As per my knowledge there are four Vedas and Upanishads are the gist of Vedas and the different Vedanta schools of thought are commentary on Vedas.

Is it possible to understand Vedas without the help of another person like a guru? Is there any such example in scriptures?

Is learning Sanskrit necessary to understand Vedas?

Are there any online resources, where can I get actual Vedas and learn without anyone's help?

  • 1
    Nothing is impossible with the help of God. – yhu6 Oct 11 '15 at 21:39
  • 2
    All the scriptures tell you that a Guru is necessary. Can you learn astrophysics or electrical engineering on your own? – Swami Vishwananda Oct 12 '15 at 9:57
  • 9
    Good question! Lord Dattatreya, one of the incarnations of God, showed, that God Himself is the True Guru. In the form of a bird, a dog, etc. Dattatreya learned about the True Nature of the Self and attained Self-Realization. The idea is that if one has sincerity in attaining Self-realization, that is enough. Guru will come automatically, in fact, if Guru doesn't come, God will Himself come! This is the Truth. A human Guru is not necessary, however with the grace of a human Guru one can easily attain God, it helps a lot. But sincerity is more important sir – Sai Oct 13 '15 at 19:34
  • This is said not to debate but felt interesting view point. Sri Krishna being an incarnation of the Lord has proved with his leela many times. In spite of that, he underwent study under Sandeepa maharishi and learnt many stuffs quickly. The explanation that pooravacharyas give here is that Krishna wants to emphasize that the learning should be always be under Guru. In those times, learning means learning veda + others. – Narayanan Oct 20 '15 at 4:20
  • A guru can help you learn quickly as he knows what you know or at what stage you are, thereby speeding up familiar areas and dealing in more detail in unknown difficult areas. He can even correct any misconceptions and errors you made so far. It depends on self-assessment of your own grasp of subject. Even if you learnt much by yourself, a comparison of views exchanged with guru or even peers is beneficial. In spiritual interactions siddha gurus are even known to transmit their spiritual corpus to deserving disciples. Remember each is in search of the other.There are many such cases. – Narasimham Jun 22 '20 at 12:43

Yes indeed. But of course it requires extreme sādhanā and tapas. So much that such people have even revealed new branches of Veda.

The most famous story is that of rishi Yājñavalkya, who was cursed by his guru Vaiśampāyana to return all the Vedic learning. After that, he meditated on the Sun and revealed an entire new branch of Vedas, the vājasaneyī saṃhitā, brāhmaṇa (śatapatha) and āraṇyaka, derived from Vājasani, i.e. obtained from Sun in the form of a horse (vāji).

Another famous story is that of Mahīdāsa Aitareya, who was the son of Shudra woman Itarā married to a Brahmin. But the father was partial towards his other children. Mahīdāsa meditated on the mother Earth Bhūdevī or Mahī and revealed the Aitareya brāhmaṇa and āraṇyaka. He is even referenced in Chandogya Upanishad (3.16) in the vidyā that teaches to meditate one's life as a yajna of three parts (prātah, mādhyandina and tṛtīya savanam):

एतद्धस्म वै तद्विद्वानाह महिदास ऐतरेयः स किं म एतदुपतपसि योऽहमनेन न प्रेष्यामीति स ह षोडशं वर्षशतमजीवत्
Having known this (secret knowledge), Mahidāsa Aitareya used to say, "why do you torture me, for I cannot be harmed by you." He indeed lived for 116 years.


No, it is not possible to understand the Vedas without an Acharya. Vedas are a very dense subject for students and sadhaks alike.

There is bound be mis-interpretations without proper instruction. There are rules regarding recitation, proper pronunciation, swaras etc. So, learning under a Vedic Acharya is a must.

Yes, learning sanskrit is necessary.

  • You should cite some sources while answering questions. – Pandya Jun 28 '20 at 4:13

YES it is possible to learn the Vedas without a Guru, if you let Lord Shiva being your Guru, with the right Devotion.

As stated in Shiva Gita 6:20

गुह्योऽहं सर्व वेदेषु आरण्योऽहमजोऽप्यहम्। पुष्करं च पवित्रं च मध्यं चाहमतः परम् । बहिश्चाहं तथा चान्तः पुरस्तादहमव्ययः।। २०।।

“I am the hidden secret in all the Vedas;I am the forest and the unborn.I am the nourisher and the pure;I am the middle and anything beyond it.I am the exterior ad well as the interior; I am the front and the imperishable”

In Kashmir Saivism ,indeed, there is a concept called Saktipata. Abhinavagupta, in his Tantraloka, has broadly analyzed the Nature of the Saktipata of the Lord in three types:

1.Tivra 2.Madhya 3.Manda.

That is swift , moderate and slow. Each of these has been divided in other three types for a total of nine. I will explain some of these.

1.Tivra-Tivra : An aspirant under this type of Śaktipāta attains a spontaneous knowledge of the exact nature of the self without the help of a worldly preceptor. Siva Himself becomes his preceptor through his graciousness.He inspires a spontaneous self knowledge in him.Such an aspirant becomes liberated while yet residing in a body.He can liberate any number of beings through his own grace and in accordance with his own free will.He is a perfect Siddha , of the highest category in the physical existence.

2.Madhya-Tivra : This type of Śaktipāta also results in a spontaneous realization of the exact nature of the self;but an aspirant under its influence does not have a definite belief in the complete correctness of his spontaneous knwledge. Some doubt about its correctness remains in him and he approaches a preceptor for verification. The preceptor does not prescribe to him any practice in Yoga, but holds simple discourses with him removing doubts about the correctness of his knowledge , simply verifying it. In him the element of devotion becomes the most predominant one and the element of knowledge goes to a secondary position.

3.Manda-Tivra : This type leads to a preceptor whose knowledge of the self is perfect and complete.Such a preceptor cleanses the mind of his disciple of all impurity by means of a) A simple graceful glance b) an exchange of just few sentences c) a mere touch of his body d) only a mental tough about him. The guru thus liberates him from all bondage without any formal initiation in any practice of Yoga. He doesn’t have a spontaneous knowledge of the reality but it gets through the grace of his preceptor. An aspirant of this type can attain final liberation in this very body.

4.Tivra-Madhya : An aspirant approaches a guru of high merit. By the performance of Putrakadiksa the guru adopts the disciple as a son and makes the reality thoroughly known to him through his teachings. Though possessing the correct knowledge of reality does not attain the perfect taste of his divine nature while residing in his physical body . It attains only leaving the mortal abode.

The are other types as explained by the Pandit and Abhinavagupta in his Tantraloka. Śaktipāta is, in this way, exercised by many types of souls , gods and super gods in accordance with the supreme will of the absolute God, Siva, and that explains the wonderful diversity in the spiritual and physic set up of the world.Tough the absolute Lord is the basic controller of each and every type of Śaktipāta exercised by any one in the universe , yet the Śaktipāta alone leads definitely towards real liberation which is exercised directly by Him and not necessarily that which is exercised by any one else to whom He has delegated some small bits of power to do so.

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