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About Eknath Easwaran
Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom.
He is a recognized authority on the Indian spiritual classics. His translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, and The Dhammapada are the best-selling editions in the USA.
His books on meditation, spiritual living, and the classics of world mysticism have been translated into twenty-six languages. His book Passage Meditation (originally titled Meditation) has sold over 200,000 copies since it was first published in 1978. Two million copies of Easwaran's books are in print.
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Born in Kerala, India, Easwaran was a professor of English literature at a leading Indian university when he came to the United States in 1959 on the Fulbright exchange program. A gifted teacher, he moved from education for degrees to education for living, and gave talks on meditation and spiritual living for 40 years. His meditation class at UC Berkeley in 1968 was the first accredited course on meditation at any major university.
In 1961 he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, a nonprofit organization that publishes his books, videos, and audio talks, and offers retreats and online programs.
Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him lasting appeal as a spiritual teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.
* Discovering Meditation *
Easwaran discovered meditation mid-life, while he was teaching on a college campus in central India. In the midst of a successful career he found himself haunted by age-old questions: Why am I here? What is life for? What will happen when I die?
Meanwhile in a few short months he lost two people passionately dear to him: Mahatma Gandhi, whom he’d visited in his ashram, and his beloved grandmother, who was his spiritual teacher. Finally he came home one day to find his dog had been killed by a passing truck, and his sense of loss would not subside. His dog stood for death itself, for all who had passed away.
“Almost instinctively,” Easwaran said, “I went to my room and picked up my Gita, most of which I knew by heart. I closed my eyes, and as I began to repeat the verses silently to myself, the words opened up and took me deep, deep in.” Over the next weeks he continued in the same way, seated in silence in the early morning. His meditation practice had begun.
Still leading a full life at the university, Easwaran looked for guidance in this new inner world. He read the Upanishads, Patanjali, the Catholic mystics, the Buddhist scriptures, the poetry of the Sufis. In addition to his Bhagavad Gita, he found passages for meditation from every major spiritual tradition. Some of the mystics he studied had chosen not to retire into monasteries but, like himself, to seek the spiritual path in the midst of everyday life.
In meditation, he found a deep connection between the wisdom in the passages and the way he conducted himself throughout the day. It was a thrilling discovery. “The passages were lifelines, guiding me to the source of wisdom deep within and then guiding me back into daily life.”
Years passed, and Easwaran’s inner and outer life became richer and more challenging as his meditation deepened.
In 1959 he came to the US on the Fulbright scholarship and lectured widely on the spiritual heritage of India. Some students were eager to learn about meditation, and Easwaran loved teaching. He developed a simple, effective eight-point program of passage meditation based on his own spiritual experience. Thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds now follow this program all around the world.
* Easwaran as a Teacher *
In the introduction to one of his key books, Easwaran described his approach as a teacher. He appealed to people, he said, “partly because I have not retired from the world – I live very much as a family man, a good husband, son, and friend – but also because I have tried to combine the best of West and East.
“I live together with forty friends at our ashram, or spiritual community, and though I have heavy responsibilities in guiding our work, I take time for recreation. I go with friends to the theater; I am fond of Western and Indian classical music; I like to take the children to the ice cream parlor and the dogs to the beach for a run.
“But perhaps what appeals most deeply is that I understand the difficulties of living in the modern world. Before taking to meditation, in my ignorance of the unity of life, I too committed most of the mistakes that even sensitive people commit today. As a result, I understand how easy it is to make those mistakes, and I know how to guide and support those who are trying to learn a wiser way of living.”
* Easwaran Now *
Since Easwaran’s passing in 1999, interest in his work has only increased. People choose to relate to him today in various ways: as an authority on world mysticism; as a wise spiritual writer; as an experienced teacher of meditation; and as a personal spiritual guide.
Easwaran is a recognized authority on the Indian spiritual classics. His translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Dhammapada are the best-selling editions in the USA. Over 1.5 million of his books on spiritual living and world mysticism are in print.
The meditation programs that Easwaran created for every stage of life are reaching growing audiences in person and online. He left a vast legacy of video and audio talks which will be shared increasingly over the next years through our website, programs, publications, and digital library.
For those who seek him as a personal spiritual guide, Easwaran assured us that he lives on through his eight-point program.
"I am with you always”, he said. “It does not require my physical presence; it requires your open heart."
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Easwaran’s best-selling translation of the Bhagavad Gita is reliable, readable, and profound. His 55-page introduction places the Gita in its historical context, presents key concepts, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. This edition includes chapter introductions, notes and a Sanskrit glossary.
Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. He is a gifted teacher and an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism.
The Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet the Gita is not what it seems – it’s not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. “The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious.”
In the ancient wisdom texts called the Upanishads, illumined sages share flashes of insight, the results of their investigation into consciousness itself. In extraordinary visions, they have direct experience of a transcendent Reality which is the essence, or Self, of each created being. They teach that each of us, each Self, is eternal, deathless, one with the power that created the universe.
Easwaran’s best-selling translation is reliable and readable. It includes an overview of the cultural and historical setting, with chapter introductions, notes, and a Sanskrit glossary. But it is Easwaran’s understanding of the wisdom of the Upanishads that makes this edition truly outstanding.
Each sage, each Upanishad, appeals in a different way to the reader’s head and heart. In the end, Easwaran writes, “The Upanishads are part of India’s precious legacy, not just to Hinduism but to humanity, and in that spirit they are offered here.”
Dhammapada means "the path of dharma," the path of harmony and righteousness that anyone can follow to reach the highest good. The Dhammapada is a collection of verses, gathered probably from direct disciples who wanted to preserve what they had heard from the Buddha himself. Easwaran's best-selling translation of this classic Buddhist text is based on the original Pali.
Easwaran's comprehensive introduction to the Dhammapada gives an overview of the Buddha's teachings that is penetrating, and clear - accessible for readers new to Buddhism, but also with fresh insights and practical applications for readers familiar with this text. Chapter introductions, notes and a Sanskrit glossary place individual verses into the context of the broader Buddhist canon.
Easwaran is a master storyteller, and the introduction includes many stories that make moving, memorable reading, bringing young Siddhartha and his heroic spiritual quest vividly to life. This faithful interpretation brings us closer to the compassionate heart of the Buddha.
A comprehensive manual for living a spiritual life, based on a verse-by-verse commentary on India’s timeless scripture – from the author of its best-selling translation. This ebook includes all three volumes in this series.
The Bhagavad Gita is set on the battlefield of an apocalyptic war between good and evil. Faced with a dire moral dilemma, the warrior prince Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life.
Easwaran points out that Arjuna’s crisis is acutely modern. The Gita’s battlefield is the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna represents each of us, and Sri Krishna is the Lord, instructing us in eighteen chapters of lofty wisdom as we face the social, environmental, and global challenges that threaten our world today.
Easwaran is a spiritual teacher and author of deep insight and warmth. His verse-by-verse commentary interprets the Gita’s teachings for modern readers, explaining the Sanskrit concepts and philosophy and applying them with practicality, wisdom, and humor to every aspect of our work, our relationships, and our lives. With everyday anecdotes, stories, and examples, he shows that the changes we long to see in the world start with the transformation of our own consciousness.
The practical exercises recommended by Easwaran to achieve transformation are part of a spiritual program he developed for his own life. They are accessible to people from all backgrounds and cultures. Urging us to adopt a higher image of the human being, he assures us that peace and unity are within reach.
Each volume of this series covers six chapters of the Gita. Each may be read on its own, but all three volumes together form an in-depth, verse-by-verse explanation of this ancient scripture and its relevance today. Included are instructions in Easwaran's universal eight-point program of passage meditation.
Volume 1: The first six chapters of the Gita explore the concept of the innermost Self and source of wisdom in each of us. Easwaran explains how we can begin to transform ourselves, even as householders engaged in busy lives.
Volume 2: The next six chapters of the Gita go beyond the individual Self to explore the Supreme Reality underlying all creation. Easwaran builds a bridge across the seeming divide between scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom, and explains how the concept of the unity of life can help us in all our relationships.
Volume 3: The final six chapters put forth an urgent appeal for us to begin to see that all of us are one – to make the connection between the Self within and the Reality underlying all creation. Global in scope, the emphasis is on what we can do to make a difference to heal our environment and establish peace in the world.
Easwaran’s commentary is for all students of the Gita, whatever their background, and for anyone who is trying to find a path to wisdom, love, and kindness in themselves and our troubled world. Written as an authoritative, accessible guide to a much-loved scripture, it is a handbook for finding peace and clarity within.
This second edition incorporates revisions made across all three volumes following the author’s final instructions.
But the insights of the Katha are scattered, hard to understand. Easwaran presents them systematically, and practically, as a way to explore deeper and deeper levels of personality, and to answer the age-old question, “Who am I?”
