Timeless wisdom for contemporary living

Join Thomas Budge on his annual four-day Bhagavad Gita retreat, to experience the timeless wisdom that awaits the modern world.

Some years ago, Thom promised himself that he would read the Bhagavad Gita at least once a year, and he invites all others to join him during his four-day annual retreat, which is usually held around Easter. Immersing oneself in the poetic wisdom from the Gita helps us understand our place in the universe, and gives us invaluable tools to properly deal with life in this fast-paced, goal-oriented, demanding world.

It Is What It Is, Grace through acceptance
The Bhagavad Gita, published by Nilgiri Press — ISBN: 978-1-58638-019-9

The story of the Bhagavad Gita takes us on a moving journey of self-discovery and universal exploration. It's ancient wisdom helps us add purpose and meaning to our modern lives. For many years now, Thom has chosen to incorporate the Gita's teachings into his personal, everyday life. By dedicating four days a year to be present with this wisdom, he keeps reminding himself of these important philosophies, and he extends a personal invitation to anyone else who wishes to accompany him, so that they may also experience this profoundly transformative philosophy for themselves.

Thomas would love to share his time with you.

About Thomas' Retreat

The Gita is an ancient poetic story that is believed to have originated in India, and it's poetic text is a quick 4-5 hour read. While the exact date of its composition is unclear, it is thought to have been written between the 5th and 2nd centuries BCE.

Many years ago, Thom committed to regularly revisit the Gita's teachings, and for many years, he has done so over a four-day period, usually around Easter. Apart from this being his personal undertaking to himself, he welcomes anyone else who would like to join him.

The wisdom from the Gita's story is timelessly applicable to all of us in a modern, conflicted world. It teaches us fundamental skills that help us cope in times of turmoil, and shows us how we can introspect to find inner meaning and peace. Through these writings, we come to realise that the poetic story is not just about a divided family in conflict, but that it is also a profound metaphor for the inner conflict we have between our spiritual selves and our ego, especially when ego becomes heavily invested in our physical experiences, material wealth and social influence.

Thomas has no preference regarding the venue for his reading of the Gita, and will travel to any location where it is most convenient for those accompanying him. He starts his reading (and associated discussion), each day shortly after breakfast, and concludes around supper. The only exceptions are a slightly later starting time of 09:30 on the first day, and an earlier finishing time of 16:30 on the last day.

Accompany Thom in    easy steps…

Step    Contacting our group

Thom first began reading the Gita on 22 December 2010, and he has done so every year thereafter. Numerous people have accompanied him on his four-day retreat, some having done so repeatedly. Click the button below, which is our invitation link to our WhatsApp group. This will automatically add you to our chat group, where you can briefly introduce yourself. Here, you will receive notices about the next retreat, and participate in deciding upon the next venue, and other group matters. We look forward to welcoming you, and we guarantee that this group shall only be used for this purpose with no other spamming, advertising or side chatter.

If you wish to accompany Thom, and are not yet sure if you can commit the time, that's okay. Please join our chat group anyway — there is absolutely no need to commit to anything (unless it is a week or so before the event and final plans have already been made for you to be there).

Step    Getting your copy of the Bhagavad Gita

There are many, many scholarly translations of the Gita, however, Thomas reads from his favourite translation by Eknath Easwaran, and we strongly suggest that you bring to the retreat your personal copy of this book.

Easwaran's translation of the Gita is generally found at most leading bookshops, and it is readily available from online outlets like Amazon and Takealot (South Africa). Be cognisant that there may be a lead-time of a few weeks before your book reaches you, so early planning is advised.

Eknath Easwaran's best-selling translation is reliable, readable and profound. He grew up in the Hindu tradition in India and learned Sanskrit from a young age. He was a professor of English literature before coming to the West on a Fulbright scholarship. Easwaran is a gifted teacher and a recognised authority on the Indian classics. — Nilgiri Press.

Step    Making a fair contribution

This is not a traditional course, and Thomas insists that it never gets marketed as such. Instead, he prefers that attendees collectively decide where to hold the retreat and that everyone helps in arranging the logistics around it.

Understandably, Thomas fully dedicates himself to facilitating and presenting the Gita, and it is only fair and reasonable to ask attendees to reciprocate by making a suitable cash donation to cover Thom's out-of-pocket expenses.

How to arrange additional Gita retreats

Should you and a group of your friends wish to invite Thomas to lead a private reading and discussion of the Gita outside his normal annual event, then please feel free to make contact with us by clicking BOOKMARKSCONTACT US located at the top of this page, and we will contact you to discuss this with you. You must be willing to arrange the venue, cover Thomas' travel and subsistence expenses in advance, and compensate him fairly for his time and effort.

Shared experiences from those who have accompanied Thom

The Gita retreat was an incredibly special time for me. Tom is an expert facilitator, and he provides a beautiful understanding of this ancient text. Coupled with Tom's insights, stories, and his life experiences, you're in for a real 'treat'. I believe everyone gets out exactly what they need to. Tom's insights and gentle guidance during this retreat was so filled with unconditional love and support. The 4 days taken to delve into this text were astoundingly special and it touched me deeply. I am forever grateful to Tom, and look forward to many more. — Devon Hasenbroek, Ballito


I found the retreat in Oban to have arrived at the perfect time in my life. During the retreat there were some very 'wow' moments. In these moments the marrying up of what was in the Bhagavad Gita in my life, was remarkable. The venue, the silence, Tom's guidance and those wonderful people who participated, made the experience unforgettable. — Heather Fountain, Howick


The Gita Retreat was a real treat. I had read the Bhagavad Gita before during my days as a Hare Krishna, but this time Thomas helped me find myself in the text. Not only did we read through it, but we also did various exercises under Thomas's expert guidance, which were quite revealing on a very personal level. I found the time deeply inspiring, and it ignited my spiritual flame again, helping me to restart my meditation practice. I am looking forward to the next time, with the hope of deepening my practice even more. — Hendrik Baird, Centurion