Best hinduism books according to redditors

We found 276 Reddit comments discussing the best hinduism books. We ranked the 144 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

Next page


Books about gandhi
Hindu sutras books
History of hinduism books
Hindu rituals & practice books
Sacred hindu writings

Top Reddit comments about Hinduism:

u/TheMadPoet · 10 pointsr/philosophy

Here is your book: Aghora by Robert Svaboda. Why? After looking at some of your comments, I gather that you are interested in the practice of meditation as taught by one of the Buddhist schools, and you are interested in psychedelic experiences, e.g., tripping on 'shrooms until you end up in the hospital. While I am completing a masters in the area of roughly "medieval aesthetics in India" - which will open up new areas of experience for you - if you are willing to work very hard for a while. wikipedia "abhinavagupta" and see what you think as his path included the ritual use of intoxicants. The sufi traditions may have something for you too here are some books.
Probably as well to deconstruct terms like "Eastern philosophy/ers" - Indian Theravada thinkers like Dharmakirti and Nargajuna will be worlds apart from the Mahaayaana views of Chinese let alone Japanese lineages. In fact, Dharmakirti and Nargajuna will have more in common with Hindu Nyaaya philosophy and the theistic idealism of Abhinavagupta than with Chinese Mahaayaana. On that note the book "Perception" by BK Matilal is excellent.

Otherwise smoke a bone, read Alan Watts, TD Suzuki, Robert Persig, Deepak and think you're learning Eastern philosophy - chicks dig guys who know Eastern philosophy.

u/theChristianErickson · 10 pointsr/hinduism

Tantra Illuminated. It will get you familiar with the history and practices of Tantra.

And also The Radiance Sutras. This is a interpretation of the classic text, the Vijhana Bhairava Tantra.

u/kerm · 8 pointsr/hinduism

Regarding 1: I really like Easwaran's Bhagavad Gita English translation. It includes lengthy, descriptive forwards for each chapter that assume no familiarity with Hindu mythology or Indian culture. Easwaran had a PhD in English literature and was an Indian national who genuinely loved the Gita.

u/alterpower0 · 7 pointsr/philosophy

While I’m excited to see some posts on Indian philosophy showing up in r/philosophy, I feel I need to give a broad outline of what’s going on before some misconceptions emerge. I’m going to try to be super organized, and provide a bibliography at the end.

Me: graduate student, studying Indian philosophy in the U.S.

I think its important to know that philosophy was written and was done differently in India than it was and is done in the West. Not knowing that there is a difference seems to cause misconceptions.
In India, philosophy was oral; it was transmitted directly from teacher to student. What was transmitted were ‘texts.’ These are the sūtra-s (note: sūtra literally means ‘thread’ and can refer to both the individual aphorism and to the text containing those aphorisms). Sūtra’s are often short, terse, cryptic, and, well, don’t seem very philosophical. So, the teacher would help the student memorize a sutra-text; once memorized, the teacher would expound upon it, taking for granted that each aphorism was instantly recallable by the student. In sum, two things: 1. most of Indian philosophy is done in commentaries, commentaries on commentaries, etc. 2. Indian philosophy is terse so that it can be memorized easily.

Early Indian Philosophy
The earliest “philosophical” texts in India are the upaniṣads and the Buddhist sūtra-s. In both of these you can see the aforementioned ‘method’ of direct student to teacher conversation.
There is absolutely no unified “upanisadic philosophy;” that being said, many Vedāntins (= those who study Vedānta) argue that there is a unified message, and they are propounding their understanding of what this “upanisadic philosophy” is. There is indeed a lot of monistic tendencies in the Upanisads, but that is not all there is.
The early Buddhist sūtra-s are similar, but I know much less about them. I’ll just add something to the bibliography at the end if you’re interested in early Buddhist stuff.

Scholastic Indian Philosophy
After the early era, organized schools of thought developed. First, let me give you a broad framework of “orthodox” (=Hindu), and “heterodox”(=non-Hindu) schools of thought. I’m going to add one to the orthodox list that is usually left out, but here are the schools:

Nyāya — Logic, debate, realists, etc
Vaiśeṣika — atomists, substance-metaphysics, realists, etc
Saṃkhyā — dualists (matter-spirit; ≠ mind-brain)
Yoga — often said to be praxis to saṃkhyā’s theory
Mīmāṃsā — hermeneutic of pre-upanisadic texts, pragmatism, direct realism
Vedānta — hermeneutics of the upanisads, many, many sub-schools
—Advaita — monism, anti-realists,
—Dvaita — dualists
Vyākaraṇa — philosophy of language, logic,

Madhyamaka (Buddhist) — anti-metaphysicians, skeptics
Yogacara (Buddhist) — idealism, consciousness-only
Jainism — extreme relativism (also weak-spot for me, might not be apt)
Carvaka — hedonists, materialists, skeptics

These schools, for the most part, materialized around a sūtra, but more importantly a bhāṣya ‘commentary’ on those sutras. So, Nyāya—the school of logic, debate, etc—had the nyāya-sūtra, but it didn’t really get rolling until the nyāya-sūtra-bhāṣya. Those are the basic texts in each school, but after those two works, it can get pretty crazy.

