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Literature for SELF-Discovery

Vedanta – Recommended Reading

We highly recommend the following Vedanta Reading List:

The Upanishads, Breath of the Eternal, trans. Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1987; New York: Mentor Books, 1975.
Excellent translation of the major scripture of India. Clear, helpful introduction. For the general reader, not the scholar.

Adiswarananda, Swami. The Vedanta Way to Peace and Happiness. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004. A valuable and thoroughgoing reference text for the Vedanta Philosophy.

Hourihan, Paul. Children of Immortal Bliss: A New Perspective on our True Identity Based on the Ancient Vedanta Philosophy of India. Anna Hourihan, ed. Redding, CA: Vedantic Shores Press, 2008. A compelling introduction to the Vedanta philosophy of India, showing how these profound teachings can deepen and enrich our understanding of life and bring us closer to enlightenment.

Vrajaprana, Pravrajika. Vedanta, A Simple Introduction. Hollywood: Vedanta Press. As the title states this is a short, easy-to-read introduction to Vedanta by a Western nun of the Ramakrishna Order. Well-written and clear explanation of Vedanta.

Swami Vivekananda. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama. Any lectures or works by this mystic, a gigantic figure in India’s religious history, are valuable. He is the great modern expounder of Vedanta to the West. Individual volumes are also available covering different subjects, such as the following one.

Swami Vivekananda. Vedanta: Voice of Freedom. Swami Chetanananda, ed. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1986. A collection of the important letters, speeches and writings on the subject of Vedanta by Swami Vivekananda, the modern interpreter of Vedanta.

Isherwood, Christopher, ed. Vedanta for the Western World and Vedanta for Modern Man. The mystical traditions of three great faiths—Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity—are explored at depth in two richly interesting collections of essays written by many gifted authors. Good advice on meditation.

Easwaran, Eknath, The Upanishads, Translated for the Modern Reader. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, 1987, Reprinted 2003. An interesting introduction and translation with commentary, especially for Westerners.

Prabhavananda, Swami. The Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta. Hollywood: Vedanta Press. Shows how the illuminations of Vedantic mysticism clarify some of the difficult passages in Christ’s famous Sermon. A reverent, discerning, highly spiritual treatment by a Hindu monk.

How to Know God, The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. Trans. with a commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1996. A classic translation of the yoga system. One of the indispensable works for understanding the mysticism of India. Sound, important advice on meditation offered.

The Song of God: Bhagavad-Gita, Trans. with a commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. Signet Classics, 2002. A companion volume to The Upanishads, Breath of the Eternal. A poetic, evocative translation. Brilliant introduction by Aldous Huxley. The Gita is often called the Gospel of Hinduism.

Swami Tathagatananda. The Journey of the Upanishads to the West. New York: The Vedanta Society of New York, 2002. Well-researched and documented study covering the history of how the Upanishadic ideas and teachings influenced the West from the early times of ancient Greece to the American Transcendentalist movement and into the 20th century in the West.

Huxley, Aldous. The Perennial Philosophy. Has been called the masterpiece of all anthologies of mysticism. Huxley’s own commentary accompanying each of his selections is almost as valuable. (He was a practicing mystic as well as a renowned intellectual.) A classic in this field.

James, William. Varieties of Religious Experience. First published in 1902. Another indispensable classic, written with literary brilliance and great verve by the famous American psychologist-philosopher. Concentrates primarily on Christian figures.

Reincarnation, an East-West Anthology, ed. Joseph Head and S. L. Cranston. Its expanded version is known as Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery. Either volume is engrossing for the beginner, the advanced student, or the skeptic.

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