Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffery D. Long, Rita D. Sherma, Pankaj Jain, Madhu Khanna

Śraddhā (Saddhā)

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_457-1



Śraddhā is a polysemous word, whose predominant meaning is “faith.” In some contexts, it has been used as meaning “longing” or “desire” and, in some others, as meaning “high regard” or “esteem.” The important contexts in which this word has been used in the Hindu scriptures are Vedic sacrifices, transcendental truth, spiritual instruction or teachings, the spiritual ideal itself, and charity. In the context of giving or charity, śraddhā has often been described as anasuyā, the absence of spite or envy. In brief, śraddhā indicates an affirmative and sincere attitude, where the person concerned has faith in the concerned postulate (be it the efficacy of Vedic sacrifices or the transcendental teachings of the Upaniṣads, etc.).


Śraddhā is an Indian concept that has been most commonly translated as “faith;” however, the English word “faith” is inadequate to convey the semantic and cultural nuances associated with the concept. Furthermore, the word śraddhā...


Bhakti Vedic Sacrifice Supreme Reality Earlier Scriptures Excellent Pair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.
    Bloomfield M (1896) Contributions to the interpretation of the Veda. Am J Phil 17(4):399–437CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Coomaraswamy AK (1944) Headless magicians; and an act of truth. J Am Orient Soc 64(4):215–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dandekar RN (1950) Hṛd in the Veda. In: Visvabandhu (ed) Siddhabharati, vol 1. Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, HoshiarpurGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hacker P (1963) śraddhā. Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Süd- und Ost-asiens und Archiv für indische Philosophie 7:151–189Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hara M (1964) Note on two Sanskrit religious terms: Bhakti and Śraddhā. Indo-Iran J 7(2/3):124–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Heim M (2008) Dana as a moral category. In: Bilimoria P, Prabhu J, Sharma R (eds) Indian ethics: classical traditions and contemporary challenges. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jamison SW (1996) Sacrificed wife/sacrificer’s wife: women, ritual and hospitality in ancient India. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Radhakrishnan S (1949) Bhagavadgītā. George Allen & Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rao KLS (1971) The concept of Śraddhā (in the Brāhmaṇas, Upaniṣads and the Gītā). Motilal Banarsidass, DelhiGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Smith WC (1979) Faith and belief. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Advanced StudyShimlaIndia