[Advaita-l] Sraddha and Chitta-shuddhi

Raghavendra Hebbalalu hs_raghavendra at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 2 04:54:31 CDT 2009

One of the famous shlokas of the VivekachUDAmaNi defines shraddhA as follows.

"shAstrasya guruvAkyasya satyabuddhyavadhAraNam |
sA shraddhA kathitA sadbhir-yayA vastUpalabhyate ||"

"Holding with conviction the words of shAstra and guru to be true is called shraddhA by the Holy. By her (shraddhA) is attained reality."

Monier-Williams dictionary translates shraddhA as "having faith in, believing in, trusting, faithful, having confidence".

The earlier story from ramaNa-mahaRShi illustrates the same. When the Guru asked the disciples to copy out the book, the disciple should have just done so. He did not have satyabuddhy-avadhAraNam in the Guru's words and hence no shraddhA. 

IMHO, shraddhA means not just believing in the vAchyArtha of the shAstravAkya or guruvAkya but in its lakShyArtha also. But what a vAkya implies can only be understood after much manana and consequent nididhyAsana. That way, shraddhA is not just straight-forward simple-minded belief, though some times simple-mindedness is mistaken to be shraddhA.

shraddhA dictates the way we act too - but I don't think action is part of the meaning. If we act differently from our faith, we don't really have faith. 

Maintaining shraddhA does require effort. If one has to continue to have shraddhA in shAstravAkya in the face of hundred occurrences everyday, it requires mental and intellectual effort, if not anything. And nobody can say that performing vedokta-karmANi (with shraddhA) does not include efforts of vAk, manas, kAya and buddhi. 


PS: As I see it, we "understand" the spirit behind the word shraddhA. Anything beyond this is quibbling over words, of which I am now guilty. 


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