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Joshua Greene

March 25, 2013

Joshua Greene

Venture inside the Jivamukti yoga school on a Tuesday evening and you’ll find the man officially known as Yogesvara Das, servant of Krishna, the Master of Yogic Powers, greeting his students with an easy smile, a harmonium and answering to his other name, Joshua Greene. At the end of the class you’ll sit around and chat, eating vegan sweets supplied by some of the other students. It’s a good class, as long as you remember not to throw your prayer beads on the floor (perhaps I did this accidentally, once) and to clear your mind of daily worries. This class goes deep into Bhakti Yoga, the kind where you turn your mind into a pretzel instead of your body.

Joshua M. Greene is one of those rare, deeply accomplished teachers even a wayward student can relate to, since his path has been less than direct. Once upon a time, in the 60s, he curtailed his studies at the Sorbonne to follow the teachings of Krishna, moved into an ashram, hung out with and recorded with George Harrison of the Beatles and eventually landed back in another reality 13 years later, sleeping on his parents’ couch in New York, a 30-something wondering what to do with his life, his beads and his robes.

What he’s done so far is make captivating books and documentaries, gathered together visionaries for the United Nations Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders and has spoken in front of audiences at the Pentagon and the World Economic Forum. He doesn’t shy away from the tough crowds, that’s for sure.

Considering himself a “later-bloomer” Joshua received his Masters degree in Religion in 2005 and started teaching at Hofstra University after he’d already been a PR executive and put his own kids through school. Another reason I like learning about the epic battle of the Bhagavad Gita from this man; he knows what it’s like out there, in the modern struggle between spirit callings and student loans.

You can catch the Sunset Gita class podcast Gita Wisdom, or learn more about Joshua’s life and work on his websited.  Stay tuned for his next book on the life and teachings of his guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a venerated man responsible for bringing Krishna Consciousness to the streets, luminaries and hippie fests of the modern Western world.

1. What is your hometown?

Body: New York City.

Mind: Clovelly.

Soul: Krishna’s village Vrindavan, India

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Stuart Little

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

Dustin Hoffman

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

Chagall’s “Paradise”

Matisse’s “The Dance”

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

Steven Johnson “Where Good Ideas Come From”

Paul Elie “Reinventing Bach”

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

I don’t own an iPod. When I listen to music, it is on CD. Currently: Bill Evans, “Conversations with Myself”

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?

Jose Ferrer “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1950)

8. Cat person or dog person?

Panditah sama-darsinah (Bhagavad Gita): “The wise one sees all beings as equal.”

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Kindness offered truthfully.

10. How do you define sin?

As an antiquated term of no value in a progress person’s vocabulary.

11. How do you define virtue?

The act of eliminating antiquated terms from our vocabulary.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

I plan to be cremated. Not applicable.

Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

My cat.

Connections:

Joshua Greene
Jivamukti
Gita Wisdom

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