I first heard of Bhagavad-gita when I was trekking with my then boyfriend (now husband) John in the Himalayas way back in the summer of ’71. We were at the snow line, 10,000 feet at that time of year, and decided to spend a few restful days in an abandoned cowshed. From deep inside his backpack John pulled out a blue paperback with a line drawing of a regal, four-armed person on the cover.
During our stay, I sat for hours surrounded by towering snowy peaks in crystal-clear air, with no other humans around, trying to read this early edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I understood little but I was intrigued. The idea of tolerating dualities and remaining equipoised in their midst enticed me, as did the concept of an eternal spiritual presence within all living beings. And the Gita opened me to the thought that I could improve my character as well as the quality of my life through knowledge.
Over the years, as I continued studying Bhagavad-gita and practicing its precepts, my respect for its wisdom, relevance, and comprehensiveness grew. Gradually Bhagavad-gita revolutionized my life. In 1996 I wrote and illustrated a Bhagavad-gita for children, Our Most Dear Friend, and then did one for young adults: Bhagavad-gita: A Photographic Essay, a visual guide to the world’s greatest spiritual dialog. Recently I completed a third exploration, on how to apply the teachings of Bhagavad-gita to our daily lives: Harmony and the Bhagavad-gita: Lessons from a Life-Changing Move to the Wilderness.
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Visakha (pronounced Vish-A-khA) Dasi 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 Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, read his Bhagavad-gita As It Is and eventually became his student. As a photographer, she traveled with and photographed Bhaktivedanta Swami and his students in India, Europe and the United States. As a writer, she wrote numerous magazine articles and three books on the Bhagavad-gita. Visakha also assists her husband, John Griesser, in making documentary films. They have two daughters and are based in Sharanagati Village, a rural community in British Columbia, Canada, where Visakha is writing a memoir, The Cynic and the Sadhu.