I assume that most people get introduced to spirituality through the medium of books. The first spiritual book I ever read was from Osho: My Way, The Way of the White Clouds. This was followed by many other publications in the following years, and in this episode, I’d like to share, in my opinion, the top 10 spiritual books that I know.
Let me begin the list with a Hungarian classic, The Red Lion from Maria Szepes. She was a prolific hermetic author, perhaps the most famous in my country. Her flagship book helped introduce hermeticism, alchemy, and spirituality in general after the Second World War. I found this to be a very readable, enjoyable and illuminating novel wrapped into a beautiful story.
Perhaps the most famous spiritual novelist worldwide is Paulo Coelho, and I read most of his books. Although his most well-known novel is probably The Alchemist, I actually liked another title more: Veronika Decides to Die. You know how close death awareness stays to my heart, and this is one of the few novels that delves into this topic quite deeply.
The third book I would suggest is Living with the Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama. Written as an autobiography, this book follows the life of a famous spiritual teacher, and his many adventures on his path to becoming one. I personally love biographies, and this was one of the most interesting ones for me. I think you would get just as inspired by it as me, and you could even continue with The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda.
As we’re slowly going from fiction to non-fiction, the books on this list are starting to be more and more useful. The next one is actually a non-fiction book about fictions and mythologies. Joseph Campbell collected the common themes in world mythology, folklore and children’s stories, and boiled them down into a step-by-step blueprint called the hero’s journey.
He summarized his findings in his seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. However, it is not only useful for authors and screenwriters, but for spiritual seekers, as well. From one aspect, the spiritual journey can be seen as a hero’s journey, and with the help of this book, you can discover at what stage you are, and what’s still ahead of you. When I was working on my own book, I even used this one to explain some aspects of the ego.
The second book I used was The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. This Pulitzer price winning masterpiece does a great job of showing why and how we deny death, and what kind of negative consequences this behavior causes. If you’re interested in death awareness, this is a foundational book to read, although its language can be a bit complex at times.
The sixth one on my list of the top 10 spiritual books is The Book of Secrets by Osho. He is my favorite spiritual teacher, and although he never wrote any books, the texts from his speeches were published in several compilations. Everything you read from him can be useful, but this book stands above the rest in its length, depth and practicality.
This book is based on a 5000 year old tantric scripture consisting of 112 meditations to achieve liberation. What Osho basically does is that he adds commentaries and his own experiences to each of the techniques, thereby making them understandable and practical for the modern seeker. If I had to recommend any book on meditation, it would definitely be this one.
The next two books on this list are from the most popular spiritual teacher in the world today: Eckhart Tolle. The Power of Now is a blockbuster that still leads many lists after many years of its publication. What I like about this book is that it focuses on the essentials, speaks in simple plain language, and it’s great for beginners.
Although The Power of Now is an amazing book, I liked A New Earth even better. The concepts in this one are a bit more advanced, and tries to explain how the ego can be blamed for most problems of society. It also offers simple methods and practical techniques to get detached from the ego, while finding your true purpose in life.
The remaining two books on this list are the least practical, but also the most foundational. Both of them contain wisdom about the highest levels of spirituality: namely from the realm of non-duality. The first book is from the famous sage Ramana Maharshi, titled Be As You Are. Its message goes way beyond the superficial advice: to be yourself. What Ramana refers to is not the personality or the individuality, but something beyond both: your immortal, unchanging and indestructable nature.
And finally, the number one spiritual book, in my opinion, is none other than the spiritual classic: I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj. I remember reading this in India, and how much time I actually needed to digest the information, although I was already enlightened. In a simple question and answer form, this book illuminates the reader and offers an inner perspective of a highly enlightened modern mystic, living the life of a simple man. Even just one answer from this book can snap you out of the illusion of the ego.
Although this list is finished, allow me to make one small addition, and recommend you my own book titled The Power of Death: A Radical Path to Personal Transformation and Spiritual Enlightenment. This small book is about a little-known but deadly effective technique that I call death awareness. It not only gives you a more meaningful, authentic and valuable life, but can be the ultimate step on your spiritual path, too. If you’re interested, you can find it on Amazon.
If you want to know more about death from a spiritual but down to earth perspective, you should read my book: The Power of Death. Click on the link below, and get it now! I’m deadly serious.