श्लोक 7, 8 (Part#2): श्रद्धा

In the last post we saw that Arjun showed three characteristics that made him eligible for receiving the supreme knowledge of Bhagavad Gita:

1. Ability to acknowledge that he is wrong, confused, and needed help.
2. Approach Shri Krishna, who is wiser, knowledgeable as a Guru.
3. Most importantly, having a श्रद्धा in Shri Krishna.

On the contrary, if we look at our lives, we find it very difficult to acknowledge our mistakes. Rarely, when we acknowledge our mistakes, we find it difficult to seek help from a qualified person. If we overcome that and find a qualified person as a guru, we still find it difficult to develop Shraddha (श्रद्धा).

That’s the reason we suffer in various situations in our lives.

As we can see from all the above characteristics, श्रद्धा is the most important, and without श्रद्धा no spiritual progress can happen.

BTW, श्रद्धा does not mean believing blindly. Instead, as we know, Bhagavad Gita is a two-way dialog with Arjun asking many questions/clarifications until he was satisfied.

If Shraddha does not mean “blind faith/belief”, then what does it mean?

Let’s try to understand it through an example.

When we had studied science in school, how did we approach that?

If you remember, we didn’t start with questioning the validity of the content of the science books.

We started with an assumption that the science book is correct and has knowledge worth acquiring. To help us with that assumption, many renowned scientists and teachers had vouched for the correctness of the content.

But, once we started, we did experimentation and compared the teaching of the teacher/book against the results of our experiments, making sure that they match. This way we ensured that we also get the same experiences/results as others.

That’s exactly what Shraddha (श्रद्धा) is – starting with a conviction or assumption that the information is correct and worth acquiring.

Applying the same method for understanding Bhagavad Gita, we need to start with a श्रद्धा that the Bhagavad Gita has knowledge that is correct and is worth acquiring. And to help us with that assumption, numerous renowned saints and philosophers throughout history have vouched for its credibility.

Once we start reading and make progress in acquiring the knowledge, we need to start applying that knowledge in our lives. As we get mastery on the usage, we must compare our experiences with that of those renowned saints and philosophers, making sure that they match.

That’s the only way to understand the Bhagavad Gita!

Let’s Pray Lord Shri Krishna to help each of us develop such श्रद्धा towards Bhagavad Gita and work on acquiring the knowledge and then using it in our lives.