Born as Narendra Nath Dutta, Swami Vivekananda is one of India’s most celebrated spiritual leaders. He was the chief disciple of Indian spiritual leader Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Inclined towards spirituality from a very young age, he later progressed to become a spiritual leader and social reformer known for his relentless promotion of Hinduism across the Globe. His birthday, which falls on the 12th of January, is also celebrated as “National Youth Day.”
Best Swami Vivekananda Books To Read!
His broad spectrum of ideologies can be classified under four major themes.
- Physical well-being: Taking care of one’s body and mind, which forms the base of almost everything
- Social well-being: He emphasizes doing activities for the betterment of society. In short, “Serving man is serving God.”
- Intellectual well-being: Gaining knowledge and sharing the acquired knowledge with others.
- Spiritual well-being: Doing Yoga, Meditation helps purify the soul and attain a higher state of mind.
All of these, as a whole, form a vital part of developing one’s self and, in turn, contributes to the well-being of the nation as a whole. Here is a list of his best books:
1. The Complete Book of Yogas: Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga
These four yogas are the pathways of relieving oneself from worldly pleasures and attaining moksha.
1️⃣ Jnana Yoga: In this portion, Vivekananda explains that evil is present almost everywhere in today’s world. To terminate evil means to terminate one’s self. So, by surrendering to a superior power, we can seek solace. The concept of Maya, aka illusion or delusion, is also explained.
2️⃣ Karma Yoga: As the name suggests, this portion is an outright take on Karma. This book explains in detail how Karma influences our lives, our duties, our purpose, and why we should stick to certain things. Our past actions have determined our present life, and our present actions will continue to decide our future life.
This yoga can be easily related to our day-to-day life since we are becoming more aware of Karmic cycles and their importance.
3️⃣ Raja Yoga: Raja Yoga has eight steps, which are discussed in detail. The concepts like Prana, Breathing, and Yoga- the different states of mind and other similar ideas are discussed in this part.
4️⃣ Bhakti Yoga: The ways of practicing bhakti, identifying Ishvara, and explaining the characteristics of a teacher are detailed in depth. Vivekanada also connects Bhakts/Bhakti and food and develops a relevance between them.
The Complete Book of Yogas: Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga – You can get the book here! 📖
2. Inspired Talks
This book is a dated collection of speeches by Swami Vivekananda that Miss. S.E. Waldo, his disciple, recorded. This book has his ideologies on almost all the topics he follows and preaches in his everyday life. This book is a perfect choice for those who want to cover nearly all the topics of Swami Vivekananda in one sitting. Some of the speeches are inspirational, some spiritual, while the others are a blend of both. You can get the book here! 📖
3. Lectures from Colombo to Almora
Swami Vivekananda traveled extensively across various Indian states to deliver lectures well received by the people. These lectures are included in this book. Some sections of this book are written as addresses when individuals ask him to explain a specific topic. His detailed lectures are also available in the book. He emphasizes the fact that the concept of religion can’t be built upon a single person.
Even in small groups, people have different mindsets. So, in a huge nation like this, there are multiple gods and religions, yet the supreme power is one. He also discusses the concept of Karma, which all of us are somehow tied to. If you want to know more about how Vivekananda wished to train the youth and learn more about the sages or religions, this book is perfect! You can get the book here! 📖
4. Para Bhakti or Supreme Devotion
Para-Bhakti, the word means supreme love. So this book deals with the most superior forms of love. It also explains the love for God in its purest or highest form, i.e., the supreme devotion. One of the most beautiful concepts from this book is, representing love in the form of a triangle.
- The first angle: Do not expect anything in return for love; it is no bargaining.
- The second angle: Love knows no fear. We cannot worship God out of fear.
- The third angle: Love knows no rival; Human love can be intense but never misinterpreted or misplaced
A good read for those who want to know and attain higher levels of worship! You can get the book here! 📖
5. Addresses on Bhakti Yoga
Bhakti is defined as the love for God. As humans, we have attachments and become clingy towards people and possessions. But when we dedicate the same amount of love towards God, that will direct us to be our highest self. The book emphasizes foods for both physical and mental health. We should always be mindful of what we consume in both forms.
