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.
©2001 Jack Hawley (P)2011 Jack Hawley
Was hoping to hear more the story and the meaning than someone making different voices to impersonate the characters with an annoying background music. This book maybe better read in print.
"A Walkingthrough, not enough Thinkingthrough..."
It's good, but not great. The "translation" takes too many liberties... colloquializes too much.
Sri Krishna's self-revelation to Arjuna.
I liked that the speaker was clear. However, I did not like the speaker's repetitive overemphasis.It made the delivery seem cloying. A professional reader should have been used.At various points the reader made Sri Krishna sound almost condescending. That is not at all a part of Sri Krishna's attitude.
The Gita is very inspiring, elevating. It prompts the reader to self-examination and improvement.
All in all the "translation" and delivery mar the grandeur, intellectual depth and expansive spirit of the original work.Though I think the author/reader made a noble attempt, with good intention.
"The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners"
I really loved this. The author reads his own work here, and he does a very good job. He has a pleasant voice that seems suited to the material. It is not a literal translation word-for-word, more like a distillation in modern English and with the intent to explain the Bhagavad Gita to westerners in particular. He explains the concepts and some of the vocabulary, which I found helpful. There is a sort of soundtrack to the reading, which I did not find intrusive and which I actually thought added something to it - I liked it - but I think some people may find it distracting, so listen to a sample before you buy it. Overall the sound quality was pretty good; I heard papers rattle occasionally, but I became so interested in the material itself that I stopped noticing it if it continued throughout the book. I would recommend this work to anyone who is interested in learning about the Bhagavad Gita or in world religions and beliefs. As soon as I finsihed it, I started it again, because there is a lot to it, and I was fascinated. I wish I'd found this when it was first produced.
"Great intro to the Gita but sleepy performance"
I can 100% recommend the book as illuminating intro to the Gita .
However I will not listen to this book again as its audio (monotone reading and constant background noise/music) is not very appealing.
"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...
"Jack Hawley's Bhagavad Gita"
It was my second audiobook, and it was fantastic.
When the author talks at the end of the book of his personal experience and how the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita helped him and his wife.
A book I will surely listen to again.
"A great interpretation of a legendary story"
For something as complex and historied as the Mahabarata, it is fantastic to hear a clear and educational version of the Bhagavad Gita. The assistance in understanding terminology is very helpful throughout. The personal anecdotes add a significant value to the overall experience as well.
"The bible to a worried soul"
This book is beauty. If you are at a time in your life where you feel overwhelmed or worried, please, get this book.
It will not merely subside your anxiety, it will act as a constant go to for you to all but alleviate it.
The story is beautiful
The characters are beautiful
And this adaptation is beautiful
I am ever grateful to it's author for taking the time to write this western adaptation.
"Great first listen"
This was a good audio in that the author made a lot of the terms clear to me. I will surely listen again as tis book is worth more of my time.
"An amazing journey thru the Bhagavad Gita..."
What a wonderful journey thru the Bhagavad Gita, This is truly a masterpiece. I continue to listen to it over and over again...
"An accessible, complete experience"
I have tried to get through several translations of The Bhagavad Gita, and this is the first that I was able to understand enough to pose questions in my mind, and to contemplate the greater meaning. The language of the others I have attempted to read was just out of my reach. Highly recommend this version for western ears 😊
"SBG (Super Bhagavad Gita)"
I arrived to this version of the Bhagavad Gita after listening to many other audiobooks of the book. Without doubt this version provides the deepest understanding of the Bhagavad Gita. Good sound quality of the recording done by the author, who obviously is passionate about the book.
"A lot of ancient wisdom but a bit laborious."
I can see where the roots of Buddhism have come from in the Gita. This is an incredible text, well read and beautifully translated.
Like many Eastern texts though there can be lots of lists of very wordy concepts which tend to over-egg the pudding. It could be even more concise in my opinion.
"brilliant way to hear the message"
really well told, recommended by Eckhart Tolle and so worth listening to. my need was for this sort of translation and was prompted by a simple explanation by tolle of what chapter one is really about. thank you
"A great listen to a genuine voice."
Absolutely. The Bhagavad Gita is an excellent story and contains some profound wisdom. It is striking how some of it is very similar to biblical proverbs and stories about Jesus too. I love that Mr Hawley has narrated this himself too. It is a testament to his passion for the subject matter and this comes across in the reading. The quality of the audio is not 100% but it is engaging and I found no issues with clarity or diction. The touch of reverb was a nice change too.
I would much rather this than yet another dry, compressed nauseating voice actor.
The way the dialogue between Arjuna and Krisna plays out echoed how much of my own thoughts and questions would evolve if I were playing the role of Arjuna.
To kill or not to kill - is that the question?
Way too casual and chatty. Too dumbed down, rambling and almost patronising. Seemed to be made up as he went along in parts. I'm sure there are more succinct and engaging audible commentaries on the Gita out there. I gave up after less than 20 minutes.
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