We will include both various dictionary meanings of the word 'faith', as well as of the Sanskrit word 'sraddha'.
I. Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary
The L. fides, like its etymological cognate Gr., which it renders in the N.T., had the following principal senses: 1. Belief, trust. 2. That which produces belief, evidence, token, pledge, engagement. 3. Trust in its objective aspect, troth; observance of trust, fidelity.]
I. Belief, trust, confidence. 1. a. Confidence, reliance, trust (in the ability, goodness, etc., of a person; in the efficacy or worth of a thing; or in the truth of a statement or doctrine). Const. in, of. In early use, only with reference to religious objects; this is still the prevalent application, and often colours the wider use. b. Belief proceeding from reliance on testimony or authority. 2. Phrases. to give faith: to yield belief to. to pin one's faith to or upon: to believe implicitly. 3. Theol. in various specific applications. a. Belief in the truths of religion; belief in the authenticity of divine revelation (whether viewed as contained in Holy Scripture or in the teaching of the Church), and acceptance of the revealed doctrines. b. That kind of faith (distinctively called saving or justifying faith) by which, in the teaching of the N.T., a sinner is justified in the sight of God. This is very variously defined by theologians (see quots.), but there is general agreement in regarding it as a conviction practically operative on the character and will, and thus opposed to the mere intellectual assent to religious truth (sometimes called speculative faith). c. The spiritual apprehension of divine truths, or of realities beyond the reach of sensible experience or logical proof. By Christian writers often identified with the preceding; but not exclusively confined to Christian use. Often viewed as the exercise of a special faculty in the soul of man, or as the result of supernatural illumination. 4. That which is or should be believed. a. A system of religious belief, e.g. the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc., faith. Also, confession, rule of faith, for which see those words. b. the faith: the true religion; usually = the Christian faith. Also, without article in certain phrases, as contrary to faith, etc. of faith: part and parcel of the faith. c. What is believed, or required to be believed, on a particular subject. Also pl. points of faith, tenets. 5. act of (the) faith: = auto da fé. Obs.
II. Inducement to belief or trust. 6. Power to produce belief, credit, convincing authority. Obs. 7. Attestation, confirmation, assurance. Obs. 8. a. Assurance given, formal declaration, pledge, promise. In phrases, to do, make faith (= L. fidem facere): to affirm, promise, give surety. to give (one's) faith (= L. fidem dare): to give assurance, pledge one's word. on his faith: on parole. Obs. b. on the faith of: in reliance on the security of.
III. The obligation imposed by a trust. 9. a. The duty of fulfilling one's trust; allegiance owed to a superior, fealty; the obligation of a promise or engagement. b. In many phrases, in which the sense approaches that of 8: to engage, pledge, plight (one's) faith; to swear, perjure one's faith; to keep (hold), break, violate (one's) faith; so breach of faith. 10. The quality of fulfilling one's trust; faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty. to bear faith: to be loyal to. 11. good faith, bad faith: = L. bona, mala fides, in which the primary notion seems to have been the objective aspect of confidence well or ill bestowed. The Eng. uses closely follow those of L. a. good faith: fidelity, loyalty (= sense 10); esp. honesty of intention in entering into engagements, sincerity in professions, bona fides. b. bad faith: faithlessness, treachery; intent to deceive. Punic (rarely Carthaginian) faith (= L. fides Punica): faithlessness. 12. In asseverative phrases. a. in (good) faith: in truth, really, 'sooth to say'. b. in faith, i' faith, faith, good faith: used interjectionally. c. In quasi-oaths. by or on my, thy, etc., faith, by the faith of (my body, love, etc.). my faith (= Fr. ma foi!). 13. An alleged designation for a company of merchants.
IV. 14. Comb. Chiefly objective, as faith-breach, -breaker, -philosophy, -state, -stretcher, -value; faith-definition, -reformation, -tradition; faith-breaking, -keeping n. and adj.; faith-confirming, -infringing, -shaking, -sown, -starved, -straining, -workful adjs.; faith-wise adv.; faith-cure, a cure wrought by means of 'the prayer of faith' (Jas. v. 15); whence faith-curer, -curist, one who believes in or practises faith-cure; faith-fire, fig. the flame of faith; faith-healer = faith-curer; faith-healing, healing by faith-cure; faith-ladder (see quot. a1910); faith-mark, one of the leading tenets of religion; faith-press, the Inquisition.
