Śraddhā - trust

Q: Śraddhā kīdṛśī? Of what nature is sraddha? A: Guru-vēdāntavākyādiṣu viśvāsaḥ śraddhā

Trust in the words of the teacher and Vedanta is śraddhā.

Generally we translate śraddhā as faith or trust. Trust for what? Trust in everything I am saying here? No. Trust that Vedanta is the pramānam-means of knowledge to reveal the nature of the Self. Let us understand more about pramānam. Our organs of perception are a valid means of knowledge for gaining knowledge of external object. Our eyes are valid means to gain the knowledge of colour and form. Our ears are valid means to gain knowledge of the sound. All our organs are pramānam for their corresponding objects. Therefore we have śraddhā-trust in them (organs) and their operation in their field. In the same manner we should have śraddhā towards vedanta as the pramānam to reveal the nature of the Self. Vedānto nāmopanisatpramānam - Vedānta is the Upanishad, which is the means of knowledge for the truth about the Self. The Self is not available for perception. It can not grasps by any organ of perception, nor by inference, presumption, etc. It is only known through Vedānta, which works like a mirror for us to know about ourselves.

This trust is not easy to have, because the knowledge of the Self is different from any other knowledge which can be there. If we don't know certain language, and we would like to know, we can go one who know the language and having trust to learn from him/her. But who will go to other to know about one's own self?

Everybody have their own view about one's own self, who knows my self better then me? Therefore to have trust toward another entity for Self knowledge is not an easy thing. When the trust is not there, it is difficult for one to continue study. Therefore śraddhā here is a believe with pending understanding which the means have to be employed. Vedānta is the means, telling that I am limitless, all knowing, all pervading, etc, but what I experience is quite a different things. How can I have trust on it? Here is the roles of the Guru to unfold and handle the words of śāstra, so we can understand what does śāstra mean.

Invest some times for Vedānta study and let the understanding take place. Let the prāmanam operates by its own, just like how we employ our eye alone for sight to take place.

Q: Samādhānaṁ kiṁ? What is samadhana? A: Cittaikāgratā

It is focusing the mind on one thing.

The mind focuses on one thing means the capacity of the attention spend on our goal. In our life, we have a lot of goals, short and long term goals. The focusing here is to keep the goals in mind, and the activities for supporting the realisation of the goals also must be there. When moksa - liberation is my ultimate goal, then focusing the mind on the teaching of Vedānta is ekagratā. Therefore we must regularly spend a good amount of time for śravana - listening to the vedānta teaching and contemplate the teaching, seeing it in our life.

Qualification 4: Mumukṣutvaṁ - Intense desire for freedom Q: Mumukṣutvaṁ kiṁ? What is mumuksutvam?

A: Mōkṣō mē bhūyād iti icchā It is the desire, “May I have liberation (freedom).”

We have a lot of desire in our life, and they are changing together with time and situation. A given situation invokes a desire. Sometimes when we are having vacation overseas, and we like the place very much, it invoke our desire to move there. But after we come back to our home with our comfortable daily routine, we tend to forget about it. The desire is not consistent, because our thought is also not consistent. Some people might have very consistent desire, but because too much obstacle, it also will subsides. So what is the ultimate desire (if you only can have one desire)? The desire by fulfilled which, nothing I desire more. This is freedom from desire. Fulfilling the desire means to end the desiring, isn't it? Is there such a desire? Yes, only when my only desire is to know my true nature which is of the nature of fullness, then nothing I desire more. Because desiring is the manifestation of sense of lack, and when I know my true nature is limitless, fullness, what else I should desire for? Therefore the only intense desire I am having is to own up my true nature which is ever limitless and ever full, then I am free from the bondages which all along are only my wrong notion.

Etat sādhanacatuṣṭayaṁ |

Tatastattva vivekasyādhikāriṇō bhavanti ||

This is the four-fold means. Thereafter (consequent to gaining these) they become qualified persons for the discriminative knowledge of truth.

Because of Viveka (start from dharma-adharma viveka - discriminative knowledge between what is ethics and non-ethics, bring one toward the enquiry of ātma-anātma viveka - discriminative knowledge between real and not real), brings about vairagya - dispassion toward enjoyment here and here after, which make possible for śamādisadkasampattih - 6 fold disciplines that result in mumuksutvam-intense desire for freedom.

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