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Some of My Favorite Books

Without trying to categorize or arrange in any way other than a stream of consciousness, here are some great books that I've truly enjoyed:

Love's Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition, by David and Sabrineh Fideler.. a wonderful collection of poems from nearly eighty great Sufi mystics.

Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light, by Sachiko Murata... a look at the impact and interpretation of Sufism in China.

Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, by John Welwood... a thoughtful exploration of the dichotomy between our human relationships and our innate longing for Divine perfection.

The Cloud of Unknowing, edited by William Johnston... written in the 14th century by an unknown mystic, many beautiful thoughts and insights somewhat deadened by an overemphasis on Christian dogma rather than a more inclusive approach.

Lawa'ih: A Treatise on Sufism, by Abd al-Rahman Jami, tr by E. H. Whinfield and Muhammad Kazvini ... an amazing treatise on the foundations of Sufism.

A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, by Shantideva, tr. by Vesna Wallace and B. Alan Wallace... very nice translation based on both the original Sanskrit and the Tibetan manuscripts.

Nobody Son of Nobody, by Abu Said Abil-Kheir, tr by Vraje Abramian... a delightful collection of Sufi poems.

Readings from the Mystics of Islam, by Margaret Smith... excerpts from the Arabic and Persian writings of about 40 great Sufi mystics. A delightful book full of ecstatic praise.

Dictionary of the Holy Quran, compiled by Abdul Manna Omar ... a magnificent dictionary of the words used in the Qur'an,  indexed according to the Arabic root of each word. Words and roots are in Arabic, definitions are in English.

The Hundred Verses of Advice: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on What Matters Most, with commentary by Dilgo Khyentse... very powerful verses based on Buddhist thought from India.

Gayatri, by I.K. Taimni... an in-depth look into the Gayatri Mantra.

In Quest of God: The Saga of an Extraordinary Pilgrimage, by Swami "Papa" Ramdas... an amazing story of the journey of a sahdu who completely surrendered to God.

Self-Culture in the Light of the Ancient, by I.K. Taimni... a deep look into the preparation that is required in order to be an empty vessel.

The Unveiling of Love: Sufism and the Remembrance of God, by Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak... translation of the writing of one of the great Sufi Sheikhs of our times.

Warrior of the Light: A Manual, by Paulo Coelho... delightful little book of snippets that explore the mindset and methods of the mystic.

Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations, by Michael Sells... a delightful look at the history, sound and meanings of some of the oldest of the Qur'an verses.

Jnana Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda... lectures given by Vivekananda between 1893 and 1902.

The Alchemy of the Heart, by Reshad Feild... excerpts from over 100 talks and lectures given by Reshad.

Eight Upanishads, with the Commentary of Sankara, Vol. I, translated by Swami Gambhirananda... includes Sanskrit for each verse as well as the commentary of Sankaracarya (one of the great Vedic commentators 788-820 AD).

The Bhagavad Gita (Suny Series in Cultural Perspectives), translated by Winthrop Sargeant... presents Sanskrit, the transliteration, a simple translation and then gives the relevant Monier-Williams definitions of every word in every line. A wonderful study tool.

The Call of the Dervish, by Pir Vilayat Khan... a stroll down the Sufi path.

Bhagavad-Gita (The Song of God), translated by Ramananda Prasad... presents Sanskrit, transliteration and translation, along with related text from other sources.

Rumi Birdsong: Fifty-Three Short Poems, Rumi as interpreted by Coleman Barks... good stuff.

The Dhammapada, translated by Eknath Easwaran... I especially value his explanations of the word roots.

Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jalaluddin Rumi, by W.M. Thackston Jr... for those ready to move deeper into the thought of Rumi.

The Upanishads, translated by Eknath Easwaran... delightful translations of the principle Upanishads.

Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz, translated by Reynold A. Nicholson... literal translations accompanying the Farsi along with copious notes and appendices

Shankara's Crest-Jewel of Discrimination, by Swami Prabhavananda... a look through the eyes of one of the Upanishad's most highly regarded commentators.

The flame and the light; Meanings in Vedanta and Buddhism, by Hugh I'anson Fausset... an amazing book, filled with profound insights into the Truth as demonstrated by the Vedas and Buddhism. A deep adventure. Very deep. And wonder-filled. This is one of the most amazing books I have ever encountered. The path is steep and sometimes difficult, but well worth the effort.

Rumi, Dancing the Flame, translations by Nader Khalili... 300 Rumi poems nicely done with neither capitalization nor punctuation.

The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran... majestic, mystical, magical

The Knowing Heart, by Kabir Helminski... an introduction to the Sufi path with magnificent Rumi translations

The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz... four simple steps away from the world of illusion and conflict.

Asma ul Husna, by Bawa Myhaiyaddeen... the 99 beautiful names of Allah

Awakening, by Pir Valiyat Khan... a stroll down the path of Sufism with an emphasis on bringing the 99 beautiful names of Allah into our lives.

The Drop that Became the Ocean, translated by Kabir Helminski and Refik Algan... turkish poetry of Yunus Emry

Teachings of Rumi, the Mathnawi, translated by E.H. Whinfield... abridged, direct, literal translations of Rumi

The Hand of Poetry, lectures by Inayat Khan, poetry translations by Coleman Barks... five amazing mystic poets of Persia

Mystical Poems of Rumi, volumes 1 and 2, translated by A.J Arberry... wonderful literal translations with notes and comments

The Illuminated Prayer, by Coleman Barks and Michael Green... a look at the Muslim daily prayers

Whispers of the Beloved, by Maryam Mafi and Azima Kolin... fresh Rumi translations with a feminine perspective

Unseen Rain, by Coleman Barks... quatrains of Rumi

That Which Transpires Behind that Which Appears, Pir Vilayat Khan... Sufi practices and perspectives

Words of Paradise, translated by Raficq Abdulla... selected poems of Rumi

Essential Sufism, by James Fradiman and Robert Frager... a compendium of Sufi wisdom, sayings and poetry

The Rumi Collection, edited by Kabir Helminski... Rumi by Barks, Harvey, Helminski, Liebert, Wilson and others

Rending the Veil, translations by Shahram Shiva... literal and poetic translations of Rumi, includes the Farsi

Green Sea Of Heaven, translations by Elizabeth Gray... literal translations of fifty ghazals from Hafiz, includes the Farsi on the opposing page. 

The Hafez Poems of Gertrude Bell, translations by Gertrude Bell... the forced rhymes often clutter and disrupt the flow. On the good side, this text does include the Farsi on the opposing page.

Rumi - Fountain of Fire, translations by Nader Khalili... 75 Rumi poems nicely done with neither capitalization nor punctuation. I really enjoy the work that Khalili has done, his work has heart.


I always enjoy picking these up and re-reading:

Rumi, especially the various translations by Nader Khalili and R.A. Nicholson, as well as some of the interpretations by Coleman Barks.

The Flame and the Light, Hugh I'anson Fausset.... deep insight into Buddhism and the Vedas... perhaps the most magnificently influential, yet somehow elusive, text that I have ever read. 

The Last Barrier, Reshad Feild.... a sufi journey of discovery. Amazing.

The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran.... a truly inspired look at the essence of life.

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint Exupery.... a fable about matters of consequence.

The Canon of Reason and Virtue, Lao-tze.... translated by D.T Suzuki and Paul Carus, wonderful translation.

Holy Bible, translated by George M. Lamsa.... as translated from the Aramaic Peshitta

The Upanishads, translation by Swami Prabhavananda... one of the finest translations of the principle Upanishads. Brilliant.

Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda.... his life from India to the US.

Illusions, Richard Bach.... a look at freedom and simplicity.

