[Advaita-l] Faith vs. Sraddha

Siva Senani Nori sivasenani at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 5 23:38:13 CDT 2009

Sri Kartik, praNaam!

Sincere effort cannot be Sraddhaa. Take the case of a Christian Indologist, who learns Sanskrit or Tamil with great devotion, and works on the scriptures with earnestness of purpose far exceeding that of a native, believing saadhaka - who might not be very regular, who might not follow up every lead to its end etc., but who has a simple unquestioning belief which regulates his actions (he would definitely prostrate before a Sanyasi, he would actually be scared to do something he might classify as paapam etc.) Now, the Max Mullers of the world, however influential or learned or dedicated or keen, would not be classified as having Sraddhaa, but the native believer, however sloppy, would be classified as having Sraddhaa, the few times he gets around to, or compelled to, saadhana.

Thus, Sraddhaa arises from Faith and is expected to lead to effort. I suspect that over the years, every absence of effort was ultimately traced back to absence of strength in belief, and Sraddhaa came to be judged by effort rather than belief.


From: S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com>
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2009 8:28:02 PM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Faith vs. Sraddha

I've been thinking about the two terms for sometime now, and do not accept that "Faith" is a reasonable translation of "Sraddha" for the following reason.

The most critical distinction between the two words is:

  Faith: Does not require Effort.

  Sraddha: Requires Effort.

The above difference is not minor, and in fact leads to serious consequences in the way one understands a spiritual path.

Consider an example of a person X: He lies, steals, and lives a life full of sense-pleasures. But he "believes" in God and Scripture.

As anyone familiar with the English language (not only Christians) will tell you, X has faith because he "believes", but I think I can safely say that Sanskrit scholars (or Vedantins of any kind, whether Advaita, Visishtadvaita, Dvaita, or any other) will NOT accept that X has Sraddha.

Personally, I feel that Effort is so crucial to Sraddha that I have no tolerance for people who eat meat, drink wine, live as they please and claim that they're "Vedantins" because they "believe" in the dictum "Aham Brahmasmi". They may have faith, but they have no Sraddha!


PS: To quote the instance during which Ramana Maharshi narrated the story of Sraddha again-

"A devotee obtained a copy of Sri Bhagavan’s work
Ulladu Narpadu (Forty Verses on Reality) and began to
write out the entire work for himself. Seeing him doing this
writing with earnestness, though with a certain amount of
difficulty and strain, since the devotee was not accustomed
to squatting and doing continuous writing work, Bhagavan
told the story of a sannyasi and his disciples to illustrate
what is called sraddha – earnestness of purpose."

Honestly, does anyone think that Ramana Maharshi appreciated the devotee's "Belief" or his "Effort" as Sraddha? IMHO, it was the latter and not the former.

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