[Advaita-l] Faith vs. Sraddha

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Apr 6 07:15:05 CDT 2009

A 'word over the shoulder at the door' on this topic : it's the Abrahamic
religions or 'faiths' that need to reconsider the meaning of 'faith'.. then
perhaps the world would talk with one voice..


-----Original Message-----
From: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
[mailto:advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org]On Behalf Of Amuthan
Sent: 06 April 2009 05:51
To: sjayana at yahoo.com; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Faith vs. Sraddha

Dear SrI JayanArAyaNan,

   I do not wish to carry on with this thread on the translation of
the word 'SraddhA'; so let me make my point one last time and stop.
Regarding your previous mail where you quoted SrI RamaNa Maharshi, I
don't actually see any contradiction between what I said and that.
That 'SraddhA' is used in more than one sense was never a point of
disagreement. The difference was only on which translation best
reflects its spirit. And I still think 'SraddhA' is better translated
as 'faith' since that is what it primarily means.

  Let us look at Sa~Nkara BhagavatpAda's bhAshya on gItA 4.39:
'SraddhAvAn labhate j~nAnam...'. The bhAshya goes like this:
'SraddhAvAn SraddhAluH labhate j~nAnam. ** SradhAlutve.api bhavati
kaScit mandaprashAnaH, ata Aha tatparaH gurUpAsadanAdau abhiyuktaH
j~nAnalabdhyupAye SraddhAvAn.**...' 'The man who has faith attains
knowledge. **Even when one has faith one may be indolent. Therefore
the Lord says, tatparaH, one who is diligent, steadfast in the service
of the teacher etc. which are the means of attaining knowledge.**...'
(Sw. GambhIrAnanda's translation).

  It should be obvious from the above excerpt that SraddhA primarily
means faith since otherwise the additional qualification _tatparaH_
would become redundant; The very fact that tatparaH is mentioned after
SraddhAvAn implies that SraddhAvan refers to one who just has faith
and doesn't put in any effort. You probably want to stress that
SraddhA needs to come in a package with all zeal and sincerity; thats
the point of this Sloka 'yaH ... SraddAvAn tatparaH saMyatendriyaH
*ca* saH avaSyaM j~nAnaM labhate' (AcArya's bhAshya). But this does
not mean we can can take the liberty in translating SraddhA with all
these external implications. It only means that SraddhA i.e. Faith has
to be supplanted with other qualities.

  I agree with SrI RAghavendra's point that the translation should be
done based on the audience to whom you're talking. Otherwise 'SraddhA'
is better than any english equivalent and as long as the meaning in
the larger context is understood, one need not waste too much time in
such translation issues. Lets stop this here.


On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 8:28 PM, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana_at_yahoo.com>
> 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
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