Suggested Reading

Introductory Books

Vedanta: A Simple Introduction
A concise, and delightful introduction to Vedanta, the philosophical backbone of Hinduism. Written with verve and charm by a Western nun for a Western audience, this brief book gives a comprehensive overview of Vedanta philosophy while emphasizing its practical Western application.
Living Wisdom
A compilation of essays on a wide variety of spiritual topics in the light of the Vedanta philosophy. Includes such renowned authors as Huston Smith, Thomas Keating, Christopher Isherwood, and Aldous Huxley.
Living at the Source
Pertinent selections from Swami Vivekananda arranged by subject.
What Religion Is
A short, concise book illuminating the essence of religion.
Ramakrishna and His Disciples
A beautifully written biography of Ramakrishna by Christopher Isherwood.

Basic Traditional Scriptures

Bhagavad Gita
The Bible of Hinduism, this book contains the essence of India’s spiritual teachings and uses the beauty of verse to express the highest truths. Translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.
Hinduism’s most ancient philosophical treatises on the nature of God, Soul, and the universe.
How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
A rational and psychological explanation of yoga. It will especially appeal to those who want religion to make sense.
Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination
A classic text on the path to God through knowledge.
Shankara’s classic treatise on the nature of the self.

Further Studies

Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
“A book unique…in the literature of hagiography….Never have the casual and unstudied utterances of a great religious teacher been set down with so minute a fidelity….It teaches us of the life of the spirit.” —Aldous Huxley
Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga
Swami Vivekananda’s inspired writings on how to use work (karma) and loving devotion (bhatki) as paths to God.
Jnana Yoga
Swami Vivekananda explains how to use the mind and intellect as tools for God-realization.
Raja Yoga
Called the “science of religion”, this book explains in detail how to reach God through meditation.
Inspired Talks
In the summer of 1895, Swami Vivekananda stayed at a cottage in Thousand Island Park, New York, with twelve of his disciples over a period of seven weeks. This book is a collection of his stirring talks during that period.
Vivekananda: Yogas and Other Works
Includes the books Karma and Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Inspired Talks, and other lectures, poems, and letters.
Practical Vedanta
How to see and experience God in everyday life.

Special Interests

Spiritual Heritage of India
Covers India’s major scriptures, religions, and religious personalities.
Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta
Represents the essence of both Christ’s teachings and the teachings of Vedanta.
Holy Mother
The life and teachings of Ramakrishna’s spiritual counterpart.
Life of Swami Vivekananda
A two-volume exhaustive study of Swami Vivekananda’s life compiled by his Eastern and Western disciples.
Eternal Companion
The life and teachings of Swami Brahmananda, the spiritual son of Ramakrishna.
They Lived With God
Short biographies of Ramakrishna’s non-monastic disciples.
Srimad Bhagavatam: The Wisdom of God
A popular story about Krishna. This edition is condensed and concentrates on the spiritual teachings.
Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar
An in-depth study of the goddess Kali.


Prabuddha Bharata
Started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896 and published by Advaita Ashrama in Mayavati and Kolkata.
Vedanta Kesari
Started in 1895 and published by Sri Ramakrishna Math in Chennai.
Vedanta Magazine
Published by the Ramakrishna Vedanta Centre in England.
Bulletin of the Institute of Culture
Published by the Institute of Culture in Kolkata.
Global Vedanta
Published by the Vedanta Society of Western Washington in Seattle.
American Vedantist
Published by Vedanta West Communications.