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10 Must Read Books to Learn About Hinduism

hindu books
Hinduism texts and scriptures are so vast that it is so overwhelming even to know what to read. This list contains 5 Ancient books and 5 Modern novels/books to read.

 If you are wondering where to start reading Hindu scriptures, you are at right place.

Ancient scriptures will teach you original philosophy of Hinduism while modern writings will guide you to deal with this materialistic world with knowledge of thousands of years.

Unlike what our title says, Hindus and also Non-Hindus can read these books.

These books give insight into the ideology of Hinduism as well as guide us in a way to lead a happy, spiritual and fulfilled life.

Important:  1. The Four Vedas are not included in the list because one should not read them without the attention of a guru.
2. I didn't attach images of the book covers just so you don't judge them by look of their covers.

Ancient Books-

Although the list of these books never ends yet I have extracted 5 Best and must-read ones here:

5. Isha Upanishad-

As the name suggests, this Upanishad is about God or Ishwar. It describes that God is supreme. We should live knowing that we are a mere part of its existence. This Upanishad is the first of 10 Mukhya Upanishads. It is small and profound so you can read it in a short time. Some quotes from Isha Upanishad are:

> A wise man beholds all beings in the self and the self in all the beings; for that reason, he does not hate anyone. (6)

>To the seer (Siddha Purusha), all things have verily (indeed) become the self; what delusion, what sorrow, can be there for him who beholds oneness?

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4. Chandogya Upanishad-

Chandogya Upanishad is also one of the 10 Mukhya Upanishads. It is the book where you will find the great philosophies and knowledge of Hinduism.

There is a great comparison between good and evil in the 1st chapter (there are a total of 10 Chapter of it). This book focuses on the oneness of the world. Some quotes of Chandogya Upanishad are:

>He who desires the soul, who plays with the soul, who makes love with the soul, who attains ecstasy in the soul, becomes his own master and wanders at will through the worlds.

>All souls are interconnected and one. The essence of all beings is the same. The world is one truth, one reality and one soul. 

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3. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali-

Patanjali's 196 Yoga Sutras (Mantras) teach us how to get rid of stress and fatigue and have spiritual enlightenment.

It shows the path for attaining peaceful mind and body with Yoga. Patanjali wrote this at least 2500 years back. It also talks about 8 Limbs of Yoga namely Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyan, Dharana and Samaadhi.

This book is a must-read for all those who wish to study about the connection of mind, body and soul to lead a fulfilling life.

>Yoga takes you to present, the only place where life exists. - Patanjali 

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2. Ramayana-

Ramayana is one of the great writings in the history of Hinduism. It presents a perfect man before us, Lord Rama. Ramayana teaches us how to behave like an ideal brother, ideal son and husband. 

It is a place where even an evil person has good qualities. Solid characters of Meghanada, Kumbhakarna and Ravana, show us to stand still even if you fight God. 

>As birds are to fly, rivers are to flow, so the soul to follow duty- Ramayana. 

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1.. Bhagwad Gita-

Undoubtedly, this book is the best gem in Hinduism. The concepts of Karma, three types of Yoga (namely Gyan Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga) and three Gunas (qualities- Sata, Raja and Tama) are the main highlights of this book.

Lord Krishna decipher the knowledge in front of Arjuna in the battleground of Mahabharata.

For someone who seeks his/her peace of mind, who wants to learn to differentiate between good and evil, who seeks the purpose of life should read this book at least once. 

>A Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

If you win this war, you will get the kingdom of earth. If you lose this war, you will get the kingdom of heaven. So don't be afraid and prepare to fight.

Tip: If you haven't read Bhagwad Gita before, then you should read Gita 'As it is' first, you can read commentaries later. 

Links- Amazon India | Amazon US

Modern Hindu Books-

From among dozens of books written in the last 150 years, I have included only five in the list according to their applications in real-world.

5.. Who Am I- by Sri Ramana Maharshi

Originally written in Tamil, this book is one of the best philosophical books that talk about self-exploration.

When we seek bliss in the outside world, we get disappointment. We get hurt when we seek spirituality in the outer world. The idea of self-inquiry or self-exploration is the solution to all of our sorrows. The ultimate solution is to realize yourself first. After the realization of self, seek happiness. I bet you won't.

>If one's mind has peace, the whole world will seem peaceful to him. 

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4. My Master- by Swami Vivekananda

Although this book is a one hour read with a few pages, yet a few pages are more than enough for passionate readers and seekers of knowledge.

Swamiji had clearly stated that he owed every single word of truth and spirituality to his master, Swami Ramakrishna. This book is a gem for youth and the person who seeks guidance in his life. 

>That man alone who is lord of his mind can become happy, and none else. 

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3. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna- Swami Nikhilananda

It was written by Mahendranath Gupta in Bengali and then translated into English by Swami Nikhilananda. Gupta describes how Swami Ramakrishna (master of Swami Vivekananda) lived, sang, danced and froze into Samadhi. You would see that his devotees became great monks in history.

This book is also a must-read to seekers of Hindu Philosophy.

Ramakrishna Mission provides this book's text online for free, you can read it on their website/

Link- Amazon India | Amazon US | Official Website

2. Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was a Yogi of the highest order. His inspiring and electrifying words transform a mere mortal being into a man with high morale and extreme wisdom.

There are 9 Volumes of the book. It will take quite a time to finish reading all of it. But I can assure you, this time is worth investing in reading this book instead of wasting it on social media.

>You will be a better person. Your thinking will move beyond religions and false emotions.

>The Great Truth, that we have forgotten, to lose the illusion of self, to understand, to be loved, we cannot deny what is real, so rejoice and live! - Swami Vivekananda 

Links- Amazon India | Amazon USA | Official Website

1. Autobiography of a Yogi -Paramahansa Yogananda

A must-read book for all age groups, This book describes events in the life of Swami Yogananda.

This book introduces the real life of a yogi without any will to glorify it. It describes the spiritual figures in his life in the western world as well as in the eastern world.

If you care, Steve Jobs has talked about it. His family gifted the book to those who attended his funeral. PM Narendra Modi launched a stamp on Swami Yogananda.

I have talked to many people who say that this book was an eye-opener for them. 

Links- Amazon India | Amazon USAPDF

If you want to read only one book on Hinduism which is more practical than mythological, you must read "Autobiography of a Yogi".

That was the complete list of  the books that will introduce you to Hinduism, I hope you liked this article. If you any suggestions or requests, feel free to contact me at

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