In the defining shloka for ‘shraddhA’ that we were discussing, it says, ‘by means of shraddhA is the reality obtained’ *yayA vastu upalabhyate*.
Ordinarily though we call everything that exists in the operational world as ‘vastu’, when enlightenment comes upon us all these will be known as existing only in our imagination, because it is the absolute Brahman only that really exists in the absolute sense.
That is the ‘vastu’ ultimate. And that ‘vastu’ is obtained only by shraddhA.
In this definition of shraddhA, it is the intellect that realises its limitation and gets the conviction that shAstras and the words of the guru are true and this conviction is shraddhA, says the Acharya.
But in his ‘aparokshhAnubhUti’ he does not even rely on this role of intellect to voluntarily limit itself. There he does not give any such leeway to the intellect and accordingly he gives the simple definition in the commonly understood way:
*nigamA-chArya-vAkyeshhu bhaktiH shraddheti vishrutA *
meaning, ShraddhA is the exhibition of bhakti (faith and dedication) towards the words of the Guru and of the ShAstras.
It is very customary to link the two words bhakti and shraddhA. ‘bhakti’ denotes the aspect of love and liking and ‘shraddhA’ denotes the aspect of faith. But if we think about that, faith or trust comes only if there is a liking and the liking comes only if there is a trustworthiness.
The two are inseparable. In the words of the guru and the ShAstras, we should have this faith coupled with liking and this love coupled with trust. That is shraddhA.
Love is what involves our heart in the thing. Such involvement of a heart-felt trust in the guru and the shAstras is shraddhA.