Recommended Books for Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
The most frequent question that I am asked, especially from newcomers to Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings, is: “What books do you recommend for studying the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi”?
Here is my answer. Please keep in mind that everyone has their favorite sources for Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings and I am simply sharing mine. In addition, my attempt is to keep the list of recommended sources small for the most practical benefit of people just getting introduced to Bhagavan’s teachings. So there is an element of subjectivity here. However, I am happy to add to this list as Bhagavan devotees give me feedback as to what sources they would personally recommend.
Recommended Primary Sources of Bhagavan Ramana’s Teachings
1. “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi” – This is a book of recorded conversations that Bhagavan had with visitors between the years of 1935 and 1939. The recorder was Sri Munagala S. Venkataramiah (later Swami Ramanand Saraswati). This book is my personal favorite. I used to sleep with this book underneath my pillow in the 1970s.
2. “Letters From Sri Ramanasramama” By Sri Suri Nagamma. These 273 letters recording Bhagavan’s conversations and general attitudes cover the last 5 years of Bhagavan’s life. Suri Nagamma sent these letters to her brother Sri D. S. Sastri from Sri Ramanasramam. D. S. Shastri later translated them from Telugu to English. These letters were shown to Bhagavan prior to being mailed and had the full approval of Bhagavan. These letters faithfully document Bhagavan’s teachings and also capture his human personality.
3. “Day by Day With Bhagavan” (From the diary of A. Devaraja Mudaliar). Sri Devaraja Mudaliar was a long-term devotee and spoke freely and frankly with Bhagavan. His path was that of surrender to Bhagavan. The time period covered by this Diary is approximately 2 years with 1945 and 1946 being represented the most with a couple of entries in 1947.
4. “The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi”. This book contains all of Bhagavan’s writing, poetry, and also Bhagavan’s translations from the ancient scriptures that he liked. The book is small as Bhagavan wrote only infrequently during his 54 years at Arunachala. It is, however, truly a classic and as we have all of Bhagavan’s personal writings and poetry organized in one place.
5. “Guru Vachka Kovai” or the “Garland of Guru’s sayings”. These are utterances of Bhagavan recorded by Sri Muruganar and represent a classic record of Bhagavan’s teachings. This work also contains verses by Sri Muruganar in praise of the Guru and explaining the teachings. Guru Vachka Kovai was checked and revised by Bhagavan himself during his lifetime.
Recommended Secondary Sources for Bhagavan Ramana’s Teachings
1. “Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge”, by Sri Arthur Osborne. Excellent book by an intimate devotee of Bhagavan and highly recommended.
2. “The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi” in His Own Words, Edited by Sri Arthur Osborne.
3. “Reflections on Talks with Ramana Maharshi” by Sri S.S. Cohen”. Again an excellent book by a devotee and highly recommended.
4. “Maha Yoga” by Sri K. Lakshmana Sarma. An excellent work encouraged by Bhagavan himself.
5. “Be as You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi” – Edited by David Godman and providing an excellent summary of Bhagavan’s teachings.
Recommended Books of Bhagavan Devotees about Bhagavan Ramana
1. “Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi” by Sri Sadhu Arunachala (Major A. W. Chadwick).
2. “My Recollections of Bhagavan Sri Ramana” by Sri A Devaraj Mudaliar
3. “Reminiscences” by Sri Kunju Swami
4. “Surpassing Love and Grace” by His Devotees
5. “Unforgettable Years” (Memoirs of 29 Bhagavan Devotees) – Translated and Edited by Sri Natarajan
6. “At the Feet of Bhagavan: Leaves from the Diary of T.K. Sundaresa Iyer” Edited by Duncan Greenlees, M.A [OXON]
7. “Sri Ramana Reminiscences” by Sri G.V. Subbaramayya
The purpose of creating this list is to simply provide a starting point for newcomers to Bhagavan’s teachings. Of course, there are many other treasures to discover as well.
Although I have created this list, I also remind the reader that Bhagavan used to say that one cannot simply read books endlessly. The need to put the teaching of self-inquiry into practice is the central thing.