With about five decades of worldly experience, I can state with utmost certainty that those who do not believe in anything will never achieve anything substantial in their lives. This is true in every phase of life. Those who do not believe in parents will never grow up properly and those who do not believe in spouses face the same consequence in married life. While those who do not believe in teachers shall never learn properly, those who do not believe in children will never lead a peaceful retired life. Belief in anything is like a catalyst that would accelerate our efforts towards its benefits. The chemistry of belief and efforts is something that can only be experienced. It can never be explained nor imposed on anyone. Quite often it is this peculiarity of belief that poses as the secret behind repeated successes of a select few and failures of some others.
The question of belief and unconditional surrender is central to all religions and ideologies. Death of any religious or ideological institution is guaranteed if atleast the top 25% of the hierarchy do not have absolute and genuine belief in it. There are numerous examples for this in our long history and it is still happening around us even today. The death of many religions, Soviet Union and so many local establishments in our own neighbourhood are nothing but classic examples of this natural phenomenon. Belief of followers is the ultimate fuel for the growth of any collective movement. But for belief, none of the major religious orders and their colossal monuments would have come up. Does it mean that tendency to believe is a desirable quality for all human being? Yes it is, but it is full of danger if the belief turns out to be for a false one ultimately. It requires a high degree of discretion and luck to finalise on something to believe in and then proceed to reap the benefits out of it.
Belief in Ideologies
All the religious and social ideologies have progressed thanks to the efforts of a minority who believed fully in them in the initial phase. Socialism, Communism and the various religious ideologies have developed only because there were a committed few who found complete identification with them at different phases. All the political and social ideologies originate in the fertile minds of a few individuals. And then the ideologies begin to flourish when these individuals come together and find ways and means to convince others as well. The dark side any ideology begins here. If in the first phase it is getting others to their side by conquering minds, it becomes much more aggressive by forcible conversion in subsequent phases. The proponents of competing ideologies are always forced to devise dubious methods to get people to their side. The game of numbers forces many positive ideologies into negative paths of coercive methods and eventually to certain demise.
The risk of belief to followers from ideologies is very common sight in the world today. There are millions of followers in various ideologies who do not really believe in them. Most of them are forced to live their lives within these ideologies by birth for the fear of facing the consequences of leaving them. In the highly connected world of today, it is very difficult to convince one’s own conscience so easily of the beliefs each of us inherit by virtue of our birth in a particular religion or community. To understand and comprehend any ideology it definitely takes years of learning and only a few among us get the time and facility to do so. What most of us do is to blindly follow the footsteps of our parents who were following theirs and so on. The situation is all the more pathetic in the case of social ideologies like Communism and Socialism. Invariably most of the virulent comrades realise the hollowness of their ideology late in their lives. It is too late then to do anything. Many of them go into the silent mode, but some others continue hypocritically with the ideology which has become a burden.
Belief in Individuals
Individual attaining the status of institution is a common phenomenon in many of the populous countries, especially in the developing world. In most cases it is because of immense attraction of public to the ideological thoughts initiated by certain individuals in their own lifetimes. Original innovators of extremely appealing ideas find huge following and the institutions set up by them develop in leaps and bounds. Identification of institution with the individual becomes so strong that it would become difficult to differentiate one from another. Individual becoming institution is no doubt something noble, but there is downside as well. The risk of belief becomes too much if such individual turns out to be an unworthy role model in later life.
The ordinary men and women flocking towards elevated individuals is a very common sight in third world countries. Almost all philosophical ideologies originating from Asia prescribe a teacher to guide us in life. Unavoidable difficulties in everyday life and promise of assured relief by easy techniques also provide reasons for so many men and women reposing their full belief in such elevated individuals. There is absolutely no doubt that many of them achieve what they want by doing so. The power of belief and catalytic acceleration it provides drive many people towards their goals without they being aware of it. But in the present day world of competition the believers can only trust in God that their role model survive the lure of evil unleashed by unscrupulous adversaries. Consequences of their icon of total belief falling from grace can be disastrous for many ordinary believers.
It is always prudent to be cautious in everything we do. God has given us the power to think and think we must before we decide to believe in anything. Our scriptures are cent percent right in saying that a noble teacher and absolute belief are must if we want to achieve anything in life. Each of us must definitely strive for both, but very cautiously. Do not fall into the pitfalls of publicity and public opinion while zeroing in on our own guru and ideology. Tread cautiously and find someone with whom we can interact directly as our guru. And our chosen ideology must be something that is cent percent rational and practical for each of us as individuals. Expectation and compromise should have no place in fixing our beliefs.