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Must Read Books on Spirituality & Philosophy in India

Books on Spirituality & Philosophy

They say ‘A Book is a Man’s Best Friend’.

What they said is indeed right.

There are billions of books to keep you glued to your vast imagination.

There are books with different genres, explaining various fictional and non-fictional characters, taking you to a world never seen before.

One such interesting genre is Indian Spirituality and Philosophy.

This genre covers various aspects of spiritualism and philosophy in the truest sense and also is a must read if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere.

They tend to bring a direction and also a change in the perception towards life.

It is because of the awareness about the real identity and meaning of certain beliefs and concepts.

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Not only Indian authors, even the western authors have shown a keen interest towards this topic and have written well-researched content on it in the form of books.

Here are must read books on Indian Spirituality and Philosophy –

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Autobiography of a Yogi is an autobiography of Paramhansa Yogananda that was first published in 1946.

The book introduces the encounters and experiences he had with spiritual figures both in India and Western world.

It explains in detail about his childhood, family life, finding his guru, his journey of becoming a monk, and his teachings of ‘Kriya Yoga Meditation’.

The subject is unique and had been available to a few back then. It talks about the methods of attaining God-realization and to the spiritual wisdom of the East.

It has been translated in over fifty languages by ‘Self-Realization Fellowship’ and has been in print since seventy years.

Buddha: His Life and Teachings by Osho

Buddha: His Life and Teachings by Osho

Buddha: His Life and Teachings is written by Osho, a contemporary mystic who takes the reader on a journey to the world and life of Prince Gautam Siddhartha, who later became Buddha.

The book explains the teachings of Buddha as a story and reflects it in the present times.

With deep insight and wit, the book comes to life as it is guided by a true spiritual teacher who takes the reader slowly through the secrets of the ‘World Religion without God’.

This book will surely ensure of an experience of meditation that will help you retain your sanity.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha is a 1922 novel written by Hermann Hesse based on the protagonist named ‘Siddhartha’ during the time of Gautama Buddha.

The whole book shows his spiritual journey of self-discovery. It was his ninth novel written in German in a lyrical style.

In 1951, it was published in the US and went onto gain influence during the 1960s.

The major aspect of the book is crafting of Siddhartha’s journey.

It shows that his understanding comes from the completeness of the experiences of life that allows him to attain understanding.

This book will take you through a series of events that changes Siddhartha’s life forever.

Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda

Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda

Raja Yoga describes methods of concentration, psychic development, and the liberation of the soul from the body.

The book sheds light on the Yoga philosophy through scientific treatment clearing the concept and path of meditation along with the control of the mind.

It also includes his commentary and translation of the ‘Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali’.

It surely is an inspiration to all the spiritual seekers.

A New Earth by Eckhhart Tolle

A New Earth by Eckhhart Tolle

‘A New Earth’ is one of the most powerful books written by Eckhart Tolle after his bestseller ‘Power of Now’ changed millions of life.

It includes wide range of spiritual traditions with references taken from Hindu and Buddha philosophies.

The book sheds strong light and describes how the attachment to ego can create dysfunction.

The dysfunction later leads to negative emotions such as anger, jealousy, and unhappiness.

Where he shares the negative aspect, he even shows them how to awaken to a renewed state of consciousness and lead a path that fulfils your existence.

Described as a spiritual manifesto, the book not only can change your life but also help in building a better world.

Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought by Richard King

Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought by Richard King

True to its name, this book provides an introduction to the main schools of Indian Philosophy through both Hindu and Buddha traditions.

The main focus is to take into account the important contributions made by individual thinkers.

He analyzes the schools, different doctrines and then compares their approaches to specific philosophical topics.

The book has been specially curated for the western audience as an introduction to the Indian Philosophy and also to examine its relationship with the West.

The book has come out as balanced and makes it to the must reads.

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The Synthesis of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo

The Synthesis of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo

The Synthesis of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo is based on his principal work on Yoga.

It walks you through the examining of traditional systems of yoga and the author explains certain components of his own system of internal yoga.

The book starts with an Introduction followed by four parts – The Yoga of Divine Works, The Yoga of Internal Knowledge, The Yoga of Divine Love, and The Yoga of Self Perfection.

The book is now available in a PDF and Kindle format so make sure it does make it to your reading list.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism, 2nd Edition by Linda Johnsen

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism, 2nd Edition by Linda Johnsen

Don’t let the name fool you as the author of the book Linda Johnsen gives expanded knowledge on how Hinduism developed from its scattered origins, the basic beliefs, multiple deities, and sociological aspects.

It even contains the current state of Hinduism and the paths described in the religion to enlightenment including the Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, and Laya Yoga.

The author even discusses and gives expanded information on the Hindu Reformation.

Who Am I? By Sri Ramana Maharshi

Who Am I? By Sri Ramana Maharshi

The book has been given the title pertaining to the set of questions and answers based on Self-Enquiry.

These questions were put to Sri Ramana Maharshi by Sri M. Sivaprakasam Pillai in the year 1902.

The answers were written by Sri Ramana Maharshi rather than being explained verbally and these were later recorded by Sri Pillai.

He first published them in 1923 in Tamil along with a couple of poems written by him.

He explained Bhagavan’s grace and how he dispelled his doubts and saved him from crisis in life.

The Bhagavad Gita – Translated by Ramananda Prasad

The Bhagavad Gita – Translated by Ramananda Prasad

The book contains easy and accurate translation giving the readers ease of understanding.

The commentary and explanations of the verses and concepts is said to be clear and beautifully described.

Avadhuta Gita of Dattareya translated by Chetanananda

Avadhuta Gita of Dattareya translated by Chetanananda

The book describes the purest statements of non-dualistic Vedanta made 3000 years ago by Dattareya Avdhuta.

He sang these spontaneously after being purified by meditation and absorbed by the bliss of Brahma.

The information book has is gripping and powerful and gives an enlightened reading.

It is profound and inspiring making it a must read to all who are keen seekers of nondual truth.  

The Upanishads by Juan Mascaro

The Upanishads by Juan Mascaro

The earliest of The Upanishads were composed in Sanskrit between 800 and 400 BCE by sages and poets.

It forms part of the Vedas – the ancient and sacred scriptures forming the foundation of the Hindu religion.

Each lesson has a theme from the attainment of spiritual bliss, karma, and re-birth to meditations on life, death, and immortality.

The whole aspect of their teachings is that ‘the truth can be reached through faith rather than thought, and that the spirit of God is within each of us’.

It further elaborates that we need not fear death as we carry within us the promise of eternal life.

It is lyrical with clear commentary enhancing the texts and is easy to follow without any doubts or uncertainty.

These were few of the books that made it to the list of must reads on Indian Spirituality and Philosophy.

Any other best reads you want to add and recommend?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Sharmila Feroz

Sharmila Feroz is a graduate of versatile vocations who grew up in a military household which led her to travel to interesting and beautiful parts of the country. Penning those travel experiences paved her way into writing about ethnic lifestyle and cultural celebrations in India.

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