Hinduism and the original sources of it in Sanskrit language and the myriads of unrecorded and geographically very widely spread, in times of yore in many countries, various cultural practices in multiple local languages are difficult to comprehensively comprehend by anyone that easily if they are trying to understand it merely intellectually from any perspective and based on that if they interpret it from any angle that is bound to be either distorted or shortcoming in at least some way. Hinduism is, in short a puzzle wrapped in mystery which is susceptible to multiple interpretations, including many wrong ones. I mentioned Sanskrit because "I would like to quote a wonderful and worthy observation from a wonderful blog maintained by my friend Mike Magee http://www.shivashakti.com/ [don’t miss to see his page http://www.shivashakti.com/datta.htm] about some aspect of Sanskrit language “One of the unique but mysterious features of the Sanskrit language is how many words can be used at three separate and distinct levels of thought. Even whole verses have this remarkable feature. It is one of the factors which have made translation into other languages so difficult. The difference presupposes three groups of people. First there is the literal meaning intended for the householder or worldly man, and a guide to better thought and action. The second is the meaning on a higher level intended for the mumukshi or hungry seeker for God. Here the same words take the reader from the mundane level to the higher level, and the implications. The third is the meaning intended for the soul who has attained or is nearly ready to attain liberation”. This literally leads to both correct, crystal clear meanings and also gives room to those who pander to chaotic and callous interpretations, more so in spiritual texts, I stress spiritual texts, not religious ones, wherein there are always many esoteric intrinsic meanings which unravel only to the enlightened souls and not necessarily to a linguistic scholars or academic thinkers or even intellectual giants.
So is the case with the very word GURU itself,....." http://contentwriteups.blogspot.in/2011/05/dear-all-i-was-asked-write-about-guru.html
Etymologically also you all would be surprised even many English words for example the drink called 'punch' we have with spirit, sweet, lemon/citrus stuff, a pinch of salt and some other juice added got its name from Pancha of sanskrit then into paanche in hindi referring to 5 ingredients to words like husband from the sanskrit 'hasta bandham' all these are not my version but those of the great linguistic scholar David Crystal through his programs in BBC and through his books. In fact in one of his books titled ‘words, words, words' in the chapter on etymology he writes with historical, linguistic, lexicographical evidences if we trace back a few thousand years all the following words along with another dozen more have a common root the words are NICE, SCIENCE,CONSCIENCE, SHIT etc for those who are interested i shall type half the chapter when i find time. so tracing the history, ancestry, heritage , antiquity of anything when we dig up we may come up with many things which may throw light on many things how we interpret them depends purely on our own sense of aesthetics, concern for others' sensitivities, our own intense or intolerant reactions, our own cultural and psychological make up etc. someone must seriously look into Wendy's childhood or youth , she is just a tool through which certain narrow interpretations of very great things came out . we ourselves, i mean many Indians, many religious gurus themselves and Indian authors have also misinterpreted many great words which by themselves could have even totally changed the perspective of Indians as a whole on life , for example the word 'Dhrama' which is central to many other activities, if not all, of life . The best definition is in a sloka by none other than Adi shankara wherein he clearly says 'it refers to doing anything for the MATERIAL and SPIRITUAL well being of the persons'
We misinterpret because of our tools of perception and our own psychological reactions etc.