General Notes
One cannot generalize about Indian philosophy by saying (sorry OP) that there is a certain idea of consciousness that underlies the schools. There are monists, and some are very prominent, but there are some atomists who are equally as prominent. Additionally, what will shock and awe the Western-trained philosopher the most is the dyad: Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, which is could easily be described as scientific, analytic, rigorous, etc; in fact, the logical system developed by later nyāya (called Navya-Nyāya ‘Neo-Logic’), especially Udayana and Gaṅgeśa is so extremely complicated, technical, precise, etc that I would guarantee it will convince even the most skeptical onlooker to Indian philosophy (see Nyāya2 below).



u/Corporate_Overlords · 7 pointsr/dataisbeautiful

This was how I started and when I teach it I still use this text.

And if you want to read about Advaita Vedanta, I like Bina Gupta's (University of Missouri) work a lot. She's also very friendly and I bet she would be happy to e-mail back and forth. She wants more people to get interested in Indian philosophy.

u/irreduciblepoly · 6 pointsr/india

>Well, that's what written in Gita.

No, it isn't. At least not in the verse that you've mentioned. What you've quoted from the website is not a translation of the Gita, but Madhvacharya's Commentary on it. I happen to disagree completely with Madhvacharya's interpretation of these verses.

I am quoting the literal translations of this verse in context. You can judge for yourself.

Bhagavat Gita- Chapter 1, Verse 32-45

> O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself
when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this
battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers,
maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives
are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why
should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O
maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in
exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive
from killing the sons of Dhrtarastra? (Verse 32-35)

> Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for
us to kill the sons of Dhrtarastra and our friends. What should we gain, O
Krsna, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing
our own kinsmen? (Verse 36)

>O Janardana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no
fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can
see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin? (Verse 37-38)

> With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished,
and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion. (Verse 39)

> When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krsna, the women of the
family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant
of Vrsni, comes unwanted progeny. (Verse 40)

> An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the
family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The ancestors of such
corrupt families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and
water are entirely stopped. (Verse 41)

> By the evil deeds of those who destroy the family tradition and thus give rise
to unwanted children, all kinds of community projects and family welfare
activities are devastated. (Verse 42)

>O Krsna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that
those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell. (Verse 43)

> Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts.
Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own
kinsmen. (Verse 44)

> Better for me if the sons of Dhrtrashtra, weapons in hand, were to kill me
unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield. (Verse 45)

Taken in context, the verse 41 is about the perils of war within family and degradation of family values. There is no mention of caste or untouchability at all in these verses.

Edit: All translations are copied verbatim from Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's "Bhagavad-Gita As It Is". I would've copied the translations from the website you have given itself, but the translations there are in image format. You can check for yourself that their translation has the same meaning as the one I have provided.

u/[deleted] · 6 pointsr/hinduism

Isn't that series really, really old? Best not to read translations that are too old.

You can't just jump in and read stuff like the Upanishads or the Veda. They are neither rigorous philosophical texts presenting a certain position, nor commandments, though some vidhi (injunctions) relating to practice are present, nor are they the life of somebody which the Gospels are.

So you must approach with an introductory text, and then read the Upanishads with a particular commentary. Also, many texts will ignore the Shaiva and Tantric traditions, which also need to be read.

Here are some links to looking at the Upanishads from the Advaita perspective




As for introductory books, I recommend three.

The Essentials of Hinduism: A Comprehensive Overview of the World's Oldest Religion

The Spiritual Heritage of India: A Clear Summary of Indian Philosophy and Religion

Hinduism: A very short introduction

You can get all three for $35. After that you can go into more detail.

u/smashtribe · 5 pointsr/hinduism
u/ThePsylosopher · 5 pointsr/Psychonaut

The Gita is quite fascinating but rather esoteric and difficult to understand upon first approach. It really helps to read a version with explanations as even the names have deeper meanings. I'd recommend Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita or, if you're really bold, God Talks with Arjuna.