II. The Harper Collins Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Faith -, (from Latin, fides, faith, trust, loyalty) 1. acceptance of a system of beliefs believed to be true. 2. belief in the creeds of a religion. 3. steadfast belief and trust in God ( usually one who has revealed Himself and can be known). 4.belief in something despite the evidence against it. 5. belief in something even though there is an absence of evidence for it. 6. belief in something because of past evidence for it; confidence based on reliability. 7. trust in the truth of something that can not be rationally or empirically supported but which is presupposed by some form of empirical knowledge.
III. Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability. 2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact. 3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims. 4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty. 5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith. 6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith. 7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles. 8. Christian Theol. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved. 9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad. Etymology: [1200-50; ME feith < AF fed, OF feid, feit < L. fidem, acc. of fides trust, akin to fidere to trust. See CONFIDE]
IV. American Heritage Dictionary
faith n. 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, an idea, or a thing. 2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust. 3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters. 4. Often Faith. Theology: The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will. 5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Moslem faith. 6. A set of principles or beliefs. -idiom. in faith. Indeed; truly. [Middle English, from Anglo-Norman fed, from Latin fids. See bheidh => bheidh-. Important derivatives are: bide, abide, fianci, affidavit, confide, confident, defy, federal, faith, fidelity, infidel. bheidh-. To trust, confide, persuade. 1. BIDE; ABIDE, (ABODE), from Old English b°dan, to wait, stay, from Germanic *b°dan, to await (< "to await trustingly, expect, trust"), probably from bheidh-. 2. FIANCi, FIDUCIAL, (FIDUCIARY); AFFIANCE, (AFFIANT), (AFFIDAVIT), (CONFIDANT), CONFIDE, (CONFIDENT), (DEFIANCE), DEFY, DIFFIDENT, from Latin f°dere, to trust, confide, and f°dus, faithful. 3. Suffixed o-grade form *bhoidh-es-. FEDERAL, FEDERATE; CONFEDERATE, from Latin foedus (stem foeder-), treaty, league. 4. Zero-grade form *bhidh-. FAITH, FEALTY, FIDELITY; INFIDEL, PERFIDY, from Latin fids, faith, trust. [Pokorny bheidh- 117.]
V. Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition
NOUN: 1. Mental acceptance of the truth or actuality of something: belief, credence, credit. See OPINION. 2. Absolute certainty in the trustworthiness of another: belief, confidence, dependence, reliance, trust. See BELIEF. 3. Those who accept and practice a particular religious belief: church, communion, denomination, persuasion, sect. See RELIGION. 4. A system of religious belief: confession, creed, denomination, persuasion, religion, sect. See RELIGION.
I. Monier Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary
1. faithful, true, loyal, believing, to have faith or faithfulness, have belief or confidence, believe, be true or trustful (with na, "to disbelieve"), to credit, think anything true (two acc.), MBh. - to believe or have faith in or be true to (with dat., and in later language with gen. of thing or person, or with loc. of thing) RV. - to expect anything (acc.) from (abl.) MBh. - to consent, assent to, approve, welcome (with acc. - with na "to disapprove"), Kath. - to be desirous of (acc.), wish to (inf.), ib. BhP.: Caus. -dh‚ payati, to make faithful, render trustful, inspire confidence, RV. x, 151, 5. 3. - f. faith, trust, confidence, trustfulness, faithfulness, belief in (loc. or comp. - "to believe in"), trust, confidence, loyalty (Faith or Faithfulnesses is often personified and in RV. x, 151 invoked as a deity).
V. Capeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary
1. a. trusting, faithful (dat.). - f. ‚ trust, faith, belief in (loc.); fidelity, sincerity (also personif.); wish, desire, longing for (loc., acc. w. prati, infin.); curiosity, whim, appetite.
VI. Sraddha-Passages from "The Concept of Sraddha"
From: Seshagiri Rao, K.L. (1974). The Concept of Sraddha (in the Brahmanas, Upanisads and the Gita). Delhi, Patna, Varanasi: Motilal Banarsidass. Abbreviated to CS.
