Faith is generally put in opposition to Knowledge, underlying the long-term dispute in the West between ‘religion’ and ‘science’. This debate has religion requiring belief in the tenets of the religion based on pure faith, and denying the validity of a science-based knowledge approach that may contradict those intensely-held beliefs based on faith. In this view of things, faith and science are irreconcilably opposed to one another. It must be noted however that reliance on ‘faith’ in this context is to justify specific belief systems or dogmas; this does not reflect on the dynamic between the mental consciousness and the experiences and shift to the spiritual consciousness which also call on a form of ‘faith’ to appreciate the process involved.

Sri Aurobindo describes the faith of the soul, which matures into knowledge as the higher consciousness manifests and the shift to the spiritual basis occurs. This is not adherence to a belief system that has no proofs; rather, it is the soul’s knowledge expressing itself prior to having externally visible factual underpinning. We speak many times of a sense we have about something, about an intuition, about a “gut-feeling” that is not based in mental logic or ideation, but nevertheless, turns out to be true in the event. The soul’s faith is akin to this type of action, where something becomes known even though the mind has not worked out the details.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “Until we know the Truth (not mentally but by experience, by change of consciousness) we need the soul’s faith to sustain us and hold on to the Truth — but when we live in the knowledge, this faith is changed into knowledge.”

Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Growing Within: The Psychology of Inner Development, Chapter III Growth of Consciousness Basic Requisites, pg. 32

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at and podcast at He is author of 17 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.