[Advaita-l] Is it correct to translate shraddha as Faith?

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 22 02:32:42 CDT 2003

>>6.	Shall we conclude that the Paramacharya  relies on blind faith rather 
>>than logic?

>It should be obvious that he relies on both, indeed regards them as 
>complementary.  (And what is so >blind about faith anyway?)

It is wrong to translate the sanskrit word shraddha as faith. In fact it is 
wrong to translate deva as God or dharma as religion. There has been intense 
discussion on other forums on the distortions caused by use of English. The 
last straw was when it was discovered recently that even translation of the 
following basic sanskrit words has totally distorted the subject:

varNasamaamnaaya ==> alphabet
varnas ==> sounds
svaras ==>vowels
vyanjanas ==>consonants
sparzas ==>mutes (every heard of the word sparza being used for the 25 
varnas namely kavarga, cavarga, Tavarga, tavarga, pavarga? We will talk more 
about it a bit later.)
antasthas ==> semi-vowels
ooshmas ==> spirants
The list is endless.

Use of the correct sanskrit wording is itself a saadhana, as it reveals many 
praaNaayamas in every word. Our traditions are designed in such a way 
practice of rituals or use of the terminology itself is a sadhana.

For instance Sri Gaudapaadaachaya declared that asparza yoga is the highest 
of all yogas, where yogis see fear but where there is really no fear. What 
is asparza? it is no other than non-perception of the 25 varNas called 
sparzas which involve a clear contact between the hanus (jaws). ooshmas 
involve almost as much contact as sparzas but throat doesn't close fully. 
For antasthas there is absolutely no contact. For svaras throat is fully 
closed. of the svaras, aum is the highest. This is the hierarchy of varNas 
as per advaita. All this information is available for the asking in various 

Coming back to shraddha: Shraddha, the keenness to understand, requires 
admission that there exists something higher that controls us that we do not 
know. If one is over-confident of what one knows there can be no shraddha. 
To actualize shraddha one has to exhaust one's attentiveness of known 
objects, analyze every thought and decide that the known thoughts are merely 
transformations of each other,  and ultimately there is one force that 
controls us namely praaNa unknowingly. Therefore as acquisition of shraddha 
involves exhaustion of known objects and concepts, it requires highest level 
of attentivity, so question of blind faith does not arise.

Best regards

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