"Etymologically, the word sraddha is derived from srat, a root noun probably meaning 'heart' and cognate with the English word 'heart', and dha to place; it would thus mean: 'to put one's heart on something'. The compound is ancient as is derived [from] idg. kreddhe, Latin cred-do, and Avestan zrad. The components of the word srat and dha are sometimes used separately (RV. 126.96.36.199; II. 1.12.5; X. 12.151.5); is also further compounded with other words, as in sraddhamanas, sraddhadeva, and sraddhadeya." (CS, p. 4)
"The author of the Vedic Nighantu, Yaska, explains srat as one of the synonyms of truth (satyanamani) and sraddha as an attitude of mind based on truth." (CS, p. 5)
"The commentator of VS [Vajasaneyi Samhita (White Yajurveda)], Mahidhara, interprets sraddha in VIII. 5 and XIX. 30 as astikyabuddhi, mental attitude of affirmation or visvasa, trust. He also elaborates visvasa as paralokavisvasa (XVIII. 5), confidence in a world beyond." (CS, p. 5)
1. adaratisaya or bahumana, high regard (RV. I.107; V.3);
2. visvasa, confidence or trust (RV. II.12.5);
3. purusagatobhilasa-visesah, a particular form of human desire (RV. X.151);
4. and explains sraddhadhanah as karmanustanatatparah, those who have confidence in and zeal for ritualistic performance. (AV. VI.122.3). (CS, p. 5-6)
"According to the lexographer Amarasimha, sraddha signifies confidence or fondness (sraddha sampratyayah sprha); again: sraddhatur dohadavati, that is sraddhatu means a pregnant woman. Medini records the usages of respect and desire for the word sraddha (sraddhadare ca kanksayam)." (CS, p.6)
"According to Vaijayanti, sraddha conveys the meanings of (i) attitude of affirmation and (ii) desire: (sraddhastikyabhilasayoh); again: garbhinyah punar ichayam sraddha dohaladam hrde, sraddha is the desire of a pregnant woman." (CS, p. 6)
"V.S Apte's The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary gives the following meanings of the word (sraddha)
1. trust, faith, belief, confidence.
2. belief in divine revelation, religious faith.
3. sedateness, composure of mind.
4. intimacy, familiarity.
5. respect, reverence.
6. strong or vehement desire.
7. the longing of a pregnant woman.
1. believing, full of faith.
2. desirous, longing or wishing for (anything).
Sraddhaluh: a pregnant woman longing for anything.
Sraddheya: trustworthy." (CS, p. 6)
"Bohtlingk and Roth in Sanskrit-Wörterbuch (St. Petersburg), follow the traditional derivation, viz. srat and dha, and explain the word thus:
1. adj. vertrauend, treu.
2. verb. vertrauen, jemandem glauben; fur wahrhalten, etwas glauben; sich einverstanden erklaren; ein Verlangen haben nach etwas.
3. noun. Zuversicht, Glaube: Treue, Aufrichtigkeit." (CS, p. 6)
"Hermann Grassmann in his Wörterbuch zum Rgveda (3. Auflage, 1955) explains the word: srat mit dha.
1. Vertrauen hegen, vertrauen, glaubig sein.
2. mit dha einem Gotte, oder seinen eigenschaften.
3. mit dha vertrauen auf die eigen Kraft.
4. mit den caus. von dha, jemand vertrauensvoll, glaubigmachen, sraddha: srat dha, und nur den unpersonlichen Formen, in denen srat mit dha verschilzt (vgl. Lat. credo), und dabei in Bezug auf die Betonung nach Art eines Richtungswortes behandelt wird." (CS, p. 7)
'sraddha'-sabde--visvasa kahe sudrdha niscaya
krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya
SYNONYMSsraddha-sabde-by the word sraddha; visvasa-faith; kahe-is said; sudrdha-firm; niscaya-certain; krsne-unto Lord Krsna; bhakti-devotional service; kaile-by executing; sarva-karma-all activities; krta-completed; haya-are.
Sraddha is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krsna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service. (Cc. Madhya 22.62)
The different varieties of faith in the world can be categorized within the divisions of pancopasana.
I. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura: Sri Krsna Samhita
"Inquiring about the truth of the material world is called sakta dharma, because the predominating deity of the material world is the goddess Durga. All behavior and practice instructed in sakta dharma is helpful only in the preliminary stage. Such behavior and practice is meant to bring one closer to spiritual life and materialistic people may be attracted to this only until they begin to enquire only about the Supreme Absolute Truth. Sakta dharma is the living entities' initial spiritual endeavor, and it's extremely essential for people of that level. When the preliminary stage is further strengthened, one attains the next level. One then considers the energy of work and the superiority of heat over dull matter, and one therefore accepts the sun-god who is the source of heat, as one's worshipable deity. At that time, Saura dharma is awakened. Later when one considers even heat as dull matter and animal consciousness as superior, one attains the third stage, Ganapatya dharma. In the fourth gross stage, Lord Siva is worshipped as the pure consciousness of the living entities, and Saiva dharma manifests. In the fifth stage, the consciousness of the living entity worships the supreme consciousness, and thus Vaisnava dharma is manifest. By nature, there are five types of paramarthic dharmas, or spiritual duties, which have been known throughout the world by different names at different times. If one considers all the different dharmas that are current in India and abroad, one can see that they certainly fall within these five categories. The religious principles taught by Mohammed and Jesus Christ are similar to the religious principles taught by Vaisnava sects. Buddhism and Jainism are similar to saiva dharma." (p. 7-8)
II. Pancopasana in Srimad-Bhagavatam
"Therefore, those who are simply astonished by the powers of anything in the creation of the Lord, without any factual information of the Lord Himself, are known as saktas, or worshipers of the great powers. The modern scientist is also captivated by the wonderful actions and reactions of natural phenomena and therefore is also a sakta. These lower-grade persons gradually rise to become sauriyas (worshipers of the sun-god) or ganapatyas (worshipers of the mass of people as janata janardana or daridra-narayana, etc., in the form of Ganapati) and then rise to the platform of worshiping Lord Siva in search for the ever-existing soul, and then to the stage of worshiping Lord Visnu, the Supersoul, etc., without any information of Govinda, Lord Krsna, who is the original Lord Visnu." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.6.43-45, purp.)
III. Pancopasana in Brahma-samhita
"In the Brahma-samhita there are mantras offering obeisances to Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, the sun-god and Lord Ganesa, as well as Lord Visnu, all of whom are worshiped by the impersonalists as pancopasana. In their temples impersonalists install deities of Lord Visnu, Lord Siva, the sun-god, goddess Durga and sometimes Lord Brahma also, and this system is continuing at present in India under the guise of the Hindu religion." (Cc. Adi 7.157)
chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga
icchanurupam api yasya ca cestate sa
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
The external potency, Maya, who is of the nature of the shadow of the cit potency, is worshiped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving, and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, in accordance with whose will Durga conducts herself.
Srila Jiva Gosvami
(Srila Jiva Gosvami has offered an explanation about identity of Durga devi earlier in his commentary on text no. 3 of this 5th chapter of the Brahma-samhita.) Sometimes Goddess Durga is also described as the supreme controller. This is also correct because there is no difference between the potencies and Lord Krsna, the master of all potencies. This is confirmed by the following words of the Gautamiya-tantra: "Krsna is Durga. Durga is Krsna. One who sees that they are different will not become liberated from the cycle of repeated birth and death."
Durga is the personal potency of Lord Krsna, and therefore she is Lord Krsna Himself. For this reason Durga should not be considered manifested from a portion of the Lord's illusory potency Maya. This fact is confirmed by the following statement of the Nirukti:
"Even is one continually worships her, Durga is still difficult to understand."
Durga is also described in Narada-pancaratra, in the following conversation of Sruti and Vidya:
Durga is the supreme goddess. She is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She is the transcendental potency of the Lord. She is manifested from the form of Lord Maha-Visnu.
Simply by understanding her one immediately attains the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not otherwise.
She is identical with Gokula's queen Sri Radha, who possesses a great treasure of love for Krsna. By her grace the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all living entities, is easily understood.
She is the potency of personified devotional service. She worships Her beloved Supreme Lord. Because She is understood only with great difficulty, the saintly devotees call her "Durga" (difficult to understand). She is the personal potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and she is always filled with the nectar of love for Him.
