Two mothers have created a reimagined adventure story transporting the sacred Hindu verse of the GITA into a book that is relevant to everybody’s life, regardless of religious belief.

Sonal Sachdev Patel, from Standmore, and Jemma Wayne-Kattan, from Mill Hill, hope that GITA: The Battle of the Worlds will provide crucial life lessons for children.

Sonal explains: “I watched my Mother read the Gita every day since I was born and I saw what a magical relationship she seemed to have with this ancient Hindu text. I didn’t read it until I was in my late 20s and contrary to her experience I found the text quite heavy going and difficult to understand.

“The Gita is said to teach us how to win this battle of life – a powerful statement - and so, I wanted to take these messages from the Gita and explain them to my children in a modern and relatable way.”

Although taken from Hinduism’s epic sacred scripture Mahabharata, Sonal and Jemma, who was born into a Jewish family, are keen to emphasise the universality of the GITA and hope that by transforming it into a story aimed at children aged eight to 14 will help promote greater religious understanding and tolerance from an early age.

With a friendship that has spanned over thirty years, Sonal and Jemma have danced as toddlers in ballets together, studied alongside one another at Cambridge University and now have worked together on this epic story.

“Sonal is one of my oldest friends, so when she asked me to collaborate with her on this book, I wanted to say yes,” Jemma tells me. “As a storyteller, what I needed to be sure of was that beyond the messages and morals, at the heart of the project, there was a story that would be compelling in its own right. Not only for Hindus but for all children.

“Fortunately, as soon as we started talking, I knew this wouldn’t be a problem. The original Gita is an epic battle, and the interpretation that our story is based on talks about this as a metaphor for the internal battle inside ourselves that we each face on a daily basis between our good tendencies, and our not so good ones.

“Much of our story therefore actually takes place inside the body of a young, troubled boy. It is full of fantasy and adventure - Harry Potter meets Honey I Shrunk The Kids. But also, through it, are woven many of the spiritual and universal messages from the original Gita that feel so relevant to our modern lives.

With Sonal spear-heading Gita expertise and insight, and Jemma taking the lead on the book’s text, the result was a truly collaborative work, made all the more meaningful by the history and understanding between its creators.

Part of their inspiration to create this modern day retelling was the statistic revealed by Young Minds charity that one in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

“I hope children will be engaged and inspired by the story and that it will open up a doorway into those deep special meanings of the Gita,” says Sonal.

“I hope the key messages we draw out of meditation and introspection will empower them to take these into their own lives and arm them with the tools they need to navigate this modern day, technology driven and fast paced life. I also hope it will connect them with that Universal spirit that unites all of us.”

By following the journey of the young boy, GITA: The Battle of the Worlds raises important life lessons and, with meditation at its core, equips young readers with accessible mental health tools.

Sonal and Jemma hope that the story will not only inspire individual young readers but will give them tangible tools to cope with the struggles of modern day life.

Jemma adds: “I hope they will be moved by the emotional journey of our main character Dev, and perhaps relate whatever challenges they face in their lives to the troubles he tries to overcome. For me, the most important messages from his journey are about introspection, how to handle tough times and big emotions, and how to choose to act well. These are ideas that are relevant to people from all religions and none, and the universal pull of that is part of what I love about the story.”

Complimented by original illustrations, GITA: The Battle of the World hopes to be a captivating and thought-provoking addition to the children’s book and educational genres.

Sonal Sachdev Patel is a British born Indian Hindu that has been meditating for over 25 years. Together Sonal and Jemma personify the east meets west mix of this story. Each with two daughters, Sonal and Jemma are proud feminists and both strive to incorporate ways to speak out on important issues within their careers.

GITA: The Battle of The Worlds by Sonal Sachdev Patel & Jemma Wayne-Kattan is published by Published by Harper Collins 360

Living with her family in North London she maintains strong ties with India via the charitable foundation that she runs - GMSP Foundation.

As a social entrepreneur, Sonal endeavours to take well-known but complex social challenges and retell them in powerful ways that challenge convention; bringing acid attack survivors to the London catwalk in LFW and curating an ethical luxury fashion line to give a voice to Indian artisans.

Through her work she has also taken a leading role in the philanthropy space in the NRI community acting as an advisor to the Prince’s charity - British Asian Trust - and has been recognised for her work to stop gender violence in both India and the UK.

She is also head of Global Partnerships an award-winning global initiative THINK EQUAL which due to the alarming statistics on children’s mental health is currently working across twelve countries to bring a systems change in education.

Jemma Wayne is a Woman’s Prize listed author. After graduating from Cambridge University with an academic scholarship for her achievements in Social and Political Science Jemma went on to obtain her PGDIP in Broadcast journalism from the University of Westminster before becoming a journalist and writer

Her work has featured in, amongst others, The Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday, National Geographic, Red, Standard Issue and the Jewish Quarterly. Her debut novel After Before (Legend Press 2014) was, amongst others, long-listed for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for fiction.

Other books include; Chains of Sand (Legend Press 2016) and Bare Necessities (Piatkus 2004). She lives in North, London with her family.