This is in continuation of my article ‘Hindus Shradha:” An Unbreakable Faith Of Hindutva” Part 1 and 2 were published on September 12th and 13th, 2021
One’s Shradha/Faith is the sum of any credence. They carry so much importance in one’ life as it is derived from holy scriptures and is carried from one generation to another. Also, Shradha/Faith is derived from either one’s decisions, or the conclusions, which are however drawn from their life’s experience.
One can think of another person as either good or bad, friendly or unfriendly but it is considered as his thinking or his choice and has nothing to do with Shradha/Faith. It is completely one’s opinions about others and most of these opinions or choices are only related to that person and are entirely based upon thinking, learning, and values. Therefore, it is ancillary to differentiate between Sanatanis Shradha/Faith and opinions or choices as clearly mentioned in our scripture.
Now, Let’s look at what Bhagwan Shri Krishna preaches to Arjuna about faith in the battlefield of Kurukshetra which can help us to examine our Shradha/Faith.
In chapter 3, Karm Yoga, Bhagwan Krishna very beautifully, the Supreme Lord terms the principle (siddhānt) explained by him as an opinion (mata). An opinion is a personal view, while a principle is a universal fact. Opinions can differ amongst teachers, but the principle is the same. Philosophers and teachers name their opinion as a principle, but in the Bhagvad Gita, the Lord has named the principle explained by him as opinion. By his example, Krishna ji is teaching us humility and cordiality.
ये मे मतमिदं नित्यमनुतिष्ठन्ति मानवा: |
श्रद्धावन्तोऽनसूयन्तो मुच्यन्ते तेऽपि कर्मभि: ||3.31||
ye me matam idaṁ nityam anutiṣhṭhanti mānavāḥ
śhraddhāvanto ’nasūyanto muchyante te ’pi karmabhiḥ
Those who abide by these teachings of mine, with profound Shradha/Faith and free from cavil, are released from the bondage of karma.
In Chapter 4, Jñāna Karm Sanyās Yog, of Bhagwad Geeta Shree Krishna introduces the concept of Shradha/Faith in the context of knowledge. Not all spiritual truths are immediately perceptible; some of them can only be experienced after having attained sufficient elevation on the path. If one only accepts what can presently verify or comprehend, then he will be bereft of the higher spiritual secrets. Shradha/Faith helps everyone accept what cannot understand at present.
श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानं तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: |
ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति ||4.39||
śhraddhāvān labhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ sanyatendriyaḥ
jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śhāntim achireṇādhigachchhati
Those whose faith is deep and who have practiced controlling their mind and senses attain divine knowledge. Through such transcendental knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace.
In chapter 6, Dhyān Yog of Bhagwad Geeta, Bhagwan Krishna clearly mentioned that the journey toward God-realization begins with Shraddha (Faith). Many sincere souls develop Shradha in the divine knowledge of the scriptures by virtue of the values (sanskārs)of their past lives, or the association of saints, or reversals in the world, etc. There can be many reasons that create the Shraddha required to begin the journey. However, if these aspirants do not put in the necessary effort and become lax (ayatiḥ), then the mind remains restless (chalit). Such aspirants are unable to complete the journey in this life. Arjun inquiries into the fate of such sādhaks.
अर्जुन उवाच |
अयति: श्रद्धयोपेतो योगाच्चलितमानस: |
अप्राप्य योगसंसिद्धिं कां गतिं कृष्ण गच्छति || 6.37||
ayatiḥ śhraddhayopeto yogāch chalita-mānasaḥ
aprāpya yoga-sansiddhiṁ kāṅ gatiṁ kṛiṣhṇa gachchhati
Arjun said: What is the fate of the unsuccessful yogi who begins the path with faith, but who does not endeavor sufficiently, due to unsteady mind, and is unable to reach the goal of Yog in this life?
Later in the same chapter, Krishan Bhagwan describes different types of yogis. Amongst yogis, there are Karm yogis, bhakti yogis, jnana yogis, ashtanga yogis, etc. Bhagwan Ji puts to rest the debate about which form of Yog is the highest. Shree Krishna declares the bhakti yogi to be the highest, superior to even the best ashtanga yogi and haṭha yogi. That is because bhakti, or devotion, is the highest power of God. It is such a power that binds Krishna and makes him a slave of his devotee. So it is only through his Shraddha that a devotee can have a close relationship with Krishna.
योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना |
श्रद्धावान्भजते यो मां स मे युक्ततमो मत: ||6.47||
yoginām api sarveṣhāṁ mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā
śhraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
Of all yogis, those whose minds are always absorbed in me, and who engage in devotion to me with great faith, then I consider being the highest of all.
“The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great Sharadha/Faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths”.
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