As I understand it, The Gita is essentially instruction for Yoga (meaning union as opposed to bendy-practice.)

u/philman53 · 5 pointsr/hinduism

Get a copy of Kim Knott's book:

Nobody is going to take the time to write out even a basic explanation of Hinduism on an internet thread. It's simply too much information, too broad.

u/michael_dorfman · 5 pointsr/Buddhism

Three further resources for those interested in the Heart Sūtra:

  • Red Pine's translation and commentary does an excellent job of laying out the background for the sūtra, and what is at stake in the text. I disagree with some of his interpretations, so I can't recommend it as the "last word" on the subject, but for those who are relatively new to the finer points of Buddhist doctrine and history, it makes a very good "first word."

  • Donald S. Lopez's Elaborations on Emptiness collects all eight of the existing Indian commentaries on the work, along with a number of insightful essays of his own on the text. Together, they show the large number of different ways the Heart Sūtra has been used.

  • Jan Nattier's essay "The Heart Sūtra: A Chinese Apocryphal Text?" is an absolute classic work of Buddhist Studies, and a very impressive piece of scholarship. It's not easy reading, but it was Nattier who unlocked the mystery of the origins of this text.
u/therealdivs1210 · 4 pointsr/IndiaSpeaks

Get the Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari.

Best option for people wanting to read Mahabharata in simple English.

Same for Ramayana.

u/4noop · 4 pointsr/Psychonaut

Yes, print versions are available as well as pdf versions online. There are several Advaita versions of Bhagavad Gita; the Shankara Bhasya is one of the most popular which is the commentary of Adi Shankara.

There are many pdf versions available for free if you google but if you want to buy a print version, here is the link:

A PDF link:

u/Mauss22 · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

For "where to start" with books, see this FAQ post, from r/askphilosophyFAQ. There are Introductory anthologies, like these. Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy is something I read at about that age, and it was great (with some caveats).

There are also anthologies for Chinese & Indian Philosophy, or introductions to Chinese & Indian Philosophy; or an intro anthology to World Philosophy.

u/ReubenFox · 3 pointsr/hinduism

I'd suggest starting by reading the Baghavad Gita with a good general commentary. "The Living Gita" by Sri Swami Satchidananda is a good one that I can personally endorse.

He also has a commentary on Patanjali's yoga sutras that I would recommend after that. Namaste, and much blessings in your studies!

u/DeusDeceptor · 3 pointsr/philosophy

Unfortunately I don't! I am by no means an expert on this stuff, my knowledge comes entirely from a lovely fat sourcebook of Indian philosophy that I was given by a friend and poke through from time to time. Google is probably your friend.

Edit: This is the book if you are interested.

u/nostalghia · 3 pointsr/UBC

I've been going back and forth between these books for a few weeks/months now:

u/Pr4zz4 · 3 pointsr/occult

I’d recommend this as a good read on exploring Kali.

Aghora: At the Left Hand of God

u/FakeWalterHenry · 3 pointsr/politics

I'd recommend reading the Bhagavad Gita, maybe start with a modern translation to familiarize yourself with the contents before diving into a more literal translation. I don't really have anything on tap for Buddhist or Shinto literature. Usually I start with the history of the religion and follow-up with any mentioned texts.

u/Dumma1729 · 3 pointsr/history

For those looking for a brief introduction to the mythology of Hinduism, Ramesh Menon's books are great to read. I particularly recommend his 2-volume set of the Mahabharata.

Bibek Debroy is currently translating the complete Mahabharata too

u/Mahdimuh · 3 pointsr/hinduism

I grew up Christian so I know where you're coming from. Basically, and Im oversimplifying here, but hinduism is a mix of christian and buddhist ideas. Hinduism is actually a large collection of religions and their specific beliefs can vary widely. On one end of the spectrum, you have Krishnas who worship Krishna as monotheists and put devotion to krishna above all else. On the other end you have something like kashmir shaivists who worship the God Shiva and who put meditation, yoga and tantra above everything else.

To generalize about this broad spectrum of beliefs and practices, I would say that in general, we are monotheists. We believe in one god but worship that one God in their many forms. There are rituals, chants, breathing exercises, meditation practices and many other ways we choose to use to worship God. Some of us are dualists and believe that God is fundamentally seperate. Worship for dualists is usually devotional and includes rituals, chants and prayers. Some of us are monists and believe God possesses all existance and can be experienced firsthand. Monists are usually the ones who are meditation focused and may supplement their practice with rituals, yoga and breathing excercises.

As a whole, hindus generally believe in reincarnation. When you die, youre reborn into another body. You can be reborn as a human, or might take on a rebirth as an animal or in the hell & heaven realms. We believe some lives are longer than others, but even in heaven and hell, none are permanent. The ultimate goal of a hindu is achieving the state of moksha, or oneness with God, and freedom from rebirth.

