The following is blog I posted in 2011 when I was a blogger of Advaita Academy. As all of the addressed terms concern our topic of the month “belief” I am publishing it here again (with small alterations):
The word faith carries two meanings: trust and belief.
When I trust in something I meet it with confidence; even without knowing its exact nature, I assume that it will not harm me, rather that it will be beneficial to me when I expose myself to it.
When I believe in something I meet it with a conviction to be existent; I also may not know its exact nature but there is not necessarily an assumption involved that it will be beneficial to me.
Trust invites devotion – devote what? Time, energy, other resources. Devotion to what? To something assumed to be benevolent.
Belief demands submission – submit what? Any convictions, insights, reasoning or intuitions that contradict the belief. Submission to what? To something assumed to exist.
Shraddha is one of the nine virtues that should be cultivated by an aspirant to Advaita Vedanta, i.e. shraddha is considered to be one of the most essential traits someone should own when embarking on the journey to discover his/her own true Self. Usually shraddha is translated as “faith”.
Now, in the context of Advaita Vedanta it seems to be crucial that shraddha as faith is explained, understood and associated with trust and devotion, not with belief and submission of one’s own reasoning capacities. This is especially important when addressing Western seekers.