The Bhagavad Gita has been called India's greatest contribution to the world. In this audio version of his classic book The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners, Jack Hawley makes its wisdom clear to Western seekers.
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The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners
- Tammy "mcleantj"
The Razor's Edge
While difficult to date, the Bhagavad Gita is generally accepted to have been written well before both the Christian Bible as well as the Buddha. Some place it as far back as 4000 years or more. Academically, it is not generally dated that far back, though. Its relevance to the present day is that it supposedly contains universal truths.
People can believe what they want to believe and it makes little difference to me. This review being written in a supposedly Christian nation, however, my personal opinion is that all Christians should be required to read the Bhagavad Gita at least once in their life. Why? The carefully crafted version of history that was -- and still is -- spoon fed to Christians is that anyone in ancient times that wasn't a Christian was sacrificing babies on alters. That Christians think they have a monopoly on The Truth is somewhat of an understatement.
That said, "The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners," by Jack Hawley, would make a fine choice for a first time reader. The audiobook, read by the author is superb, as well. I normally cringe a little bit when I see an author read their own book, but in this case, Hawley did a great job. I can't imagine the book being read by anyone else.
The amazing thing about this translation is that it speaks to you as if it was written last week, not thousands of years ago. And just what wisdom can be found in these ancient texts that is relevant to today?
Note the following words on diet and eating:
[K]now that there are subtle elements in food that significantly influence the mind ... Tamasic people eat old, overcooked, stale, tasteless, impure, and dead food with no nutritional value.
As of this review, America is second only to Mexico as the most overweight nation in the world. We are looking at the fruits of eating old, overcooked, stale, tasteless, impure, and dead food. Our hospitals overrunneth. By just moving away from America, you could cut your risk of cancer by up to 200%.
A few years ago, U.S. News and World Report used an independent panel of 22 experts to rank the best diets. Many were surprised that the Raw Food Diet won second best weight-loss diet (a raw food diet is a nutrition plan that is based on uncooked, fresh and live...mostly plant-based foods).
Even more surprising is that thousands of years ago, the hazards of eating dead, overcooked foods was not only known, but written about. And here I was thousands of years later being surprised something that old is still relevant. It's almost as if I stumbled upon a universal truth or something.
Anyway, whenever I think about Bhagavad Gita, I'm always reminding of the movie The Razor's Edge, with a very cold Bill Murray sitting in a hut somewhere on the Himalaya mountains, while on his vision quest. At some point, he became so cold that he ripped the pages from the old copy of the Upanishads he was reading and used them to build a small fire. Maybe I'm wrong, but I always took that to mean that he figured out: there is only so much you are going to get from a book.
I think at some point, the spiritual was supposed to be experienced, not simply read. The Bhagavad Gita should be read, but don't let it be the end of your journey...