[Advaita-l] sAdhana and SraddhA: VivekachUDAmaNi-bhAshhya

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 6 20:08:15 CDT 2009

This will be my last posting on this thread of SraddhA. I totally understand the concern of others being distracted from these postings that are all about one word.

The most important text in advaita VedAnta that clearly defines SraddhA is the VivekachUDamaNi, verse 26:

  SAstrasya guruvAkyasya satyabudhyAvadhAraNA .
  sA SraddhA kathitA sadbhiH yayA vastUpalabhyate ..

  "Conviction that the Scripture and the Guru's teaching
  is True is called SraddhA, by which Reality is known (or reached)."

Now, it appears as if SraddhA is along the same lines as "Faith" in the English language. But H.H. chandrashekhara BhAratI mahAsvAmigaL writes in his commentary on that verse:

  nAnyaH tAdR^isha sAdhana-hInaH iti SraddhA tadanantaraM
  parigaNitA guruvedAntavAkya vishhayANi .

  "To one who has NOT undergone sAdhana ("sAdhana-hInaH"),
  Sraddha in VedAnta in the form of the Guru's statements will NOT arise."

Note that H.H. implicitly assumes that one who has reached the stage of SraddhA has ALREADY undergone sAdhana! In other words:

  sAdhana --> SraddhA

Which implies that sAdhana is a *pre-requisite* for SraddhA. Thus when advaitins speak of a disciple having SraddhA, it implies that the disciple has already undertaken sAdhana to a considerable extent.

Contrasting this with what is generally known in the English language (or for that matter, all Western religions):

  Faith --> Spiritual Quest

Which is in the exact *opposite* sequence of sAdhana and SraddhA. It is like putting the cart before the horse!

Besides, Faith as understood in the English language is not necessarily preceded or followed by effort. Faith can exist without any effort whatsoever, which is not the case with SraddhA which arises only after sAdhana.

IMHO, SraddhA is along the lines of "Conviction that one's sAdhana will lead to Reality as guided or revealed by Scripture".



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