Faith and Belief

I was talking with some friends about śraddhā on Facebook and I thought I would post this from Swami Veda's Volume I of the Yoga Sutra (1.20).

श्रद्धावीर्यस्मृतिसमाधिप्रज्ञापूर्वक इतरेषाम्॥२०॥
śraddhā-vīrya-smṛti-samādhi-prajñā-pūrvaka itareṣām ||20||

The samādhi of (some) others has as its preconditions faith, strength, intentness, meditation and the awakening of wisdom in samprajñāta. 

[Vyāsa] upāya-pratyayo yogināṁ bhavati | śraddhā cetasaḥ samprasādaḥ | sā hi jananīva kalyāṇī yoginaṁ pāti | tasya hi śraddadhānasya vivekārthino vīryam upajāyate | samupajāta-vīryasya smṛtir upatiṣṭhate | smṛty-upasthāne cittam anākulaṁ samādhīyate | samāhita-cittasya prajñā-viveka upāvartate | yena yathāvad vastu jānanti | tad-abhyāsāt tad-viṣayāc ca vairāgyād asamprajñātaḥ samādhir bhavati ||20|| 
Samādhi, the causal cognition of which is cultivated through method (upāya-pratyaya) accrues to the yogis:
  • Faith (śraddhā) means full clarity and pleasantness of the mind-field. Benevolent like a mother, she protects the yogi.
  • When that yogi holds to faith and seeks discriminating wisdom (viveka), strength (vīrya) gathers in him.
  • As strength gathers in him, intentness attends upon him.
  • At the presence of intentness the mind, free of disturbance, becomes harmonized and established in samādhi.
  • When the yogi’s mind-field has become harmonized and established in samādhi, the discrimination from awakening wisdom (prajñā-viveka) appears, and one then knows the exact reality (yathārtha-vastu).
By the practice (abhyāsa) of that and through dispassion (vairāgya) concerning it, the asamprajñāta samādhi occurs.

Swami Veda Bharati’s commentary (on śraddhā)
Śraddhā is a feminine word, expressive of a gentle quality, associated with humility and reverence, and not over assertiveness or fanaticism. Vyāsa says: "Benevolent like a mother, she protects the yogi."

She is a capable and strong (samarthā) mother, who protects the yogi from the possible calamity of falling onto the wrong path and from becoming attracted to allurements of pleasure (NB). She crushes the power of a thousand impediments so that no breach in the process of yoga may occur.

Such is not the śraddhā of those who have wavered and gone off the path to become videhas and prakṛti-layas. Even though they may have started off with a certain strength of faith and all the rest, they have weakened and turned away from unwavering pursuit of self-realization. This śraddhā, the will to attain the final objective, produces endeavour, maturing in a certain virility and vigour (vīrya).

This is worth meditating on. Vyasa seems to be equating faith with the desire to find the truth, vivekārthī. In other words, faith means there is a truth to be believed in. Even the most atheist scientist and believer (!) in chaos theory has to admit to that.

So, we satkārya-vādins say, "Just as hunger indicates the existence of food, but not the quality of the food, so similarly faith indicates the existence of truth, but not necessarily the shape of that truth."

Belief is the shape truth takes. It is never objective because it is not based on fact but on interpretation of fact.

Nevertheless, after the fact of experience we use our rationalizing powers to interpret that experience in order to be able to reproduce it. By experience I mean of course "peak" experience. The goal of all śāstra and philosophy is quite simply happiness.

Faith means to believe that happiness exists (because I want it, therefore it must be there to fulfil that natural need), but not necessarily in the means to or content of that happiness.

But rationality applied to experience, engineered by faith can result in perfecting the problem of human happiness.


Anonymous said…
any comment on the genuineness of some of the "discovered" books being published by demian martins ?
Jagadananda Das said…
Is this you, Demian? He is doing a lot of research and finding manuscripts and so on that have never been found or published before. Naturally I think this is great work and it is nice to see that he is following in the footsteps of predecessors like Haridas Das Babaji and many others in serving Gaudiya Sahitya.
Anonymous said…
no not demian... I got the word wrong, supposed to be "authenticity", the material not the intention.
Anonymous said…

In equipoise, one hears the sound and sees the sparkling jewel of light before the brow; this is the awakening of wisdom of Samprajñāta.

Anonymous said…
One may also be interested in reading:

"Quintessence of the Highest Purpose: A Translation, Introduction and Analysis of Śrī Abhinavagupta's Paramārthasāra".
Jagadananda Das, is the Vyasa who commented on Ptanjali's Yoga-sutras the same as the Vyasa who is the author of the Vedanta-sutras? I think he is a different Vyasa because the Vyasa of Vedanta was not in full agreement with Patanjali's yoga philosophy. Please reply. Thanks.
Anonymous said…
vimalakalāśrayābhinavasrstimahā jananī
bharitatanuśca pañcamukhaguptarucirjanakah |
hrdayamanuttarāmrtakulam mama samsphuratāt || 1 ||

(My) mother, Vimalā, is (joyous with) the glory (of the festival [godhead] of my birth and), the ever new (abhinava) creation, her foundation the pure (vimala) energy (of the Moon). (My) father (Narasimhagupta) is the hidden (protected) (gupta) light (ruci) with five faces and His body is full. May the body (kula) of the nectar (amrta) of the Absolute (anuttara), my Heart, the emission (visarga), which is the vibrant (emissive) state of the united form (yāmala) of that couple (my father and mother, Śiva and Śakti), pulsate radiantly!


Festival from Old French festival, from Late Latin fēstīvālis, from Latin fēstīvus ‎(“festive”).


Festīvus from fēstus ‎+‎ -īvus.


Fēstus from Proto-Italic *fēs-tos, from Proto-Indo-European *dʰeh₁s-tos, from *dʰéh₁s ‎(“god, godhead, deity; sacred place”).


‘My’ own ‘Heart’ (hrdaya) is (Reality itself), that which truly exists (tathyam astu) denoted by such terms as Cosmic Bliss (jagadānanda).


Tantrāloka by Abhinavagupta with Commentary 'viveka' by Jayaratha, Translation and Notes by Mark Dyczkowski.
Anonymous said…
Many times have my thoughts wandered to your YouTube video entitled 'Gurvashtakam' (Vishwanath's Eight prayers to the Guru):

Whilst reading an excellent text "Dancing Forth the Divine Beloved: A Tantric Semiotics of the Body as Rasa in Classical Indian Dance" by Professor Jeffrey Lidke this morning; and whilst reading the following passage, my thoughts turned again to you:

"It is the reflective illumination that occurs through the coalescence of luminosity with self-reflective awareness.
For luminosity to know itself it must be embodied.
Through embodiment the self can be in touch with itself and thereby come to a condition of recognition.
For this reason Śiva dances the Līlā of Creation."

Source: See section entitled "Pandit Nataraj Ramakrishna and the Devadasi Andhra Natya Tradition", Page 8:
Anonymous said…

"The quintessential mind next becomes as a spark of fire (of itself), and remains as a dim star — a nebula, in the midst of the vacuity of the yet unborn universe."

Verse 18, chapter 64 of the Yoga-vāsiṣṭha-mahārāmāyaṇa


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