The Bookshelf

Welcome to the Bookshelf! 

 

Ready to fill your consciousness with the flavours of enlightenment? 

Here you can find stimulating reading to nourish your heart and feed your soul.  Your mind will also thank you.  Working in harmony, your heart, mind and soul will no doubt relish the offerings of this condensed bookshelf - as there is a lot, lot more to be found on this nectarean topic of Bhakti Yoga. 

 

All the texts on this bookshelf have either been written by or translated by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, except for ‘The Higher Taste’ and ‘Great Vegetarian Dishes’ - both about the sanctified vegetarian food of the Bhakti Yoga tradition. 

 

The translated texts from the original sanskrit are the core texts of Bhakti Yoga and include:

•    Bhagavad Gita As It Is

•    Srimad Bhagavatam

•    Caitanya Caritamrita. 

If you’ve never read such books before, I recommend you start with the other books that are listed, which are designed as introductory tastings of the sweetness of Bhakti Yoga. 

 

If you would simply like to dive into the core texts, I highly recommend connecting with an ISKCON Centre near you to get expert guidance and support in relishing these sublime writings.

 

Go on!

Take a bite and savour the spiritual juice.

You won’t be the same once you’ve digested this candy!

bhakti yoga.png
bhakti yoga spiritual wisdom beyond.jpg

If you're reading this, chances are you’re alive and conscious. Meanwhile, your body is gradually, imperceptibly changing. Still reading? Then you’re still alive and your body is still changing. How about now? You’re still living, still conscious, and your body has changed yet again. Notice a pattern?

Beyond Birth and Death addresses this pattern, and challenges the reader to rethink what "life” means. We tend to think "life" is a brief event occurring between birth and death. We celebrate a birth as "a coming into life" and mourn for the "dead." But really, life is our permanent condition, and what we call "birth and death" are merely bodily changes.

 

This is Krishna's beginning instruction in the Bhagavad Gita; the self is never born and never dies. We all exist forever, but we're now heavily involved in a temporary existence in a temporary world. What to do? If we can begin to understand the difference between our self and our material covering, the joy and relief we experience can be life-changing.

Beyond Birth and Death was prepared from transcripts of lectures Srila Prabhupada gave in 1966 on the second and eighth chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, which discuss in detail the important differences between us (the immortal, spiritual self) and our temporary material outer coverings (bodies).

bhakti yoga.png
coming back.jpg

Life doesn't begin with birth or end with death. What happens to the self after leaving its present body? Does it enter another body? Must it reincarnate forever? How does reincarnation really work?

 

Can we control our future incarnations?

Coming Back answers these most profound and mysterious of all questions by presenting clear and complete explanations from the world’s most authentic, timeless sources of knowledge on the afterlife.

With this book you will learn the science of controlling your present, determining your future, and dramatically changing your life!

bhakti yoga.png
easy journey  bhakti yoga spiritual wisdom.jpg

Space travel may be considered a relatively new human achievement, but the world's oldest writings say no. Space travel has always been possible, and people have been traveling the universe long before the invention of rockets and shuttles. Vedic evidence suggests that yogis and other more evolved beings can travel freely throughout the cosmos via technologies that are practically unknown to us today.

 

Srila Prabhupada wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets - with its frequent mention of "antimatter" and "antimaterial particles”, - in 1960, in response to the "space race" going on at the time between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and the obsession with exploration of the moon, etc. by means of rocket-powered spacecraft. Prabhupada questions the ultimate significance of such endeavours, while pointing out that the exploration of material space is neither a new idea nor the most intelligent one, from the spiritual point of view.

 

In Easy Journey To Other Planets, Prabhupada shows through reason and reference to ancient Vedic texts that travel to other planets within this universe is ultimately an insignificant project. Our desire for cosmic exploration, he says, can be fully satisfied by traveling beyond this limited universe to the unlimited, antimaterial, spiritual world.

bhakti yoga.png
perfect questions  bhakti yoga spiritual wisdom.jpg

February 1972, Mayapur, West Bengal: 

Bob Cohen, a young American Peace Corps worker living in India, decides to visit some of his countrymen—members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—who are establishing an international spiritual community near the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. 

