Books to keep company

Everyone has some specific interests and ideals in life. It is a
great joy and learning to be in the company of people who have
the same interests and ideals. This like-minded company gives us
a lot of comfort and also inspires us to proceed further towards
the ideal.

However, it is not always possible to get this kind of company.
In the absence of the like-minded company, books are the next best
alternative. Of the various kinds of books, I feel the best are
books that talk about the life of people who are on the same path
as ourselves, or people who have reached the ideal that we are
striving for. There are also conversations with such people that
are published as books. There are also travelogues by these people
and by people who travelled with them. These books create a virtual
company that we seek.

As I am interested in spirituality, here are some books, that have
given me this virtual company and continue to give me whenever I
seek it. These books are published by the various publishing houses
of the Sri Ramakrishna Math. They can be found at several book shops
and also can be ordered online at http://www.vedanta.com or
http://www.sriramakrishnamath.org or http://www.advaitaonline.com
There are many more books, but these are on the top of my mind now.
May be I will add more later.

1. Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna
This book contains everyday conversations with Sri Ramakrishna,
spaning about four years. The author has recreated the scene very
beautifully and faithfully. It is an experience to read this book.

2. Sri Ramakrishna As We Saw Him
This book is a collection of reminiscences of Sri Ramakrishna and
time spent with him by various people. The variety of people who
are covered in the book is good. So it is not biased.

3. Sri Ramakrishna – The Great Master
This two volume book is a detailed biography of Sri Ramakrishna.
Swami Saradananda, the author is a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and
has lived a similar life and understood to a great extent the
minor details of the life of Sri Ramakrishna. So, the biography
is very authentic. The author also gives the required background
in terms of Indian Philosophy and History so that the reader is
able to appreciate the life of Sri Ramakrishna.

4. Mother As I Saw Her
This book is written by Swami Saradeshananda disciple of Holy Mother
Sri Sarada Devi. This describes various incidents in the life of
the saint which the author has seen or heard from authentic sources.
The narration is very homely and gives a very vivid picture of
the saint. After reading the book, the reader gets a feeling that
the great saint is a familiar person. It creates a close relationship
between the reader and the saint.

5. Holy Wanderings in the Himalayas
   Service of God in Man
   Call of the Spirit
These three books by Swami Akhanadananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna
takes the reader to a world of wonderful ideas and ideals. It gives
deep insight into the life of the Swami, what it means to be a follower
of Sri Ramakrishna, and spiritual life in general. The books also
give a nice picture of India during that time, many of which are
applicable today also.

6. Days in an Indian Monastery
This book is by Sister Devamata, a Christian Sister living in an Indian
monastery at Chennai (called Madras at that time). It gives a very
good account of life in India during that time. The author also
talks a lot about Swami Ramakrishnananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.

7. Eternal Companion
This book by Swami Prabhavananda gives the life of Swami Brahmananda,
a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. This book is loaded with wisdom on
spiritual life.

8. With the Swamis in America and India
This book is written by Swami Atulananda, an American monk of the
Ramakrishna Order, who was particularly close with Swami Turiyananda,
a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. Most of the incidents in the book are
in Northern California and Almora, India. The author is very frank
and wise. The reader can grasp a lot of essentials of spiritual life
from the book.

9. Invitation to Holy Company
This small book has narrations of incidents of the author with
several direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. By reading about the
various incidents in the life of these great men, we can try to
understand more about Sri Ramakrishna and the ideal he has set for
us.

10. Spiritual Talks
This small book has records of conversations with many direct
disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. The book is loaded with spiritual
wisdom in simple casual conversations. The book can be read several
times and can be read at random.

11. Talks with Swami Vivekananda
This is a book with conversations with Swami Vivekananda, the famous
disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. It has inspired talks about spirituality,
India, philosophy, etc. Though conversations, the book is not very
light for reading. It gives a glimpse of the character and general
ideas of Swami Vivekananda.

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About gokulmuthu

A student of Advaita Vedanta in the light of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramana Maharishi, etc.
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