Updating My Spiritual Reading List, Category 1 (Advaita Vedanta)

by L. Ron Gardner

In my two nonfiction books (“Beyond the Power of Now” and “Electrical Christianity”), I provide a Spiritual Reading List (of Highly Recommended and Recommended texts in the “Great Traditions”). I made a few changes to the List between “Beyond the Power of Now” and “Electrical Christianity,” and there will be more changes to the List in my forthcoming book “The Power of Now Meditation Guide” (which will be published later this year).

My Spiritual Reading List is divided into nine categories – Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism (Original), Buddhism (Tibetan), Buddhism (Zen), Christianity, Judaism, and Gnosticism, Daism, Hinduism (Yoga), Kashmir Shaivism, and Miscellaneous. In a nine-part series, I will consider each category and provide its latest edition.

Herewith is the first category, Advaita Vedanta, followed by my consideration.

Advaita Vedanta

Highly Recommended

Ashtavakra Gita, trans. Hari Prasad Shastri. (Timeless Advaita Vedanta text. Available at www.shantisadan.org. Other translations also available.)
Be As You Are: The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, David Godman. (Best introductory book on the teachings of Ramana Maharshi.)

Sat-Darshana Bhashya and Talks with Maharshi, Sri Ramanasramam. (A learned devotee’s in-depth consideration of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings within the framework of Indian-yogic philosophy.)

Sri Ramana Gita, Ramana Maharshi. (An utterly unique, ultra-profound text that details the function of the Amrita Nadi in the Self-realization process.)

Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Ramana Maharshi. (“Must” reading. A truly great and inspiring book. Avoid the dumbed-down Inner Directions version.)

(Sat-Darshana Bhashya, Sri Ramana Gita, and Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi are available at www.arunachala.org.)


Be Who You Are (or any of Jean Klein’s books), Jean Klein.

I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Maurice Frydman. (Classic, über-popular text.)
Silence of the Heart, Robert Adams.

Vivekachudamani (Crest Jewel of Discrimination), trans. Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. (Other translations of Shankara’s teachings also available.)

Who Am I? Meditation, Ramaji. (If you like this text, get his The Spiritual Heart.)


In “Beyond the Power of Now,” my first book, I stated at the end of the Advaita Vedanta category that those interested in Advaita Vedanta “might also benefit from books by Adyashanti, Jean Klein, and Papaji/H.W.L. Poonja." After deeper involvement with Adyashanti’s and Papaji’s books, I no longer recommend them; but I decided to include Jean Klein (a teacher of mine) on the Recommended List. I also added Robert Adams’ popular “Silence of the Heart,” and “Who Am I?” by Ramaji, a San-Diego-based guru. Adams was a disciple of Ramana Maharshi’s, and Ramaji, who focuses on awakening the Spiritual Heart (Hridayam, not Anahata), is a worthwhile read for those interested in the practice of Self-enquiry.

Advaita Vedanta gurus/teachers who don’t make my Recommended List include James Swartz, Greg Goode, Rupert Spira, Mooji, and Gangaji.

The Highly Recommended List remains the same. A few people have asked me why my List doesn’t include “The Avadhuta Gita” and/or “The Ribhu Gita.” To my mind, these two texts are so similar to the “The Ashtavakra Gita,” it would be redundant to include them.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Federico May 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Dear Ron,

Have you read or heard about Francis Lucille? what do you think of his books?

I believe that this teacher, disciple of Jean Klein, is quite interesting and insightful…




L. Ron Gardner May 21, 2017 at 7:19 am

You’re welcome, Federico. I met and conversed with Lucille when I was a student of Klein’s. We did not see eye to eye. What I’ve read by him, and it wasn’t a whole book, didn’t particularly impress me. What does he say that you find interesting or different from Klein’s teachings? Likewise, what I’ve read by Pannikar (not a whole book) didn’t impress me. I read an Ajahn Chah book, and it wasn’t worth putting my my Reading List.


Federico May 21, 2017 at 9:03 am

Dear Ron, pleased to meet you again.

I haver read “Eternity Now” and “The Perfume of Silence” and my impression was that both of them are quite interesting books (maybe not at the level of “Be who you Are” or “La Joie sans objet”, great pieces of his master Klein) but books which deserve to be taken into account. I dont know him personally, but I have seen many videos and my intuition is that he seems to have internalized very well, energetic and existencially, the Advaita teachings. Maybe his approach to spirituality is more intelectual than Klein´s.

Regarding to Pannikar, he was a philosopher and perennialist with great culture and knowledge of the hindu traditions. The book I am pointing, Ron, I believe is highly recommended. It is not the typical buddhist text, but a very deep, heterodox and personal comparison between the theistics traditions (Christianity, mainly) and the original Buddhism. I enjoyed it very much..


L. Ron Gardner May 21, 2017 at 3:21 pm

I just read some more of Lucille and Pannikar, and, again, I’m not moved to put the books of either on my List. Lucille is the same “European Vedanta” as Klein, and I didn’t find anything unique or esoteric to justify his inclusion. Pannikar is just an academic, another Doctor of Divinity who hasn’t “cracked the code. If someome wants me to review a book from these authors, provide me a copy, and I will do so. But I’m not motivated to buy their books.


maverickuv May 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Hi Ron – I came across your blog through your comments on Kundalini book by Gopi Krishna. I am not sure how much of that book is true or if such experiences can be really perceived.
I cam across this entry and as I consider myself as a Spiritual seeker and consider Vedanta philosophy to be the greatest I know of, I just wanted to share with you a couple of other greats (and their books) who were in my understanding true warriors –
Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
and his greatest disciple Swami Vivekananda
check the 9 volumes of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA…easily available online. He is the force that started Vedanta chapters all across USA.



L. Ron Gardner May 31, 2017 at 5:03 pm

It’s been decades since I’ve read Vivekananda. I just remember that he didn’t overly impress me. And nothing I’ve read from the Vedanta Society (and I’ve read lots of their stuff) is that great. That said, I’ve got a few of their books on my Recommended Reading List.


John Kilbourne December 16, 2017 at 1:18 am

Miles Wright has two very good, very small books on Ramana and self inquiry. He is one of the few that acknowledge “heart on the right”. His blog is: https://behindmyhand.blogspot.com

Nick Gancitano has some good Youtube audio also. He also recognizes heart on the right. I mentioned your instruction to him of silently thinking “return” as thoughts go out. In that conversation, he suggested thinking “leaving”, upon noticing that thought are rising up from the heart.

Though the difference in the two instructions is subtle, the difference in effect (to me at least) is great.

Thanks for your work; I gotta your whole right wing agitation excitement ‘schtick’ has been hard for me to see past, but somehow lately it doesn’t seem to stick or stain.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: