Inspiring Books & Quotes
I have received much inspiration from books. I list some of my favorites with a bit of personal context.
A good number of my selections are from Sri Chinmoy’s community and works. It is an understatement to say that he is prolific. (1) Here is also link to a page where I am adding some of my favorite quotes
Eastern Light For The Western Mind, Parts 1 And 2 by Sri Chinmoy. This was in the first collection of Sri Chinmoy’s books I studied. I remember reading it on the NY subways. I really like the title. It fit perfectly with what I needed. First published 1973 (later Published As Part Of The Inner Promise), presented in 42 pages. At ( http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/elwm). There is also a story about finding it at another gorups retreat library in upstate NY at one point where I badly needed some inner guidance.
- Meditation: Man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction, is a collection of hundreds of extemporaneous talks and answers to questions by Sri Chinmoy. I worked on the first subject index to this. My friend Bhima put it on one of the first personal computers ( this was even before the apple) so we could sort by subject. Each time we started up the computer we had to load the programme from a portable tape recorder! The printer was like an old teletype machine that Bhima picked up somewhere. Highlights of this book are featured on a meditation exercises page at http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/meditation#meditation-exercise) -see more adhiratha comments on this book at *4 below. (take note also of the very practical companion booklet "101 Meditation Techniques") at amazon.com/101-Meditation-Techniques-Sri-Chinmoy
- Savitri - a Legend and a Symbol - An Epic Poem by Sri Aurobindo (http://www.searchforlight.org/savitriindex1a.htm). I needed an Oxford Dictionary at my side and had the best results reading sections out loud.
- The Descent Of The Blue - A play of scenes from the life of Sri Aurobindo - by Sri Chinmoy. It was one of the first plays of Sri chinmoy that I read. It provided me a window into the human and political experience of spiritual master. First published in 1974, it is presented in 109 pages (http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/db) see also *3 below for adhiratha's comments on other Sri Chinmoy Plays.
- The Divine Hero - Winning in the Battlefield of life. This 2002 book is a practical guide for a seeker living in the outer world while striving to develop inner strength and other necessary qualities. It can be ordered online from Amazon Books , - BirthTime.info -Alibris Books
More to be added:
Beyond Within - A Philosophy for the Inner Life 522 pp - Anthology conceived by professor and students for a University course in 1973
My Flute - poetry (includes "The Absolute"),
The Summits of God-Life - Samadhi and siddhi
"discussion of consciousness and very advanced stages of spiritual practice... Few people have attained these highest states and fewer still have clearly revealed their meanings ..Topics: Infinity, nirvana, trance, liberation, realisation, ananda, and more. Read Excerpts, http://www.srichinmoybooks.com/meditation_and_spirituality/the_summits_o...
Many of the questions and Answers series,
The Dance of Life Poetry Series,
- Part 1 - see: http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/0032/
Talks at the United Nations,(I have worked in the UN commuity for over thirty years and these talks, questions and answers were of great assitance in understanding this enviornment and maintaining the right attitude of devotion to the highest goals of the UN)
Flame Waves, Collections of questions and answers by Sri Chinmoy.
My Meditation-Service At The United NationsFor 25 Years by Sri Chinmoy. A compilation of many talks, questions and answers given a the UN.