Easwaran grew up in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. His translation of The Upanishads is the best-selling edition in English.
For students of philosophy and of Indian spirituality, and readers of wisdom literature everywhere, Easwaran’s interpretation of this classic helps us in our own quest into the meaning of our lives.
How can karma help us find hope and happiness?What we think, say, or do has consequences that are often subtler and more far-reaching than we think. The theory of karma is intellectually intriguing, but a practical understanding of how karma works can help us find hope and happiness in our lives.
Eknath Easwaran is a foremost translator and interpreter of the Indian classics (The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads and The Dhammapada), and a highly respected teacher of meditation. This short ebook is one chapter from Essence of the Dhammapada: The Buddha's Call to Nirvana.
The Mantram, or mantra, is a short, powerful, spiritual formula from the world’s great traditions, repeated silently in the mind, anytime, anywhere. Easwaran, the author of Passage Meditation and the best-selling translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads and The Dhammapada, taught the use of the mantram for forty years as part of his passage meditation program.
The mantram can help you to steady your mind and free it from anxiety, anger or resentment. Easwaran explains how the mantram works, and gives practical guidelines for using it to focus your thoughts and access deeper resources of strength, patience, and love.
Would you like better concentration, more vitality and creativity, more patience and inner strength?
Daily meditation can help you develop these qualities. Easwaran taught meditation for over forty years, and his instructions are practical and clear. He shows you how to choose a spiritual text, or passage, from the world’s great traditions that embodies your highest ideals. With regular practice, meditation becomes your lifeline, taking you to the source of wisdom deep within and guiding you through all the challenges of daily life.
This short ebook is the first chapter "Meditation on a Passage" from the book Passage Meditation – A Complete Spiritual Practice by Eknath Easwaran.
Easwaran is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. His class at the University of California, Berkeley was the first accredited course on meditation at any Western university. He is the author of the best-selling translation in English of the Bhagavad Gita, India’s best-known scripture.
Easwaran is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. Understand death, Easwaran writes, and you’ll live more wisely – you’ll learn more, love more, and contribute more to all around you. By facing death, not fleeing from it, you take your fate into your own hands.
With stories from East and West, and quotes from the world’s mystics, Easwaran explains the meaning of death, the process of dying, and how to use simple spiritual practices to find the source of abiding joy and security within us all.
This essay has been excerpted from Easwaran’s book "The Undiscovered Country".
Easwaran’s classic manual on meditation and spiritual living is a unique source of practical spiritual support for new and experienced meditators.
Easwaran taught passage meditation for over forty years, and his class at the University of California, Berkeley was the first accredited course on meditation at any Western university. He is the author of the best-selling translation in English of the Bhagavad Gita, India’s best-known scripture.
In passage meditation, you focus attention on passages or texts from the world’s wisdom traditions that are positive, practical, and uplifting, and that fit with your own religious or non-religious beliefs. This universal method of meditation stays fresh and inspiring, prompting you to live out your highest ideals, and the mantram and six other spiritual tools help you to stay calm, kind, and focused throughout the day. This book shows how, with regular practice, you gain wisdom and vitality, and find a life that fulfills.
This fourth edition of Passage Meditation has been extended by over thirty percent to include Easwaran’s answers to more than 100 questions posed by his students in question and answer sessions. It gives all the instruction needed to establish a vibrant meditation practice and keep it going.
Feeling trapped by unwanted thoughts and emotions can seem an inevitable part of life. But Easwaran, who taught meditation for nearly forty years, shows a way to break free.
Just as a fitness routine can create a strong, supple body, spiritual disciplines can shape a secure personality and a resilient, loving mind. Writing as an experienced, friendly coach, Easwaran takes the timeless teachings of the Buddha and other mystics and shows how we can train the mind not just during meditation but throughout the day.
Working with difficult colleagues, choosing what to eat, and listening to a child’s needs are all opportunities to try out different, wiser responses. Easwaran shows how training the mind is a glorious challenge – one that brings joy and purpose to life.
Eknath Easwaran taught spiritual living for nearly 40 years and drew deep, ongoing inspiration from the sacred literature of the world's traditions.
Read these 149 passages for daily inspiration, for the insights they give into other spiritual traditions, for the light they throw on how to live, for the sustenance they offer when we feel sad or tired, and for the deep transformation they can bring in Easwaran's spiritual practice of passage meditation.
Rich supporting material includes detailed background notes, suggestions for memorization and for studying the texts, and instruction in using these sacred writings in passage meditation.