Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
When it comes to reading, I don’t believe in telling someone that they ‘should’ read something…unless it is your school textbooks that you’re talking about, of course.
Forcing a person to read something they have no interest in is one of the most tortuous things ever. If someone were to tell me that I ‘should’ read ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, I will term it torture. If someone were to tell me that I ‘should’ read ‘War and peace’, I will term it torture.
I believe that one ought to read what one feels like reading. And unless you have that feeling from within, then reading will become a mechanical process. And that mode of reading is so not right for reading something as deep as the Bhagavad Gita.
The Bhagavad Gita, like most other Hindu scriptures, is written in a deeply cryptic form. Every word, every phrase and every mild nuance has a meaning much deeper than the literal one. Reading the Bhagavad Gita requires a lot of concentration and the ability to have an open mind. You will be required to read and contemplate deeply on every sentence before you go to the next if you wish to truly grasp the essence of the work. Most Hindu scriptures were deliberately written in this cryptic fashion to make the reader think deep. It was a way of not just sharpening the mind, but also a way to make people understand that in Sanatana Dharma, we may all arrive at our own answers in our own ways. There is no one set way for anything. Many roads, same destination.
Of course, you could just casually read it. It will still make a lot of sense. But you miss much if you don’t attempt to gather the inner meanings 🙂
Read the Bhagavad Gita by all means…but I suggest that you do it only when your mind says that you are truly ready. This applies to all books, I guess. Forced reading just because someone asked you to read it takes away all the joy of reading itself.