published in 1995 - http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/1094
The Seeker's Mind by Sri Chinmoy - published in 1978 This collection includes various UN related topics or celebrations of special events and programmes including:. The General Assembly; Comments About The Secretaries-General; Dag Hammarskjold; Inner Flames At The United Nations; World Gratitude Day; Swami Vivekananda; President Roosevelt; Capacity To Help Others?; A Soulful Promise; Jharna-Kala Gallery. http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/0368
A Real Member Of The United Nations by Sri Chinmoy. published in 1989. short saying such as "A Real Member Of The United Nations is he whose mind-pocket will never be empty of a global understanding and whose heart-pocket will never be empty of a universal concern. http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/0762
My favorite songs, See some songs at Inspiring Quotes https://adhiratha.srichinmoycentre.org/inspirequotes
The Wings of Joy - Finding your path to inner peace - Simon & Schuster 0-684-82242-3 - 208 pp. Now in its thirteenth printing - discusses God in a universal way - "Each human being will realise the highest Truth. Each human being is destined to be fulfilled. It is the birthright of our soul." Contents: Living in Joy, Meditation, Doubt and Faith, Humility, From worry to confidence, The Power of Love, Jealousy, Cheerfulness and Enthusiasm, Compassion, Patience, Hope, Peace, The Dance of Light. Excerpts at : http://www.srichinmoybooks.com/books/inspiration/the-wings-of-joy-finding-your-path-to-inner-peace/
silent teaching - A beginner's guide to meditation - 64 pp. - This first reading on meditation addresses its theory, vision, and practice in simple, concise and understandable terms. "Here on earth, in the hustle and bustle of life, we have to practice spirituality . . . Here on earth we have to realise the highest truth." - packed with all you'll need to know about setting up meditation practice at home, an easy to follow explanation of meditative basics. http://www.srichinmoybooks.com/books/meditation/the-silent-teaching-a-beginners-guide-to-meditation/
Light and Liberty - Reflections on the Pursuit of Happiness - Thomas Jefferson - edited by Eric S. Peterson. Wonderfull - Jefferson's own words with related LInks to other resources http://www.lightandliberty.org/The book by Jefferson is one of my favorites. It has compilation of his actual words on a number of subjects. As I discuss Jefferson I continue to find such important insights in his words and spirit. From page v - At Jefferson’s’ Taper : “he who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine, as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” From page 41, in the section on Humility he makes a wonderful point about others religious beliefs: 'it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 God's or no God. It neither picks my pocket or breaks my leg....and who is to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched?" (That quote about cutting or stretching everyone's foot to match the "standard" made me laugh out loud the first time I heard it and makes me smile even now. He demonstrated that if one can't convince by simple logic - try to show the absurdity of a position carried to its logical conclusion)
The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace (Paperback)
by M. Scott Peck - Practical advice for being present and supportive in the world.
The Bhagavad Gita - the song Celestral - The Gita is an episode in the sixth book of the Mahabharata epic, which is six times the size of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. The main story revolves around a giant rivalry between two parties of cousins. This rivalry came to its close at the end of a great battle called the Battle of Kurukshetra. http://www.aspiringindia.org/bhagavad_gita/
I first came across a version of the Gita in World Religions Class at the University. (link to story?)
-Parphrase of a few famous quotations : "You have the right to action, but not the results of action. The results belong to God". "Become a mere instrument"
- see also: Commentary On The Bhagavad Gita by Sri Chinmoy - published 1971 (www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/0022)
- and short sayings on the meaning and essence of the Gita: The Message-Light Of The Bhagavad Gita by Sri Chinmoy. - published in 1999. .http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/1312
The Whole Earth Catalog - In 1968 Stewart Brand launched this innovative publication. My sincere and continuing Gratitude. When I first saw an advertisement for it back then in Dayton Ohio - I Could't believe it was true. I sent my money anyway in the hope it was. When it arrived I was happy and excited way beyond my expectations. (http://www.wholeearth.com/index.php).I was so effusive in my praise that some of my friends called me a walking advertisement for the publication. (link to story). Each issue inspired me. I even went in early 1970s to spend a day at their publican store on a california visit. We received many leads on other books and directions to pursue in our explorations of the world. Including some of the other books mentioned on this page. I think we may have heard first about the I Ching here.
The Wisdom of Idiots and Tales of Dervishes - by Idries Shah
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: "only with the heart can one see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye". ..."the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart..." andalso atributed to Saint-Exupéry: "Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction." elctronic version of little Prince at : http://home.pacific.net.hk/~rebylee/text/prince/contents.html
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - by Richard Bach (A transcendance Story ) - what a great and inspiring tale. I started reading it out loud to some campers upon request and could't believe what I was reading... - see summary at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Livingston_Seagull
Siddhartha becomes the Buddha by Sri Chinmoy http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/siddhartha-becomes-buddha/toc.html
Ramakrishna and his disciples by C. Isherwood
The Master Game: Pathways to Higher Consciousness Beyond the Drug Experience.de Ropp, Robert S. (1968). New York: Delacorte Press.(*2) See more detail below
================== Note ====================================
(*1) Two sites that give much fuller presentation of Sri Chinmoy's writings are:
• The Sri Chinmoy Library (http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com) where you will find questions and answers, talks, poetry, autobiographical writings, plays and stories. There is a search feature that is wonderful for specific topics or questions.