My suggestion for someone new to hinduism is to read the baghavad gita. Try to find a copy with a good non-sectarian commentary. I like this one. After that, just try to figure out if you are more of a dualist or monist. Research hindu Gods and see if there are any that jump out at you. Feel free to ask any questions in this sub and Im sure you will get answers. Thanks for your interest!

u/drippyhippie · 3 pointsr/yoga

I love this book for understanding the physical practice

For the ethical/discipline base of yoga, this is a short, easy, and really helpful read. Non-harming, non-clinging, etc.

For the pure philosophy, I'm a fan of this book on Tantra(where yoga came from). It's overwhelming the first time through, but there is so much powerful knowledge locked up in here

This is a great book on mindfullness with some applicable meditation techniques framed for the modern day, but it's all based on ancient teachings

Also, the Chakra system is fascinating and Anodea Judith offers some guided meditations. This book is really helpful and accessible

And, diet. This book helped me shift my diet in a way that's been extremely helpful

These have been some of the most influential books in my practice. Hope they help!

u/AznTiger · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

I'm currently using this text in my Indian philosophy survey. I generally agree with /u/Lanvc. From my [very limited] knowledge on the subject, the upanishads are a very good place to start, but, even beyond that, maybe read some of the early sections in the Vedas (the texts that the upanishads are comments of)? They're pretty useful for contextualizing things.

u/udgrahita · 3 pointsr/india

This book is a gem A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy - S Radhakrishnan ( It touches almost all the different philosophies prevalent in ancient India. Although it often dives deep into some of them, you can always use it for cursory reading to know all the different schools of thought that existed.

u/Hypertension123456 · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

> Globally, standards of living are perhaps the highest hey have ever been. This is the most peaceful epoch in recorded history.

Standard of living doesn't enter into it. In fact the more material possessions one has the harder it is to accumulate good karma. Remember the ideal Hindu priest has no worldly possessions, surviving only by begging for alms. That is the last step before Moksha.


That is simplified to the point of being wrong. Karma is not something that is good or bad, it is related to your actions in this life and past lives. The best resource is of course going to a Hindu temple and finding a guru. But if you want to start somewhere more fun then try reading this:

Or you could google. Keep in mind that Hinduism is incredibly old and there are hundreds of millions of Hindus. In ancient times when the religion was formed there was not a ton of easy contact between different states or even different cities. In other words, there are as many different kinds of Hindus as Christians or Muslims put together. Whatever you find in one version is probably disagreed with in another version.

u/so_just_here · 3 pointsr/hinduism

My initiation to both Ramayana & mahabharata was via C Rajagopalachari's version. An excellent starting point imo - you can always read more thorough versions in the next stage

u/BearJew13 · 2 pointsr/hinduism

> Swami Prabhavananda

Doing some googling, I also found The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A Commentary for Modern Readers by Sri Swami Satchidananda. In particular, this translation was recommended for its verse-by-verse commentary. Do you have any thoughts on this translation? Thanks

u/ghantesh · 2 pointsr/india

The only one I've read is C Rajagopalchari's ( translation; it read like a novel, when I was in high school. I liked it.

I want to take up reading again (after doing only work related reading for the last 6 years or so). Will look up Mr Menon's rendering.

u/Omman · 2 pointsr/Meditation

If you are working in a tantra tradition, you definitely need to be more careful about overdoing it. There are many people who go check into mental hospitals (seriously) because they have gone too far too fast. How long have you been doing your current practice?

I think overdoing it can have negative consequences in any meditation but it is something that one has to be more careful about with some practices more than others. Maybe you want to check out Its an incredibly interesting book and you will be able to see the dangers easier. Whatever negativity you have inside of you will get amplified a very large amount and you will feel like you are in hell. You might want to post over in /r/kundalini as well.

u/pizzamp3wav · 2 pointsr/hinduism

In terms of active practitioners I'm not sure, but I think you might find this to be a good starting resource:

Tantra Illuminated

It's by an academic but the book is meant for a general readership.
He's also a practitioner himself and used to teach retreats, though I can't find the links except to these downloads.

I think you'll find the book worthwhile.

u/Rayne58 · 2 pointsr/ifyoulikeblank

Ohh I got some goodies for ya, Hermann Hesse is amazing and opened me up to many books.

  1. Just buy it right now..seriously. The Book of Mirdad by Mikhail Naimy

  2. Another Classic by Herman Hesse Demian

    3)Another with a similar feel as Siddhartha The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    So these top 3 are the "closest" to Siddartha that I've read. You will defintely like the top 3, they are amazing books with such fundamental truths told through a story. All easy to read and similiar in length.

