Compared to men, women stand higher in ‘shraddhA’ – so long as they do not involve themselves in academic research. In fact, I think, even after their modern involvement in studies, they are still one step higher in shraddhA. Maybe in the days to come this will be different.
Shraddhaa leads to Belief (AstikyaM) as I already mentioned. Among those who have become non-believers, women are probably just one-fourth of the number of men. Even the wives of leaders of parties of non-believers, have faith in temples, austerities and worship.
I think the ‘shraddhA’ word is rightly feminine! Right in the beginning when I talked about ‘shraddhA’ I told you this topic will recur again at the end of the SAdhanA. We have now come to that second level ‘shraddhA’, the higher grade one.
At this stage the seeker has taken several steps towards his spiritual maturity. To inquire and convince oneself what is eternal and what is ephemeral; to develop a dispassion towards the ephemeral; to quell the thoughtful mind by self control and convert it into an emptiness; to cultivate patience and tolerance – in all this he has made sufficient progress. So at this stage what is this shraddhA for?
That is something to be there right at the beginning, when he was putting the foundation for all his SAdhanA. In the beginning when he was nowhere near any familiarity with spiritual conduct and regimen, there was a meaning in prescribing a shraddhA for him by saying, “This path does not allow intellectual proofs and verifications; many things have to be taken on faith from the shAstras and the words of the Guru”.
Now that he has taken significant steps towards spiritual progress, why bring the shraddhA back again? It is because, by the very fact of his progress gained upto now, there is danger of his losing the very faith that has brought him so far!