Invitation to World Literature: The Bhagavad Gita
2010, USA, Joshua Seftel, 26 min.
Produced by Annenberg Media, WGBH and Seftel Productions.
Travel through time and place in this episode of the award-winning public television series, as an esteemed group of writers, scholars, composers and religious leaders bring India's ancient epic The Bhagavad Gita to life.
Our dynamic cast explores how this text influenced the great leaders of our time, from Mahatma Ghandi to Martin Luther King, Jr. Along the way, they discover how its timeless themes of death, duty and desire continue to shape us today, from our comic books to our religious institutions. Acclaimed composer Philip Glass, screenwriter Amitav Kaul, Hindu Monk Gadadhara Pandit Dasa, composer Douglas Cuomo and Harvard Professor of Comparative Literature David Damrosch appear, among others, in this episode produced by WGBH, Annenberg Media and Seftel Productions.
Post-screening discussion with Hindu monk Gadadhara Pandit Dasa and filmmaker Joshua Seftel.
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Gadadhara Pandit Dasa has been a monk in the bhakti-yoga tradition since September of 1999. After spending six months in different monasteries in India, Pandit moved to a temple/monastery in the East Village of Manhattan, where he currently resides. Pandit currently serves as the first-ever Hindu chaplain of Columbia University and New York University. His activities at Columbia include facilitating weekly vegetarian cooking classes, discussions on the Bhagavad-Gita, and sessions on the art and practice of mantra meditation. Pandit is a regular contributor for the religion section of the Huffington Post. He was also featured in the NPR piece "Long Days and Short Nights of a Hindu Monk", as well as The New York Times. For more from Pandit, check out his website at nycpandit.com.
Filmmaker Joshua Seftel received his first Emmy nomination at age 22 with the award-winning documentary film, Lost and Found, about the plight of Romania's 120,000 orphaned and abandoned children. His other films include Taking on the Kennedys, chosen by Time Magazine as "one of the ten best television programs of the year," and the award-winning HBO film Ennis' Gift produced with Bill Cosby in memory of Cosby's son, Ennis. Seftel's work has also appeared on the Peabody Award-winning public radio program and Showtime series This American Life. His feature film directorial debut came in 2008 with War Inc., a political satire starring John Cusack, Ben Kingsley, Joan Cusack, and Marisa Tomei.