Why a guru is needed for interpreting vedas

Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian balasr at YAHOO.COM
Mon Feb 11 11:32:00 CST 2002

Many of us think that interpreting the veda-s require no training, when we
start out on a study of the veda-s. If doing research in even Electrical
Engineering requires some training and guidance, what to say of the vedas.
Many of us encounter so called "misogynistic" passages in the vedas or
stotras like the daxiNAmUrti stotram. It clashes with the modern democratic
ideas. Many Western scholars pooh-pooh Hindu scriptures without
understanding basic facts of the dharma we follow. For example Patrick
Olivelle, misunderstands and misrepresents the desire for a male-child in
the veda-s in his books. We can see the same condescending tone in may
other author's work also.

This is basically due to treating texts as pieces of paper and not going to
a proper guru for guidance. Sha.nkara stresses the importance of going to a
guru *who is from a traditional line of teachers*. This is essential for
avoiding egregious misunderstanding of the vedas and vedAnta. It is
important to understand that brahmavidyA is superior to all laukIka vidya-s
and requires a much more disciplined approach than many of us think. Hence
it is very important to study the bhAshhya-s of sha.nkara, so that we avoid
such errors. They are the only means of judging the truth, in the age where
self-proclaimed, enlightened masters proliferate.

The following link set me off on the above (random) thoughts:



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