• Sri Chinmoy Books - A website dedicated to the distribution of Sri Chinmoy's literature and music (https://srichinmoybooks.com/) Purchase from Online Booksellers, or Heart-Light Distributors in the U.S.
- Information on Sri chinmoy songs at https://www.srichinmoysongs.com/
Sri Chinmoy Community: http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/Free meditation classes in over 50 countries around the world. Music by Sri Chinmoy and his students to listen to and download; Races, marathons, and multi-sports events; World Harmony Run - 80 nation torch relay celebrates oneness and fosters friendship; Meet Members and view their Photo Galleries - Including photos from concerts, art exhibitions and travels around the world; Humanitarian Aid - efforts to serve in developing countries- Oneness Heart Tears and Smiles organisation; Local enterprises, restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Inspiration-Letters...A forum for inspired writers with a multitude of backgrounds and interests Inspiration Stories http://www.srichinmoycentre.org/inspiration-letters
(*2) This "master Game" book helped see a little more clearly the various paths choosen and some of the expected results. The Master Game: Pathways to Higher Consciousness Beyond the Drug Experience.de Ropp, Robert S. (1968). New York: Delacorte Press.Some Excerpt(s): This book is concerned with games and aims. It has been stated by Thomas Szasz that what people really need and demand from life is not wealth, comfort or esteem but games worth playing. He who cannot find a game worth playing is apt to fall prey to accidie, defined by the Fathers of the Church as one of the Deadly Sins , but now regarded as a symptom of sickness. Accidie is a paralysis of the will, a failure of the appetite, a condition of generalized boredom, total disenchantment ... (page 11)"
I immediately liked the below table, especially since at that time I was striving to approach "awakening" via the path of "knowledge". I questioned everything and everyone. Later I began to value listening more and felt the need to cultivate receptivity in silence. I became less fearful of the hearts devotion to a higher possibility and reality. I found the results impressive and much more fulfilling. Hints of Joy....
"What games did these mystics play? Within the matrix imposed by their religion, these players were attempting the most difficult game of all, the Master Game, the aim of which is the attainment of full consciousness or real awakening. It was natural for these players to play their game within a religious matrix. The basic idea underlying all the great religions is that man is asleep, that he lives amid dreams and delusions, that he cuts himself off from the universal consciousness (the only meaningful definition of God) to crawl into the narrow shell of a personal ego. To emerge from this narrow shell, to regain union with the universal consciousness, to pass from the darkness of the ego-centered illusion into the light of non-ego, this was the real aim of the Religion Game as defined by the great teachers, Jesus, Gautama, Krishna, Mahavira, Lao-tze and the Platonic Socrates. (page 19)"
*3 Adhiratha comments on Sri Chinmoy's Plays:I received questions about how I arrived at the place I am. Others have been encouraging me of late to write some of that down. Discussing has helped me look again at some of the decisions or experiences of earlier and present seeking. I noted some books that I felt would which might further the discussion. I especially noted plays written about some of the main ideas of the various world religions. These short pieces have been used to present parts of different faith traditions to a range of audiences (some with no previous exposure to the tradition) . I think two of them “The Son” about Jesus and “Siddhartha becomes the Buddha” were the most know during Sri Chinmoy’s lifetime. The Son was performed hundreds of times by various actors in different locations around the globe. The Buddha Play was unique in that for the inaugural performance, the SG U Thant of the world body, came to it (more below). Sri Chinmoy I believe was very much aware that he had potentially more than one audience for his plays. He always spoke of “oneness” of the world and felt the various spiritual teachers had offered something important to humanity. He also wanted his friends and admirers to appreciate the various paths that have assisted people over the ages. Short plays were a good way to show some highlights of a teacher’s life and at the same time entertain. It also gave his students a way to explore their capacities, use their talents and to inspire each other by acting in different performances. Obviously it is difficult in short piece to select what might be most important to illustrate the essence of a path, keeping it simple for those new to the ideas and respectful for lifelong practitioners of their faith.(see U Thant’s reaction below). I was impressed a number of times how different performers using the simple lines while heartedly embracing the role with feeling and sincere inner presence were able to create a new sensitivity in the audience.
- The Christ play “The Sun” was attended by mother, (a life long Christian and convert to the catholic faith the year I was born), who seemed to really enjoy the performance and the evening. Since this it the tradition and religion I was brought up in, it was very interesting to see the parts of the Life of Christ that were chosen to be depicted in this play. I have always had a curiosity about Jesus’ life between the ages of 12 and 30 (the hidden years) when it is said he was not in the public eye. I wondered how did he figure out who he was and come to understand what his mission /role in life was. Who did he learn with and how did he practice before he preached? (1973 agni press http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/son) see especially Scene 11 ((Benares. A school for religious study. Several students, including Jesus,) at: http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/son-12
- The play “Siddhartha becomes the Buddha” has an interesting story for me. When this Play was first performed in 1973 Secretary-General U-Thant was guest of honour. He was a lifelong Buddhist who appreciated the play. It was the only time I saw U Thant (from a distance) Here is an excerpted account: On the evening of 25 May 1973, UThant attended the first performance of Siddhartha Becomes the Buddha , a series of one-act plays based on incidents in the life of the Lord Buddha, written by Sri Chinmoy and performed by his disciples on an outdoor stage built for the occasion at Old Mill Farm in Harrison, New York. UThant said:
- The Krishna story as highlighted in “The singer of the Eternal Beyond” is something that has had meaning to me since I was at the University of Dayton in Ohio. After a break, I had returned from my trip around the world on a Merchant Ship. I was then exposed to a chapter in the epic “Mahabharata” called : the “Bhagavad Gita” in a world religions course. The phrases “be a mere instrument” and “you have the right to action but not the results” inspired me to whole heartedly get involved in the political activities of the time. Additionally “Adhiratha” means “Divine Charioteer” and I have spent some time thinking about how to move forward and carry aspiration in this life…The Singer Of The Eternal Beyond - published by Agni Press in 1973. (http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/seb)
- “Drink, Drink my Mothers Nectar” is focuses on Ramakrishna. When I was continuing my exploration and personal search after the University while still in Dayton, I came across stories of the sage “RamaKrishna” and his disciples. I was not too disposed to personal devotion but at the time a book by Isherwood exposed me to this approach and the respect for a female manifestation of God in the form of Mother Kali. I have recently been reading the sayings of Ramakrishna and find his quotes on the various paths of mind and heart useful. As he developed his own approach he embraced the mystical traditions of all the religions and practiced each whole heartedly for some time. His disciple Vivekananda (who’s writings on Karma Yoga helped many activist seekers) was very well received in America at the Parliament of World Religions. On 11 Sept 1893. He brought the house to its feet when he addressed them as “Brothers and Sisters”. u tube now has that famous speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxUzKoIt5aM for 1973 play see: http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/0031
- “The Descent of the Blue” (published by Agni Press in 1974 - see play at http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/db) is about Sri Aurobindo, who was a political activist during the time of India’s struggle for independence. He became interested in the Spiritual exploration while in Prison. When I first experienced the plays of Sri Chinmoy my mind was fascinated by this one because it gave some detail of a political figure and the struggle he went through when deciding on how to direct his life energy for the greater good. In later years, I would take his epic poem “Savitri” with me when traveling and read part of it – the sound of his words had a mantra quality when said out loud. I had to carry an oxford dictionary with me because some of the language used stretched way beyond my comprehension. His famous “Life divine” and other works were set out the ways the mind explored spiritual heights. It was then interesting to see him say that it was much quicker to simply develop the spiritual heart and invoke light and love. This idea of imagining and “invoking” light is very inspiring to me. His Poem “Who” I experienced again when I followed a friends links to a Sufi site. “WHO - In the blue of the sky, in the green of the forest, Whose is the hand that has painted the glow? When the winds were asleep in the womb of the ether, Who was it roused them and bade them to blow? For complete poem see: http://www.sriaurobindosociety.org.in/sriauro/auropoet.htm
