Eknath Easwaran taught spiritual living for nearly 40 years and drew deep, ongoing inspiration from the sacred literature of the world's traditions.
Read these 149 passages for daily inspiration, for the insights they give into other spiritual traditions, for the light they throw on how to live, for the sustenance they offer when we feel sad or tired, and for the deep transformation they can bring in Easwaran's spiritual practice of passage meditation.
Rich supporting material includes detailed background notes, suggestions for memorization and for studying the texts, and instruction in using these sacred writings in passage meditation.
The Katha Upanishad embraces the key ideas of Indian mysticism in a mythic story we can all relate to – the quest of a young hero, Nachiketa, who ventures into the land of death in search of immortality.
But the insights of the Katha are scattered, hard to understand. Easwaran presents them systematically, and practically, as a way to explore deeper and deeper levels of personality, and to answer the age-old question, “Who am I?”
Easwaran grew up in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. His translation of The Upanishads is the best-selling edition in English.
For students of philosophy and of Indian spirituality, and readers of wisdom literature everywhere, Easwaran’s interpretation of this classic helps us in our own quest into the meaning of our lives.
(Previously published as: Dialogue With Death)
Said to be the text closest to the Buddha’s actual words, The Dhammapada is a collection of short teachings that his disciples memorized during his lifetime. Easwaran presents The Dhammapada as a guide to spiritual perseverance, progress, and ultimately enlightenment — a heroic confrontation with life as it really is, with straight answers to our deepest questions. We witness the heartbreak of death, for instance — what does that mean for us? What is love? How does karma work? How do we follow the spiritual life in the midst of work and family? Does nirvana really exist, and if so, what is it like to be illumined?
In his interpretation of Buddhist themes, illustrated with stories from the Buddha’s life, Easwaran offers a view of the concept of Right Understanding that is both exhilarating and instructive. He shares his experiences on the spiritual path, giving the advice that only an experienced teacher and practitioner can offer, and urges us to answer for ourselves the Buddha’s call to nirvana — that mysterious, enduring state of wisdom, joy, and peace.
Just as a fitness routine can create a strong, supple body, spiritual disciplines can shape a secure personality and a resilient, loving mind. Writing as an experienced, friendly coach, Easwaran takes the timeless teachings of the Buddha and other mystics and shows how we can train the mind not just during meditation but throughout the day.
Working with difficult colleagues, choosing what to eat, and listening to a child’s needs are all opportunities to try out different, wiser responses. Easwaran shows how training the mind is a glorious challenge – one that brings joy and purpose to life.