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  • Bhagavat gita should be read under a guru's guidance for getting proper knowledge without misleading.
  • All people cannot get a guru in practical as some are of low wealth and need to work almost 12 hours a day.
  • People who don't read Bhagavat gita live a chances of ignorance and adharmas are highly possible.

QUESTION :

  • If we don't get a guru is it better not to read the Bhagavat gita by ourselves as knowledge may be misleading ?

  • Is it better to read Bhagavat gita without guru's guidance as being aware of the paramatma and karma life is better than living with more chances of ignorance and adharmas ?

closed as primarily opinion-based by SwiftPushkar, Mr. P, Mr. Alien Feb 15 '17 at 19:05

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Related: How to start reading Bhagavad Gita – Pandya Feb 8 '17 at 16:06
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    Possible duplicate of How to start reading Bhagavad Gita? – sv. Feb 8 '17 at 17:08
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    If you don't have a guru then atleast decide your world view from different vedanta philosophies, choose the one that's closest to your opinion and then read the commentary of the related philosopher. You can read most of the commentaries here bhagavad-gita.us/bhagavad-gita-1-1 . – Yogi Feb 8 '17 at 19:27
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    @sv. i dont under stand how it is duplicate of "How to start reading bhagavat gita" as it is about how to read it and the answers are for it but my question is reading in difficult situation with or without guru – Sakthi Feb 9 '17 at 14:12
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    @Sakthi I think you've asked the same Q in a different way. I read BG on my own, no guru, I do listen to some discourses on YouTube for better understanding & context but for a competent person, I don't think guru is necessary. There are so many books & commentaries on BG which is essentially like a virtual guru. – sv. Feb 9 '17 at 14:21
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+50

Its obvious that this confusion arose in your mind only after seeing my answer here.So,i am clarifying a bit more .

It's a fact that all Hindu Shastras are to be studied under one's Guru.This is the traditional system which is followed since time immemorial.That's also why we used to have the Gurukulas where the Gurus impart their knowledge and the pupils learn various kinds of Vidyas,Shastras etc under his guidance.

This trend of learning Shastras from books(or from online resources), by self study, is only a recent one.It's not at all recommended.So,you should not follow it saying "since everyone is doing so,i'll also do the same"

But your problem of not being able to find a Guru also seems to be a genuine one.And , if you see the description of a Satguru that is found in Scriptures ,you will know that finding such an ideal Satguru in today's time is a tough tough ask.

Also, let me explain why reading Bhagavat Gita(BG) even without a Guru can't be dangerous.

There are some Scriptures which are full of mantras.If someone studies those Scriptures without initiation and proper guidance and practically apply the methods given therein then the result can be fatal.

And,chanting mantras by picking them up from books is a sin too.See the following warning for example:

Iswara Uvacha :

Pusthake LikhitAnmantrAn Vilokya Prajapanti Ye || BrahmahatyAsamam Tesham PAtakam Parikirttitam ||

Lord Shiva said :

Those who chant mantras taking them up from books commit sin equivalent to killing a Brahmin(i.e one of the major sins).

KulArnava Tantram,Chapter 15,Verse 22.

But BG consists of slokas and not mantras.So,reading it on one's own is not dangerous as such.So,you can read it IMO even without a Guru's guidance.

Better buy a book that have the Sanskrit slokas and the translations in your mother tongue.The first BG that i got belonged to my grandmother which had the Sanskrit slokas along with their translations in bengali , my mother tongue.

I don't think you should read any Hindu Shastras in english unless there is no other option left.

Also, a Guru can be many.Anyone (or anything) who(which) teaches you something is your Guru.For example, the grass is also our Guru because it teaches us to be humble.So,you can treat the book itself as your Guru.Or the translator as your Guru.(You can refer to Lord Dattatreya's many Gurus)

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While it might not be possible for one to associate with a Guru physically we can certainly connect with him through his words or instructions.

There are two ways of association ( Here in with a spiritual master or Guru ) - Vāṇī and Vapu.

Vapu means physical presence and Vāṇī means by sound/words (instructions) .

Prabhpada says - (1)

"There are two ways of association – by vani and by vapuh. Vani means words and vapuh means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the Vani, not the physical presence. Bhagavad Gita for example is the vani of Lord Krsna. Although Lord Krsna was personally present 5000 years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, Bhagavad Gita continues."

So coming back to your question:

You can accept a guru (that does not necessarily mean by formally taking diksha but accepting him as one) be it anyone bonafide and subsequently read Bhagavad-Gita according to his instructions/commentaries of the same.

Other interesting readings - about guru also vani and vapu and vani seva.

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If you do not have a Guru then you will have to use your judgement when reading the Gita. For example here is a book on the Gita where the author suggests that Gita is a book on terrorism.

http://www.amazon.in/Satanic-Verses-Bhagavad-Gita-Kedar-Joshi/dp/1496194756/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486991443&sr=8-1&keywords=gita+by+Kedar+Joshi

Such a book will definitely leave a bad impression about Hinduism to an unwary person who is not knowledgeable about Hinduism.

Another example of a hostile book on the Gita is Lord Meghnad Desai's book who follows the commentary of the Marxist scholar D. D. Kosambi. Lord Desai tries to show that the Gita is a toxic book that has ruined India.

On the other hand the book 'Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita: An Exposition of the Gita in the Light of Modern Thought and Modern Needs' by Swami Ranganathananda shows the applicability of Gita in the modern world.

The dictum that you should read the Gita with the help of a Guru is not a blanket ban on reading the Gita. It is asking you to exercise extreme caution whenever you pick up a commentary on the Gita.

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There are actually two aspects when it comes to a Guru :

  1. One searches for the physical company of a Guru and learn from him.

  2. One can surrender to the teachings and practices of any ideal of the past.

The first option is more of a rare privilege. It is actually the result of lifetimes of accumulated good-Karma which eventually culminates into a strong desire for liberation (Mumukshatva). So unless your mind is free from all nonsensical distractions, you can pretty much rule this option out.

The second option is more practical for us less privileged ones. The Gurus of the past have been merciful enough to have left behind their teachings as their legacy. It's only a matter of our choosing the appropriate path.

The Gita has been interpreted in various ways by various Gurus. Swami Chinmayanada comments from the Vedantic perspective, Paramahansa Yoganada comments from the perspective of Yoga science, Srila Prabhupada from the perspective of devotional service to the Lord.

It is only a matter of you doing some research into which path appeals to you the most. Then you choose any one teacher of that path, and STICK TO HIM WITH UNFLINCHING FAITH AND DEVOTION. Then maybe someday, that ideal out of mercy will create the right circumstances for you to reach the Ultimate goal.

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