

It seems that spiritual evolvement requires a great deal of faith, and so many times we have doubts. Can you speak about that?
If you have doubts, naturally your mind is distracted. Faith makes you concentrated. Only one question could arise due to insecurity in the subconscious mind: What if you put faith in the wrong thing or the wrong assumption? Somewhere out of your reading, study, discussions, thinking, analyzing and contemplation, you have to come to a certain conviction. I am not for blind faith but for living faith. Living faith is that which is born out of your own convictions.

Without faith, there is no Realization. In all religions faith has been eulogized. Even in ancient days in the East, questioning was never suppressed. The purpose of questioning is to find out through analysis, criticism, commentaries, study, contemplation, and so on, until you are convinced about the truth. Once you are convinced, stand on that. That faith shall lead you to Realization. In other words, without faith we cannot see God.

If we doubt God, why should He come? He is indescribable. He is the Supreme Reality. As long as you are questioning, you will not find God. You have to arrive at faith. Truth is Truth, and fortunately Truth does not change. So naturally, we have to change to suit it, unless we expect God and Truth to change for our conditions, which is ridiculous. Naturally, we have to suit our conditions to the Truth.

Modern man differs from ancient man in one thing: that modern man is more rational. So employ that rationality, which is inquiry, curiosity, analysis and permutations, and form your determination and conviction. When a scientist goes into a laboratory, if he doubts what he is doing, he cannot accomplish anything. Before he begins, he knows there is something there and “I must find it out.” That is called faith. Faith stops the wavering of your mind and gives you concentration. Without concentration you cannot probe into the Reality.

© 2009 by Truth Consciousness. Excerpted from the Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti: What is Death? (N-7), Our Five Basic Instincts (N-9), and Ego and the Unbound Self (N-18). For more information on the recorded Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti, please see