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Thread: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

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    Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    I'm looking for beginner friendly books on Advaita Vedanta, especially with instructions on how to achieve union, and Hindu history especially as it relates to Advaita. Stuff that places it in it's historical context and is friendly to the modern american mind. Not needlessly dogmatic. Hope I'm not asking too much. I have a couple books by Shankara and intend to get them all at some point but he is not at all friendly to my modern american mind... surely I'm not the only one to have this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm really thinking this could be the path for me I just need some help getting started.

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    Quote Originally Posted by shays860 View Post
    I'm looking for beginner friendly books on Advaita Vedanta, especially with instructions on how to achieve union, and Hindu history especially as it relates to Advaita. Stuff that places it in it's historical context and is friendly to the modern american mind. Not needlessly dogmatic. Hope I'm not asking too much. I have a couple books by Shankara and intend to get them all at some point but he is not at all friendly to my modern american mind... surely I'm not the only one to have this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm really thinking this could be the path for me I just need some help getting started.
    Vannakkam Shays860: Welcome to HDF: This is an excellent question, and I'm really not sure if what you're asking exists. Have you tried reading books like 'The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna" which is pretty advaitic, I think. I'm also not sure what you mean by 'historical context'. As you may have discovered by reading threads, many Hindus take differing views on our own history. Best wishes with it.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    I read Ramakrishna and his disciples a long time ago. I'm looking more for philosophy, practice and history though. I've already read a lot of biographical stuff over the years. When I say historical context I mean the circumstances under which the idea developed. For exampl,e the way Buddhism developed largely in response to corrupt brahmin priests, as I understand (hope I'm not offending anyone by saying that). If what I am looking for doesn't exist I find that very sad. It seems like the world could benefit from the philosophy of Advaita. Guess I will just have to do this the hard way and do the research myself. Thanks for the response.

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    In looking at another thread I saw that people here seem to to pay more attention to etiquette here than on most websites so let me go ahead and say hello and introduce myself.

    Hello My name is Stevie and I am from the southern United States. I am hoping to learn more about Hinduism, especially Advaita Vedanta and I would greatly appreciate and help I can get. Thank you.

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    Quote Originally Posted by shays860 View Post
    I'm looking for beginner friendly books on Advaita Vedanta, especially with instructions on how to achieve union, and Hindu history especially as it relates to Advaita. Stuff that places it in it's historical context and is friendly to the modern american mind. Not needlessly dogmatic. Hope I'm not asking too much. I have a couple books by Shankara and intend to get them all at some point but he is not at all friendly to my modern american mind... surely I'm not the only one to have this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm really thinking this could be the path for me I just need some help getting started.
    Dear Stevie, Welcome to HDF,

    The change-over from a conditioned modern American Mind to that, say, of Eastern philosophy, especially the classical Indian philosophical understanding takes long years of soaking into the epistemology, methodology, and valuue factors that hang together, giving unity to them. Thus says wise.

    So please be around with us and lets learn together as everyone is a beginner here. Thanks and Love

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    Namaste Stevie,

    Welcome to HDF, the past is as changeable as the future, your perception of both depend upon many things; including your perception of the present, untangling this knot is quite a noble goal. It is a fantastic thing for you to be on this path.
    My beliefs are not yet of any traditional schools of thought as I am not yet fluent in the scriptures of any lineage, yet I am learning so as to be able to better communicate with my piers as to the here and now and ins and outs.
    I have found both the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads as transcribed and embelished by Eknath Easwaran to be a good starting point from my Western origins.
    You might find them agreeable as an introduction; others may recommend differing transcriptions. It is important to be aware that there are different interpretations of these divine classics.
    You will also find fantastic wisdom and information lovingly shared amongst the pages of this forum; If you are anything like me it can be daunting to find your way around initially, and it is so true that timing is very much of the essence when it comes to receiving wisdom; but I go as a general rule that instinct and intuition are an important part of our development, as much as the shared wisdom of those about us. Your heart will tell you when to absorb.

    Welcome to HDF...


    praNAma

    mana

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    Quote Originally Posted by shays860 View Post
    In looking at another thread I saw that people here seem to to pay more attention to etiquette here than on most websites so let me go ahead and say hello and introduce myself.

    Hello My name is Stevie and I am from the southern United States. I am hoping to learn more about Hinduism, especially Advaita Vedanta and I would greatly appreciate and help I can get. Thank you.
    Vannakkam Stevie: It seems to me then you have done some exploring already. What is it that points you in the direction of Advaita Vedanta than? Some experiences must have pointed you there, (as opposed to some other type or aspect of Hinduism, like a particular God, temples, etc.) Maybe that would help us assist you.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    I have been reading about religion for about seven years. I've read a little bit about a lot of things. New ageism, Taoism, Buddhism probably other things I'm forgetting right now. And a few things on Hinduism. Ram Das' Be Here Now. Probably not the most respectable source but my spiritual journey was tied up with drug use at first. Autobiography of a Yogi, Ken Wilber books. I've got hundreds of books about religion and spirituality.

    The reason I think that Advaita Vedant is the path for me is because the idea that everything is basically God seems logical to me. So I'm looking for a systematic presentation of the idea, it's implications and particular practices associated with it in order to integrate the idea. My daughter is here with me so I apologize if this post is not as coherent as it could have been.

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    Hari AUM

    Namaste and hello Stevie,

    Welcome to HDF.

    Perhaps not what you are asking directly, but from what other posters on this thread are saying, think post from other very recent thread from YajvanJi may be helpful:

    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...8795#post78795

    Look forward to your sharing of thoughts on subsequent posts.

    Take care.

    Om Shanti

    FFTW

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    Re: Beginner books on Advaita and Hindu history

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    Quote Originally Posted by shays860 View Post
    I'm looking for beginner friendly books on Advaita Vedanta, especially with instructions on how to achieve union,
    I too will be anxious to read the recommendations that are offered on knowledge and specific instruction. When we get into vedānta the upaniṣad-s become front-and-center, and take authorship. The ~instuctions~ for union ( yoga) are directional and not specific. Why so ? It is inferred that one is working with a teacher and it is the teacher's job to give the proper instruction to the individual based upon the knowledge in the upaniṣad-s.

    This applies to the another view ( not opposing) of advitīya that is not of the vedāntic classical theme that offers instruction, yet written for the teacher to instruct the student.


    So, for someone new to this knowledge it will be challanging to get one's complete instruction i.e. actual sādhana instruction from a book. That said, one will be well on the way with study, yet will need practical direct experience.

    praṇām
    Last edited by yajvan; 13 February 2012 at 11:25 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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