Books on Religion and Spirituality: Way to Enlightenment

“The mind is restless and difficult to restrain, but it is subdued by practice”: Bhagwat Gita

Man was never born too strong to exist on his own; he has always looked forward to be taken under the wings of some higher powers. So, he set a system of beliefs and doctrines called religion- a way of showing veneration to the mighty God and feeling protected & safe. In fact, man has always felt snug like a bug in a rug under the coat of religion and spirituality and books are a great way to remain connected to the Almighty. Such books are available at online bookstores from where you can order them easily and can have them delivered at your doorstep. They offer books on both religion and spirituality at discount prices.

How these books can help you?

Help you Live a Blissful Life: Modern lifestyle may have upgraded the living standard of man but it has eroded true happiness from inside his heart. Books on religion and spirituality let you live a quality life and instill peace in your mind. Pick one such book, make a thorough read, and you will observe a change, no matter how small it is, in the way you look at life. At online bookstores, you can explore various books on religion & meditation and get exclusive deals.

Uplift you Soul: We live in the mundane world and are so caught in its problems that, sometimes, we forget that there is another metaphysical world existing beyond the realm of our consciousness. Reading spiritual books can bring us closer to that upper world, thus uplifting your soul to greater heights.

Reaffirm Positivity and Faith: Wise people say that faith in something can shake mountains; in the worldly life, devotion to your deity can reaffirm your belief that every hurdle in life should be then with positivity. Practice faith time and again until it becomes a way of your life.

Reveal where your Roots Lie: Reading books on religion and spirituality help you know where your ancient roots lie: Vedas, Sutras, Chakras, Epics, Puranas, Upanishads, the great literary content written by our sages and saints in ancient times, help you to know how rich and invaluable your culture was. Place order of these books online and get them at reasonable rates.

Heal you Internally: There are times when you are down in dumps or have suffered largely at the hands of life. Healing is very necessary and the books on spirituality can mend your shattered soul within a short span of time. They teach us that there is nothing in life that cannot be cured.

Inculcate Moral Values: In today’s world when ethics and values are on decline, books on religion and spirituality are a ray of hope. They teach us values like sanctity, holiness, goodliness, and pietism.

Have a look at some of the popular books that come in this genre.

  1. Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man (U.R. Anathamurthy)
  2. 7 Secrets of Vishnu (Devdutt Pattanaik)
  3. Jaya: An Illustrted Retelling of the Mahabharta (Devdutt Pattanaik)
  4. 7 Secrets of Shiva (Devdutt Pattanaik)
  5. The Little Book of Hindu Deities (Sanjay Patel)
  6. The Twelfth Insight (James Redfield)
  7. Discover Your Destiny with the Monk who Sold his Ferrari: The 7 Stages of Self-Awakening (Robin Sharma)
  8. Ganesha on the Dashboard (M Eswaran)
  9. You Can Heal Your Life (Louise L. Hay, Dave Braun)
  10. Streams in the Desert 366 Daily Devotional Readings (L.B. Cowman, James Reimann)
  11. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (Rick Warren)
  12. This Very Body The Buddha (Osho)
  13. In Search of Silence (Rohan Narse)
  14. Many Lives Many Masters (Brian Weiss)
  15. Gitanjali (R.N.Tagore)
  16. The Secret Daily Teachings (Rhonda Byrne)
  17. Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  18. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Eckhart Tolle)
  19. Raja Yoga (Swami Vivekananda)
  20. Many Lives Many Masters (Brian Weiss)

Life, Religion and Spirituality

Religion is for people who are scared to go to hell.
Spirituality is for people who have already been there.

~Bonnie Raitt~

Life is yours to live. Religion and spirituality help you make sense of your life and find your way. When was the last time you stopped to consider what your life is about? Why are you here? Children hear that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. That is not quite true. Some paths require resources, money, skills or connections which might not be readily available to you. Your choices are not unlimited.

Yet many options are open to you. Your families, friends, circumstances and talents guide you toward certain paths. Those might be easier paths for you to follow. More challenging paths await you as well. These will require more effort from you but might be more satisfying in the long run.