    These next 4 are just suggested for anyone that is into these types of books, I would almost guarantee that you will love them! They are just less "story" like. The Autobiography is an amazing read, and is indeed a story but it's non-fiction. The Way of Zen is just a beautiful book, but is not a fiction along with the Bhagavad and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (The author actually suggests Siddhartha in it!)

  3. If you liked Siddhartha heavily for it's spiritual aspects and the effect it left on you, this book has changed me deeply (they all have but this book is a little different) The Autobiography of a Yogi by
    Paramahansa Yogananda

    5)And his translation of The Bhagavad Gita

    6)Good ol' Allan Watts The Way of Zen

  4. Another highly suggested book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

    Enjoy my friend!
u/brahmarupayai_namah · 2 pointsr/hinduism

I'm pretty conservative and hardcore,but I would not recommend the Vedas or Upanishads first. One can get around completely without touching these. I would recommend first the Bhagavad Gita with a classical commentary(ones by Shankara,Ramanuja,Madhva,Dyaneshwar,Abhinavagupta,etc).

u/ScotsmanPipes · 2 pointsr/whatisthisthing

I had a good version a few years ago but can't find it. Just look for a version that is translated by accredited academics (usually more than one 'author'). Avoid versions like the one that is distributed by the Hare Krishnas (as much as I like their food) because it has a lot of additional commentary and contextual translation errors that affect the message.

EDIT: Avoid this one LINK and get something like this LINK. Some of the core philosophy is strikingly similar to the teachings of Jesus.

u/piNAka_dhRRita · 2 pointsr/hinduism

The better one(because Easwaran tends to see "Lord of Love" everywhere) would be the commentary Gudartha Dipika by Madhusudana Saraswati. And the commentary of Adi Sankara,the founder of the school that Madhusudana Saraswati belonged to.

Online,the commentary of Sankara is available. And the famous Jnaneshwari commentary on the Gita(if you wish to buy it on Amazon).

Basically,I'm following up with what /u/CaliforniaJade said.

u/sovereign_self · 2 pointsr/awakened

Oh yes, 100%. Kashmir Shaivism is brilliant, and I'm so glad that it's being made more accessible by his books. I'm in the middle of The Recognition Sutras right now.

I can also recommend The Doctrine of Vibration and The Triadic Heart of Shiva. They are more academic than Christopher's books, but full of interesting tidbits.

u/iPengu · 2 pointsr/hinduism

There are plenty of references to Hinduism and Buddhism in comments to this recent quanta interview with the same guy.

A book I plugged here a while ago addresses this same topic in great detail as well.

u/certified_chutiya · 2 pointsr/hinduism

This was my first introduction to the Mahabharata and I loved it

There is also this

While these aren't the original unabridged Mahabharata, they are still really good

u/jimethn · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Although it's Hinduism, not Buddhism, the Bhagavad Gita seems particularly relevant.

u/dharmis · 2 pointsr/hinduism

A fragment touching on this topic from Ashish Dalela's book Mystic Universe

"Vedic cosmology describes that the bottom of the universe has “hellish planets” where living beings are forced into physical and mental pain. What is pain? Every living being has some guna which define the pain and pleasure for them. Studying books may be pleasurable for one person, and very boring for another. Therefore, pain and pleasure are subjective, but, nevertheless, the opposite of whatever you enjoy is painful. The hellish planets therefore have as much variety as the other places in the universe, where the living beings undergo painful experiences depending on their very definitions of pleasure. Of course, the living being can consider this suffering as “pleasure” if this can alleviate their future pain. The living beings in this state thus survive their miserable existence by hoping for a better life in the future, quite like we might work very hard sometimes hoping that we will one day lead a happy life. That hope of relief from suffering allows them to endure the pain.
Examples of such “pleasure” are seen in the practices of sadism and masochism. The agents of Yamarāja―who is said to rule the hellish planets―are the quintessential sadists who enjoy torturing other beings, and living beings who suffer at their hands are the quintessential masochists. If living beings with a sadistic mentality have performed good karma, they are given the opportunity to enjoy their mentality by punishing other beings. Similarly, the living beings who have accumulated bad karma are punished by these sadists. The beings who suffer must convert their suffering into pleasure to survive this kind of life. The pain to pleasure reversal arises when the suffering individual considers the inflicted pain as justified price for the eventual relief from this suffering. Such rationalization is similar to the Stockholm syndrome in which hostages begin to defend and justify the actions of those who inflict suffering on them, because the captors may eventually free them."

