To paraphrase the Bhagavad Gita, each of us has our own purpose and it’s better to follow it badly than to choose someone else’s. Sounds simple in theory, but how do we interpret what this means in the 21st century?
Come and explore at triyoga’s new book club, which starts on 26 November with the Gita. Over three weekly sessions, we’ll look in depth at the text’s main themes, from teachings on yoga to moral dilemmas and how to resolve them.
It can be challenging to read an ancient text alone, even one as timeless as the Gita. Discussing it together gives us a chance to hear other perspectives and ask questions. Whether you’ve studied the Gita before or never opened a copy, this club is for you.
There are many ways of reading the text. Some appear contradictory. For example, it inspired Gandhi’s non-violent resistance but also the righteous anger of his assassin. The Gita’s story seeks to reconcile opposites, finding peace in the midst of a war and detachment in action. It also strikes a balance between fate and free will.
The quest for meaning in turbulent times seems as relevant now as when the text was composed roughly 2,000 years ago. It reinvents yoga as a way to act wisely in the world, instead of retreating from sources of suffering like early practitioners.
To prepare for each week’s session, we will read through six chapters, with a handout offering guidance on sections to think about. This provides some structure for group conversations but we can focus on whatever interests you.
The idea of the book club is to bring texts to life, while examining how they relate to modern practice. We plan to read novels with yogic themes, as well as other classics. Please let us know of particular titles you’d like us to pick.
We aim to build a community around the joys of reading and sharing ideas. All of us can shape how it grows. As Krishna tells Arjuna at the end of the Gita (18.63): “I have now revealed to you this wisdom, which is the deepest of all mysteries.
Daniel presents yogic texts for modern times. Combining storytelling, humour and insight, his practical approach makes philosophy accessible. He holds a master’s degree from SOAS in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation, and teaches courses for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and on teacher trainings. He also writes about yoga for magazines and on his website: http://danielsimpson.info