“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero
Here is a selection of some of my favorite books, most having to do with India, and running the gamut from uplifting spirituality to compelling fiction to lavish coffee table volumes filled with gorgeous art and photography to delight the eye. Please note that many of these items are available in hardcover and softcover editions (both new and used), as well as in Kindle and Audible formats. Thus, the prices shown below may not reflect all the choices available to customers.
Art & Photography
Form of Beauty: The Krishna Art of B.G. Sharma (Art of Devotion)
Swami B.V. Tripurari (Author), B.G. Sharma (Illustrator)
The art of B.G. Sharma is renowned for its elegance of composition, delicacy of detail, gem-like colors, and light-suffused images. Still, the hallmark of his work is its unmistakable aura of deep devotion. In this stunningly produced volume, the artist’s mastery and devotion are combined with compelling stories depicting the magical life of Krishna. Excerpts from classics such as the Bhagavat Purana and Gopal Champu accompany 180 paintings, wonderfully illuminated by Swami B.V. Tripurari’s poetic and informative narrative.
Ramayana: A Tale of Gods and Demons
Ranchor Prime (Author), B.G. Sharma (Illustrator)
From the kingdom of Ayodhya to the isle of Lanka, we are transported to a land that has inspired morality and spiritual tradition for thousands of years. Rama, the king of Ayodya, comes to life through B.G. Sharma’s never-before-seen compositions of this classic epic. From his intimate devotee, Hanuman, to his loving Queen, Sita, we are drawn to both text and illustration as these uniquely devotional paintings propel us through the story and into the heart of that great Indian epic, The Ramayana.
India: In Word and Image
Jaw-droppingly gorgeous, India takes the reader on a journey through Mumbai, Rajasthan, Agra, Dungarpur, along desert roads, and to the Ganges water’s edge, including spectacular ruins, the Taj Mahal, and the Festival of Elephants, capturing the spectacle and vibrant colors of these ancient regions. Over 200 photographs fill this beautifully printed, large-format book; and the photos are accompanied by dozens of essays, stories, and poems by contemporary and classical Indian writers.
Henri Cartier-Bresson in India
Henri Cartier-Bresson’s record of his fascination with India over half a lifetime contains the very best of his photographs of that country. Beginning in 1947 and produced during six extended visits over a twenty-year period, these beautiful, dramatic images are shaped by an eye and a mind legendary for their intelligent empathy and for going to the heart of the matter. It is the apparently ordinary faces and scenes from market, temple, or countryside that have the power to put us in direct touch with the spirit of a country and its people. Contains 105&*nbsp;duotone illustrations.
Fiction & Poetry
Kismetwali and Other Stories
Reetika Khanna Nijhawan
Brimming with light, darkness, love, and humor, and set against the backdrop of modern-day India, this wonderful collection of stories places the reader amidst circumstances that transcend place, purse, and prestige. Focusing on the working-class walas and walis of India, this beautifully written octet of tales offers a rare glimpse into the parallel lives of the privileged and penniless, converging on those astonishing moments when fate collides with free will, and the rigid divide between social classes vanishes in a miraculous instant. (You can read excerpts from all the stories and reviews of the book at www.KahaniPress.com.)
A Passage to India
Britain’s three-hundred-year relationship with the Indian subcontinent produced much great fiction—and one indisputable masterpiece: E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, published in 1924, at the height of the Indian independence movement. Centering on an ambiguous incident between a young Englishwoman of uncertain stability and an Indian doctor eager to know his conquerors better, Forster’s book explores, with unexampled profundity, both the historical chasm between races and the eternal one between individuals struggling to ease their isolation and make sense of their humanity.
This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people—a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
This classic novel, written in a simple, lyrical style, takes place at the time of the coming of the Gautama Buddha. It tells the story of a young man who leaves his family for a contemplative life; then, restless, discards it for one of the flesh. He conceives a son; but bored and sickened by lust and greed, he moves on again. Near despair, Siddhartha comes to a river where he hears a unique sound. This sound signals the true beginning of his life—the beginning of suffering, rejection, peace and, finally, wisdom.
The Heart of God: Prayers of Rabindranath Tagore
Awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) is considered the most important poet of modern-day India. He was also a distinguished author, educator, social reformer, and philosopher. Today Tagore, along with Mahatma Gandhi, are prized as the foremost intellectual and spiritual advocates of India’s liberation from imperial rule. This inspiring collection of Tagore’s poetry represent his “simple prayers of common life.” Each of the 77 prayers is an eloquent affirmation of the divine in the face of both joy and sorrow. Like the Psalms of David, they transcend time and speak directly to the human heart.
Lonely Planet India (Travel Guide)
Sarina Singh et al.
The #1 bestseller among travel books for India. Admire the perfect symmetry of the Taj Mahal, ride a camel through the moonlit desert, or cruise the lush backwaters of Kerala—all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of India and begin your journey now!
