Book-Review by Odile Belmont

Odile Belmont taught French language at the Princeton University as a Lecturer.

In ‘Sapiens and Sthitaprajna‘, Ashwini Mokashi makes an interesting comparison between Sapiens, the wise person in Seneca’s Stoic philosophy, and Sthitaprajna, the sage according to the Indian tradition.

The questions raised in the book seem as relevant today as they were such a long time ago, namely, how can one be wise and happy at the same time.

It was  surprising to find so many similarities between these two ancient philosophies on the topic of wisdom. Both Sapiens and Sthitaprajna must exercise good judgment before acting. They must be free of passions. They set an example by their behaviour.

The author also makes a brilliant analysis of the differences between them. The Stoics thought of acquiring wisdom in preparation for death, with no idea of an afterlife. While in the Gita, meditation and yoga enable one to reach moksha, or liberation, from the cycles of birth and rebirth.

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