Swami Vivekananda was a great Indian monk and scholar among many other things. He learned a great deal from his master Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, an Indian religious leader who became a priest at a very young age and learned about the various religions of the world.
Vivekananda played a major role in Hinduism becoming a major world religion. He taught the world about classical yoga, Vedanta, and various philosophies of Hinduism. One of his most notable speeches that people know the most about might be the one he gave in 1893 in Chicago at the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
He gave many lectures over the years around the world regarding various topics like religion and his thoughts about it. His lectures were always impromptu and without any preparation. Today, religion is a very sensitive topic that people are often quarreling about, and it’s fascinating how Vivekananda, someone from hundreds of years ago, had better and more advanced thinking on religion than us, the people of the 21st century.
Although he was a powerful speaker, he didn’t write much and most of his books contain notes from his speeches, articles about him, letters he wrote to his disciples, etc.
If you’re interested in Swami Vivekananda and the life he lived, then check out these recommended books on Swami Vivekananda that will help you better understand the morals and teaching he lived by. I would recommend reading them in the order I’ve mentioned them but you can also start from wherever you like.
“One infinite pure and holy – beyond thought beyond qualities I bow down to thee”– Swami Vivekananda
Best Books By Swami Vivekananda:-
- Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (9 vols.)
- Vivekananda: A Biography by Swami Nikhilananda
- Swami Vivekananda on Himself
- The Life of Swami Vivekananda
- Lectures From Colombo To Almora
- Inspired Talks
- Meditation and Its Methods
- Vedanta: Voice of Freedom
- Jnana Yoga
- Bhakti Yoga: The Yoga of Love and Devotion
- Raja Yoga
- Karma Yoga
1. Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (9 vols.)
As the name suggests, it’s a complete collection of all of his works. The various volumes consist of the books he wrote, the letters he wrote to his friends and disciples, and the poetry he wrote.
Volume 1 starts with one of his most famous speeches – At the World’s Parliament of Religions, Chicago, 11th September 1893.
These books will teach you about work and its secret, the power of the mind, practical spirituality, devotion, Vedanta, and much more.
Reading the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda will inspire you and make you a smarter and better person.
2. Vivekananda: A Biography by Swami Nikhilananda
To understand his philosophies, you should first learn about what kind of a person he was and what kind of life he lived. He had a vast knowledge of the cultures and religions of the world and of the short 39 years he spent in this world, he devoted 10 years to teaching others about Hindu spirituality, philosophies, and Vedanta.
In this biography by Swami Nikhilananda, you will learn about his life from being born into an aristocratic family in Bengal to becoming a great scholar, philosopher, and speaker that influenced millions of lives.
3. Swami Vivekananda on Himself
This book is a documentation of selected notes of Swamiji about himself and his works. These notes are arranged in a certain order to form somewhat of an autobiography of Swami Vivekananda.
The original notes were prepared by a Swami of the Ramakrishna Order who passed them on to the Swami of Advaita Ashrama, who went through them to select, remove, and arrange them properly.
This book is intended to be an authentic record of Swamiji’s manuscripts for future guidance.
4. The Life of Swami Vivekananda
The Life of Swami Vivekananda, compiled in two volumes, is a biography of him by his Eastern and Western disciples who desired to publish an authoritative biography of their teacher. Their desire was fulfilled in 1980 with the release of the first volume.
The first volume of the biography starts with his childhood and ends with the speech he gave in the USA at the World’s Parliament of Religions as the representative of India.
Volume Two published just two years after the first one, focuses on Swami’s life from his first visit to the USA to the day he sadly passed away. The second volume also contains some illustrations and an index.
5. Lectures From Colombo To Almora
From Colombo to Almora is a record of Swami Vivekananda’s return to India after four years of his mission to the West. The book includes reports of eighteen of the lectures he gave in various towns and cities like Calcutta, Madras, and Anuradhapura.
After coming back to India, he started his travels around the country in January 1897 in Colombo of British India which is now the judicial capital city of Sri Lanka and ended it in June 1897 when he reached Almora, a town of Uttarakhand.
The lectures in this book have inspired many people including the Sri Lankan sage Yogaswami, especially the words – “The time is short, and the subject is vast” had a great impact on him.
6. Inspired Talks
Inspired Talks is a book comprising of lectures he gave during the seven weeks he spent at Thousand Island Park. The lectures were recorded by Sara Waldo, a disciple of Swami, who then compiled them into a book and published it.
Swami Vivekananda gave many lectures from mid-June to early August 1895 at a cottage at Thousand Island Park owned by one of his disciples who offered it to be used for conducting the lectures.
7. Meditation and Its Methods
Meditation is a practice of learning to control your mind and body. But it’s also much more than that. It teaches you to be mindful, patient, aware, and helps you become emotionally stable.
This book contains the many lectures Swami Ji gave on Meditation and its various methods. It will teach you what meditation is, how it helps one achieve a better life, how the mind works and how to control it, what are the states of mind, and how patience can take you into the realm of tranquility.
The book will teach you much more so go give it a try!!
8. Vedanta: Voice of Freedom
Vedanta is an ancient philosophy, first introduced in the Vedas, the Indian scriptures. This philosophy teaches us about the oneness of existence, the soul, and harmony among all religions.
According to Swami Ji, understanding Vedanta will help us attain unshakable faith in ourselves and free the soul from the body-mind complex.
Vivekananda spent a considerable amount of time in the west teaching people about Vedanta and its importance. This book contains the words of Swami Ji himself on the subject of Vedanta.
9. Jnana Yoga
Jnana Yoga is a type of yoga mentioned in the ancient texts of India. Vivekananda used to practice Jnana Yoga and even urged many people to do the same by teaching them its importance.
The word “Jnana” means knowledge and according to Swami Ji, “Knowledge” is the ultimate goal in life.
He gave many lectures on Jnana Yoga, mainly in New York and London, which were recorded on paper by Joseph Goodwin, one of his disciples.
In these lectures, Swami Ji talked about many things from Religion, Maya, and God, to the soul, the cosmos, and even immortality.
10. Raja Yoga
Raja Yoga is the practice of the asanas of yoga. It is both the goal and the method of yoga. Swami Ji believed that each soul is potentially divine and that everyone’s goal in life should be to manifest this divine within by controlling oneself, externally and internally.
The book Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda contains his view and interpretation of the topic. He wrote this book primarily for the Western world to spread the knowledge of yoga.
The book contains a translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras along with the lectures he gave on Raja Yoga.
11. Karma Yoga
Karma Yoga is the yoga of action which is the mental discipline to do his/her work in a way that doesn’t cause anyone any problems and eventually serves the entire world.
In New York City, Swami Ji gave lectures on the topic of Karma Yoga. This book contains eight lectures by Swami Ji on Karma yoga.
He talked about many things like the effects of karma on character, and what is duty. the secret of work, and more.
12. Bhakti Yoga: The Yoga of Love and Devotion
Bhakti means devotional worship of a god. Swami Ji defines Bhakti Yoga as the search for the Lord. It is the longing to meet the Lord or even just glimpse at him.
According to Swami Vivekananda, “Bhakti is the easiest way to achieve divinity”.
This book contains Swami Ji’s knowledge of Bhakti Yoga.