Aired 25 June 2019 – 5:00 PM EDT
Interview with Isaac Bentwich, M.D. Author of “Gita: A Timeless Guide for Our Times”
“Ancient wisdom never gets old.” — Swami Beyondananda
The Bible … the Koran … the I Ching … for millennia scholars have gone through these “fine couth tomes” with a fine tooth comb, seeking practical wisdom, and timeless perspective.
This week on Wiki Politiki, we will be featuring one of the most heralded and widely-read ancient texts of all, the Baghvad Gita. Written more than 2,000 years ago, the Gita (meaning Divine Song), speaks to and accesses the “perennial wisdom” at the foundation of every spiritual path and practice. As Deepak Chopra has said, “Gita is the ultimate guide for your spiritual- journey.”
It has been called the “foundation of yoga.” Yet, many western yoga students want to focus on the physical aspects of yoga, and grow impatient with this story that has been foundational for those who brought yoga to the west — from Yogananda to Vivekananda to Iyengar to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It has also captivated and inspired many of the world’s greatest creative minds — scientists, thinkers, musicians, poets, and spiritual teachers: From Beethoven to Leonard Cohen, from Gandhi to Deepak Chopra, from Carl Jung to Robert Oppenheimer (‘father’ of the atomic bomb), from Emerson and Thoreau to Will Smith and Julia Roberts.
Our guest this week, Isaac Bentwich M.D. is a longtime practitioner and teacher of Yoga and Meditation. Trained as a physician and a scientist, he has founded three life-science technology companies, leading revolutions in medicine, genomics, and environment conservation, and he now heads Innovation Center at Technion, recognized as one of the top-ten innovative universities in the world. The vision and innovations that underlie the companies he founded came through periods of silent meditation retreats at the foothills of the Himalayas and in the Galilee. His path is one of reverence to the Wisdom teachings that shine through different traditions and religions. The study and practice of Gita’s Wisdom teachings has profoundly touched his life, and he is passionate about sharing this with others. His work on this translation of the Gita spanned twelve years.
For those not familiar with the book, the Gita is a dialogue between an Indian prince, Arjuna, and Krishna—his friend, master, and God incarnate. In the midst of a dramatic battle and deep moral dilemma, Krishna guides the prince from “worldly despondency to a brilliantly clear account of the meaning of life, the source of suffering, and the paths to happiness and self-fulfillment.”
Just as Arjuna and Krishna inhabit the “battlefield of the soul,” Bentwich suggests that this “ancient inner guide is more relevant than ever in addressing the unique challenges we face in the modern world.” With the purpose of making the Bhagavad Gita more accessible and relevant to contemporary readers, Bentwich’s new translation is unique in three ways:
- It is the only translation that recreates in English the mesmerizing melody, meter, and rhyme of the Sanskrit original.
- Gita is “women empowering,” crafted for both men and women.
- Bentwich crystalizes the key messages of each verse to create a simple, practical guide to inner growth.
If you’re curious how something written 2,000 years ago is uniquely applicable today, join us for this deep conversation.