[Advaita-l] shraddhAshraddha

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 21 05:31:00 CDT 2011


Let us look at it closely:

शास्त्रस्य गुरुवाक्यस्य सत्यबुद्ध्या अवधारणा |
सा श्रद्धा कथिता सद्भिः यया वस्तूपलभ्यते ॥

So shraddhA is defined as avadhAraNA of shAstra vAkya and guru vAkya with 
satyabuddhi. avadhAraNa is according to dictionary meaning the following:
--ascertainment affirmation , emphasis ; stating or holding with positiveness or 
assurance ; accurate determination , limitation (of the sense of words) , 
restriction to a certain instance or instances with exclusion of any other --

so shraddhA is this avadhAraNa i.e emphasis(or any meaning above) of shAstra 
vAkya and guru vAkya with satyabuddhi. Regarding the words satya(true) and 
buddhi there is no confusion.

So if we examine each word it looks like there is no place where the English 
word faith finds place here IMHO.  One can say faith is almost the same or 
synonymous as one of the English meanings given for avadhAraNa but let us ask if 
indeed faith can be used to describe avadhAraNa why is it not used?

I am at this point after seeing this definition and also coupled with the fact 
that a very sanskrit influenced language Telugu the word shraddhA is not in 
anyway used to mean faith, I am certain that the use of the word faith is a big 

The correct sanskrit word for faith is vishvAsa. Considering the usage of the 
word vishvAsa confirms this further. vishvasanIya i.e. trusted or something that 
can be trusted, andha-vishvAsa i.e blind faith.

Do we ever use the word shraddhA in normal Sanskrit literature to mean faith or 
trust? Any examples from the any kAvya or purANa? I would be interested in 
seeing them.



From: V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Mon, March 21, 2011 2:58:31 PM
Subject: [Advaita-l] Fwd: idaM na mama - The scientific evidence?

On Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 1:43 PM, Satish Arigela <satisharigela at yahoo.com>wrote:

> By the way shraddhA is not faith. That false equation of the word shraddhA
> with faith may be the main reason for contradiction.
> I will not try to give an alternate English word for it..but here is what I
> suggest. In Telugu we use the word shraddha (apparently it was adopted from
> Sanskrit). But we never use it to mean faith in something.
> Here are Telugu usages: shraddhA gA vinu  - meaning: listen
> intently/attentively or with focus - Any Telugu people can correct me if I
> am being unreasonable here.
> The first time my smArta teacher used the word shraddhA is when discussing
> detail of a mantra practice with me-- and though he is very good at English
> and we are having the conversation in English, he never used the word faith
> or belief or anything similar but used the word shraddhA and everytime to
> indicate something done with focus/attention or something done with
> constancy/consistency(i.e. without slightest deviation from what was
> prescribed).
> This is something to consider in understanding the shloka you quoted.
> Regards


The word shraddhA has a definite meaning in the shAstra, as defined in the

शास्त्रस्य गुरुवाक्यस्य सत्यबुद्ध्या अवधारणा |
सा श्रद्धा कथिता सद्भिः यया वस्तूपलभ्यते ॥

// Acceptance by firm judgment as *true* of what the Scriptures and the Guru
instruct, is called by sages Shraddhaa or faith, by means of which the
Reality is perceived.//

Thus shraddhA in the context of the shAstra is the firm conviction that what
the scripture and the Guru say is indeed true; it cannot be otherwise.  That
'satya buddhi' (satyatva buddhi)  in their words is shraddhaa.  In the
context of the mantra/Rudra, the firm conviction that the chanting of the
mantra will indeed bless me with chitta shuddhi by cleansing me of the sins
forms the basis for the person's taking it up for japa.

The meaning of 'attentiveness', etc. could be taken as accompanying the
fundamental shraddhA, usually translated as 'faith'.


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