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Passage Meditation: Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart into Daily Life (Essential Easwaran Library) Paperback – September 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


"No extravagant claims, no pretentious jargon. Just a clear, insightful exposition of meditation, and an excellent guide to its practice." --Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

From the Author

"I am going to suppose that your purpose in picking up this book is to learn to meditate; so I will begin straight away with some instructions...."

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Product Details

  • Series: Essential Easwaran Library
  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Nilgiri Press; 3rd edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586380265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586380267
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is respected around the world as one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. Although he did not travel or seek large audiences, his books on meditation, spiritual living, and the classics of world mysticism have been translated into twenty-six languages. More than 1.5 million copies of Easwaran's books are in print.

His book Meditation, now titled Passage Meditation, has sold over 200,000 copies since it was first published in 1978. His Classics of Indian Spirituality - translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, and The Upanishads - have been warmly praised by Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions, and all three books are bestsellers in their field.

A gifted teacher who lived for many years in the West, Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him enduring appeal as a teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.

Easwaran's mission was to extend to everyone the spiritual disciplines that had brought such rich benefits to his own life. For forty years he devoted his life to teaching the practical essentials of the spiritual life as found in every religion. He taught a universal message that although the body is mortal, within every creature there is a spark of divinity that can never die. And he taught and lived a method that any man or woman can use to reach that inborn divinity and draw on it for love and wisdom in everyday life.

Whenever asked what religion he followed, Easwaran would reply that he belonged to all religions. His teachings reached people in every faith. He often quoted the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who influenced him deeply: "I have not the shadow of a doubt that every man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith."

Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) was born into an ancient matrilineal family in Kerala state, South India. There he grew up under the close guidance of his mother's mother, whom he honored throughout his life as his spiritual teacher. From her he learned the traditional wisdom of India's ancient scriptures. An unlettered village woman, she taught him through her daily life, which was permeated by her continuous awareness of God, that spiritual practice is something to be lived out each day in the midst of family and community.

Growing up in British India, Easwaran first learned English in his village high school, where the doors were opened to the treasure-house of English literature. At sixteen, he left his village to attend a nearby Catholic college. There his passionate love of English literature intensified and he acquired a deep appreciation of the Christian tradition.

Later, contact with the YMCA and close friendships within the Muslim and Christian communities enriched his sense of the universality of spiritual truths. Easwaran often recalled with pride that he grew up in "Gandhi's India" - the historic years when Mahatma Gandhi was leading the Indian people to freedom from British rule through nonviolence. As a young man, Easwaran met Gandhi and the experience of sitting near him at his evening prayer meetings left a lasting impression. The lesson he learned from Gandhi was the power of the individual: the immense resources that emerge into life when a seemingly ordinary person transforms himself completely.

After graduate work at the University of Nagpur in Central India, where he took first-class degrees in literature and in law, Easwaran entered the teaching profession, eventually returning to Nagpur to become a full professor and head of the department of English. By this time he had acquired a reputation as a writer and speaker, contributing regularly to the Times of India and giving talks on English literature for All-India Radio.

At this juncture, he would recall, "All my success turned to ashes." The death of his grandmother in the same year as Gandhi's assassination prompted him to turn inward.

Following Gandhi's inspiration, he became deeply absorbed in the Bhagavad Gita, India's best-known scripture. Meditation on passages from the Gita and other world scriptures quickly developed into the method of meditation that today is associated with his name.

Eknath Easwaran was Professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. Soon he was giving talks on India's spiritual tradition throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. At one such talk he met his future wife, Christine, with whom he established the organization that became the vehicle for his life's work. The mission of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, founded in 1961, is to change lives and build a better world by publishing Sri Eknath Easwaran's timeless words, preserving his legacy, and teaching his Eight Point Program of passage meditation.

After a return to India, Easwaran came back to California in 1965. He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area the rest of his life, dedicating himself to the responsive American audiences that began flowing into his classes in the turbulent Berkeley of the late 1960s, when meditation was suddenly "in the air." His quiet yet impassioned voice reached many hundreds of students in those turbulent years.

Always a writer, Easwaran started a small press in Berkeley to serve as the publishing branch of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. Nilgiri Press was named after the Nilgiris or "Blue Mountains" in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where Easwaran had maintained a home for some years.

In thousands of talks and his many books Easwaran taught passage meditation and his eight-point program to an audience that now extends around the world. Rather than travel and attract large crowds, he chose to remain in one place and teach in small groups - a preference that was his hallmark as a teacher even in India. "I am still an educator," he liked to say. "But formerly it was education for degrees; now it is education for living." His work is being carried forward by the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.