u/Epistechne · 2 pointsr/IWantToLearn

For Indian philosophy here are some comprehensive books to look into:

And for Chinese philosophy this site seems to have a large repository of translated texts:

u/WupTeDo · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

There is a lot of interesting history there that I am only beginning to unpack.
The methods and goal of Patanjali yoga are remarkably close to Jhana practice based Buddhism (as taught by Ajahn Brahm or the Visuddhimagga). The asanas in Patanjali's system are minimal as are the pranyama exercises. The practice is focused on cutting attachment to sense pleasures through a practice of sila and abiding internally to find enlightenment. From a Buddhist point of view one can argue that his goal is to develop the 8th Jhana (Neither Perception Nor Yet Non-Perception) and he called that enlightenment. The first three lines of the Yoga sutras are:

  • Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of Yoga begins.

  • Yoga is the control (nirodhah, regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, coordination, stilling, quieting, setting aside) of the modifications (gross and subtle thought patterns) of the mind field.

  • Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own True Nature, which is called Self-realization.

    One interesting thing is that the modern form of yoga (as taught in spiritually oriented studios and ashrams) comes from the Hatha Yoga Pratipika which is much more complicated and esoteric, and grew as a reform movement of Shaiva Tantric practice in the 15th century. Because of this, modern yoga: Pranyama, Mantra, Mudra, Bandha, etc. are all sort of like a publicly taught (and highly syntergized and fragmented) Vajrayana energetic practice (often lacking the support of a guru). It seems much more aligned with Vajrayana methods to transform desire and in general mesh oddly well with the Mahayana path. It was not envisioned as a renunciate path but as a path compatible with lay life and the enjoyment of sensory pleasures (without attachment).

    Yet oddly the more modern yoga teachers sort of hybridized it with Patanjali's 8 Limbs. The Hatha Yoga Pratipika interestingly argues that one should not attempt to rigidly adhere to Yamas and Niyamas until the mind is stilled by Asana and Pranyama. The idea is that in ancient times peoples minds were more still and they could accomplish Patanjali's yoga, but now we need (and have) more sophisticated energetic technologies to still the mind for meditation. This is not an excuse to be immoral, but for instance the Hatha Yoga Pratipika specifically says the practice of Brahmacharya (disciplined use of energy) needn't require celibacy, and that all aspects of life are holy.

    Some of this above is are just connections I have made while reading, and they may be ill informed opinions, because its a subject I am just starting to study in depth. This history also seems super complex.

    Anyway I just find the history very interesting, one of the most interesting books about it I have found is Tantra Illuminated, which a book about the view, practice, history, and scriptures of Tantric Shaivism (although it gets slightly into Tantric Buddhism as they interacted as well). It is written by someone who is both an academic studying Sanskrit texts as well as has been initiated into a surviving Shaiva Tantric lineage (and practiced for many years).
u/yaxomoxay · 2 pointsr/Stoicism

I am reading the version with commentary by
Swami Pravhupada. What I like of his edition is that for each verse it contains the original text in Sanskrit, then the literal translation (word by word), then the English translation, then a reading of its meaning. You can find it for cheap.

u/dharmadoor · 2 pointsr/zen

Unlocking the Zen Koan: A New Translation of the Zen Classic Wumenguam has been helpful. Also, reading Red Pine's translations and commentary on the The Platform Sutra: The Zen Teaching of Hui-neng, Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra. Although many people speak of the influence of the Lankavatara on Zen, I find it very difficult to read, even Red Pine's fairly approachable translation. But, the idea of "no views" and "no perceptions" was helpful, and "to speak of [this] to to speak of not [this]". Those themes come up often in koans. And studying Lao Tsu helps. Despite what the "not zen" crowd says, a background in Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism, and some historical background really does help a lot. Currently reading Ordinary Mind as the Way: The Hongzhou School and the Growth of Chan Buddhism and The Hongzhou School of Chan Buddhism in Eighth- through Tenth-Century China to get some background on Mazu's lineage. Like many westerners, I used to think koans were just about derailing rational thought. While that is useful, now I also see some patterns, a certain amount of "sense", and more experiences of "of course". Easier koans like, it is your mind that moves help with the more difficult ones. Another helpful one is What are you doing? What are you saying?.

u/shannondoah · 2 pointsr/bad_religion

As you are interested in Oriental religions,

There is a man known as F. X. Clooney. Known to Indologists and scholars of Hindu philosophy as an essayist on Mimamsa and Visistadvaita Vedanta,he is known to Catholic theologians and other Christian believers and theologians as someone who works in comparative theology.

