Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spiritual books inventory

I thought a post on the books I have read, am reading, wish to read would make up a good post. Also, in future posts, I would like to capture the essence of these books.
I will be continually modifying this blog as I read more and more books and I will also capture the essence of the books briefly below.

Books read:


1) The Complete works of Swami Vivekanada - An astounding book covering the vedantic philosophy of monotheism and eternal reality. Also covers the four prinicple yogas - Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Raja yoga in detail. Swami Vivekanada was a great spiritual leader and monk. His most famous quote is: "Arise, awake. Stop not till the goal is reached".

2) Conversations with God series (Neale Donald Walsch) which include several books: Book 1,2,3. Home with God. Communion with God. Friendship with God. Tomorrow's God. - A wonderful series.
Note, though this book is titled Conversations with God - this book is not affliated with any religion and it revolutionizes the idea of what a God is - God is more than a mere person - God is emptiness. God is the all in all. God is life and God is Change.

3) Soul stories by Gary Zukav - Simple life stories, but profound spiritual lessons - That's the essential theme of this book. The life stories are taken from the author's life but the author took the liberty to modify them as necessary.

4) Past lives, Future Growth by Armand Marcotte - See life through the eyes of an accomplished Psychic. I believe that we are all psychics. Many people cosider psychic powers to be otherworldly. But Psychic powers are something that can be as intrinisic as the power of sight, the power of speech or the power of hearing. It can basically be seen as a latent power.
The essence of this book is that many problems we face in life might be carried over from past lives. We live lives to understand who we are and basically remember who we are through life's various experiences. If we don't learn our lessons in one life, those lessons need to be learnt in subsequent lives.
The essential perspective is that life's trials and tribulations are lessons for us - lessons for developing our character, lessons to grow spiritually, lessons to realize who we truly are and what our true potential is. Some lessons not learnt in previous lives are therefore carried forth to subsequent lives and this is where Armand comes into the picture - He lets you know what is the lesson to be learnt from the trial you are undergoing. He is helped by his spirit guides as is described in the book.
A wonderful book - I suggest you read this book with an open mind and be open to the ideas in the book, which are more important.

5) Miscellaneous ebooks: There are many ebooks that I have read that gave me a good understanding of the essence of Hindu Philosophy. You can look for ebooks by Swami Sivananda, Vivekananda, Krishnananda. Hindu Philosophy and new-age spirituality have a lot in common.
Both agree on the oneness of life - the essence of all kinds of life forms - animals, humans, even inanimate objects such as rocks, pebbles, and mountains is the same. Interestingly, String theory in Physics also says that the fundamental unit of matter is "Energy"!!! These energy are represented through strings which vibrate at different rates. The different rates of vibrations totally decide the shape, density, colour and other characteristics of matter (objects) that we see around the world. What does this mean? Appearances can be deceptive. According to string theory, strings (Energy forms) are more fundamental than the elementary particles discovered by Quantum physics.
In this context of string theory and Quantum physics, I have a read called "Hyperspace" by Michio Kaku. I highly recommend this book for readers who are interested in the progress made by physics in the past few decades in the understanding of what matter is fundamentally made up of.

6) "Call" - I read this book at the udub book store today (June 5th 2008). It's a book that in very plain english explains how the author had his spiritual call. Everyone receives the call, only a few are aware of it, and fewer heed it. The book explores the type of calls one can receive and is a philosophical delight to read.

7) Songs of the soul - I read this book recently (June 2nd 2008). It's a basic but very foundational book in how one begins on the spiritual path.
The key concepts are forgiveness, unconditional love (this word is often the least understood word in our human experience), one-ness of beings. The all in all is verily the self. The self is verily unconditional love, total joy, and total freedom.
All these words are synonyms of the essence, the brahman, the atman, the tao, the chi, the prana, the father, the holy spirit, the jesus, the rama, the krishna, the GOD. In Art of living, I believe, there is an exercise where you say to the other person, "You belong to me". This is a practical expression of "We are all one".
Note, that this needn't be a metaphorical statement and it is not. The essence in everybody is the same, the energy that drives the universe is present in every sentient and non-sentient object and that energy is "who you really are".

8) Soul Traveler by Albert Taylor - Describes the experiences of Albert Taylor in astral travel. We are pure consciousness covered by layers of bodies - There is the physical body, the astral body, the causal body, and so on. Albert actually narrates through his experiences what it feels like to shed one body and assume another one.
Taylor highlights that although soul travel might seem like an extreme adventure, out of the world experience (literally), such experiences also come with a sense of responsibility.
Books in progress:


1) Joy of living: A wonderfully simple book that touches on the various aspects of meditation from a Buddhist perspective. What are the common pitfalls that a beginner faces. Strategies to regularize the meditation practice. Fruits of meditation. Some results of scientific tests on the benefits of meditation.

2) The power is within you by Louise HaY: Louise Hay writes the book with utter simplicity so as to make the book easily comprehendable. Through various examples and true stories she relates the power of affirmations. The essence of this book is "What you believe, you become". But my personal perspective is that affirmations alone are not enough to attain equanimity and peace of mind. Though affirmations can be used to supplement a core spiritual practice that involves some kind of meditation. On second thoughts, I realize that prayer is also a form of meditation and affiramations can fall in that category.

3) Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi: A very powerful intellectual book that describes the conversations that the great being Sri Ramana Maharshi had with people who came to his Ashram during the early 1900's. Sri Ramana Maharshi is a proponent of 'Jnana Yoga'. The question "Who am I?" is fundamental to many of the conversations in the book. It takes a long time to go through the pages of the book since you can't just do a light reading. The recorded conversations make you think about your own identity during the process of reading.

Books to be read:


1) The Tibetan book of the Dead.
2) The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
3) New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
4) A rigorous study of upanishads. There are many sources on the web to get
materials on the upanishads. The vedanta and upanishads form a core part of Hindu Philosophy, which by the way has little to do with the rituals of the Hindu Religion, atleast at the surface. The basis for the rituals could ofcourse be argued to be found in the philosophy.

No comments: