Bibliography of books and links on India

This page, started in early 2014, lists books and links on many subjects but mainly on India and Eastern spirituality, since that is what we are up to now. But other books of interest are also included. Some are books we are or have read—and others we think worth checking out. I have tried to include a short synopsis with most items so you have some sense of content beyond the title. After February 2015 I have noted at the end of any new entry when I added it.

Under Construction! This page will likely always be under construction! If I mention a book somewhere (on another page, in an email, or in conversation) and you cannot find it here, please let me know and I will update this page as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I will try to keep this up to date.


  • Swami Anubhavananda. Fundamentals of Life. Indra Publishing House, Bhopal, India. 2013. A compilation of talks by Swami Anubhavananda (the Happy Swami) on the writings of the Shiva Sutras, the “fundamental text on the functioning of life.” It is written in the easy-going manner of the way of his talks. It is a joy to read. (Added Feb 15, 2015)
  • Sri Aurobindo. The Mother: With Letters on the Mother. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. 1973, 2012. This book telling who The Mother is. A Major part of it is a compilation of letters to members of and aspirants to the ashram in Pondicherry. It is a bit repetitive and parochial on how to conduct oneself in the ashram and in relation to The Mother. I quit before I finished though there are things to be learned scattered through the text.
  • Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Powers within: Selection of works or Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. 1973, 2012. Compiled and introduced by A. S. Dalal. says and I agree: The book throws light on the nature of various inner powers which we already possess and use more or less unconsciously, as well as with latent powers within, which are as yet undeveloped.
  • Anamika Borst. Life at Zero Distance: the Freedom of Being Nothing and None. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2014. This book questions the status-quo of the belief that we are separate. “Who are you?” Its deceptively simple texts shakes the so-called person out of his/her habitual framework of thought and activity.
  • Dervla Murphy.In Ethiopia on a Mule. Arrow Books, London, 1968. (Travel) This is the story of Dervla’s 1967 walk with at 36 with a mule from northern Ethiopia to Addis Ababa through the Ethiopian highlands. I loved it, though I will not be following in her footsteps. (Added Feb 15, 2015)
  • A. S. Dolal, compiler. The Hidden Forces of Life: Selections from the works of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India. 1990. Amazon says of this book: The unpredictability of our moods, impulses, and emotions and the apparent randomness of happenings in our external lives are primarily due to the play of hidden forces at work in the world, forces of which we are almost totally unaware. This book is a compilation from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother on these hidden forces and how they influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions and determine the course of events in life.
  • Trust editors. Solitude. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai. 1986, 2007.
  • Rudite J. Emir. Undoing: Returning to Simplicity. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai. 1997, 2010.
  • Brian Green. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Quantum Leap. NOVA, PBS. 2011. The episodes are about the latest views of physics on the topics of each show here. There has a lot to chew on. A lot has changed over the years. I suspect you would enjoy them. [added 6 Jun 15]
  • ---------. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Universe or Multiverse? NOVA, PBS. 2011. See first entry. [added 6 Jun 15]
  • ---------. The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time NOVA, PBS. 2011. See first entry. Is there really past or future or are they as present as present? [added 6 Jun 15]
  • ---------. The Fabric of the Cosmos: What is Space? NOVA, PBS. 2011. See first entry. “Is space and everything in it a hologram?” was the final thought he left with us! [added 6 Jun 15]
  • William Hart. Vipassana Meditations: The Art of Living as taught by S. N. Goenka.. Vipassana Research Institute, Satpur Nasbic, India. Last printing 2012. says: Based on the lectures and writings of S. N. Goenka--and prepared under his direct guidance--The Art of Living shows how this technique can be used to solve problems, develop unused potential, and lead a peaceful, productive life. It includes stories by S. N. Goenka, as well as answers to students' questions, that convey a vivid sense of his teaching. S. N. Goenka's Vipassana courses have attracted thousands of people of every background. Unique among teachers of meditation, Goenka was a retired industrialist and former leader of the Indian Community in Burma. Although a layman, his teaching has won the approval of senior Buddhist monks in Burma, India, and Sri Lanka, a number of whom have taken courses under his guidance. Despite his magnetism, he has no wish to be a "guru" --instead he teaches self-responsibility. This is the first systematic study of his teachings to appear in English
  • Hermann Hesse. Steppenwolf. 1969. With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Hesse’s best-known and most autobiographical work is one of literature’s most poetic evocations of the soul’s journey to liberation. Harry Haller is a sad and lonely figure, a reclusive intellectual for whom life holds no joy. He struggles to reconcile the wild primeval wolf and the rational man within himself without surrendering to the bourgeois values he despises. His life changes dramatically when he meets a woman who is his opposite, the carefree and elusive Hermine. The tale of the Steppenwolf culminates in the surreal Magic Theater—For Madmen Only! Originally published in English in 1929, Steppenwolf ’s wisdom continues to speak to our souls and marks it as a classic of modern literature. This blistering portrayal of a man who feels himself to be half-human and half-wolf was the bible of the 1960s counterculture, capturing the mood of a disaffected generation, and remains a haunting story of estrangement and redemption. [Part of this description is adapted from description.]
  • Gerard Jak. Ga ke met me mee op Reis? Sudarsan, Chennai. 2012. In Dutch. This is Gerard’s story of his travels in a van across Asia with a friend when they were in their twenties.
  • Kamla K. Kapur. Classic Tails from Mystic India: Stories of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, and Krishna and from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Jaico, Delhi. 2013. Delightful, easy-to-read renditions of the lives of the Gods in the titles. I paraphrased the following from Stories of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha and Krishna and from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. A decidedly grown-up book of traditional Indian stories, retold for the modern reader. Like myths around the world, these are teaching stories that offer both a window into a fascinating culture that has existed for thousands of years and a code for living that can be applied to the modern world. Whether you read these engaging tales for the monkey gods, talking toads and beautiful maidens in distress or for an eastern viewpoint on the eternal questions surrounding love, friendship, faith, happiness and war, this is a book that bears repeated reading and is a fine addition to any collection.
  • W. T. Keble. Ceylon Beaten Track. Sooriya Publishers, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 1940, 2003. (Travel) This is the story of W. T. Keble‘s 1939 travels by car through Sri Lanka. It includes a lot history Sri Lanka and of the ruins he visits. (Added Feb 15, 2015)
  • Lonely Planet. India Phrasebook. Lonely Planet, China. 2008. This is a book of common phrases in 15 of the languages in India to English. The only drawback is that my older eyes would like it and its fonts to be a bit larger. Otherwise I have found it helpful at times.
  • Sri M. Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master: a Yogi's Autobiography. Magenta Press, Kodagu, Karnataka, India. 2010, 2015. (Posted 11/15)
  • Madhuri. The Path: An Account of a Spiritual Adventure. Bharatiya Vidyyyaaa Bhavan, Mumbai, India. 1988. Translation from French “La Pista,” 1968. This is the story of the 20+ years that Madhuri wandered among the ashrams of India saying the Ramnam as she progressed in her enlightenment. It is a good topical read. {Posted 13/15)
  • Mike Metras. Axum: Coins and Places. Self published, 1996-98. Video of the coins of Axum in ancient Ethiopia. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth. Self published HTML viewed book, 1972-2002. Essays on Mike's life and times in Eritrea, Ethiopia, in the late '60s while he was in the US Army. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Germany to Rome in 64 days., 2008. Story of Mike and Petra's 2006-2007 pilgrimage walk from their home in Germany, over the Alps, and on to Rome. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Mike’s Morgans., 2015. Mike's Morgans is a coin by coin photographic record of Mike's Morgan Dollar collection. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics. Seff published, 2001. Money Meanderings is an HTML viewed book that introduces you to over 85 topics about coins and coin collecting. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Sicily’s Historic Coasts., Second Edition, 2013. Sicily’s Historic Coasts tells the story of Mike's October 2000 vacation around Sicily. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Walking Life: Meditations on the Pilgrimage of Life., color and black and white versions 2007. Walking Life: Meditations on the Pilgrimage of Life is a book of meditations illustrated with photos from our pilgrimage walks. It asks us to meditate on how we are walking through your life. (Posted 12/15)
  • Mike Metras & Petra Wolf. Encounters on the Road to Jerusalem., Second Edition, 2015. Encounters on the Road to Jerusalem is the story of how Mike and Petra lived their dream to walk for a long time as they walked two years from California across America and Europe to Jerusalem. (Posted 12/15)
  • The Mother.The Sunlit Path. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, India. 1984, 2012. A collection of passages of conversations with The Mother about her views on the spiritual live. I found it quite enlightening. says: The passages of this compilation have been selected from the Collected Works of The Mother. Almost all the passages have been taken from her conversations, a few from her writings.
