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Relation Between Shraddha and Bhakti

Question: Is it possible that one develops śraddhā in bhakti without hearing any śāstra at all? For instance, someone simply hears that there is a Supreme Person and by worshiping that person we can gain the ultimate goal of life. Just from hearing this statement, the person begins to have śraddhā in bhakti. In this case, the statement is not coming from śāstra.

Question: It is coming from a devotee. The devotee may not be quoting śāstra but he is speaking the siddhānta.

Answer: It is not necessary to quote śāstra, but the conclusion is coming from śāstra. The second thing is that this faith, viśvāsa, will come from the association of the devotee. It is not going to happen even if you read śāstra. Viśvāsa will come from mahat saṅga, it is not going to jump out from the book.

Question: Is it also possible that someone reads a book and gets śraddhā that way?

Answer: This means he already had that śraddhā from some prior association.  Otherwise, it is not possible. Śāstra is kindling that fire of śraddhā.

Question: So, the important thing is that they have faith in something that is siddhānta?

Answer: Yes, that is right. It begins with hearing kathā.  It doesn’t happen by just telling someone, “The Holy Name is transcendental and by chanting it, you will get love of God.”  It is very rare that you say only this much, and somebody will take it seriously and follow it. You have to explain many things with logic, stories, and examples. This is called kathā. Then that person may become interested and take to the process. One has to hear and if that hearing is done with respect, then by the mercy of the devotees śraddhā will manifest.

Question: When you say “śraddhā resides in the person,” does that mean śraddhā resides in the soul or is it in the mind or subtle body?

Answer: The śraddhā first manifests in the mind, which is part of the subtle body.´

Question: Is it part of Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency?

Answer: Yes, if it is based on śāstra, then it is guṇātīta.

Question: So, if śraddhā is the internal potency, how can we say that it is not part of the execution of bhakti? If the internal potency is bhakti, then śraddhā must also be part of bhakti.

AnswerBhakti is one of the internal potencies, just like śraddhāBhakti is when you perform an activity for the pleasure of Bhagavān.  So śraddhā is not doing service or anything, it is just the mentality you have by which you engage in bhakti.  It is not considered to be part of bhakti. If you have śraddhā and you don’t do anything, then that is not good enough to be called bhakti. Once you have śraddhā then you act on it. Your mind, body, and senses are engaged in service.  Śraddhā is the impelling force. So it becomes a qualification for engaging in bhakti. It’s like you are hungry, and then you eat food. The hunger is not part of eating food, but it is needed for you to eat food.  You can eat food even when you are not hungry, but that is not one-pointed, ananya, because you will not be as absorbed as when you were hungry.  So that hunger is the qualification you have, and that will impel you to engage in the eating process.  Śraddhā is like hunger, and eating is like the execution of bhakti.

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