URBAN MONK: EXPLORING
KARMA, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND
THE DIVINE /BOOK
BY GADADHARA PANDIT DASA
CONSCIOUS LIVING, LLC
At first glance, saffron-robed Gadadhara
Pandit Dasa, a Hindu monk born in India and raised in America, appears to be
the typical monastic hermit. As he regales
us with the story of his journey in Urban
Monk, we discover that he's as gregarious
as they come. His was a life of emotional
highs and lows – a carefree childhood in India to an upper-class upbringing in California, a struggling subsistence in Bulgaria to
a high-pressure job in New Jersey – which
eventually led him to the doors of a monastery in New York City. With the Bhagavad
Gita in hand, he embarked on a personal
quest through India and back, where he
finally found strength and peace of mind,
and in a way, enlightenment.
In his inspiring autobiography, Pandit shares
how the ancient Eastern teachings of the
Gita can be woven into a modern Western
lifestyle. Speaking to the spiritually-curious
as well as the skeptical, he covers topics
such as vegetarianism, karma, reincarnation, death, and celibacy. He describes how
a life devoted to Krishna, combined with
street smarts, makes him well-equipped as
chaplain at Columbia University. He engages students in lively discussions about
the Gita and pop culture. He teaches cooking classes to demonstrate amazingly simple
vegetarian delights. In short, he makes conscious living easily attainable by anyone.
Gadadhara Pandit Dasa has taken the mystery out from behind the saffron robes; he is
truly a modern monk for modern times.
Reviewed by Joni Yung, who's been inspired to finally
crack open her copy of the Bhagavad Gita and read it.