"From her is manifested the maha-maya potency, the controller of all conditioned souls, who covers them with illusion. By this maha-maya potency the residents of the entire world are bewildered into thinking themselves identical with their external material bodies."
In the Sammohana Tantra, Durga herself declares:
I am Durga. I Possess all virtues. I am not different from Sri Radha, the eternal, supreme goddess of fortune." In this way the word "Durga" is explained.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
(The aforesaid presiding deity of Devi-dhama is being described.) The world, in which Brahma takes his stand and hymns the Lord of Goloka, is Devi-dhama consisting of the fourteen worlds and Durga is its presiding deity. She is ten-armed, representing the tenfold fruitive activities. She rides on the lion, representing her heroic prowess. She tramples down Mahisasura, representing the subduer of vices. She is the mother of two sons, Karttikeya and Ganesa, representing beauty and success. She is placed between Laksmi and Sarasvati, representing mundane opulence and mundane knowledge. She is armed with the twenty weapons, representing the various pious activities enjoined by the Vedas for suppression of vices. She holds the snake, representing the beauty of destructive time. Such is Durga possessing all these manifold forms. Durga is possessed of durga, which means a prison house. When jivas begotten of the marginal potency (tatastha sakti) forget the service of Krsna they are confined in the mundane prison house, the citadel of Durga. The wheel of karma is the instrument of punishment at this place. The work of purifying these penalized jivas is the duty devolved upon Durga. She is incessantly engaged in discharging the same by the will of Govinda. When, luckily. the forgetfulness of Govinda on the part of imprisoned jivas is remarked by them by coming in contact with self-realized souls and their natural aptitude for the loving service of Krsna is aroused, Durga herself then becomes the agency of their deliverance by the will of Govinda. So it behooves everybody to obtain the guileless grace of Durga, the mistress of this prison house, by propitiating her with the selfless service of Krsna. The boons received from Durga in the shape of wealth, property, recovery from illness, of wife and sons, should be realized as the deluding kindness of Durga. The mundane psychical jubilations of dasa-maha-vidya, the ten goddesses or forms of Durga, are elaborated for the delusion of the fettered souls of this world. Jiva is a spiritual atomic part of Krsna. When he forgets his service of Krsna he is at once deflected by the attracting power of Maya in this world, who throws him into the whirlpool of mundane fruitive activity (karma) by confining him in a gross body constituted by the five material elements, their five attributes and eleven senses, resembling the garb of a prisoner. In this whirlpool jiva has experience of happiness and miseries, heaven and hell. Besides this, there is a subtle body. consisting of the mind, intelligence and ego, inside the gross body. By means of the subtle body. the jiva forsakes one gross body and takes recourse to another. The jiva cannot get rid of the subtle body. full of nescience and evil desires, unless and until he is liberated. On getting rid of the subtle body he bathes in the Viraja and goes up to Hari-dhama. Such are the duties performed by Durga in accordance with the will of Govinda. In the Bhagavata sloka, vilajyamanaya...durdhiyah-the relationship between Durga and the conditioned souls has been described.
Durga, worshiped by the people of this mundane world, is the Durga described above. But the spiritual Durga, mentioned in the mantra which is the outer covering of the spiritual realm of the Supreme Lord, is the eternal maidservant of Krsna and is, therefore, the transcendental reality whose shadow, the Durga of this world, functions in this mundane world as her maidservant. (Vide the purport of sloka 3.)