Enjoying India: The Essential Handbook
The ultimate how-and-why guide for foreigners that fills the gaps left by traditional guidebooks—practical and cultural information no visitor or expat can afford to be without. It will give you the knowledge to navigate this unfamiliar land with ease. Enjoying India offers a wealth of insights into India’s ways and culture, covering many vital topics that are either dealt with superficially or omitted altogether by other books. Whether you are in India for business or pleasure, this is the one book you need to experience the best of India.
The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma:
Life and Teaching of a 20th Century Indian Saint
Anandamayi Ma (Author), Joseph A. Fitzgerald (Editor)
Clothed in spotless white, and the epitome of simplicity and gentleness, Anandamayi Ma was one of the most influential spiritual teachers of our time. Her devotees ranged from prime ministers to renowned saints to humble villagers. Although virtually uneducated, Ma spoke with the authority of direct experience and mesmerized all with her ethereal beauty, sweetness, and grace. A free spirit, she wandered all over the country showering her love and tender care on everyone. Her life has inspired millions of individuals of diverse faiths and circumstances around the world.
Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead
A collection of spiritual lessons, anecdotes, and thoughts on the Divine’s intervention in our lives, this brilliantly written and wonderfully entertaining book teaches us how to live purposefully and in line with the Force of Love. At its heart, Outrageous Openness opens the door to a profound truth: by allowing the Divine to lead the way, we can finally put down the heavy load of hopes, fears, and opinions about how things should be. We learn how to be guided to take the right actions at the right time, and to enjoy the spectacular show that is our life.
Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender
From the author of the life-changing book Outrageous Openness comes a thoughtful collection of prayers and stories to help you actively invite the Divine into your life. In this sequel to her first book, Tosha Silver, with her characteristic mix of passion and humor, shows how to embrace transformation from the inside out. Covering a variety of topics—from work and finances to love and self-worth—Change Me Prayers shows how to truly surrender to a Divine plan in the most joyous and uplifting way. At its heart, this book is a spiritual guide to help anyone open to this union with Love, even in times of difficulty or crisis. Tosha proves to be a profound, unique, and often hilarious guide to awakening!
Autobiography of a Yogi
At once a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation, this book has been profoundly inspiring to many people the world over. It is at the same time vastly entertaining, warmly humorous, and filled with extraordinary personages. Selected as “One of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the Twentieth Century,” Autobiography of a Yogi has been translated into more than 30 languages, and is widely regarded as a true classic of religious literature.
It All Abides In Love: Maharajji Neem Karoli Baba
Jai Ram Ransom
Ram Dass introduced the great guru Maharaj-ji Neem Karoli Baba to Western spiritual seekers of the 60s and 70s. This biography offers a contemporary view of this remarkable and completely enigmatic Indian sadhu, a spiritual renunciate who had more of an impact on America than many people realize. Known as “the Miracle of Love,” he never really gave any formal “teachings.” So who is this Maharaj-ji Neem Karoli Baba? That is a question explored by the author in this thought-provoking book.
The Near and the Dear
As Krishna Das points out in his introduction, when you read these stories about Maharaj-ji and his devotees you step into a place and a time that is outside the boundaries of your own memories and experiences. You meet people whose lives were forever changed by a word or a look from the great Indian saint Neem Karoli Baba. Here Mukerjee tells his own story of time spent with Maharaj-ji, relating stories about other sadhus and devotees who came to be with Neem Karoli Baba; and you learn about how the saint gave to all what they needed for their spiritual journey. This volume also contains selected photos of Neem Karoli Baba and his devotees seldom seen in the West.
Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold
Chants of a Lifetime offers an intimate collection of stories, teachings, and insights from Krishna Das, who has been called “the chant master of American yoga” by the New York Times. Since 1994, the sound of his voice singing traditional Indian chants with a Western flavor has brought the spiritual experience of chanting to audiences all over the world. In this book-and-CD combo, the famed kirtan leader explores his fascinating path and creates an opportunity for just about anyone to experience chanting in a unique and special way. The idea is for the listener to explore his or her own practice of chanting and develop a deepening connection with the entire kirtan experience.
Be Love Now: The Path of the Heart
Experience the transformational teaching of a 40-year journey to the heart. The author of the classics Remember, Be Here Now, and its influential sequel Still Here, Dass is joined once more by Rameshwar Das—a collaborator from the Love Serve Remember audio recordings—to offer this intimate and inspiring exploration of the human soul. Like Deepak Chopra’s The Book of Secrets, the Dalai Lama’s The Art of Happiness, and Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming to Our Senses, this book will serve as a lodestar for all those seeking to enhance their spiritual awareness and improve their capacity to serve—and love—the world around them.
The Journey Home
Within this extraordinary memoir, Radhanath Swami weaves a colorful tapestry of adventure, mysticism, and love. Readers follow Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide. The Journey Home is an intimate account of the steps to self-awareness and a penetrating glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions and the challenges that all souls must face on the road to inner harmony and a union with the Divine. It is a tale told with rare candor, immersing the reader in a journey that is at once engaging, humorous, and heartwarming.