[Advaita-l] Is it correct to translate shraddha as Faith?
vaidix at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 22 02:32:42 CDT 2003
>>6. Shall we conclude that the Paramacharya relies on blind faith rather
>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
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.
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