  • Sri Nagamma, Translated by D. S. Sastri. Letters from Sri Ramamasrama.Sri Ramanashram, Tiruvannamalai, India. 1970. (Posted 11/15)
  • Anita Nair. Ladies Coupe. Griffin. 2004. Also in German as Salz der drei Meere. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. 2006. Akhila ist bereits fünfundvierzig Jahre alt und immer noch ohne Mann, als sie zum ersten Mal in ihrem Leben eine längere Zugreise allein unternimmt – und das, obwohl sie eine moderne, berufstätige Frau ist. Die strengen Traditionen verboten es ihr, ein eigenes, von der Familie unabhängiges Leben zu führen. Nun hat sie es satt, immer nur die verantwortungsvolle Tochter, verständnisvolle Schwester, liebevolle Tante und Mädchen für alles zu spielen.Auf ihrer Reise nach Kanyakumari, in die Stadt der drei Meere, möchte sie endlich herausfinden, was sie wirklich will vom Leben. Nachts, in ihrem Damenabteil, lauscht Akhila staunend den anderen Frauen, die ihr während der Fahrt ihre Lebenserfahrungen anvertrauen. Akhila: forty-five and single, an income-tax clerk, and a woman who has never been allowed to live her own life - always the daughter, the sister, the aunt, the provider - until the day she gets herself a one-way ticket to the seaside town of Kanyakumari. In the intimate atmosphere of the all-women sleeping car - the 'Ladies Coupe' - Akhila asks the five women the question that has been haunting her all her adult life: can a woman stay single and be happy, or does she need a man to feel complete?
  • Swami Nikhilananda. Vivikananda: A Bibliography. Avaita Ashram, Kolkata. Last printing 2013. This is the life story of the nationalist and religious Swami of the turn of the 1900s. Amazon says the following of the book: An absorbing biography of Swami Vivekananda (1863 - 1902) that presents his vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture, deep spiritual insight, brilliant conversation, broad human sympathy, and colorful personality. Swami Vivekananda, India's first spiritual and cultural ambassador to the West, proclaimed the universal message of Vedanta: the non-duality of the Godhead, the divinity of the soul, the oneness of existence, and the harmony of religions.
  • Swami Nityanuktananda.The Five Great Elements Rediscovered. Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, India. 2005. This is a detailed and scholarly study of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space according to the Vedantic traditions with many other traditions brought in for contrast and support. It is a good companion to Swami Nityanuktananda's lectures on the same subject.
  • Sayadaw U Pandita. Beautifying the Mind: The Buddha's teachings on Effort. Selangor Buddhist Vipassana Meditation Society, Selangor, Malaysia, 2012. Translated and edited Dharma talks. A free publication.
  • Robin Sloan. Mr. Penubra’a 24-hour Bookstore. Atlantic Books, London. 2012. An engaging cyber mystery replete with history, cult, cryptology, sharp young programers, and Google on the side. I enjoyed it. [nothing to do with India] (Posted 1/18)
  • Maharashi's Gospel: The teachings of Sri Ramayana. …. This is a good book, but we had to return it to the owner before I completed this entry. I got interrupted and never got back to this entry. (partially added 11/25)
  • Swami Radhanth. The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami . Mandala. 2010. This is an auto-biographical account of young Richard Slavin’s journey from Chicago to the Himalayas and his transformation to become Radhanath Swami, one of India's respected spiritual leaders.
  • Swami Rama. The Art of Joyful Living. Himalayan Institute, Allahabad. 1981. Swami Rama's basic teachings on living life.