ksiram yatha dadhi vikara-visesa-yogat
sanjayate na hi tatah prthag asti hetoh
yah sambhutam api tatha samupaiti karyad
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
Just as milk is transformed into curd by the action of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Sambhu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
(The real nature of Sambhu, the presiding deity of Mahesa-dhama, is described.) Sambhu is not a second Godhead other than Krsna. Those, who entertain such discriminating sentiment, commit a great offense against the Supreme Lord. The supremacy of Sambhu is subservient to that of Govinda; hence they are not really different from each other. The nondistinction is established by the fact that just as milk treated with acid turns into curd so Godhead becomes a subservient when He Himself attains a distinct personality by the addition of a particular element of adulteration. This personality has no independent initiative. The said adulterating principle is constituted of a combination of the stupefying quality of the deluding energy, the quality of nonplenitude of the marginal potency and a slight degree of the ecstatic-cum-cognitive principle of the plenary spiritual potency. This specifically adulterated reflection of the principle of the subjective portion of the Divinity is Sadasiva, in the form of the effulgent masculine-symbol-god Sambhu from whom Rudradeva is manifested. In the work of mundane creation as the material cause, in the work of preservation by the destruction of sundry asuras and in the work of destruction to conduct the whole operation, Govinda manifests Himself as guna-avatara in the form of Sambhu who is the separated portion of Govinda imbued with the principle of His subjective plenary portion. The personality of the destructive principle in the form of time has been identified with that of Sambhu by scriptural evidences that have been adduced in the commentary. The purport of the Bhagavata slokas, viz., vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh, etc., is that Sambhu, in pursuance of the will of Govinda, works in union with his consort Durgadevi by his own time energy. He teaches pious duties (dharma) as stepping-stones to the attainment of spiritual service in the various tantra-sastras, etc., suitable for jivas in different grades of the conditional existence. In obedience to the will of Govinda, Sambhu maintains and fosters the religion of pure devotion by preaching the cult of illusionism (Mayavada) and the speculative agama-sastras. The fifty attributes of individual souls are manifest in a far vaster measure in Sambhu and five additional attributes not attainable by jivas are also partly found in him. So Sambhu cannot be called a jiva. He is the lord of jiva but yet partakes of the nature of a separated portion of Govinda.
diparcir eva hi dasantaram abhyupetya
yas tadrg eva hi ca visnutaya vibhati
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
When the flame of one candle is expanded to another candle and placed in a different position, it burns separately, and its illumination is as powerful as the original candle's. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, expands Himself in different Visnu forms, who are all as luminous, powerful, and opulent as He. Let me worship that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda.
yah karanarnava-jale bhajati sma yoga-
adahara-saktim avalambya param sva-murtim
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who assumes His own great subjective form, which bears the name Sesa, replete with the all-accommodating potency and reposing in the Causal Ocean with the infinity of the worlds in the pores of His hair, enjoys creative sleep [yoga-nidra].
jivanti loma-vilaja jagad-anda-nathah
visnur mahan sa iha yasya kala-viseso
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
Brahma and other lords of the mundane worlds, appearing from the pores of hair of Maha-Visnu, remain alive as long as the duration of one exhalation of Maha-Visnu's breath. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, of whose subjective personality Maha-Visnu is the portion of a plenary portion.
bhasvan yathasma-sakalesu nijesu tejah
sviyam kiyat prakatayaty api tadvad atra
brahma ya esa jagad-anda-vidhana-karta
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
I adore the primeval Lord Govinda from whom the separated subjective portion Brahma receives his power for the regulation of the mundane world, just as the sun manifests some portion of his own light in all the effulgent gems that bear the names of suryakanta, etc.
Brahma is two types: in certain kalpas when the potency of the Supreme Lord infuses Himself in an eligible jiva, the latter acts in the office of Brahma and creates the universe. In those kalpas when no eligible jiva is available, after the Brahma of the previous kalpa is liberated, Krsna, by the process of allotment of His own potency creates the Brahma who has the nature of the avatara (descent) of the Divinity in the active mundane principle (rajo-guna). By principle Brahma is superior to ordinary jivas but is not the direct Divinity. The divine nature is present in a greater measure in Sambhu than in Brahma. The fundamental significance of the above is that the aggregate of fifty attributes, belonging to the jiva, are present in a fuller measure in Brahma who possesses, in a lesser degree, five more attributes which are not found in jivas. But in Sambhu both the fifty attributes of jivas as also the five additional attributes found in Brahma are present in even greater measure than in Brahma.
yat-pada-pallava-yugam vinidhaya kumbha-
dvandve pranama-samaye sa ganadhirajah
vighnan vihantum alam asya jagat-trayasya
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, whose lotus feet are always held by Ganesa upon the pair of tumuli protruding from his elephant head in order to obtain power for his function of destroying all the obstacles on the path of progress of the three worlds.