I have not read his comparative theology stuff though,he is pretty solid when he was on Mimamsa.

Saying that,

u/Il_Nessuno · 2 pointsr/hinduism

Kali Kaula is not a good introduction to tantra. I highly recommend Christopher Hareesh Wallis's Tantra Illuminated.

u/sarvam-sarvatmakam · 2 pointsr/Christianity

What Smith says is largely correct, apart from the polytheism part, which as I said, I have not found.

I'd personally recommend the translation by Winthrop Sargeant. There are two editions with differing prices based on content. The deluxe edition has a foreword by the above mentioned Smith, while the cheaper edition has only the text, translation and translator's introduction.

u/asa_hole · 2 pointsr/hinduism

I just got this one It got really good reviews and won an award for best translation.

u/Psychonaut_SS · 1 pointr/SubredditSimulator

I’ve definitely seen videos of the game so I know he was a close friend to me. if you're really bold, God Talks with Arjuna.

u/phenkdo · 1 pointr/india

If you are interested in knowing why Aghoris are the way they are check this book : AGHORA, At the Left Hand of God

>A vessel can only take so much before it over flows. Hindus will tolerate these kind of things up until a point and when it becomes intolerable it will result in a new assertiveness. What path this consciousness will take is unpredictable and therefore this type of situation is best avoided.

Sounds interesting but then there is the "Hindu guilt" which never allows any "overflowing" to happen.
Take an Example of the last NDA rule which was good for this country. Development was taking place. Then India ( majority Hindus ) go and vote the UPA into power. Why ? India shining ? Godhra/Gujarat ?

Why do you think a country that was ruled by NDA a pro Hindu outfit and has a majority Hindu population voted for UPA (twice) ?

You might take offence but what I really feel about our so called Hindu middle class is that they are too preoccupied with life to bother. Once in a while a they wake up and collectively vote for change and then go back to their slumber. It is easy for everyone to say stuff in forums and chat rooms but eventually in reality nothing much happens. If Hindus in the country really desired change then our media/politicans would not be so leftist/'secular'.

u/historianofLove · 1 pointr/philosophy

This is an excellent book. It covers the a very wide range of Indian philosophy, I've found it enjoyably even though I'm not a serious scholar of eastern works I can always find new and interesting things to ponder when I go through it.

u/fripsidelover9110 · 1 pointr/zen

I'm sorry if I sound rude. But in my opinion, Nagarjuna is probably too heavy for you at present.


If you find the Diamond sutra enjoyable (at least, not so bad), then You can try 'The Heart Sutra' (Red Pine translation) next after you finish the Diamond sutra. As the Wikipedia entry of it says, The Heart Sutra belongs to the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita) category of Mahayana Buddhism and it is the most representative sutra of that sort in the sense that the sutra summarizes all the basics and principal Ideas of the Perfection of Wisdom in an extremely condensed way.


And Nagarjuna's work is based on the ideas expressed in the Perfection of Wisdom category sutras (So if you know nothing of the latter, the former is very hard and inaccessible. Frankly speaking, Nagarjuna's work is not so accessible even for those who are relatively well versed with Prajnaparamita category Sutras of Mahayana Buddhism)


Lastly, the Diamond sutra is yet another Sutra belonging to the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita) category of Mahayana Buddhism, and it is regarded as the most fundamental sutra in Korean Zen Buddhism, along with the platform sutra of the 6p.


u/ckenney108 · 1 pointr/hinduism

I strongly recommend the Bhagavad Gita translated by Winthrop Sargeant. He gives the Sanskrit verse, a word-by-word breakdown, and an accurate translation with no commentary.

u/BlankNothingNoDoer · 1 pointr/hinduism

If you want a short, cut-and-dry "Western" kind of history, this one is good although kind of dry (in my view):

u/rebble_yell · 1 pointr/Meditation

The work of Paramahansa Yogananda can be helpful in understanding the Hindu spiritual foundations of meditation.

He founded the group Self Realization Fellowship to spread the teachings of yoga in the West.

Here's another site that has more information about his writings

What's helpful about Yogananda is that he came to America in the 1920s and taught until his death in the early 1950s, so he is able to translate ancient Hindu concepts into terms that modern Americans can understand.

A great resource on this is his book The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita.

The basic idea is that the foundation of the universe is pure consciousness, and that this pure consciousness is the real source of our being or our real Self.

Translated into Western terms, this pure consciousness is God and our real Self is the soul, and our false self is the ego.

Then the purpose of yoga is to experience our real Self as the eternal divine infinite bliss consciousness which is its source.

