[Advaita-l] Sola Fide (was Re: Sraddha and Chitta-shuddhi)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 2 10:19:39 CDT 2009

--- On Thu, 4/2/09, Raghavendra Hebbalalu <hs_raghavendra at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: Raghavendra Hebbalalu <hs_raghavendra at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Sraddha and Chitta-shuddhi
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org, sjayana at yahoo.com
> Date: Thursday, April 2, 2009, 4:54 AM
> namaste,
> 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.

That is NOT the case according to the definition of "Faith" in the Christian context:


  "The doctrine of sola fide or "faith alone" asserts God's pardon for
  guilty sinners is granted to and received through faith or belief alone,

The above implies that one can have "Faith" WITHOUT any effort or action. The example from Ramana Maharshi shows that Sraddha is deeply entwined with and NEVER decoupled from human effort and action. In fact, according to Ramana Maharshi, the Grace of God cannot be obtained without Effort!

All terms such as "God", "Salvation", "Faith", etc. are primarily used in the English language in the Christian context, and we should be very careful before lifting them and placing the same in the Vedanta context!

> 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. 
> Regards,
> -Raghavendra
> 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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