I received a question as to how to read and understand Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma.
The sender of this question is Professional in IT from IIT .
‘Would that be alright if I begin with the Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Shankaracharya?
It is difficult to understand.
Can you suggest any method’
I thought these some of the questions many are seeking answers for.
Strictly speaking the Vedas have to be studied for Twelve years minimum to have an idea.
Unlike the other Religions, Hinduism is based on Experience and Intuition and it takes time for one to grasp.
So it is difficult to understand the Vedas in the present day unless one decides to spend a lifetime on studying the Vedas, which is not practical now.
Then we have the Ithihasas Puranas Stotras Stuthis and Legends.
Where to begin?
It looks very complex and one is bewildered at the seemingly vast knowledge base and it appears at a first glance each contradict the other.
The one is also confused by the thoughts in Hinduism that the Reality is Not One(Advaita),
Qualified Not Two (Visishtadvaita)
33 Crore Gods mentioned in the Puranas,
You have Trimurthis,
Of the some say Shiva is superior, Others Vishnu and yet others Devi and so many versions.
And Hinduism , in the form of Karma Yoga asks one to forego the results of action.
Bhakthi Yoga says that One has to simply surrender to God and nothing else is needed.
Yet we have the Karmas sanctioned in the Vedas which are to be performed by very one.
We have Raja Yoga, in the form of Yoga where one learns to control the Mind and which says Mind control alone will do, nothing else is required!
Hinduism says that there is Destiny and your Life is prepared and at the same time says that one can raise by one’s effort.
Hinduism says that one should renounce things and be in the world.
But they are not.
I have posted a few articles on each of these aspects.
Now to the question of Reading Hinduism.
I recommend the following,
1.Outlines of Indian Philosophy by Professor Hiriyanna. http://amzn.to/1PnBdSz
2. The Collected works of Swami Vivekananda( all the volumes) http://amzn.to/1L6V1Uk
3. The Eighteen Puranas.
These will give one the background
What is required is patience to form conclusions and answers for the questions that may arise one reads these.
They will be cleared as you go along.
Now one can read the Pancha Sukthas, Purusha Suktha, Narayana Suktha, Vishnu Suktha, Durga Suktha and Sri Suktha.
And Sri Rudram and Namakam.
Slokas Vishnu Sahasranama and Lalita Sahsranama.
As ou along these lines out shall get links to proceed further.
Hinduism is not text-based but is based on Experience and Divine Guidance.
Once you start in good earnest out shall get all the answers.
To understand Hinduism one has to live as prescribed in the Vedas and engage one self in Sadhana.
This will be facilitated by studying the Bhasyas of the three Acharyas, Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa.
Not to forget the Jewel The Bhagavad Gita!