Science and spirituality are often seen as conflicting forces in Western culture. Dr. Krishna Bhatta, a Bangor urologist, challenges that idea in his new book, “Journey From Life to Life: Achieving Higher Purpose.”
Bhatta, who is affiliated with the Northern Light Health system, sees elements of Hinduism already incorporated into American life, such as yoga and karma. Through his book, he seeks to bring more spiritual aspects of Hinduism into Western mainstream thinking. Growing up in India, Bhatta was raised with an understanding that there are worlds beyond this one. He believes that his job as a scientist is to consider many possibilities and investigate based on evidence, and sometimes that evidence isn’t tangible.
“I want people to get thinking that beyond life, the world is not limited to hell and heaven,” Bhatta said. “This is such a vast world that we see, why should there be a small world after that?”
Bhatta graduated from Patna Medical College in Patna, Bihar, India in 1971. He and his wife, Nayantara, who is a practicing OB/GYN, lived in England and Scotland before moving to the United States in 1988. Bhatta continued his medical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and relocated to Maine in 1992, where he began working in Skowhegan and then Bangor.
The book was inspired in part by a former patient in Skowhegan who sent him an angel figurine every Christmas for over 15 years. Bhatta feels that those angels are always with him, shaping the “minor miracles with big impact” he has experienced throughout his life.
While living in Scotland, Bhatta’s wife was in a major car accident in which an 18-wheeler spun on an icy road and struck her, totaling her car. Bhatta says that the only part of the vehicle that was undamaged was his wife’s seat and door, and she was able to walk away from the accident unscathed. He considers these small “miracles” to be divine intervention, a pillar of the spiritual journey a person goes on in this life.
Bhatta believes that Americans are more open to Hinduism than they think they are. He says that many westerners think that in order to have a spiritual awakening or learn more about their inner selves, they have to travel to places such as India, Tibet or Japan. Bhatta wants people to be able to have those discoveries at home in the U.S. as well.
Bhatta considers “Journey From Life to Life” to be his first book, though he authored two short pamphlets in 2011, “Thought Management” and “Gita Today.” The Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu scripture, has served as a manual throughout Bhatta’s life. He sees it as a practical text, creating the framework in India for open thought and discussion surrounding spirituality and the afterlife.
He says that the United States currently lacks that sort of framework, but he hopes to play a part in building it.
“Journey from Life to Life” was released Oct. 2 by Redwood Publishing.