If fame, fortune and power are what you crave, you have no need of religion or spirituality. You will pursue these goals at all costs regardless of the effect on your life and the lives of those you encounter on your way. It’s all about you.

Religion and spirituality are important to people who want their lives to be about something more than what they can grab for themselves. They form a context for living life directed toward a higher calling. When I was a child, a vocation was considered a call from God to pursue a higher purpose. Originally it meant being called to be a priest or a nun. Later it came to mean living any life in the context of a greater meaning.

How to find meaning outside yourself is not always obvious. Where do you start? What are the steps? Spirituality is the process of finding, accepting and sharing the meaning of being alive as you journey through life. You learn from others on the same path and share what you learn with your fellow travelers.

Religions are formalized systems for finding the meaning you search for on your spiritual journey. They are like cookbooks for the soul where you discover formulas for living a spiritual life. Obviously various religious systems cannot all be the one true path to spirituality and to God although many claim to be the only right way. Regardless of the claims, all religions start with the same purpose, living in a way which unites you with God.

How do you know if you are on the right path for you? Spirituality and religion both suggest reflection and meditation. If you never stop to see where you have been, where you are headed and the effect of your choices on you and those around you, you have no way to check your course. Honest reflection will help you evaluate your life path and whether it is taking you in the right direction. If you are hurting yourself or someone else, you might have made a wrong turn and need a course correction.

Life Lab Lessons

What do you want from life?
Are you headed in that direction?
Have your choices made you a better person?
How have your choices affected others?
What could you do better today?

What Is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality? An Interfaith Perspective

From 1999 to 2001, I was a mentor at The Interfaith Seminary, where I had trained as an Interfaith Minister myself from 1996 to 1998.

The question came up again and again from the students I was supporting of the difference between religion and spirituality.

For some of them, this was a matter of having rejected religion and embraced spirituality; for others, they were strongly committed to their religious faith and community, and could not imagine separating spirituality out from that.

In an era when mainstream religion appears to be declining, while both spirituality without religion and fundamentalist ‘our way or the highway’ religion appear to be on the increase, this question about the differences and relationship between religion and spirituality is an important one.

As a mentor, in order to help my own understanding and thus better support the students, I came up with two sets of questions. Here’s the first.

Am I a good…

…Christian?

…Muslim?

…Jew?

…Buddhist?

…Taoist?

…Student of A Course In Miracles?

…Sikh?

…Pagan?

…Hindu?

For it to make sense to answer ‘yes’ to these questions, one would have to identify as a member of that particular religion, faith or spiritual tradition, and – where necessary – accept its tenets and dogmas.

This is the core issue with religion that I see both in people who reject religion in favour of spirituality, and those who seek to impose their faith and dogma on the whole world:

Group identity and individual authenticity are pitted against one another.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the many things I learned from my training in Interfaith Ministry was that there is a deep well of wisdom and spirituality at the heart of each and every religion, regardless of how it has been practiced by its followers over the centuries, and what has been done in the name of its God(s).

So here is a second set of questions to consider:

In this moment…

…do I love God/the Source of All/the Universe? Do I love and forgive my neighbour and myself? What fruit do I bear?

…am I surrendered to God/the Source of All/the Universe?

…how am I expressing my humanity? Do I have a living relationship with God/the Source of All/the Universe?

…do I practice loving-kindness?

…do I allow everything its own nature?

…am I willing to be as God/the Source of All/the Universe created me?

…do my deeds sing a love song to God/the Source of All/the Universe?

…do I relate to humans, animals, plants, minerals and spirit beings with reverence and love?

…am I free of ego-attachment?

Each question or set of questions relates to the equivalent faith in the previous set of questions, but these questions can be answered freely by anyone, regardless of their religious identity. They are a set of questions not about identity, but about emotion, action, integrity and authenticity.

When we look beyond the identity of a religion or faith group, and instead look to the roots of its spirituality, we see that at the core of each faith there is fruitful wisdom and a challenge to each one of us as human beings, whether we consider ourselves religious, spiritual or neither.

