Through his interpretation of one important Upanishad, an ancient wisdom text, Eknath Easwaran shows how the timeless Indian tradition offers guidance on how to live today. Lyrical, dramatic, and inspiring, the Katha Upanishad presents the core ideas of Indian mysticism in a mythic story all can relate to — the adventure of a young hero, Nachiketa, who passes into the kingdom of Death in search of immortality. The King of Death tests his resolve, but the teenager stands firm, demanding answers to the age-old questions, "What is the purpose of life? What happens to me when I die?" Death emerges as the perfect spiritual guide — direct, uncompromising, and challenging. Easwaran’s approach to the Katha is both practical and universal. He explains key Sanskrit terms like karma and prana, illustrating them through everyday anecdotes and entertaining analogies while placing Indian spirituality into the broader context of world mysticism.
Among the oldest of India’s spiritual texts, the Upanishads are records of intensive question-and-answer sessions given by illumined sages to their students. Widely featured in philosophy courses, the Upanishads have puzzled and inspired wisdom seekers from Yeats to Schopenhauer. Eknath Easwaran makes this challenging text more accessible by selecting the passages most relevant to readers seeking timeless truths today. His accessible, highly readable translation and lively foreword place the teachings in a contemporary context for students and general readers alike.
A Contemporary Guide to Yoga, Meditation, and Indian Philosophy
Author: Eknath Easwaran
Pubpsher: Nilgiri Press
In this companion to his best-selling translation of the Bhagavad Gita, Easwaran explores the essential themes of this much-loved Indian scripture. Placing the Gita in a modern context, Easwaran shows how this classic text sheds light on the nature of reality, the illusion of separateness, the search for identity, and the meaning of yoga. The key message of the Gita is how to resolve our conflicts and live in harmony with the deep unity of life, through the principles of yoga and the practice of meditation. Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition and learned Sanskrit from an early age. A foremost translator and interpreter of the Gita, he taught classes on it for forty years, while living out the principles of the Gita in the midst of a busy family and community life. In the Gita, Sri Krishna, the Lord, doesn’t tell the warrior prince Arjuna what to do: he shows Arjuna his choices and then leaves it to Arjuna to decide. Easwaran, too, shows us clearly how these teachings still apply to us – and how, like Arjuna, we must take courage and act wisely if we want our world to thrive.
In this companion to his best-selling translation of The Dhammapada, Eknath Easwaran explains how The Dhammapada is a perfect map for the spiritual journey. Said to be the text closest to the Buddha’s actual words, The Dhammapada is a collection of short teachings that his disciples memorized during his lifetime. Easwaran presents The Dhammapada as a guide to spiritual perseverance, progress, and ultimately enlightenment — a heroic confrontation with life as it really is, with straight answers to our deepest questions. We witness the heartbreak of death, for instance — what does that mean for us? What is love? How does karma work? How do we follow the spiritual life in the midst of work and family? Does nirvana really exist, and if so, what is it like to be illumined? In his interpretation of Buddhist themes, illustrated with stories from the Buddha’s life, Easwaran offers a view of the concept of Right Understanding that is both exhilarating and instructive. He shares his experiences on the spiritual path, giving the advice that only an experienced teacher and practitioner can offer, and urges us to answer for ourselves the Buddha’s call to nirvana — that mysterious, enduring state of wisdom, joy, and peace.
By setting traditions and thinkers such as Zoroaster, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Gautama Buddha, Confucius, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle side by side, we are able to see more clearly the questions with which they struggled, their similarities and differences, and how their ideas have influenced religious thought down to our day.