The book also explains in detail how all religions dictate the same thing. It explains that humans are allowed to choose their religion, and no matter what they choose, they all converge on one single point, God. If you look forward to enlightening yourself on God and religions, this book is your perfect take! You can get the book here! 📖
6. Bhagavad Gita As Viewed by Swami Vivekananda
This book is a compilation of Vivekanda’s thoughts on Bhagavat Gita scattered across his collected volumes. The Kurukshetra war is happening between Gauravas and Pandyas. Brothers are pitted against brothers, grandfather against grandson, and two clans who are part of the same empire are pitted against one another throughout the entire Kurukshetra battle. In the end moment, Arjuna realizes that the people against whom he is waging war are not his rivals but his own family.
Vivekananda explains the views of both of them from their perspectives. A fascinating contrast is drawn between Krishna and Jesus, the Bible, and the Bhagavad Gita. In addition, he also talks about Lord Krishna, his reincarnation, and the purpose of his birth. A must-read for those who want to read various perspectives on the Gita! You can get the book here! 📖
7. Vedanta: Voice of Freedom
Ved- knowledge; Anta- ending; Vedanta is the combination of both these words. God is infinite, and their existence cannot be confined to any space. So, in turn, God lives in our own self. He lives in everybody’s heart and is called ‘Athma.’ Hence our goal in life must be to manifest the divinity within ourselves by controlling and instructing our external and internal selves.
This book also explains that, on the surface level, the philosophies and thoughts of religions conflict with each other. But, on a deeper level, apart from these contrasts, they all emphasize the same thing at some point. This can be your perfect pick if you want a book reflecting on yourself. You can get the book here! 📖
8. Meditation and Its Methods
This book is a compilation of Vivekanda’s thoughts on Meditation scattered across his collected volumes. This book emphasizes the power that can be obtained via Meditation. According to this book, Meditation is defined as concentration on a particular thing. If we can concentrate on that one thing, we can focus on whatever we want. Meditation, apart from promoting the overall well-being of an individual, also ensures that the soul is at its healthiest self. In this book, Meditation is also described as the “Best sleep” and “Beautiful rest.” You can get the book here! 📖
9. Work and its’ Secret
The concept of work, failure, and attachment to results is discussed in this book. We should work constantly but never tie ourselves to the results. Work and results are compared to cause and effect. The more efficient the cause is, the equally efficient the result will be. He also says that we can only give our best work when we focus less on the results. Rather than struggling with the thought of the outcome, we must learn to enjoy the experience.
Also, when something happens wrong, we blame and curse everything in the outside world. We always overlook the fact that there can also be mistakes within ourselves. In some way or the other, we are all beggars and traders, always expecting something in return. A perfect book to read and reflect on our everyday life! You can get the book here! 📖
10. Motivating Thoughts of Swami Vivekananda
As the title suggests, this book covers the motivational thoughts of Swami Vivekananda. Even after years of his death, he continues to live through his quotes and thoughts. His thoughts on overcoming everyday hurdles and reflecting on oneself are awe-inspiring. He firmly states that self-belief is one of the most important virtues in life.
Though we can draw inspiration from people and follow in the footsteps of others, we must be ready to prepare and teach ourselves first. Also, the thought of “Taking a dream and working relentlessly towards it” is much needed in today’s society. This book can be chosen by readers who are not inclined towards anything spiritual and look forward to even more practical solutions that can be applied in everyday life. You can get the book here! 📖
How many of these books have you read? Which is the most relatable thought among all? Do let us know in the comments below. Happy reading!
I am a freelance content writer and book reviewer who loves unleashing creativity, one pen stroke at a time. I like reading and writing about what I read. In an attempt to explore and introduce Tamil and Indian literature. Welcome to my world!