The power of destroying all obstacles to mundane prosperity has been delegated to Ganesa who is the object of worship to those who are eligible to worship him. He has obtained a rank among the five gods as Brahma possessing mundane quality. The self-same Ganesa is a god in possession of delegated power by infusion of the divine power. All his glory rests entirely on the grace of Govinda.
agnir mahi gaganam ambu marud disas ca
kalas tathatma-manasiti jagat-trayani
yasmad bhavanti vibhavanti visanti yam ca
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
The three worlds are composed of the nine elements, viz., fire, earth, ether, water, air, direction, time, soul and mind. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda from whom they originate, in whom they exist and into whom they enter at the time of the universal cataclysm.
There is nothing in the three worlds save the five elements, ten quarters, time, jiva-soul, and the mental principle allied with the subtle body consisting of mind, intelligence and ego of conditioned souls. The elevationists (karmis) make their offerings in sacrifice in the fire. Conditioned souls know nothing beyond this perceptible world of nine elements. The jiva is the self-same soul whose ecstatic delight the joyless liberationists (jnanis) aspire after. Both the principles that are respectively depicted as atma and prakrti by the system of Sankhya are included in the above. In other words all the principles that have been enunciated by all the speculative philosophers (tattva-vadis) are included in these nine elements. Sri Govinda is the source of the appearance, continuance and subsidence of all these principles.
yac-caksur esa savita sakala-grahanam
raja samasta-sura-murtir asesa-tejah
yasyajsaya bhramati sambhrta-kala-cakro
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
The sun who is the king of all the planets, full of infinite effulgence, the image of the good soul, is as the eye of this world. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda in pursuance of whose order the sun performs his journey mounting the wheel of time.
Certain professors of the Vedic religion worship the sun as Brahman. The sun is one of the hierarchy of the five gods. Some people target in heat the source of this world and therefore designate the sun, the only location of heat, as the root cause of this world. Notwithstanding all that may be said to the contrary, the sun is after all only the presiding deity of a sphere of the sum total of all mundane heat and is hence a god exercising delegated authority. The sun performs his specific function of service certainly by the command of Govinda.
"Actually these are not devotees of anyone. As it is said, to be a servant of everyone, is to be the servant of none." (Cc. Madhya 17.95, purp.)
Since the relation of faith and proof is of a fundamental nature we decided to include it in the initial section outlining the general concept.
In India's philosophical tradition ten pramanas or valid means of acquiring knowledge are recognized. Some philosophers accept certain combinations of these as valid and reject others. Each gives arguments to support his diverse conclusions.
The ten traditional pramanas are:
1. Arsya (exceptional utterance)
These are utterances of a sage or demigod. There are many exceptional sages, Kapila, Gautama, Patanjali, and others, who founded a school of philosophy. They naturally have differences of opinion and therefore the Mahabharata (Vana-parva 313.117) says, nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam, "One is not considered a philosopher if his opinion is not different from others". As they are great thinkers we consider their utterances, but for a common man it is impossible to determine who gives the valid conclusion.
2. Upamana (comparison)
Knowledge about an unknown object can be gained by comparing it o a familiar object. If we have seen a cow, for example, but have not seen a "gavaya" or a forest cow, and if someone tells us that a forest cow resembles a cow, by comparison we can recognize a forest cow.
3. Arthapatti (presumption)
Here we assume an unknown fact in order to account for a known fact that is otherwise inexplicable. For example, if fat Devadatta does not eat during the daytime, one can safely assume that he eats at night. Otherwise his stoutness without eating during the daytime remains unexplained, as Devadatta cannot get fat by fasting nor can he maintain his weight without eating.
4. Abhava (non-existence)
Non-perception of a qualified object by a qualified sense is called perception of the abhava or the non-existence of that object. For example, a book is a qualified object for the visual perception and the eyes are the qualified senses or means of perception. When one does not see a book on a table he experiences it's non-existence. This is classified as a separate category of perception, because there is no actual contact between the object and the sense instrument. Thus what is perceived is the non-existence of the object.
5. Sambhava (inclusion)
This pramana is based on the experience that the higher quantity includes the lower quantity. A hundred dollars automatically includes ones, fives, tens, and so on. To infer this knowledge, gained by inclusion, is called sambhava.
