Many people who are on a journey of self-discovery were introduced to the possibility through reading a book which opened their eyes and made them realise there was something deeper to life than what we see on the surface.
For many people, reading these books marked the starting of their inner quest in earnest, and set off a chain of events which might even have led to them pursuing an altogether different path than the one suggested in the book; nevertheless reading the book was a crucial stepping-stone that helped them to become aware that there was more to life than what just lay on the surface.
The term ‘life-changing book’ is all to often little more than publisher’s blurb nowadays, but there are a few books for whom this claim has held true over the years:
- The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho
These two books have a very childlike feel to them, but this childlike form lends itself for use as an allegory for bigger and deeper questions. Most memorable quote from the Little Prince: "It is only with the hear that one can see properly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
- Autobiography of A Yogi: Paramhansa Yogananda
This book is one of the most widely-read accounts of Eastern philosophy available. In this book, the author describes his childhood spiritual experiences and remerkable spiritual figures that he has met. In particular, the chapters where he describes the guidance he recieved from his teacher, Sri Yukteshwar, is one of the best accounts of the meditation teacher-student relationship available.
- Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
A reworking of the tale of how the young prince Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, or the enlightened one. After embracing the extremes of austerity and luxury, the prince attains enlightenment throuth the middle path. Multiple Guinness record holder and long-time meditator Ashrita Furman first became interested in Eastern philosophy after reading this book, beginning a journey which was soon to lead him to his teacher, Sri Chinmoy .