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About Eknath Easwaran
Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom.
He is a recognized authority on the Indian spiritual classics. His translations of the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Dhammapada are the best-selling editions in the USA.
His books on meditation, spiritual living, and the classics of world mysticism have been translated into sixteen languages. His book Passage Meditation (originally titled Meditation) has sold over 200,000 copies since it was first published in 1978. Two million copies of Easwaran's books are in print.
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Born in Kerala, India, Easwaran was a professor of English literature at a leading Indian university when he came to the United States in 1959 on the Fulbright exchange program. A gifted teacher, he moved from education for degrees to education for living, and gave talks on meditation and spiritual living for 40 years. His meditation class at UC Berkeley in 1968 was the first accredited course on meditation at any major university.
In 1961 he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, a nonprofit organization that publishes his books, videos, and audio talks, and offers retreats and online programs.
Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him lasting appeal as a spiritual teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.
Easwaran discovered meditation mid-life, while he was teaching on a college campus in central India. In the midst of a successful career he found himself haunted by age-old questions: Why am I here? What is life for? What will happen when I die?
Meanwhile in a few short months he lost two people passionately dear to him: Mahatma Gandhi, whom he’d visited in his ashram, and his beloved grandmother, who was his spiritual teacher. Finally he came home one day to find his dog had been killed by a passing truck, and his sense of loss would not subside. His dog stood for death itself, for all who had passed away.
“Almost instinctively,” Easwaran said, “I went to my room and picked up my Gita, most of which I knew by heart. I closed my eyes, and as I began to repeat the verses silently to myself, the words opened up and took me deep, deep in.” Over the next weeks he continued in the same way, seated in silence in the early morning. His meditation practice had begun.
Still leading a full life at the university, Easwaran looked for guidance in this new inner world. He read the Upanishads, Patanjali, the Catholic mystics, the Buddhist scriptures, the poetry of the Sufis. In addition to his Bhagavad Gita, he found passages for meditation from every major spiritual tradition. Some of the mystics he studied had chosen not to retire into monasteries but, like himself, to seek the spiritual path in the midst of everyday life.
In meditation, he found a deep connection between the wisdom in the passages and the way he conducted himself throughout the day. It was a thrilling discovery. “The passages were lifelines, guiding me to the source of wisdom deep within and then guiding me back into daily life.”
Years passed, and Easwaran’s inner and outer life became richer and more challenging as his meditation deepened.
In 1959 he came to the US on the Fulbright scholarship and lectured widely on the spiritual heritage of India. Some students were eager to learn about meditation, and Easwaran loved teaching. He developed a simple, effective eight-point program of passage meditation based on his own spiritual experience. Thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds now follow this program all around the world.
Easwaran as a Teacher
In the introduction to one of his key books, Easwaran described his approach as a teacher. He appealed to people, he said, “partly because I have not retired from the world – I live very much as a family man, a good husband, son, and friend – but also because I have tried to combine the best of West and East.
“I live together with forty friends at our ashram, or spiritual community, and though I have heavy responsibilities in guiding our work, I take time for recreation. I go with friends to the theater; I am fond of Western and Indian classical music; I like to take the children to the ice cream parlor and the dogs to the beach for a run.
“But perhaps what appeals most deeply is that I understand the difficulties of living in the modern world. Before taking to meditation, in my ignorance of the unity of life, I too committed most of the mistakes that even sensitive people commit today. As a result, I understand how easy it is to make those mistakes, and I know how to guide and support those who are trying to learn a wiser way of living.”
Since Easwaran’s passing in 1999, interest in his work has only increased. People choose to relate to him today in various ways: as an authority on world mysticism; as a wise spiritual writer; as an experienced teacher of meditation; and as a personal spiritual guide.
The meditation programs that Easwaran created for every stage of life are reaching growing audiences in person and online. He left a vast legacy of video and audio talks which will be shared increasingly over the next years through our website, programs, publications, and digital library.
For those who seek him as a personal spiritual guide, Easwaran assured us that he lives on through his eight-point program.
"I am with you always”, he said. “It does not require my physical presence; it requires your open heart."
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Eknath Easwaran is a foremost translator and interpreter of the Indian classics (The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads and The Dhammapada), and a highly respected teacher of meditation. This short ebook is one chapter from Essence of the Dhammapada: The Buddha's Call to Nirvana.
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Would you like better concentration, more vitality and creativity, more patience and inner strength?
Daily meditation can help you develop these qualities. Easwaran taught meditation for over forty years, and his instructions are practical and clear. He shows you how to choose a spiritual text, or passage, from the world’s great traditions that embodies your highest ideals. With regular practice, meditation becomes your lifeline, taking you to the source of wisdom deep within and guiding you through all the challenges of daily life.
This short ebook is the first chapter "Meditation on a Passage" from the book Passage Meditation – A Complete Spiritual Practice by Eknath Easwaran.
Easwaran is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. His class at the University of California, Berkeley was the first accredited course on meditation at any Western university. He is the author of the best-selling translation in English of the Bhagavad Gita, India’s best-known scripture.
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Easwaran is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. He shows that true happiness is based on a paradox, which is why it is so hard to find. As long as we try to make ourselves happy, life places obstacles in our path. But as soon as we turn away from ourselves to make others happy, our troubles begin to melt away.