  • ---------. Enlightenment without God: Mandukya Upanishad. Himalayan Institute, Allahabad. 2014. (Poster 11/15)
  • ---------. Living with the Himalayan Masters. Edited by Swami Ajaya. Himalayan International Institute, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. 1996.
  • ---------. Love and Family Life. Himalayan Institute, Allahabad. 2014.
  • ---------. Path of Fire and Light: Volume 1, Advanced Practice of Yoga. Himalayan Institute, Allahabad. 2014.
  • ---------. Path of Fire and Light: Volume 2, a Practical Companion to Volume 1. Himalayan Institute, Allahabad. 2014. This book goes over the Himalayan method of non-denominational meditation with exercises. We used this excelent book as a text in our Self Transformation Program classes at Swami Rama Ashram in April 2015.
  • ---------. A Practical Guide to Holistic Health.Himalayan Institute of India, Allahabad, India. 1980, 1999. Swami Rama shows you how to discover your life’s purpose and how to achieve optimum health through cleansing and nourishing, exercise and stillness, and understanding your emotions. from the back cover. (Posted 12/15)
  • ---------. Sacred Journey: Living Purposefully and Dying Gracefully.Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science & Philosophy, New Delhi, India. 1996. This book is about the relationship between life and death, and the “how and why” of organizing ones life in a way that leads to expansion and growth. That is helpful in preparing for the transition we call death. from the introduction. (Posted 12/15)
  • Swami Sivananda Radha. Kundalini Yoga. Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. 1978, 2004. Detailed description and workbook of the body cakra system and Kundalini. says: “This is a direct path to higher conciusness. It is the process of conscious cooperation with evolution. Within each of us there lies a vast Potential of energy and power which, when properly understood and directed, will lead to previously unimagined heights of perception and awareness. This is a book of inspiration and into life are given for those who wish to cooperate with evolution. Swami Radha has presented clear directions for exercises and practices.”
  • Elif Shafak. Forty Rules of Love. Penguin, London. 2010. 2011. A novel of Love and Sufism. I still have to finish reading it. It was a one-day loner I had to return. (Posted 12/15)
  • Robin S. Sharma. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Jaico Publishing House, Mumbai. 2003. An inspiring story that gives a step-by-step method for living a motivated and full life according to Indian Himalayan traditions. [added 2 Jun 15]
  • Tiziano Terzani. A Fortune Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East. Three Rivers Press (Kindel), New York. 1997.
  • ---------. Noch Eine Runde auf dem Karusell. Knaur, Hamburg. 2005.
  • Paul Theroux. The Last Train to Zona Verde: Overland from Cape Town to Angola. Penguin, London. 2013. Another of Paul’s travel books. This recounts his journey from the shanty towns and back alleys of Cape town through the cities and villages of Namibia and on into and trough the anarchy of modern Angola to a point where he realizes that all cities of not only modern Africa but also of most of the world are totally overcrowded and very poor. I have read several of Paul’s books over the years. All have been good. If you happen on one and are looking for a good read, enjoy. (added 6/15)
  • Swami Veda Bharati. What is a Pilgrim?. Sadhana Mandir Trust, Rishikesh, India. 2003. A concise and informative 28-page description of Indian Pilgrimage. (Posted 1/16)
  • Swami Vivekananda.Raja Yoga. Advaita Ashram, Czlcutta. 1996. [added 5 Jun 2015]
  • Paramahansa Yogananda. Autobiography of a Yogi. Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles. ???
  • ---------. Man's Eternal Quest. Self Realization Fellowship, Los Angeles. 1982.
  • . (Posted 11/15)
  • Links

  • Be Happy - The site of Swami Anubhavananda, the Happy Swami. We enjoy him a lot. He has many good videos on this site.
  • Kaivalyadhama - Kaivalyadham is a Yoga college and hospital. We have gone there several times for yoga, naturopathy, and Ayurveda treatments—we'll be there in December '14 and January '15. We like it a lot, even for just yoga and relaxation. It is inland from Mumbai, in the mountains.
  • Auroville - Their introduction says, “Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.” We have been to Auroville several times. We have stayed there for extended times and have even thought about (and rejected) settling there. It is a bold attempt at a new concept of living together.
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    Updated January 2016
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