If you would like to find out more about Easwaran's teachings and the Center that he founded please visit us at, and read our blog

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By K. S. Dennis on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read about a number of meditation techniques before finding this book. One of the interesting methods I found is inspirational reading. It appeals to me because I wanted something that seemed more substantial than using a simpler approach such as mindfulness or focusing on an object. Easwaran's approach combines inspirational reading with two other forms of meditation: passage meditation and the use of a mantram. The title is a little misleading because the book covers more than passage meditation. Still, it is an excellent book. The eight parts of Easwaran's approach fit together well. I also like the fact that his methods can be fit to one's religion.

Easwaran's book is not an overview of the many methods of meditation. If that is what you are looking for, I can recommend two books. One is Meditation: The Complete Guide by Patricia Monaghan and Eleanor Viereck. The other is The Meditative Mind by Daniel Goleman. If you want reading on dealing with problems in life, I suggest the books of Albert Ellis especially A Guide to Rational Living.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Art on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have been meditating using Easwaran's Eight Point Program for about a year, and I have attended a retreat where I met numerous individuals who have used this program for years and even decades. There is no doubt in my mind that Easwaran's insights into the mind and the spirit are genuine, and that his program is a powerful tool for becoming a better person, and for ultimately reaching life's supreme goal: the realization of the unity of all things.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dutchesse on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book has literally changed my life when I read it (the previous edition) 7 years ago when I was taking course in meditation based on his teachings at UC Berkeley.

In Easwaran's method of passage meditation, you choose spiritual texts or passages that embody your highest ideals, memorize them, then send them deep into consciousness through slow, sustained attention. Over time, the ideals in the passages become part of your life, part of who you are. This meditation method fits with any religious or nonreligious philosophy - counselors, yoga teachers, health professionals, and educators recommend it with confidence to their clients and students. Easwaran is an experienced teacher who offers clear instructions, points out the pitfalls, and conveys the deep joy, security, and selfless energy that regular practice can bring.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Davidson on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not certain that one kind of meditation is any more useful than another... but Eknath's passage meditation has been for me the easiest to stick to. And I think that is the real point, to consistently attempt to quiet and focus the mind. It's a lifelong process, and he explains his method well and provides convincing arguments for it's usefulness. I've been doing it for more than two years now, with a few breaks, and I feel like it's given me better control over my mind and better discipline overall. Could be said for anything done consistently, but for me, passage meditation has done the trick.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wordsmithjp on March 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Twenty years ago, I picked up an earlier edition of Passage Meditation because I wanted to know what meditation was all about. This book fulfilled that wish and much more. It presents an eight-point program for daily practice, including meditation on inspirational passages drawn from many of the world's great wisdom traditions.

This practice has given me practical tools to live life to the fullest. It has helped me deal with negative habits of thought and behavior in an artful way. It has given me a purpose in life greater than my own self-centered goals, and the means to work toward it. This purpose is inclusive of all the important aspects of life: including family, work, religion, relationships, recreation, education, culture and citizenship. It asks us to start where we are, not to leave our family or professional contexts, but to thrive within them; not to change our religion, take up another religion, or necessarily have any religion at all.

The core of the presentation is training the mind, a most valuable life lesson. When we are able to control our thinking process, slow it down and focus our attention, we have more clarity and better judgment. We have a more positive outlook on life and a greater capacity to thrive ourselves and to work with others to make the world a better place. This new edition has a wonderful new preface, but it is essentially the same time-tested text that has changed the lives of thousands of people around the world.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Abhijeet D on March 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
In the passage meditation book Sri Eknath Easwaran gives a lofty goal in daily living and then in very simple and practical manner tells us how to get there. Before I read this book I never thought that I could sustain a daily meditation practice. This book has given me a purpose and positive direction in life. Each chapter offers a very practical tool that can be applied in daily living to overcome our impediments and to thrive on the challenges that life offers us.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Om mani padme hum on November 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Before buying this book, I read the entire thing for free on [...] devouring it in about a week.

It is so clear and practical that I was able to start practicing the disciplines described in the book right away. Even before getting to the end of the second chapter, on the mantram, I had chosen a mantram and was repeating it as often as possible. When I visited my parents a couple weeks later, for the first time in years I was able to restrain harsh words from coming from my mouth at my father--just by the repetition of the mantram.

A few weeks later I started meditating, and, unlike with other meditation practices, I have been able to stick with it for the past few years without missing a day.

I bought the book when I wanted to read it a second time, and discovered that there is an inspirational introduction, also by Easwaran. It includes a description of how he "discovered" the eight-point program of passage meditation: "In meditation I found a deep connection between the wisdom in those passages and the way I conducted myself throughout the day."

Now I'm going to retreats given by the BMCM in Tomales and reading the blog with meditation tips on, but I still reread Passage Meditation regularly, finding new insights and practical tips every time. About time I write this review!
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