To his surprise, he is invited to meet the founder and spiritual leader of the Hare Krishna movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 

For several days, in a small, brick and thatch hut near the banks of the holy Ganges, Bob asks Srila Prabhupada every question on spirituality he can think of. A tape recorder is running the whole time, and later their conversation is transcribed. 

Once suggested to be entitled, "A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To The Ganges," Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers has been reproduced in forty languages and remains one of the most popular introductions to Krishna consciousness across many languages and cultures.

bhakti yoga.png
perfection of yoga.jpg

The word "yoga" means different things to different people and some have no idea what it means at all.

Until the late twentieth century, yoga was hardly discussed or practiced outside India, where, according to traditional wisdom, human beings have been practicing some form of yoga since before recorded history -  before there were supposed to have been human beings at all.

When His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada began teaching the Bhagavad Gita to New York audiences in 1966, he explained, that the purpose of yoga is not to get a good body, increase longevity, or even to "become one" with the formless totality of all energy -  there's a lot more to it than that.

In the Bhagavad Gita the central and foundational text of all Vedic wisdom, Krishna - speaking as the Absolute Truth in person - concisely explains the essence of yoga; The ultimate goal of all types of yoga is "union with God.”

 

The Perfection of Yoga is an edited compilation of some of Srila Prabhupada's earliest recorded talks on the Bhagavad Gita in New York City in 1966. Drawing upon his knowledge of the whole Vedic tradition, he reminds us of some essential truths, practically forgotten by humanity, that have the power to gift us with profound peace and purpose that is rarely even imagined.

bhakti yoga.png
chant and be happy.jpg

Chant And Be Happy is an introduction to the history, practice, and benefits of mantra meditation, and specifically the significance of chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.

 

Also known as the Maha-Mantra, "great chant for deliverance," Hare Krishna is recommended in many sacred texts as the most effective form of meditation for the present age. Since the 1960s and '70s, this mantra has gained world popularity, partially due to its inclusion in the #1 song "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison. 

The book contains a conversation between the Hare Krishna movement's founder Srila Prabhupada, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Yoko Ono on what makes a mantra genuine and effective. It also discusses the scriptural origin of the mantra, as well as step-by-step instructions for chanting.

bhakti yoga.png
self realization  bhakti yoga spiritual wisdom.jpg

This collection of articles by Srila Prabhupada from Back to Godhead magazine covers knowledge of the soul and the practice of Bhakti Yoga.

These interviews, lectures, and essays cover topics such as the goal of human life, seeking a true spiritual teacher, reincarnation, super-consciousness, Krishna and Christ, and spiritual solutions to today's social and economic problems.

bhakti yoga.png
nectar of instruction  bhakti yoga spiritual wisdom.jpg

"Instruction" is not always "nectar;" especially when it includes suggestions on how we should improve our character. It's easier on the ego to learn ballroom dancing or how to improve our golf swing. But for the rare person looking to make progress in spiritual understanding, Nectar of Instruction is one of the most important guides available.

 

Nectar of Instruction is a translation and commentary on Rupa Goswami's Upadeshamrita - eleven verses on the most basic and essential principles of spiritual practice; how should an aspiring transcendentalist interact with the rest of society? What should be his work ethic? Whose company should he seek, and whose company should he avoid? Where should he live? How can one know if he's making any spiritual progress at all? What, really, is the ultimate goal of life?

 

Srila Prabhupada intended Nectar of Instruction as a practical handbook for the common man, and mandatory reading for his students. “If this book is introduced for study in the schools and colleges it will give a clear idea of what morality actually is. It is a most important book.”

 

Contains the original Sanskrit text, roman transliterations, synonyms, translations, and elaborate purports.

bhakti yoga.png
higher taste.jpg

Higher Taste has great recipes, along with many ecological and moral reasons to become a vegetarian.

 

It is a  great introduction to the philosophy and practice of vegetarianism.

Discover the health and economic advantages, as well as the important ethical and spiritual considerations, of a Krishna conscious approach to diet and nutrition.

