Thank you, Dr. Linda Brown Holt, an author of fiction and non-fiction books for your kind review!
In Sapiens and Sthitaprajña, Ashwini Mokashi has written a brilliant analysis and comparison of two philosophies from different parts of the world: the stoicism of the Western philosopher Seneca (Roman 1 BCE to 65 CE) and the teachings of the Indian text, the Bhagavad Gita (ca. 400 BCE to 200 CE).
Mokashi has distilled the key ideas from these two works and presented them in ways that every thoughtful person can appreciate and enjoy. Her scholarly background has enabled the author to penetrate to the core of each work’s message, where she finds a unifying call for the cultivation and practice of wisdom in society at large and in our individual lives.
Wisdom may, in fact, be the one element missing today in our social discourse. Government officials and members of popular movements alike demonstrate every day that they have mastered the arts of contentiousness, disregard for the truth, and have the ability to spin information with the ease and facility of a skilled magician. But where is the wisdom that should be at the heart of their thoughts and deliberations? Do we need leaders who are wise people? Or are we content to be led by “wise guys”?
Using easy-to-understand language, Mokashi provides clear descriptions of Seneca and his time as well as the setting and meaning of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most cherished works of Indian spiritual philosophy. She answers the question, “What is stoicism?”, and suggests ways, based on these ancient teachings, through which we can improve ourselves and the world around us.
The title of this book refers to the “Sapiens” in Roman philosophy, a wise person who is moderate in his or her habits and thinks before acting. The “Sthitaprajña” refers to one who is firm in judgment and wisdom. Although these ideals come from different parts of the world, the stoic teachings of Seneca and the author of the Gita have a shared universal ring of truth. Through moderation, kindness, and dedication, we, too, can experience a greater sense of unity and purpose in our lives, and pass that on to a world in need of ancient wisdom that is tried and true.
–Dr. Linda Brown Holt, author of Viewing Meister Eckhart through the Bhagavad Gita