Shraddha( Faith) is a crucial aspect of spiritual practice as it helps in completing it. However, without faith, it is impossible to complete one’s spiritual practice. Thus, it is imperative to understand the meaning of faith. The word shraddha is derived from “rit” and “dha,” where “rit” has three meanings – truth, the law of nature, and the law of rituals. On the other hand, “dha” means to retain.
Therefore, shraddha means to retain the truth. To understand the meaning of faith, one needs to use their intellect to comprehend the truth. Intellect plays a crucial role in retaining the truth, and only then it can be called faith. Therefore, intellect and wisdom are essential in retaining the truth.
Furthermore, the act of retaining is associated with emotions. Hence, the word shraddha is a combination of intellect and emotion. Shraddha is a firm belief in truth and in any person or thing that we hold in high esteem and respect. It is characterised by a feeling of devotion and a deep respect for what we believe in. Shradha embodies the essence of trust and respect. It represents the ultimate goal of a person’s life, which is to gain knowledge and guidance from a guru or mentor who commands our utmost reverence and respect, and whose teachings we consider to be the ultimate truth.
In essence, shradha is a firm belief in the truth. So Shraddha (faith) is a combination of intellect and emotion. The word “rit” in shraddha means truth, which relates to the intellect. The word “dha” means to hold or retain, which relates to our emotions. Only when intellect and emotions are coordinated, our spiritual practice will be successful.
Blind faith is when we start to believe things that have no connection with wisdom or intellect or are against the laws of nature, causality, or logic. The opposite of faith is when we move far from the truth and start making decisions based solely on emotions. People who are emotional but lack the capacity to discern truth can be dangerous to society. Hence, the two qualities in faith, intellect, and emotion, need to be in equilibrium to complete our spiritual practice.
How we attain faith
To attain Shradha (faith) it is important to first cultivate self-awareness and self-reflection through practises such as meditation, pranayama and self-study. This helps us understand the truth about ourselves and our connection to the world around us. Through the guidance of a teacher, or guru, we can deepen our understanding and belief in the truth. This belief should be based on our own direct experience rather than blind faith. And also to attain faith, one needs to balance intellect and emotion.
Blind faith, which is based solely on emotion and not aligned with wisdom and intellect, should be avoided. Similarly, opposing faith with unnecessary preaching based on emotional decisions should also be avoided.
Therefore, to attain faith, one needs to cultivate a balanced approach that combines wisdom and emotion. This can be achieved through spiritual practice and developing an understanding of the laws of nature and causality.
Yoga is a holistic practice that can help us balance our intellect and emotions. Here are a few ways in which yoga can help us achieve this balance:
Asana Practice: Practising yoga asanas can help us improve our physical health and increase our awareness of our body. This awareness can help us develop a better understanding of our emotions and how they affect us physically. Some asanas
Tadasana (Mountain Pose): Helps in improving posture, balance, and concentration.
Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): Helps in enhancing focus, stability, and mental clarity.
Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose): Helps in promoting balance, coordination, and concentration.
Balasana (Child’s Pose): Helps in calming the mind and reducing stress.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): Helps in improving focus, reducing anxiety, and boosting confidence.
Pranayama: Pranayama or yogic breathing techniques can help us regulate our breath and calm our mind. When our mind is calm, we are better able to make decisions that are not based solely on our emotions.
Nadi Shodhana: Helps in balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain and calming the mind.
Kapalabhati : Helps in improving mental clarity, concentration, and focus.
Ujjayi: Helps in regulating the breath, reducing stress, and promoting a calm and focused mind Meditation: Meditation is a powerful tool for developing mental clarity and emotional balance. It can help us cultivate a deep sense of inner peace and connect with our inner wisdom.
Self-introspection: Yoga encourages self-reflection, which is the process of examining our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Through self-reflection, we can become more aware of our emotions and thought patterns, and we can work towards transforming them.
Overall, practising yoga regularly can help us develop a more balanced approach to life, where our intellect and emotions work in harmony to guide us towards our goals.