[Advaita-l] Sraddha and Chitta-shuddhi

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 1 20:43:28 CDT 2009

In case someone didn't get the gist:

Sraddha is better translated as "Deep sense of Dedication to the task at hand". Even if a person learns Logic or Science with sincerity and dedication, he has Sraddha. OTOH, if a person worships the Deities in a sloppy manner, he doesn't have Sraddha!

The word "pleasure" used in the write-up below may be substituted by "joy". I left it unaltered so as to retain the words of my teacher as-is.

The idea is that one derives true joy from doing one's duty with Sraddha or sense of dedication, especially Vedokta Karmas. This leads to Chitta-shuddhi or purity of mind.

--- On Wed, 4/1/09, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Sraddha and Chitta-shuddhi
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 3:37 PM
> Below is a Vedic scholar's reply to a simple question of
> mine: "What is Sraddha?" Even without my asking,
> he has linked it to Chitta-shuddhi. If one is under the
> misapprehension that Sraddha is merely translated as
> "faith", read on!
> ----------------------------------------
> Dear Jayanarayanan,
> ...Please carry on and propagate our Vedic culture to as
> many as possible.
> 	Regarding your question about Sraddha, I have to say that
> the word has been translated incorrectly and insufficiently
> as “faith” (nambike in Kannada or nambikkai in Tamil).
> No doubt Sraddha also means “faith” but it is a very
> constricted meaning of that word...
> 	Otherwise the word Sraddha means a lot more. There is a
> Sukta on Sraddha itself consisting of six mantras and in the
> Kathaka, Sraddha is imagined as a deity and an Ishti is
> performed to her with two mantras. In all theses, Sraddha
> means the way in which you do a work, whether religious or
> wordly.
> 	One must do a work with involvement, dedication,
> participation and identification. All the indriyas (eye,
> ears, nose, mouth, hands, mind and the whole body) must get
> involved in the work that he does. This is more so when one
> is doing Vedokta karmas for Chitta suddhi. That is why in
> almost all of our Vedokta karmas the rituals are so
> performed that all the indriyas get engaged in the work
> being done and co-operate with the mind which is
> contemplating the meaning of the mantra. When one is
> performing a puja or a homa, his mind must be contemplating
> on the mantrartha or the stotrartha that he is reciting, the
> eyes are engaged in enjoying the sight of the deity (an
> idol, or a photograph or Agni), the ears are engaged in
> listening to the stotra of the deity, the nose is enjoying
> the fragrance of the flowers or the fragrance of the Homa
> smoke, the mouth is engaged in the recitation, the hands are
> busy with performance of the Puja or the Homa and the whole
>  body is still in a posture convenient for the ritual. Thus
> all the Indriyas are involved in co-operating with the mind
> thinking of the deity. Then the pleasure is complete and one
> feels a sense of fulfillment or Dhanyata. The absence of
> even one factor reduces the pleasure which is nothing but
> Chittasuddhi.
> 	That is why Sankara in his Bhashya said “viveka
> vignanavato hi kartavyeshu artheshu prathamaha shraddha
> utpadyate” (it is only in people with power of 
> discrimination and complete Vedantha Jnana that Sraddha can
> be seen). One must get a taste (ruchi) in what he is doing,
> that is Sraddha. No doubt, as a first step, we do obey the
> orders of elders in doing certain things. Later as Viveka
> starts setting in one must understand the intrinsic worth of
> what he is doing and do it with a taste for it. Sraddha is
> involved even in Vedic recitation, first of all I taught you
> some Veda mantras and you just repeated them without
> thinking much about it. Now that you are at a stage when you
> can discriminate you must understand what you have learned
> and enjoy the recitation... Once you start understanding the
> meaning behind the Mantras and their purpose Sraddha can be
> seen and felt even in the tone and way of recitation. When
> the whole body with all the Indriyas and
>  the mind is fully involved the face of the doer exudes a
> sanctified glow indicating Sraddha.
> 	This, we can find in many of our worldly activities. We
> watch a cricket match on TV and get so involved in it that
> we do not know what is happening around us. We listen to
> good music and get completely lost. We sit before the
> computer trying to solve a complicated problem and we get to
> involved that we do not know even if our boss is coming and
> standing behind us. That is Sraddha Jayanarayanan, it is not
> just faith.
> 	When we invite somebody (in whom we have a lot of respect)
> to our house, and when we do know previously his likes and
> dislikes we must make sincere efforts to procure things
> which he likes. That is Sraddha. The other day (recently),
> my book on “Samsakaras and human values” was released.
> Without my telling anybody, all of my sishyas and friends
> had assembled there with our traditional dhoti and
> angavastram. It was a sight to look at so many people in
> traditional attire and it resembled a rishyasrama. All of
> them knew my mind and acted accordingly. That is Sraddha. On
> my mothers ceremony day, it was quite cold in Bangalore
> (early Feb) and we arragned for warm water for the Brahmanas
> to wash their hands. After a heavy meal the pleasure of
> washing hands in warm water in a cold climate must only be
> experienced! One of them (Brahmanas) exclaimed “Ah!, this
> is Sraddha!!”.
> 	Jayanarayanan! There are several aspects of this Sraddha
> and it cannot be translated into English by one word.
> Maintaining punctuality is Sraddha. Replying without fail to
> someone who writes to you is Sraddha. The list goes on. Let
> me stop.
> 				Yours,
> 				Guruji


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