5 books every yogi should read

After 21 years of spiritual search I see that books are necessary waste of time. There is nothing to be found in books but some of them are better than others. There are some essential books that every yogi should read.

My list of essential yoga books doesn't include any of well known yoga books such as Yoga Mala, Autobiography of Yogi, Jivamukti Yoga, The Heart of Yoga, Light on Yoga and similar. I think those books have a very little or no value at all for a serious spiritual seeker, even they have been sold in millions of copies and they are "beloved" around the world by those interested in yoga and spirituality.

Remember, the point is to wake up not to earn a Ph.D. in waking up. My list of books point to truth but it can not reveal it. You have to think for yourself and figure out alone. In the end, disregard all teachings, all books, anything put out into words and live your life as it comes.

Anyway, here we go...

Jed McKenna - Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing

This is the book. It will shake your foundation. It will spur you to question all assumptions about existence.

Imagine you’re in the audience watching a play, and you slowly come to realize that the actors don’t know they’re actors. They think that they’re normal people going about their normal lives, unaware that they’re on a stage, performing. You could never even believe such a  thing would be possible if you hadn’t been up there yourself believing the same thing.

If you have highly cherished beliefs you aren't willing to part with, this book will do no more than make you angry. I assume you are reading up on this because you aren't satisfied with your life. Remember, mind dictates reality. If your aren't willing to change your mind your reality won't change either.

Any leap in consciousness requires a dramatic rewriting of your thinking. This is really uncomfortable, and requires a willingness to abandon any concept that shows itself to be no longer useful, no matter how much we may love or value it.

In order to benefit from this book you must be willing to let go of preconceived notions. Even if an idea seems crazy, if there may be even a small peace of truth, entertain it for a while without judgment. If it resonates with your intuition move forward. If it doesn't, no harm done. Move on.

Nisargadatta Maharaj - I am That

The only thing you should be doing while reading it is to forget all you have learned so far.

You are afraid because you have assumed something as ‘I am’, which actually you are not. Suppose you find a diamond ring on the road and you pocket it. Since it is not yours, a fear overcomes you. When you put on an identity that is not yours, you are afraid. When you are the pure ‘I amness’ only, there is no fear.

Presently you are this ‘I am’, but this ‘I am’ is not the truth. Whatever you are prior to the appearance of ‘I am’, that is your real nature.

Just glide through the pages as you will start to realise what really real is. But the most important issue is not to be able to comprehend what is written inside but to start living it.

Q: Every morning, I pick up newspaper, and read with dismay that the world's sorrows - poverty, hatred, and wars. continue unabated. My questions concern the fact of sorrow, the cause, the remedy...

NM: You are confused, because you believe that you are in the world, not the world in you. Who came first, - you or your parents? You imagine that you were born at a certain time and place, that you have a father and a mother, a body and a name. This is your sin and your calamity! Surely, you can change your world if you work at it. By all means, work. Who stops you? I have never discouraged you. Causes or no causes, you have made this world and you can change it.

Q: A cause less world is entirely beyond my control.

NM: On the contrary, a world of which you are the only Source and ground, is fully within your power to change. What is created can always be dissolved and re-created. All will happen as you want it, provided you really want it.

Ranjit Maharaj - Illusion vs Reality

At fist you will be deceived by Ranjit Maharaj's apparent very simple English, very straight to the point, and to make it worse, when you read the transcription, it does seem very simple, and even stupid.

All is illusion, the 'I' is illusion, so whatever the 'I' does is also illusion. Take out the thorn of the ego. Remove the name and the shape and nothing remains. In final Reality there is no 'you', no 'I', no mind and no thought. That is your natural state.

What is awakening?

Awakening is nothing but a complete, thorough understanding. A clear cut understanding of a thing is awakening. Reality is not to be achieved, it is already here. After this thorough understanding, nothing is required.

What we need to understand?

Understand that everything is illusion. Reality is beyond knowledge. Forget everything and immediately you are the Self, in this very moment. There is nothing to reject and nothing to gain because everything is nothing. You are Self without self. Understand that 'myself' is illusion. People don't understand that illusion is nothing. Understand the mind and then it doesn't remain. Not remaining as 'I' is the highest understanding.

Who reaches Reality?

The one who doesn't care about God, who doesn't care for the illusion and doesn't care for anybody. Caring for others has nothing to do with you. One who dives to the depth of the ocean finds the pearl. Go to the depth of yourself and you will find Him.


Because you don't exist. When you don't exist, then why care for others? Others don't exist. It is your love for the illusion that keeps you away from your own Self. When you see the illusion as an illusion you will stop being fooled by it. This is the true 'understanding'. You are already the Reality. Why waste time running after the unreal?

P.D. Ouspensky - In Search of the Miraculous

The author, with a beautiful gift for writing, and his beady eyed guru, hypnotist, friend (Gurdjief) were two of the most darkly fascinating characters the twentieth century had to offer.

The lessons are great, and take a lot of thought and feeling to sort through them and apply them to your life. It ties in with the inner alchemy that we must work on ourselves.

Gurdjieff's teachings deal with the mechanical, patterned behavior of man and talks much about the fragmentation of the human psyche in the terms of different 'I's'. This book requires some effort from the reader to put his assumptions aside but it's well worth it.

Gurdjieff was a charismatic spiritual teacher who taught that most humans live their lives in a state of hypnotic "waking sleep", but that it is possible to transcend to a higher state of consciousness and achieve full human potential.

Gurdjieff observed that most people are dead on the inside.

He indicated that people are passive sheep and need someone to show them the way to live a meaningful life. Gurdjieff noted that most people are neither skeptics nor self-motivated. He offered to show his followers the way to true wakefulness, a state of awareness and vitality which transcends ordinary consciousness.

If a man is deprived of his illusions, imagination and all that prevents him from seeing reality - if he is deprived of his interests, his cares, expectations and hopes - all his striving would collapse, everything would become empty and there would remain an empty being, an empty body, only physiologically alive.

This would be the death of "I", the death of everything it consisted of, the destruction of everything false collected through ignorance and inexperience. All these will remain in him merely as material, but subject to selection. Then a man will be able to choose for himself and not have imposed on him what others like. He will have the conscious choice.

Chögyam Trungpa - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Chögyam Trungpa's style of teaching was often unconventional.

When we talk about compassion, we talk in terms of being kind. But compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative to wake a person up. 

This book is worth reading. Spiritual materialism is the belief that a certain temporary state of mind is a refuge from suffering. Trungpa invites the reader to question everything, seriously question and question more, and that is what it means by term "spirituality". The overriding theme, in terms of the teachings on spiritual materialism, apply to anyone on any path.

Trungpa wore suits, spoke precise English and openly enjoyed women (in spite of being married). With Trungpa, nothing was hidden; it was up to each person to make their own judgments about the behavior of the teacher. So it took years of practice and study to understand that in Tibetan Buddhism, his outrageous "crazy wisdom teaching style" was just another tradition. Take it or leave it.

In crazy wisdom... we explore further and further and further without looking for an answer... We don't make a big point or an answer out of any one thing. For example, we might think that because we have discovered one particular thing that is wrong with us, that must be it, that must be the problem, that must be the answer. No. We don't fixate on that, we go further. "Why is that the case?" We look further and further. We ask: "Why is this so?" Why is there spirituality? Why is there awakening? Why is there this moment of relief? Why is there such a thing as discovering the pleasure of spirituality? Why, why, why?" We go on deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper, until we reach the point where there is no answer... At that point we tend to give up hope of an answer, or of anything whatsoever, for that matter... This hopelessness is the essence of crazy wisdom. It is hopeless, utterly hopeless.