Random Musings- Part 42: On Approaching Shastra
A few musings on how to approach a Shastra. While the role and importance of #Guru is well recognized and upheld in #Hindu tradition, it is often that we do not understand the full implication of what a Shastra is. A Shastra is often reduced to a mere text, just a piece of writing by some scholar, like the papers academics write today. But, a Shastra is not just a text, not just a piece of paper. Shastra embodies in itself Vidya, not mere information. It is the manifestation of Guru Tattva in the form of words.
Take Manu Smriti, for example, it is not just some text written by some x y z, it is not a mere recording of social happenings, it is not a text written out of malice. It is a Dharma-Shastra, which embodies within it the Dharma-Tattva. Maharishi Manu may not be with us in a visible form today, but the essence of his being, in the form of this Vidya on Dharma is embedded into Manu Smriti. The Guru Tattva of Manu lives on in the words that constitute Manu Smriti.
It is for this reason, our tradition has cultivated the practice of doing Parayana. We do Parayana or devotional reading of Ramayana, of texts written by our Acharyas etc. because, the Guru Tattva is embedded into the text, it enlivens the text, makes the text a living manifestation. Even a person who may not be ready to understand the philosophy or tenets expounded in a text, a Parayana of the text with Shraddha, allows one to access the Guru Tattva, the blessings of the Guru who composed the text, the Parampara which has preserved it and this imparts Chitta-Shuddhi.
No true understanding of Shastra is possible without Shraddha- Shraddha in the text and Shraddha in the Guru who composed it.