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
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.
Always on the path...
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.
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.
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...
If speed allows the words to sink in my soul.
Krishna' s advice just infinitely deep
Fantastic version, he knows the subject very well. I would have preferred a slower, much slower read speed because the subject is so deep.
I like this because Jack has clearly done the hard work of assimilating many different sources (as he says in the preface), and his rendering shows a sweet understanding of the content and intent, which he expresses in a devotional reading. I have seven other English versions of the Gita. This one unites the others nicely into a text that offers much food for contemplation and uplifting thought.
"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.
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.
"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?
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