Faith in Hinduism

David R. Israel davidi at
Thu Aug 14 13:03:45 UTC 1997

Further to John Power's query abt. "faith (if any) in Hinduism" -- 
one suggestion was relationship between knowledge & faith.

On the other hand, isn't faith more typically an attribute of 
devotion than of knowledge?  It seems that in Hinduism generally, 
there's long been a central bifurcation between the "path of 
knowledge" [jnana marga] and the "path of devotion" [bhakti marga] -- 
each having its own differing emphasis.  To get an appreciation of 
the role of faith (among a little cluster of attributes of loving 
dependency) in devotional subjectivity (so to say), John's student 
might wish to consult some variety of texts of devotional poetry 
(and/or scripture) -- whether (say) the Rama Charita Manasa of 
Tulsidas, or the faith-suffused poems of Mira Bai, or the remarkable 
Saivite verses translated by Ramanujan in *Speaking of Siva* (or the 
Vaishnava verses translated by the same in *Hymns for the Drowning*)
-- or, even, the *Bhaja Govindam* of Shankaracharya . . . likewise, 
*The Gospel of Ramakrishna* would surely seem a rich source for some 
overview of this topic . . .

In general, faith implies (I think) a glimmer of existence that 
exceeds the grasp of direct knowledge -- which likewise seems to 
describe the experience of devotion.  Thus, I'd think one would look 
into Bhakti literature generally, for evidence of faith & 
investigation into its role.  If there is real knowledge, there's no 
need for faith -- one knows.  Where direct knowledge is absent, faith 
becomes significant & needful.  The relationiship & interplay & 
balance between the devotional & the knowledge approach in Hinduism 
seems a major teeter-totter (fulcrum) -- explicitly in the culture of 
Hinduism.  I also suspect that some of Swami Vivekananda's myriad 
astute essays may well cover issues of faith interestingly . . . -- 
(all the more so since his tendancy of mind was not toward "blind 
faith" per se . . . )

so there are a few scattershot thoughts & poss. lines of 
investigation, for what worth --

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