What!s also interesting is that Paramahansa teaches powerful yoga techniques to directly experience this aspect of our being, so it is a practical path of experience.

There is no proselytizing because yoga teaches that we will all become enlightened at some point anyway -- if not in this life, then we will just keep reincarnating until it happens. So yoga is just for those who want to speed up this process.

A further basic idea is that it is the goal of every human to have permanent unalloyed pure happiness unmixed with sorrow, and that we have this desire because of our source in divine bliss consciousness. And that our egoic separation from the Divine is the source of our ignorance and misery.

Yes it gets more complicated but I tried to distill it down to the bare bones basics and provide links for anyone who has further interest.

u/strppngynglad · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

The Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu bible ,at least the version I have. It's full of visionary artwork.

u/lappet · 1 pointr/books

I can offer recommendations for the Mahabharata:

  • A very common interpretation people start out with is C.Rajaji's version
  • A recent version titled Jaya by Devdutt Pattanaik is very good with lots of notes about differences in the regional versions.
  • My favorite version is one titled Parva. Originally written in Kannada by SL Bhyrappa it doesn't have any divinity or magic in it. I believe this is out of print and hard to find.

    The best part about the Mahabharat is checking out all the different interpretations - regional ones, and ones written from different points of view.
u/Orikons · 1 pointr/Meditation

The Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda

Book Four Part One by Aleister Crowley

And of course everybody will recommend The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa (John Yates).

While these are all practical texts for the most explicit instruction, I think they fail to represent the beauty and philosophy of mindfulness. In my opinion, it is important to cultivate a knowledge of this side of mindfulness because it can help you bring your mindfulness into your everyday life off the cushion. In that sense, I recommend:

The Dhammapada

The Tao Te Ching

The Inner Chapters

The Bhagavad Gita

The Book of Lies

The Upanishads (I liked Patrick Oleville's compilation)

In The Buddha's Words

I think there are pdf's online for almost all of these books save for In The Buddha's Words, which is a collection of discourses of the Buddha in such a way organized to give structure to the discourses and better understand their holistic meaning for a first timer to the teachings of the Buddha. As with most foreign books, you pay for the skillful translation rather than a copy of the text.

Have fun on your journey :)

u/genjoconan · 1 pointr/Buddhism

Lotus Sutra: I've only read the Watson translation, which is very good, but I've also heard good things about JC Cleary's translation, although that appears to only be available as an e-book.

Heart Sutra: I have read, and recommend, Karl Brunnholzl's The Heart Attack Sutra, Red Pine's translation, and TNH's Heart of Understanding. I've also got a copy of Kaz Tanahashi's exigesis on the shelf, which people speak very highly of.

u/RajoGuna · 1 pointr/LeftHandPath

So basically all of them? Okay well I can't speak for Shakta or the much more rare Vaishnava LHP sects. I'm more refering to LHP Shaivism but check out Kaula:

That's the first book that usually comes to mind for me on Shaivite Kaula. It's kinda hard to do alone (traditionally speaking it's group-based and you need a guru) but it might give you a good start since it's a householder path and thus you don't need to be an ascetic. It's based around following Aham "heart" and finding enlightenment through personal avenues. Trika/Kashmir Shaivism in general has a lot of LHP and RHP traditions.

So even just reading say the Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta and finding your way to Shivagama by way of your own LHP journey is also acceptable and basically what I do with influences from all the different Shaiva LHP sects as well as things like Satanism ect

If you are interested in my approach I actually blogged about this about a month ago and either way it should give you some general info that might help you in the right direction: (I own the domain name but am sorting out a new wordpress-based host atm)

An important note but in Trika the godhood is both individuated and nondual at the same time... it's personality infinately multiplied. One's consciousness maintains an unbroken chain from limited to unlimited awareness unlike Advaita Vedanta or Samkhya where the self is said to be only illusion. The Jaidev Singh commentaries on the Sutras talk about this at length at one point.

u/_eka_ · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

It's said that the are 8 mystical powers

You can try and start the Mystic Yoga path reading Bhagavad-Gita

u/hyay · 1 pointr/religion

Why not open up your reading list to some non-Abrahamic religion? Sprinkle in some eastern thought to broaden your perspective, it's a different way of thinking. Some of it is quite accessible to noobs, at least I was able to take it in and that's saying something.

I thought the Gita was amazing (and not at all a tome), I read this translation (with commentary):

u/Gleanings · -4 pointsr/freemasonry

I'd argue that having the Holy Bible in Masonic Heirloom Edition, the Thomas Jefferson Bible, and the Tanakh is redundant.

Also not sure why the Koran gets a special shiny gold cover while most of the rest are in cheap paperback form.