If I wish to be in such a settled state of mind that gives an entry ticket into the pristine halls of enquiry into my real nature, then I should possess an important quality called Shraddha. This beautiful Sanskrit word fails to translate into a similarly pregnant English word. The closest synonym in English is faith.
It’s closest sister is Belief. Belief is for temporary reasons and faith is for a longer period of time. If a father tells his son that he will take him for a movie in the evening, the son just needs to believe it will happen, and the scope for that belief is over.
But if the student has to know that an unknown result will happen, then he has to have Faith. We all function with a certain faith all the time. When we go to a place, we are very sure that we will return safely. When we go to sleep at night, we are very sure to get up in the morning. That surety of knowledge in something that is unknown and has various probabilities is called Shraddha.
If visually described, Shraddha is like taking a handful of thick feelings arising from our heart and pasting it on the other person. When we do it, we always are looking at some thought and idea, which has been drawn from our own self and applied on to the person before us. So fidelity is a feeling that arises in the wife, which is applied on the husband. When this application is done, there is constant reassurance of fidelity for her to see. We lose faith not because of the other, but because we failed to place it in the first place.
To realise the truth of our own self, we need faith in two things—one is on the Guru and the other is on the words of Vedanta. Vedanta ultimately cries aloud saying, “You are that Supreme Truth!” It may not be our present experience, given all the limitations of our physical, emotional and intellectual personalities.
We need to have that faith that the words that have been echoed through the mouths of great masters for eons together will not be untruth. To substantiate and explain the words of the Vedanta, we have the Gurus, who have thoroughly enquired and realised the truth of those words. We simply need to have faith that what the Guru teaches and explains is real and bide our time till realisation dawns.