When we learn to live and work selflessly we don’t have to go looking for joy; joy comes looking for us.
This short ebook is based on two articles of deep insight, realism and warmth from Easwaran's Blue Mountain Journal
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The Bhagavad Gita is the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Eknath Easwaran’s best-selling translation is reliable, readable, and profound.
Easwaran's 55-page introduction places the Bhagavad Gita in its historical setting, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. Chapter introductions clarify key concepts, and notes and a glossary explain Sanskrit terms.
Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, and learned Sanskrit from a young age. He was a professor of English literature before coming to the West on a Fulbright scholarship. A gifted teacher, he is recognized as an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism.
The Bhagavad Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet, as Easwaran points out, the Gita is not what it seems – it’s not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. “The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious.”
Arjuna’s struggle in the Bhagavad Gita is acutely modern. He has lost his way on the battlefield of life and turns to find the path again by asking direct, uncompromising questions of his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul.
Easwaran shows the Gita’s relevance to us today as we strive, like Arjuna, to do what is right.
“No one in modern times is more qualified – no, make that ‘as qualified’ – to translate the epochal Classics of Indian Spirituality than Eknath Easwaran. And the reason is clear. It is impossible to get to the heart of those classics unless you live them, and he did live them. My admiration of the man and his works is boundless.”– Huston Smith, author The World’s Religions
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Easwaran is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. He shows that loving is a skill that we all need urgently to acquire - both for our personal happiness and for the welfare of the world.
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Easwaran is one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. Understand death, Easwaran writes, and you’ll live more wisely – you’ll learn more, love more, and contribute more to all around you. By facing death, not fleeing from it, you take your fate into your own hands.
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This essay has been excerpted from Easwaran’s book "The Undiscovered Country".
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Every religion in the world worships their God with a different name. Words like ‘Holy, Merciful, Compassionate, Truth, and the One’ appear in all these religions, emphasizing that however we worship, the Lord is one and the same.
In India, one of the most popular litanies is the thousand names of Vishnu. He is worshipped by millions in his incarnations as Rama and Krishna. Eknath Easwaran comments on a fraction of these names and what each one means in our daily lives. This is a book for daily inspiration, full of personal reminders of what it means to see God in the faces and events of everyday life.
Eknath Easwaran is respected around the world as one of the great spiritual teachers. He was a professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur and an established writer. He was Founder and Director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and the Nilgiri Press, and taught the classics of world mysticism and the practice of meditation from 1960 till his death in 1999.
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Easwaran’s best-selling translation of the ancient wisdom texts called the Upanishads is reliable, readable, and profound.
In the Upanishads, illumined sages share flashes of insight, the results of their investigation into consciousness itself. In extraordinary visions, they experience directly a transcendent Reality which is the essence, or Self, of each created being. They teach that each of us, each Self, is eternal, deathless, one with the power that created the universe.
Easwaran’s best-selling translation of selections taken from the principal Upanishads and five others is reliable and accessible. It includes an overview of the cultural and historical setting, with chapter introductions, notes, and a Sanskrit glossary. But it is Easwaran’s understanding of the wisdom of the Upanishads, and their relevance to the modern reader, that makes this edition truly outstanding.
Each sage, each Upanishad, appeals in different ways to the reader’s head and heart. As Easwaran writes, “The Upanishads belong not just to Hinduism. They are India’s most precious legacy to humanity, and in that spirit they are offered here.”
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But the insights of the Katha are scattered, hard to understand. Easwaran presents them systematically, and practically, as a way to explore deeper and deeper levels of personality, and to answer the age-old question, “Who am I?”
Easwaran grew up in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. His translation of The Upanishads is the best-selling edition in English.
For students of philosophy and of Indian spirituality, and readers of wisdom literature everywhere, Easwaran’s interpretation of this classic helps us in our own quest into the meaning of our lives.
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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 Bhagavad 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.
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Easwaran’s best-selling translation of this classic Buddhist text The Dhammapadais reliable, readable, and profound.
Dhammapada means "the path of dharma," the path of harmony and righteousness that anyone can follow to reach the highest good. The Dhammapada is a collection of verses, gathered probably from direct disciples who wanted to preserve what they had heard from the Buddha himself.
Easwaran's comprehensive introduction to the Dhammapada gives an overview of the Buddha's teachings that is penetrating, and clear - accessible for readers new to Buddhism, but also with fresh insights and practical applications for readers familiar with this text. His translation is based on the original Pali. Chapter introductions, notes and a Sanskrit glossary place individual verses into the context of the broader Buddhist canon.
Easwaran is a master storyteller, and the introduction includes many stories that make moving, memorable reading, bringing young Siddhartha and his heroic spiritual quest vividly to life. This faithful interpretation brings us closer to the compassionate heart of the Buddha.
Updated to be more accessible to readers with vision impairment (August, 2022)
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Eknath Easwaran taught meditation and spiritual living for nearly 40 years and drew deep, ongoing inspiration from the sacred literature of the world's traditions.
Read these 149 passages for daily inspiration, for the insights they give into other spiritual traditions, for the light they throw on how to live, for the sustenance they offer when we feel sad or tired, and for the deep transformation they can bring in Easwaran's spiritual practice of passage meditation.
Rich supporting material includes detailed background notes, suggestions for memorization and for studying the texts, and instruction in using these sacred writings in passage meditation.