Friday, February 25, 2022

Eknath Easwaran, from the introduction to The Bhagavad Gita

 “One last untranslatable concept and I will let the Gita speak for itself. That concept is shraddha, and its nearest English equivalent is faith. I have translated it as such, but shraddha means much more. It is literally ‘that which is placed in the heart’: all the beliefs we hold so deeply that we never think to question them. It is the set of values, axioms, prejudices, and prepossessions that colors our perceptions, governs our thinking, dictates our responses, and shapes our lives, generally without our even being aware of its presence and power.

This may sound philosophical, but shradda is not an intellectual abstraction. It is our very substance. The Gita says, ‘A person is what his shraddha is’ (17:3). The Bible uses almost the same words: ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ Shraddha reflects everything that we have made ourselves and points to what we have become. But there is nothing passive about shraddha. It is full of potency, for it prompts action, conditions behavior, and determines how we see and therefore respond the world around us…”


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