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Spiritual Book Reviews After September 2011

Reviews Before September 2011



1. The Divine Romance by Paramhansa Yogananda

2. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna


1.   The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda

There are a few books stacked on my night table and this one has a permanent presence. The Divine Romance  by Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 to 1952) never fails to deliver uplifting reading. The contents are arranged as 50 articles on individual subjects, though all aspects of practical spirituality as I call it, or how-to-live each day in the world while maintaining Divine ideals.

Yogananda writes the Truth using a large dose of stories with humor. What this does for me is make the lessons stick, because I can more easily recall a story than remember an esoteric sentence.


By breaking the book up into sections about 9 to 10 pages each it is easy to read a chapter when you just have a small block of time. Or if the afternoon is yours, then several stories could be absorbed. I recommend one or two at a time, though, to keep the lessons fresh in mind.


It is worthwhile to read a chapter, begin regular meditation, and contemplate the content during the quiet time with yourself. Then finish the meditation with appreciation for the Divine insight imparted.


The book is easy to read and not limited to scholarly study, though any student on the spiritual path would learn many lessons and advance in consciousness from the lessons.


To give you a taste of the contents some of the titles include: Finding the Joy in Life; What Is Fate?; The Spectrum of Spiritual Consciousness; The Unknown Potential of Memory; Do Souls Reincarnate? Where Are Our Departed Loved Ones? Reflections on Love.


Additionally, an account of Yogananda’s remarkable samadhi is included following the chapters. At the end of the volume is a very complete glossary of spiritual terms. Scattered throughout are black and white photos of saints and places Yogananda visited. I’ve owned my precious copy of this book for many years.


The Divine Romance is the 2nd book in the 3 part series of Yogananda’s essays.


For the sincere seeker I give my highest recommendation, it is a treasure!


Details: Paperback: 507 pages; Publisher: Self-Realization Fellowship (November 1, 1986); Language: English; ISBN-10: 0876122411; ISBN-13: 978-0876122419; Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches.


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Review copyright Susan Helene Kramer


2.   The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna (1836 to1886) was and is a spiritual teacher for all generations. I came to his teachings in a roundabout way as I loved the teachings and vibration of his wife and consort, Sri Sarada Devi. I lived near the Vedanta Temple, perched on a mountain side in Montecito, California, where I went to visit with the Sarada convent nuns who ran the bookstore and took care of the grounds of the temple. The view from the front stoop looks over the Santa Barbara coastline and ocean, with the smell of the surrounding eucalyptus trees and sage doing their part to uplift the visitor.

The message I’ve always received from Sri Ramakrishna and Sri Sarada Devi is practical spirituality. The lessons I’ve taken from his book, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, is how to incorporate spirituality at the purest and highest level into daily living. After all, what good is it to read spiritual teachings if we can’t figure out how to apply the lessons. Fortunately for me, when I met my husband the book was already handily installed on his bookshelf.


Here is where the gospel comes to the rescue: the lessons are given through the interactions of Sri Ramakrishna and his disciples and visitors. In this way one can assimilate more easily how to act rightly in the highest manner with others and our world.


The book is divided into 52 chapters and also includes text to devotional songs, a summary of the Master’s life, a glossary and index.


The serious and scholarly student has plenty of material to mull over. But, as I and maybe more frequently the case, the devotional student need only open the book to any page to receive universal spiritual teachings applicable for all tastes and tempers. It is an ultimate divine reference manual.


Here is a quote and explanation of one of his songs:


“As is a man’s meditation, so is his feeling of love;

As is a man’s feeling of love, so is his gain;

And faith is the root of all.

If in the Nectar Lake of Mother Kali’s feet

My mind remains immersed,

Of little use are worship, oblations, or sacrifice.”


“What is needed is absorption in God - loving Him intensely. The ‘Nectar Lake’ is the Lake of Immortality. A man sinking in it does not die, but becomes immortal.” Passage from page 108.


A must read for spiritual seekers!


Details - Hardcover: 1062 pages; Publisher: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center (June 1, 1985);  Language: English;  ISBN-10: 0911206019;  ISBN-13: 978-0911206012;  Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.9 inches


Link to buy at


Review copyright Susan Helene Kramer

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page created October 1. 2011; updated July 4, 2015 | email:

All reviews are copyright Susan Helene Kramer; permission for reprints required.

DISCLOSURE: I am an Associate of and bought my own products.