6. Aitihya (tradition)
This pramana applies when something is known by common belief or tradition but the original source of that knowledge is unknown. For instance, there is a popular belief that the Old Fort in New Delhi was built by the Pandavas. We have no written proof or scriptural authority to support this, but the belief has been passed down for generations to the present day by tradition.
7. Cesta (gesture)
To acquire knowledge through bodily gestures or symbols is called cesta. For instance, one makes a "V" sign with his fingers to indicate victory, or in Deity worship mudras are shown to the Deity to convey certain messages.
8. Pratyaksa (direct perception)
What we directly perceive with our senses may be valid or invalid knowledge; however, only valid knowledge is to be considered as pramana. Sense perception is the principal means of acquiring knowledge in this material world. Both theistic and atheistic philosophers generally accept pratyaksa pramana as one of the means to valid knowledge. Direct perception is of two types-external and internal. An external perception is when knowledge is acquired through our senses. An internal perception is when the knowledge is acquired by our mind. In Bhagavad-gita (15.7) Lord Krsna lists the mind as the sixth sense (manah-sasthanindriyani). Through the mind we perceive emotions such as pain, leasure, love, hate, and so forth.
On account of the inherent four defects pratyaksa is not always a reliable process of acquiring valid knowledge. It is limited only to the present time; it cannot extend into the past or future. According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, however, perfected devotees who achieve direct perception of the Lord, His abode, and His associates through their spiritual trance, all have purified senses and have transcended the four defects. Such persons are reliable sources of knowledge because of their purified sense perception. This is confirmed in the ninth chapter of Bhagavad-gita where Lord Krsna says that this knowledge leads to direct realization of transcendence by experience (pratyaksavagamam). Likewise, in the sixth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the Lord assures Arjuna that in the state of transcendental trance, samadhi, the devotee acquires pure knowledge through his purified intelligence and transcendental senses (buddhi-grahyam atindriyam vetti). This is called vaidusya pratyaksa and it is flawless.
9. Anumana (inference)
This is when we acquire knowledge by deduction. Literally, anumana means "knowing after," because the knowledge is arrived at after putting together known bits of information to arrive at an unknown but apparently logical conclusion. Such inferred knowledge is based on the probable relation between what is known and what is deduced. That in turn is based on prior direct perception or prior verbal testimony. This means the deduced outcome is dependent on the evidence. This concomitant relation between the evidence and the deducted conclusion is called vyapti.
Inference is of two kinds, inference for one's self and inference for others. An example of inference for one's self is when a person may make out the concomitant relationship between smoke and fire and arrive at the universal generalization "Wherever there is smoke there is fire" after repeatedly experiencing it in the kitchen and elsewhere. Then if he sees smoke hanging over a mountain in the distance he may recall his prior experience, that wherever there is smoke there is invariably fire, and thus he concludes, "The mountain is on fire".
Inference for others consists of a syllogistic formula that has five steps. After
arriving at an inferred conclusion a person employs this method, with a view to enable others to arrive at the same inferred conclusion. A syllogism follows this format:
a, Proposition: The mountain has fire.
b, Reason: Because it has smoke.
c, Universal proposition: Wherever there is smoke there is fire.
d, Application: The mountain has smoke.
e, Conclusion: Therefore it is on fire.
Any error in perceiving the cause or any deviation in the universal generalization then the conclusion will be faulty. In the above example, if the observer mistakes clouds over the mountain for smoke or perceives the smoke just after rain has extinguished the fire, then his deduced conclusion will be wrong. Hence, anumana, like pratyaksya, is not a foolproof method of acquiring knowledge.
10. Sabda (revealed knowledge)Sabda literally means sound, but as a pramana it refers to articulate sound, which has meaning and which is spoken or written by an apta-purusa, a trustworthy person, an authority. Ultimately, sabda applies to revealed knowledge about the transcendental reality that specifically comes through a trustworthy person who is free from the four defects. This kind of sabda is distinct from the sabda used in mundane transactions, called pauruseya sabda, which is not always trustworthy. For Srila Jiva Gosvami sabda is restricted to the revealed knowledge of the Vedas. This is called apauruseya sabda, revealed knowledge from a superhuman source. It originates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is received in disciplic succession from a bonafide guru. Apauruseya sabda, therefore, because it is free of the four defects is the perfect pramana.