Faith is Essential for Advancement in Krishna Consciousness
Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material world. (Bhagavad-gita 9.3)
The faithless cannot accomplish this process of devotional service; that is the purport of this verse. Faith is created by association with devotees. Unfortunate people, even after hearing all the evidence of Vedic literature from great personalities, still have no faith in God. They are hesitant and cannot stay fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus faith is a most important factor for progress in Krishna consciousness.
In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is said that one should have complete conviction that simply by serving the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna he can achieve all perfection. That is called real faith. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.4.12) it is stated that by giving water to the root of a tree, its branches, twigs and leaves become satisfied, and by supplying food to the stomach all the senses of the body become satisfied, and, similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord, all the demigods and all the living entities automatically become satisfied.
After reading Bhagavad-gita one should promptly come to the conclusion of Bhagavad-gita: one should give up all other engagements and adopt the service of the Supreme Lord, Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. If one is convinced of this philosophy of life, that is faith. Now the development of that faith is the process of Krishna consciousness.
There are three divisions of Krishna conscious men. In the third class are those who have no faith. If they are engaged in devotional service officially, for some ulterior purpose, they cannot achieve the highest perfectional stage. Most probably they will slip, after some time. They may become engaged, but because they haven’t complete conviction and faith, it is very difficult for them to continue in Krishna consciousness.
We have practical experience in discharging our missionary activity that some people come and apply themselves to the Krishna consciousness with some hidden motive, and as soon as they are economically a little well-situated, they give up this process and take to their old ways again.
It is only by faith that one can advance in Krishna consciousness. As far as the development of faith is concerned, one who is well versed in the literatures of devotional service and has attained the stage of firm faith is called a first-class person in Krishna consciousness. And in the second class are those who are not very advanced in understanding the devotional scriptures but who automatically have firm faith that Krishna bhakti or service to Krishna is the best course and so in good faith have taken it up. Thus they are superior to the third class who have neither perfect knowledge of the scriptures nor good faith but by association and simplicity are trying to follow.
The third-class person in Krishna consciousness may fall down, but when one is in the second class or first class, he does not fall down. One in the first class will surely make progress and achieve the result at the end.
As far as the third-class person in Krishna consciousness is concerned, although he has faith in the conviction that devotional service to Krishna is very good, he has no knowledge of Krishna through the scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Sometimes these third-class persons in Krishna consciousness have some tendency toward karma-yoga and jnana-yoga, and sometimes they are disturbed, but as soon as the infection of karma-yoga or jnana-yoga is vanquished, they become second-class or first-class persons in Krishna consciousness.
Those who have no faith even after hearing about Krishna and the excellence of devotional service, who think that it is simply eulogy, find the path very difficult, even if they are supposedly engaged in devotional service. For them there is very little hope in gaining perfection. Thus faith is very important in the discharge of devotional service.