Monday, July 24, 2017

Roopa Pai Decodes the Bhagavad Gita, the Holy Book that Predates Organized Religion

The other day a Mexican Spiritist author sent me some questions about how Spiritism influenced Francisco I. Madero as leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution and as president of Mexico (1911-1913)-- so the topic has once again been on my mind. Of course, as those of you have read my book about Madero's secret book, and/or who been following this blog well know, Madero's Spiritist Manual was more than a rehash of ye olde Kardecian Spiritism: Madero stirred in sprinkles and cupfuls of all sorts of ideas from other authors and occult tradition. Madero also had an abiding interest in the Hindu Holy Book of 700 verses in 18 chapters known as the Bhagavad Gita.

> See my post on Madero's commentary on the Gita.

And there, in the Bhagavad Gita, is where I believe we can find the answer to another more frequently asked question, how did a Spiritist, supposedly devoted to brotherly love and peace, pick up arms and fight a revolution?

The Bhagavad Gita is about war. It is also about the afterlife and life itself, down to some very earthy, very granular levels. Because I have since moved on to work on another, very different book-- a memoir / travel book on Far West Texas (in which Madero makes a cameo appearance, of course, because the 1910 Revolution started at the border)-- I have not been able to go into the detail about the Bhagavad Gita that the subject warrants. So I was very pleased to find this TedX talk by Roopa Pai about the Gita, "India's book of answers." She calls the Gita "a shining moral compass for guidance"; "a primer on the art of civilized debate"; "a killer app for contentment"; "the ultimate equal rights manifesto"; "the original monograph on free trade"; "the original tree huggers handbook"; "the Indian book on baby names"; and "a mathematical treatment on the mobius strip called karma."

Roopa Pai's is the best short introduction I have yet found to the Gita, and I highly recommend it.





P.S. In addition to the link to Roopa Pai's talk on the Gita, you will find many more resources for researchers on the webpage for my book, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual.

> Resources for Researchers (films and videos)




Monday, July 10, 2017

De Witt Clinton Boutelle

Untitled (Hudson River Landscape with Indian) 1848
De Witt Clinton Boutelle
Chrysler Museum of Art
Apart from trying to finish my book on Far West Texas and the overdue prologue for a friend's most unusual and outstanding book and moving house (half the books now in boxes, my train of thoughts surely must be bubble-wrapped into one or three of them) and see about querying publishers for various projects and translations, and trying also (also!) to not fall too woefully behind with email (... am trying to take my own advice...), this week I got wrapped up with some thunderous family news... precisely, of the existence of De Witt Clinton Boutelle (1820 - 1884), a great great great uncle who was, lo and behold, a remarkably talented painter of the Hudson River School. My sister, thanks to Google, found his grave. And from there it was all open sesame.

> More about the Hudson River Landscape with Indian of 1848 in the Chrysler Museum.

> Here is De Witt Clinton Boutelle's "Indian Surveying a Landscape" 1855, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (I note that it was purchased from a private collection in Springfield MA.)

> And here is Boutelle's 1873 portrait of Asa Packer.

> And a bunch more of Boutelle's landscapes at artnet.

> Even more at https://americangallery19th.wordpress.com/category/boutelle-dewitt-c/ .

> And a note on Boutelle's "Catskills Mountain House" of 1845.


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