Many people have asked for a list of books to read to go deeper on their spiritual journey, and in particular to shed more light on the concepts developed by Shunyamurti for our wisdom school teachings. In the past, he has hesitated to offer too many specific suggestions, other than to read the great sages like Sri Ramana, because everyone has a different educational background, different tolerances for reading difficulty, different interests, and different readiness to face particular aspects of reality.
Some people only want to read about nonduality and the direct path to Self-realization. Others want to know about the ego structure, trauma, mental disorders, and therapeutic techniques. Still others want to understand dreams. Some want to know about how different spiritual paths compare to one another. Some want to understand the nature of time, the truth about history, the meaning of current events, and the Omega Point, the singularity at the end of time. Some want to know the most recent approaches to nonduality in postmodern philosophy. Some want to enjoy devotional poetry. Some want to study zen koans. Some want to read about ashram life, the purpose of ascetic vows, and of course, many want to know more about meditation.
In order to try to satisfy everyone, Shunya has begun to go through our large research library here and choose books that he has found valuable at some point in his own journey, or as helpful educational supplements for the sangha. He has created ten sections to begin with, and specially selected this initial list of books to meet the needs of as many seekers as possible. The books in this list cover a broad range of topics as well as a range of difficulty from relatively easy and requiring no special background to those that are somewhat advanced and will interest people with some familiarity with philosophy, psychoanalysis, or science.
These books do not represent the views of Shunyamurti nor do they reflect the teachings of Sat Yoga. Shunya may disagree with much that is in them. But they are useful tools to help one formulate questions, to understand the deeper issues, to know how far human intelligence has gone in the investigation of certain matters, and how the many spiritual traditions have dealt with the major conundrums in ontology, epistemology, ethics, and other areas of reality. Shunya has said that he intends to continue adding titles to the list as he browses through the library and as he continues his own reading in preparation for new retreats. New sections may be added. Of course, the list could eventually include the entire library of thousands of books, and it is doubtful that such a large list would be useful.
Shunya also cautions that Self-realization is not a function of reading or of symbolic knowledge at all. Liberation from ego results from the elimination of sanskaras and vasanas—egoic tendencies and thoughts. So one is much better off using one’s free time to meditate than to read. The more time spent in samadhi, the sooner jivan mukti is achieved. Nonetheless, there is a place for study as well. The refinement of intelligence, the strengthening of focus and attention that reading produces, the deepening of understanding the relationship between relative truth and absolute Truth that philosophic analysis can provide, the recognition of the origin and healing of emotional issues and psychological conditions, can all contribute to raising the kundalini and bringing consciousness ever closer to the Supreme Real.
If you are not sure where to start, Shunya suggests you read the sages and saints of whatever traditions you are drawn to. But the patron sages of Sat Yoga are Ramana Maharshi, Ananda Mayi Ma, Satpurusa Mangatram, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Sri Aurobindo—and their writings are easy to understand and immediately uplifting. You can read the same words over and over and they will always take you deeper. They are simple and profound. Shunyamurti continues to read them and teach from them to the sangha, because they express the pure Truth. But if you have a taste for more complex ideas and explorations of the many facets of our infinite reality, then the serious thinkers whose books appear on this list may open your mind to new horizons, new paradigms and possibilities that will inspire and empower you to ever higher trekking on the Mountain of God.
May these books serve to deepen your love for God, for the Supreme Real, the One Self. And may they instill compassion for the sufferings of every ego mind, and deeper understanding of the way to heal and transform your life and those of others.
May all you read enhance your own psychospiritual development on this great journey to Awakening, Illumination, and Liberation. In-joy!
Sufism and Daoism
Ancient Egyptian and Greek Philosophy
Dialogues of Plato , translated by Juan and Maria Balboa
Islamic, Jewish, and Israelite Mysticism
Zen and Postmodern Philosophy
The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, translated by John Blofeld