This does not mean that we can ignore the injustices carried out in the name of religion, but it gives us the tools to challenge the people who carry them out in the terms of what they say they are, and what they claim as the source of their values.

I’m Elinor Predota, and my work is all about *your deep connection* with all aspects of your self, with those around you, and with Life itself. Whatever your background, whatever your religion or spirituality, whatever your sexual orientation or gender identity, I am here to serve you.

Religion and Spirituality

The universe is a diverse wonderland. Different religion and spiritual methodologies together contribute to this diversity.

The world is blessed with different and great Faiths. You can discover various schools of thoughts and believe that have received maybe less attention as well. Christianity is most popular and encompasses a major part of the world population. Millions of people follow this particular faith and created a place of their own.

You can also get information on the ways of Hinduism, one of the largest religions in the world. Understand and learn about scriptures, rituals and philosophy of this religion in order to get clarity on its nuances.

If you take interest in the Muslim faith, read on books written by great scholars and followers to seek answers for all your questions. You can read about the Path towards True Happiness according to Islam, and the importance of Ramadan in respect to Allah, among others.

People who want to know more about the Jewish faith, you can read volumes of articles on the philosophies, traditions, and cultural influences of Judaism. If you’re looking to learn more about Hannukah, plan a Bar Mitzvah, and keep the Sabbath, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are fascinated with Buddhist faith, you can read and meet people who are following this faith. You will learn about Buddhist prayer and meditation, and the way to Nirvana.

Atheism, Agnosticism and Theism are usually misunderstood in a general way of living, which is why you can read about these beliefs in terms of faith, moral views, and ethical stands.

Five Similarities Between Religion and Spirituality

When we were children we were asked, Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If we based our answer on the creation story in the Bible, we would answer, Chicken. But if we based our answer on our experience in raising chickens, our answer would be, Egg.

The same can be said of the answer to the question, Which came first, Religion or Spirituality?

In terms of our experience with religious books and discussions, religion came first. It is only now that more and more people are talking about spirituality and writing about it. In terms of the origin of the reality behind those words or in terms of the object of our understanding, spirituality came first. The spirit was there before there was any religion. God was there before there was anybody to worship him.

We can even say that spirituality is an offshoot of religion. For many centuries people professed religion. Some of them fiercely opposed religions other their own. Christians for many centuries opposed paganism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and any other religion. This has happened also with paganism, Islam, and the rest with respect to the other religions. They too opposed other religions.

But more and more people discover that mere religion cannot answer their deeper yearning for a better experience of life. So, they turned to something deeper and better than religion. They found this in spirituality.

Because spirituality in a sense is an offshoot of religion, there is bound to be some similarity between them, just like the similarity between the egg and the chicken.

First, both believe in a higher power of some kind. Religion believes in God the Father or Jesus, or Allah, or Brahman, or Tao. Spirituality believes also in this God or it may conceive of God as a universal or primal energy. Both believe that such being possesses power higher and greater than what we have.

Secondly, both religion and spirituality desire to have a relationship with this higher power. Although the nature of the relationship is different in religion than in spirituality, the desire for this relationship is there. Religion connects with this higher power with fear and trembling. Spirituality connects with this higher power with love and affection.

Thirdly, both religion and spirituality have rituals and practices which deepen one’s religiosity or spirituality. Religion usually has sacred rites or sacraments. Spirituality has meditation or yoga sessions.

Fourthly, both have respect for the sacred, the other worldly. This is not just respect for God. This is respect for the reality that is beyond our senses and reason. When religion pushes this respect to its extreme, it becomes superstition. When spirituality pushes this respect to its extreme, it becomes religious spirituality.

Fifthly, both have fear of failure. In religion this failure is punished by hell fire or repetition of existence or some other worse fate. In spirituality this failure is the inability to realize one’s true worth or value and the destiny of a life of meaninglessness. Hell, repetition of existence, non-existence, meaninglessness are forms of punishment for failure, either in religion or in spirituality.