Over 50 delicious recipes from Italy, India, Mexico, the Middle East, and other countries.

bhakti yoga.png
great vegetarian dishes.jpg

Kurma was head chef at the famous Gopal's Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia for years, and taught cooking on a TV series broadcast internationally.

 

In Great Vegetarian Dishes he presents the best of world cuisine—vegetarian style.

 

Kurma's love of cooking, his flair for the art, and his commitment to vegetarianism shine through as he brings you hundreds of easy, practical recipes.

Special Features: * Over 240 recipes * Measurement guide * Special ingredients guide * Glossary of spices * Suggested menus * Full-color illustrations * Directory of recipes sorted by country.

bhakti yoga.png
Bhagavad Gita as it is.jpg

The Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God”), which forms eighteen chapters of the epic Mahabharata, presents the core of  Vedic philosophy. Celebrated and revered for its profound message, it has always inspired philosophers, yogis, and transcendentalists of all Vedic paths. In the West, it inspired the American transcendentalists Emerson and Thoreau and has been looked to ever since for its perennial wisdom.

On the verge of the historic Battle of Kurukshetra, the warrior Arjuna loses his nerve. Distraught and ready to give up on life, he turns to his friend and charioteer, Krishna, for advice, "What should I do?” The conversation that follows deals with humanity's critical questions: what is the purpose of life? What happens when we die? Is there a reality beyond this time-bound, physical plane? What is the ultimate cause of all causes? Krishna comprehensively answers all these (and more) and then reveals His own identity as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Throughout the Gita, Krishna teaches that loving service to the Supreme Person is the ultimate goal of all endeavours. His ultimate instruction, "surrender to Me," through Arjuna, challenges us to transcend religion and to enter the realm of Bhakti – devotional service – which alone can fully satisfy the self.

The author, Srila Prabhupada, represents a line of teachers coming in disciplic succession from Krishna Himself. His clarity, wit, and faithfulness to the original Sanskrit text make his commentary unique and the most widely read edition of the Gita in the world.

bhakti yoga.png
Srimad Bhagavatam set.jpg

The Srimad Bhagavatam is said to be the ripe and most relishable fruit of all the collections of spiritual teachings found in Vedic literature. It is sometimes said to begin where the Bhagavad-gita leaves off, since it goes even further into the nature of reality and the relationship between all beings and the Absolute.

The Bhagavatam's eighteen thousand verses consist of hundreds of conversations, spoken between yogis, sages, and self-realised kings of the ancient world, on how to achieve life's ultimate perfection  - love of God. The entire work was compiled by Vyasadeva, the editor of the Vedas, as his own commentary on Vedanta-sutra, the essence of all theistic knowledge.

It is presented in twelve cantos (volumes). The main theme running throughout the Bhagavatam is the science and practice of Bhakti Yoga, devotional service to the Supreme Person.

 

Srila Prabhupada, the author, mentions in his Preface:

 

"The Tenth Canto is distinct from the first nine cantos because it deals directly with the transcendental activities of the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. One will be unable to capture the effects of the Tenth Canto without going through the first nine cantos. The book is complete in twelve cantos, each independent, but it is good for all to read them in small instalments one after another.”

bhakti yoga.png
Caitanya Caritamrita.jpg

In the early sixteenth century the West was on one course, the East on another. In India, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was directing people inward, toward a scientific understanding of the highest knowledge of man’s spiritual nature.

 

Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita is the main work on the life and teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Krishna who appeared in India five hundred years ago. Lord Chaitanya introduced the chanting of the holy names of God as the prescribed method of God-realisation for our time. He began what is today called the Hare Krishna movement, since the movement’s founder, Srila Prabhupada, comes in the Chaitanya line of spiritual masters.

 

Lord Chaitanya transformed the face of India in four respects: philosophically, by encountering, defeating and converting the greatest philosophers and thinkers of His day; religiously, by organising the largest, most widespread theistic movement in India’s history; socially, by His strong challenges to the religious inequities of the caste system; politically, by His organisation of a massive civil disobedience movement in Bengal, more than four centuries before Gandhi.