*4 More of Adhiratha' comments on other books by Sri Chinmoy:
- A. “Meditation: man-Perfection in God-Satisfaction” which is the most used meditation book for thousands of beginning and advanced classes all over the world. I did the subject index on one of the first home computers about 30 years ago. And now I am reviewing this and more recent items that to decide on which items to highlight if I follow the inner feeling to give classes again on the subject. I had years ago given series of 7 classes in Canada and Texas. The book is well liked by people on many paths because it covers a number of topics of interest for people new to the subject and also advanced seekers. It has a number of “How To” sections on various techniques. These descriptions allow individuals to practice on their own to find the techniques that work best for them to be able to go deep within to find their own preferred way of meditating. It has been found useful by many who don’t necessarily follow Sri Chinmoy’s path but helped them on their own inner journey.Chapter topics include: Why meditate, how to start, breathing, silencing the mind, the three steps to fulfilment, prayer and meditation, mantra, music and meditation, happiness, receptivity, daily practice, meditation in action, what is a Guru, understanding your inner experiences and realisation. http://www.srichinmoybooks.com/meditation_and_spirituality/meditation-re... - A.1 There is a new (2009) related publication “101 meditation techniques” which is compilation for 50 different books. So that should give some options to anyone who wanted to begin practicing practical techniques on their own. My favorite technique in the early days was to focus on a circle and dot on the wall – since I heard a student say this was recommended by a teacher for increasing concentration and I knew I needed more concentration to be able to make progress in meditation.
- B . Kundalini – The Mother Power. Electronic version: http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/kmp This book includes the first lecture I had attended with Sri Chinmoy. For the full story of that experience see https://adhiratha.srichinmoycentre.org/adhiratha_early_seeking " (*20) Strong guidance at Sri Chinmoy's Kundalini Yoga Talks at NYU. I had come back to NY to stay with friends specifically to check out the various spiritual groups in New York City. There were a few things on my exploring “to do” list. After a few weeks I still had 2 things I had not done: Sri Chinmoy and Kundalini Yoga. And here was opportunity to do both at once! At the end of the Kundalini lectures we were able to continue to come another night each week for a public meditation. I kept going to those events each Saturday for many weeks.
- C. Daily Meditations – My Life’s Soul Journey. I have been using this for years in the morning to have some positive thoughts to start the day. The format is 3 related entries per page: a short saying, followed by a longer narrative explanation and a poem usually on a similar topic. Sometimes I read from the previous few days to see what I remember. Or I may read the upcoming days as well. book available from: from Online Booksellers, or Heart-Light Distributors in the U.S. Daily meditations for ever-increasing spiritual fulfilment
Aum Publications 0-88497-244-5 US$13.95 / 430 pp. "compiled from thousands of pages of Sri Chinmoy's prolific output. For each day of the year, you can turn to a concise spiritual thought, an insightful explanatory passage, and a contemplative poem. Each day's offering resonates in tune with the innate goodness of humanity and encourages the reader to bring this goodness to the fore. Topics include: adversity, ambition, beauty, confidence, discipline, ego, forgiveness, Grace, healing, intuition, joy, pride, prosperity, and many more."
Read Excerpts , See book review
- One of my first daily meditaions volumes was God's Hour published in 1973. On-line version here: http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/gh
- I also some times read - My Daily Heart Blossoms - published in 1988 and 2008 - Like My Life's Soul Journey mentioned above this usually has 3 related entries per page. A short saying, folowed by a longer narrative explanation and a poem usually on a similar topic.
- see also Meditations: Food For The Soul First published in 1970. On-line version here: http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/mfs