Above, evidence of the type of cultural history that is difficult to learn outside of literature. From Arundhati Roy’s “Ministry of Utmost Happiness.”


Making the Bhagavad Gita Work for You

After years of yoga, retreats and sessions with spiritual teachers, I was finally motivated to read the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most relevant Hindu texts ever written.

Religious reading is hard. It is slow. It can even, at times, be boring.  But the Bhagavad Gita is an action-packed tale that gets to the point quickly. Its point is also clear, not swallowed by metaphor like Jonah and his whale.

The Gita tells of brave Arjuna who is about to go off and fight a war. Before, he speaks with Krishna, who is an incarnation of the Divine. Krishna gives Arjuna the knowledge he needs to fight and win all wars, especially the battle for inner peace and Enlightenment.

I decided to buy the Gita because a woman swooped in out of nowhere in a bookstore, while I had the book in my hands. She said that every morning she opened it up to a random page and read a few vedas, or verses. She also mentioned that the version I held, Jack Hawley’s “The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners,” was easy to understand and apply.

I’ve been reading the Gita for about a week in the way the woman recommended and have loved the experience. Like with most religious stories, I knew the narrative beforehand, so it’s not like I could get lost in the tale. Reading it like this has also taken away my need to get through it, to finish it, to devour it. I can envision reading it for years, a vision that would normally give me the chills.

Every passage I’ve encountered is a small bouquet of wisdom, just the right dose to get my restless mind working toward the ultimate groove.

Above is this morning’s verse, below is yesterday’s.

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Health by mantra

Mantras Religion SpiritualityI am a big believer in the power of words. Not only spoken words but words you say in your head. Several years ago I bought a book called Healing Mantras, written by Thomas Ashley-Farrand, in a bookstore in Bombay.

I’ve revisited it several times, selecting mantras that I thought would help then-current situations. As I am currently in a detox/health kick, I decided to add a mantra to the mix.

Part of the process involves writing down the mantra you select and making a written promise to carry out the necessary repetitions. So here is my mantra promise –

I promise to say the following mantra at least 40 times a day for 40 days with the purpose of bringing more health to my home: “Om Ram Ramaya Namaha.”

This post was originally published as part of the Zeteo is Reading series.