Dhammapada, dG-'dun Chos-'phel and Dharma Publishing.... my favorite translation of the basic Buddhist precepts.


Here are a few older books that I found useful:

The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama and H.C. Cutler... beautiful words from the Dalai Lama

The Whirling Dervishes, Shems Friedlander... a look at the world of the Mevlevi dervishes which were started by the mystical poet Rumi.

Black Elk Speaks, as told through John Neihardt... visions of a great Lakota.

The Magus of Strovolos, Kyriacos Markides... tales of a healer on Cyprus.

Embracing the Beloved, by Stephen and Ondrea Levine... the challenge of seeing the Beloved in everyone.

Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, Mark J. Plotkin, ethnobiologist studying rainforest medicines.

The Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh.... reminders from a Vietnamese monk.

Rolling Thunder, Doug Boyd.... a reminder of the foolishness of those who have no eyes, no ears.

Journey Toward the Heart, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.... a sufi view based on simple stories.

Past Lives, Future Loves, Dick Sutphen.... hypnotist studies past life regression.

I Send a Voice, Evelyn Eaton.... her journey into the native american ways.

Essence, A.H. Almaas.... a blend of psychoanalysis and sufism.

And here are a few more more books that I've read over the past several years:

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, Paulo Coelho... Beautiful story of how our vision changes and how we each support one another.

Seven Spiritual laws of Success, Deepak Chopra... Great book...why are such simple things so hard to remember?

Cien Sonetos de Amor, Pablo Neruda... unusual, wonderful poetry.

Wisdom Comes Dancing, selected writings of Ruth St Denis, edited by Kamae Miller... thoughts on the connections of dance and spirituality by the grandmother of the Dances of Universal Peace.

The Valkyries, Paulo Coelho... wonderful story about powerful women and following your dreams.

The Long Road Turns to Joy, Thich Nhat Hanh... Vietnamese Buddhist monk looks at walking as meditation.

Way of the Wizard, Deepak Chopra... a look at symbolism of the tales of Merlin.

Hidden Journey, Andrew Harvey, encounters with Mother Meera.

Secret Power Within, Chuck Norris... a story of Truths slowly appreciated.

Crow Dog, Leonard Crow Dog... account of four generations of Lakota medicine men.

The Return of Merlin, Deepak Chopra... a tale of the return of Merlin... and you and me.

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho... wonderful tale of looking for what we already have.

To Renew America, Newt Gingrich.... much maligned for his humor and clarity of vision.

Creating a New Civilization, Alvin and Heidi Toffler.... a look at a new wave of change in our culture.

From Freedom to Slavery, Gerry Spence... a view of the tyranny which returns to mask our freedoms.

The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi... Samuri awareness.


(Note: If you buy any of these books using these Amazon links, I get a small commission from Amazon.)

On my Quotes page, you'll find a few brief but powerful quotes from authors such as Mevlana Rumi, Reshad Feild, Mabel Collins, Paulo Coelho, T.S. Eliot, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabia of Bashra, Deepak Chopra, Stephen and Ondrea Levine and Mahmud Shabistari .

Paulo Coelho is a truly outstanding novelist who has had several of his wonderfully enjoyable fables translated into English. 

          The Alchemist,
          The Valkyries,
          The Pilgrimage,
          By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept,
          The Fifth Mountain
          The Warrior of the Light

All of his books are wonderful, but I would have to say that my favorite is 'By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept', closely followed by 'The Valkyries'. There are several common threads that run through each of Paulo's books; chiefly that we must take chances, follow our dreams and honor the Divine Mystery. Yet each book is entirely different, with a different perspective.

You can visit Paulo's web site at  https://paulocoelho.com   

Paulo's books are fun, powerful and inspiring works of remarkable depth. 'The Fifth Mountain' had some interesting thoughts, so I have created a web page that has a few quotes from The Fifth Mountain.


Updated: 13-Oct-2022