Four Works of Easwaran Eknath

Four Works of Easwaran Eknath
With limited time, modern yogi/nis want to make their spiritual reading count. Long-term UC Berkeley professor Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is one of those gifted authors able to present both tips for immediate use as well as discourse on ideas that help us to better understand why we do what we do when we sit down on our cushions. While his complex books often merit more than one reading, rest assured that your time will not be wasted.

Born and raised in India, Eknath studied English literature and worked as a professor in that field for many years. A Fullbright scholarship allowed him passage to the United States, and Eknath quickly gained a following teaching about meditation and spiritual practice. Over the years, he established his own ashram, founded Nilgiri Press, and published more than forty books.
A lifelong proponent of jnana yoga, or the ‘yoga of wisdom’, Eknath read widely of the world’s sacred texts, noting the similarities between all of the great religions of the world. He developed his own form of contemplation, which he christened ‘passage meditation’. Accordingly, many of his books are investigations of seminal texts from a variety of traditions. His analyses provide a gentle guide through what can be vexing cultural differences that prohibit us from appreciating what these works have to offer.

In 1977, Eknath first published The Mantram Handbook, which is now in its fifth edition and currently subtitled A Practical Guide to Choosing Your Mantram and Calming Your Mind. Written in a conversational tone, this work begins by giving Eknath’s experiences before moving into guidance for finding and using mantra on a daily basis. For those not working with a personal guru, the instructions on choice are immeasurably valuable; however, those who have received a transmitted mantram will also find valuable tips and procedures to enhance practice.

The 1978 version of Meditation has similarly been reprinted and updated. The 4th reprint is titled as Passage Meditation – A Complete Spiritual Practice: Train Your Mind and Find a Life that Fulfills. This tome is a guide to the way in which Eknath fused contemplation, study of scripture, and mantra into one form of meditation practice. It’s easily readable and provides a justification for continued exploration into sacred scriptures from many different traditions; like all of Eknath’s books, it’s worth a second (or a third, or a fourth) re-read.

Eknath loved the Bhagavad Gita and wrote more than one book on the subject. His 2007 translation includes an analysis of the text before offering the translation. In 2011, a compendium of his writings and talks was published as Essence of the Bhagavad Gita. This text offers Eknath’s teachings on the text, his explanations of associated concepts, and the relationship of the Gita to yogic teachings.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with Eknath or Nilgiri Press. I purchased each of these books with my own funds.

The Bhagavad Gita. Nilgiri Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-1586380199

Essence of the Bhagavad Gita: A Contemporary Guide to Yoga, Meditation, and the Indian Philosophy. Nilgiri Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-1586380687

The Mantram Handbook: A Practical Guide to Choose Your Mantram and Calming Your Mind. Nilgiri Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-1586380281.

Passage Meditation – A Complete Spiritual Practice: Train Your Mind and Find a Life that Fulfills. Nilgiri Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-1586381165



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Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras

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