Too Many Books Are Still Not Enough! by James Bean
Too Many Books Are Still Not Enough!
by James Bean
For a very long time I’ve been a collector, researcher and lover of books. These are for the most part translations of writings from other places and other times: Egypt and the Middle East, Near East, and further to the East, as in India. These can be described as sacred texts, rare spiritual classics, world scriptures, writings of mystics, saints, Sufis, and especially the Sant poet-mystics of India. I also continue to have a major interest in those “lost books of the Bible” or what’s known as “extra-canonical” or “apocryphal” texts — in other words, someone else’s scriptures — other Bibles from other branches of Judaism, Christianity, and various Gnostic movements of the ages.
I find it to be rather liberating actually to be able to explore the roots of a spiritual path or world religion, to take things right back to the very beginning, or before the beginning, opening one’s self up to significant and sometimes fairly radical discoveries, coming upon new or unanticipated insights or realizations about what is genuine, authentic, meaningful, and true. This approach of examining the foundations of spiritual movements, no longer bound by time, no longer tethered to one’s own particular cultural province or bias, in my case has caused me to change my religion on more than one occasion over the decades, and make other major course corrections along the way!
Access to the wisdom of great sages and mystics of the centuries has certainly provided me with inspiration I previously did not know existed and has kept me on the path, given me a clarity about spiritual practice (meditation) I otherwise would never have known. I am especially fond of the poet-mystics of the East.
And some of what I’ve researched or simply enjoyed reading before meditation time, or before falling asleep at night, gets bookmarked and often included as material for my Spiritual Awakening Radio podcasts, and sometimes in articles. As my spiritual teacher once said, “What’s the use of receiving this human form if we do not serve others in thought, word, and deed.”
I love sharing passages from the teachings of various spiritual masters, especially from rare books few have heard of or have access to in the West. This can be in the form of a reading during a podcast, or talk somewhere, or via social media. I even created a couple of spiritual e-libraries online, one at my Spiritual Awakening Radio website, and more recently, an expanded library at my Sant Mat Radhasoami blog. There are so many free online books these days one can link to. Whether one’s interest is in Dead Sea Scrolls, Books of Enoch, Gnostic and other Gospels of the early centuries AD, Syriac-Aramaic contemplative mystics, Mandaean scriptures, the Manichaeans, Jesus Sutras, those medieval Christian mystics of Europe, Sufi poetry, Sikh scriptures, the Path of the Masters — recent and lesser-known contemporary living Masters from rural India as well — we are blessed these days with so many e-libraries and uploaded books hosted at countless sites. At one’s fingertips and a couple of clicks away are so many wonderful collections of poetry and prose, beneficial pathways to wisdom.
I know a thousand “Rumi’s” the world is yearning to hear, to be soothed by the Voice of the Soul that speaks through them all. Hafiz, Shams of Tabriz, Sarmad, Kabir, Rabia, Mira Bai, Daya Bai, Sahjo Bai, Tukaram, Hazrat Sultan Bahu, Baba Farid, Guru Nanak, Dariya Sahib, Tulsi Sahib, Surdas, Namdev, Ravidas, Paltu, Sant Radhaswami Sahib, Maharshi Mehi, and many more besides, right up to the living present — countless are lovers of the Beloved. _/|\_
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