A person starting to look into the spiritual life may be daunted by the endless number of available books dealing with all aspects of this vast topic. Even when one goes through the book catalogue of this Ashram alone, one could be overwhelmed by the plethora of choices. In light of that fact, a small number of books have been chosen to serve as an introduction to the teachings of the saints of this particular Ashram.
Swami Sivananda wrote over 300 books. That number alone would leave even the most avid reader gasping for breath! We have therefore looked through the books of his that are now in print and available from the Sivananda Publication League, and chosen six books that would serve as an inspiring introduction to his teachings.
Sure Ways for Success in Life and God-realisation A practical and very helpful first book that gives an overview of Swami Sivananda's teachings. It includes sections on cultivation of the will and memory, eradication of negative qualities, character building, Raja Yoga, cultivation of virtues, and other very practical advice.
Bhagavad Gita (with commentary by Swami Sivananda) The Gita is possibly the most elevating and inspiring of any of the Indian scriptures. The book can be read over and over again. Swami Sivananda's commentary helps to elucidate the text, and he offers practical advice and his own insights into the greatness of this divinely inspired book.
Mind: Its Mysteries and Control Gurudev explores all the various aspects of the mind: the various aspects of the mind, the mind/body connection, psychic states, the nature of thought, and how to concentrate and meditate.
Concentration and Meditation This book is a great aid to those starting the practice of meditation, and who seek to understand the various methods of meditation. Gurudev discusses the cultivation of a concentrated mind, the preliminaries of meditation, specific meditation practices, obstacles to meditation and also experiences in meditation.
Thought Power A small book which explores every aspect of thought: the laws and dynamics involved with thought, the values and uses of consciously directed thought, the cultivation of positive thoughts and the eradication of negative thoughts.
Vedanta for Beginners A good introduction for the reader to the various theories of the Vedanta philosophy. Complicated concepts are explained very simply and ably, and Gurudev shows how this high philosophy can be applied in daily life.
Books by Swami Chidananda There is a large number of very helpful and inspiring books by the present President of the Divine Life Society, Swami Chidanandaji Maharaj, and one feels a bit remiss to limit the selection to just two books, but these two are truly great. Both books are collections of talks by Swamiji that have been recorded, transcribed, edited and selected especially for their inspirational and practical content.
1. A Call to Liberation
2. Ponder These Truths
Books by Swami Krishnananda The late Swami Krishnanandaji is the former General-Secretary of the Divine Life Society, but more importantly for a lover of wisdom and philosophical enquiry, he was one of the greatest thinkers and philosopher-saints of modern day India. Many of his books are a bit too difficult for a beginner, so these two books have been specifically selected for their ease of study. Both books are transcribed dialogues between Swami Krishnananda and spiritual seekers who had posed questions to him.
1. Your Quyestions Answered
2. Problems of the Spritual Life
Books by Swami Venkatesananda Once more, there are many possible books from this great writer, speaker and devoted disciple of Gurudev, but culling the two that may be most helpful for the beginner, we chose the following.
2. Sivananda Yoga