[Advaita-l] shraddhAshraddha - Objective - subjective

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 22 05:15:15 CDT 2011


>The vyAkhyA on this Vivekachudamani verse itself by Sri Nrisimha
>Bharati glosses 'avadhAraNA' as nothing but ''dRDha-vishvAsaH'. It
>also expounds ... "guruNA vedAntaishca bodhyamAnam vastu vishvasiti --
>idam evam eva -- iti".  Gita 9.3 is also quoted, and bhAShyakAra
>glosses 'ashraddhadAnaH' there as 'AtmaGYAnasya dharmasya asya svarUpe
>tatphale ca nAstikAH'. This again, is in line with the
>kaivalyopaniShad where Swami Shankarananda glosses 'shraddhA' as

1) Thanks for the precise input. So it is clear that in the context of vedAnta 
and especially shankara vedAnta, it is clear that vishvAsa is linked or a 
component of shraddhA. 

So no further arguments will be advanced against this.

But precisely speaking shraddhA then is something greater than faith going by 
the clarifications provided by AchArya-s.

That said, I discovered by just googling yesterday that I am the not only one 
who doubted that shraddha can be translated as faith.  I have noticed atleast 
one instance on the web by a traditional shrIvaiShNava who translated shraddhA 
as sincerety and the buddhists and others objected to shraddhA being translated 
as faith.

Also consider the usage by paNDita-s "Bhavani Shankarau Vande Shraddha 
Vishwasarupinau | Yabhyam Vina Na Pashyanti Siddhah Swantasthmiswaram" where 
shraddhA and vishvAsa are seen as different but intertwined like shiva and 

Thank you Sriram for pointing out the alternate definitions of shraddhA.

2) Now getting back to the post from which we took this diversion:

It started with the statement that faith is not required for a mantra unlike a 
prayer. This is of-course just one of the many other differences we have between 
a prayer and mantra.

The main reason for saying faith is a non-requirement is to show that mantra-s 
are not subjective unlike a prayer.

In the ratnaTIkA of kauNDinya on the pAshupata sUtra-s, it is mentioned that 
japa of mantra-s when one is attached to something else i.e. without proper 
attention is said to bring only harm. Notice that it just does not say japa 
without detachment does not yield fruit.. it adds that it brings harm. This is a 
very important point to note because a prayer does not bring harm if said 
without attention. The direct implication of this is that, mantra-s are filled 
with an objective power that cannot be explained psychologically. [Here I 
adopted the words of an Indologist Dr.Oberhammer] The context is the discussion 
of pa~ncha brahma mantra-s especially the bahurUpI and the raudrI gAyAtrI.

This peculiar property of the mantra-s bringing harm when perfomed incorrectly 
is stressed again in the Agama/tantra literature. This is not the case for 

Going further, jaina mantravAdin-s perform elaborate rituals to Hindu devata-s 
like vArtAlI, and other devata-s with mantra-s which do not differ much from the 
Hindu ones. This is also true of the bauddha mantrins to a reasonable extent. 
The jaina-s and bauddha-s are definitely not Astika-s i.e. they are nAstika-s 
i.e. they do not beleive in shruti. We see from many historical records and also 
by observing present day jaina and bauddha mantravAdin-s that they are quite 
successful with those mantra-s. This is direct evidence.

Though the bauddha jaina examples are given we need go that far: Yesterday I had 
a conversation on this with a senior upAsaka friend and he confirmed his 
anubhava that no faith/belief is required for mantra related practice but 
constant and consistent performance with attention is all is required and this 
is in line with svAnubhava.

Taking this into account that particular definition of shraddhA where there is 
element of faith(in the Hindu scriptures) is embedded cannot he applied to the 
context of mantra practice. It may be applied to vedAnta study/vichAra or it may 
applied to only vaidika mantras(the example in the quoted parable being rudram).

So shraddhA in the context of mantra shAstra should be defined only as 
constancy/consistency or performing with attention. Like in example that Sriram 
showed as being kArya dIkSha. This would be more apt given that the shatapatha 
brAhmaNa is a ritualistic text, its definition is more appropriate to mAntra 
related practice.



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