Gita Daily Readings

28th June
Chapter IX: 3
Those who have no faith in this dharma (knowledge of the self), Oh Arjuna, return to the path of this world of death without attaining me.

Commentary

The word "shraddha" cannot be easily translated. Merely translating it into "faith" does not make it clear. However, the rest of the verse gives an indication of its meaning. If that something called "shraddha" is not there, you do not reach the truth or self-realization. If you do not reach self-realization, you experience birth and death again and again. You are trapped in this world in which you constantly experience happiness and unhappiness, success and failure, pleasure and pain. When this "shraddha" arises, then the constant succession of changes - beginnings and endings - is like water on a duck's back and the ultimate truth becomes "realizable by direct intuitional knowledge."

"Shraddha" - we shall call it faith - is important. If a man has no faith in a teaching he fails to adopt it in his life. Hence, though this dharma (knowledge of the self) is a kingly science and though God and all saints are ever ready, willing and eager to bring more and more souls on to this path, the path becomes a "kingly secret."

Lack of faith makes us doubt the value of practice, so we wallow in delusion! If we have the necessary faith, however, we take up the practice and realize that self-knowledge which is superior to all else.

Self-knowledge is different from a layman's knowledge of the radio; all he knows is how to turn the knobs, the rest was done by the engineer. In self-knowledge there is no second-hand knowledge, hearsay or dependence upon the authority of someone else. Here, we accept a working hypothesis - on faith - practice yoga, attain direct realization and prove the hypothesis ourselves.

Faith itself will purify our heart and mind. If it does not lead to this, self-purification, it is not "shraddha." Our heart and soul are polluted because of our identification of the soul with inert and changing matter. Rainwater is pure, but is polluted on coming into contact with the earth. When this identification of the self with the body and mind ceases, we regain our pristine purity. If we have this "shraddha," then we let life flow in a profound realization - which has been described in the rest of this chapter.

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