Harmony and the Bhagavad-gita: Lessons from a Life-Changing Move to the Wilderness

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Henry David Thoreau, who read and admired Bhagavad-gita, stimulated the American imagination with Walden. In Harmony and the Bhagavad-gita, Visakha and her family follow Thoreau’s path, stepping out of the daily grind into a simple, introspective life in the woods, with Bhagavad-gita lighting their way. Harmony is a contemplative memoir accompanied by sixty-two lyrical, black-and-white photographs. Weaving the Bhagavad-gita’s age-old wisdom with contemporary concerns, this book explores an enduring basis for personal, ecological, and social harmony. And the book serves as a spiritual compass for those who dare to look afresh at the attitudes and goals we sometimes blindly accept. Visakha, her husband, and daughter lived ordinary lives in an ordinary home on an ordinary street in Los Angeles. Longing for something more, they gathered their savings and gumption and, in the summer of 1999, made a leap to Sharanagati, a rustic homestead in a raw, enchanting 1,600-acre valley in British Columbia. There they shared the open air and changing seasons with loons, black bears, aphids, ants, forest fires and rugged, spiritually-inclined individualists who were inspired by a culture as old as history. There they took in soul-stirring, sweeping life lessons that are suited for any time, place and circumstance. Focusing on internal development along with a simple lifestyle, Harmony gives readers a chance to find genuine meaning in the entertainment of a good story well told.

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Whether you reside in the city or the country, life can be very frustrating, confusing and aggravating, but spirituality has nothing to do with where your physical body resides. Visakha thought she could lead a more spiritual existence by moving to a remote area and living close to nature, but in doing so, her true lessons of how to actually live a life close to and for the creator began to emerge. She managed to escape noise, traffic, electric bills, billboards, TV, fluorinated water, and smog, only to have her carrots eaten by hungry bears that also broke her apple trees to get to her apples, her painstakingly planted berries and vegetables were attacked by aphids, and mice somehow got into her families completely sealed root cellar. To top this off her house was even broken into by her neighbors’ teenage son. Visakha, a former atheist, explains how she makes sense of, and manages to live harmoniously despite life’s disappointments and obstacles in her path to becoming more spiritually connected to God through the wisdom of a 5000 year old text called the Bhagavad-gita.By reading this book you will see how to be at peace with your life and who you really are, which may not be who you think you are right now.

Visakha proves through the sharing of her own journey that a rich and satisfying life is there for anyone, regardless of the environment or social situation who is willing to open themselves to receive and be changed by true spiritual knowledge. One cannot help but be attracted to the magical way in which even the smallest incident becomes a catalyst for profound revelations.

Visakha Dasi (Jean Papert Griesser) received an Associate of Applied Science degree with honors from Rochester Institute of Technology and shortly afterwards published her first book, Photomacrography: Art and Techniques. In 1971 she traveled to India, where she met A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, accepting initiation from him in Vrindavana the same year. As a photographer, she traveled with and photographed Srila Prabhupada and his students in India, Europe and the United States. As a writer, she wrote numerous articles for Back to Godhead magazine and two books, Our Most Dear Friend, a Bhagavad-gita for children, and Bhagavad-gita, A Photographic Essay, a fully illustrated summary study of Bhagavad-gita. Visakha also assists her husband, John Griesser, in making documentary films on Srila Prabhupada and on the philosophy and culture of Krishna consciousness.

Printed on recycled paper.

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