Reading Lists - Getting Up To Speed


Reading Lists - Getting Up To Speed

Sometimes we want to learn a subject and always the hardest part is just getting the basics.

I had a recent experience here because I posted something that ended up showing that I was not even basically competent on the subject.  Rather than to feel guilty or upset over it I decided that perhaps a better way of handling it (as well as a number of other blind spots)  was to poll other members who have expertise in areas to give some idea of what books or other media is essential to getting a basic understanding.

One of the assumptions this site is built on is that of everyone being a genius at something.  We all have areas where we excel and can share knowledge.

If you feel that you have a good grasp on a subject and would like to share the writings that are needed for someone to have a basic understanding on the topic, please post your thoughts.

Please use the following format:

Topic (At the top. It describes the subject)

Name of book (site, magazine article, etc.)


Brief description of why item is important.

Members: 28
Latest Activity: Dec 26, 2015

Discussion Forum

References and Introductions - college level text books on Theosophy and Western Esotericism

Started by John. Last reply by John May 31, 2013. 4 Replies

Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2008), The Western Esoteric Traditions, Oxford University Press Good College-Level intro. Course book.Continue

Tags: Theosophy, Esotericism

Indian Philosophy

Started by John. Last reply by Joe Fulton May 10, 2013. 8 Replies

I bought this book in 1985 and have recently "found" it in my book shelves. It was the book used at the University of California, Berkeley by their Philosophy department (at that time).A Sourcebook…Continue

Tags: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, theosophy, Indian Philosophy

Total Beginner Salad Bar (and cheap)

Started by John. Last reply by John Jul 9, 2012. 2 Replies

The Pocket classics series of Shambhala Books is a very quick, cheap, no frills selection to consider.some are listed below. They have more than these. I find these very useful. At work. Bedside.…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Peter O'Lalor on November 1, 2012 at 12:25am

Thanks Captain,

      It's good to be back.

Pitar :-)

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on October 31, 2012 at 8:23pm

Welcome back Peter. We have been missing you here.

Comment by Peter O'Lalor on October 31, 2012 at 11:53am

Thank you Hari,

    I hope to talk soon. Finishing up a book with a deadline for tomorrow. Hope to talk soon. Please forgive the apparent distance. I'm just "waking up" if you know what i mean.

Comment by Hari Menon on October 31, 2012 at 8:44am

Dear Peter ,

         Just put in a blog or a discussion maybe we can take it up from there - looking forward to your most valuable insights on the same . 

Comment by Peter O'Lalor on October 31, 2012 at 3:51am

I would like to respond, as having taught Ethics and Moral Philosophy, but have no literature to offer. Where might I contribute to my colleague Hari's post?

Comment by Hari Menon on September 27, 2012 at 11:47pm

Topic : Ethics (or Nichomachean Ethics)

Book : Ethics of Aristotle printed by - Penguin Books

  This book is a wonderful translation from the Greek fragments and one of the best , it has universal validity even today after so many years. First propounded by Aristotle and collated by Nichomachus - It deals with the Intutive aspects of the Intellect and how to attain such a discriminating intellect /knowledge wherein there is automatic parity between the Action , Thought and Feeling leading to an Ethics that is intuitive, without inequity, perfect knowlege and right reasoning (logic) leading to Knowledge and uninterrupted happiness for  a sincere adherent.

Written after Plato, it delves deeper to give a good understanding of agency and will in the process. Very good examples as to how to work from the General principles to particulars and vice versa. Excellent for meditation and practice.

A must read for any serious lover of theosophy whether from the East or West.

Comment by David Eberhardt on January 15, 2012 at 5:16am

Topic (At the top. It describes the subject):


Name of book (site, magazine article, etc.):

The Key to Hypnotism Simplified by James T. McBrayer


James T. McBrayer

Brief description of why item is important:

Hypnotism is my favorite subject. Warning: this is dangerous in the wrong hands; but it is already in the wrong hands. I want to get it into the right hands where you can do some good with it. Hypnotism is important because there is constant effort by advertisers, subversives, cultists, exploiters, teachers, politicians, parents etc.; and even ourselves to control our minds for good or evil. Many books are available on hypnotism. Most are a waste of time. Hypnotism is the the closest thing that I have seen to real magic and the real power of witchcraft.
The Key to Hypnotism Simplified by James T. McBrayer is the book that I have found to be most effective at actually teaching hypnotism. I bought a copy of it from a Methodist bookstore in 1972 when I was a young Evangelical Christian Mennonite, afraid of the occult and hypnotism. I read it in just a few minutes, read it again to make sure that I understood it, then went out and successfully hypnotized some 20 persons in a row effectively to the stage of somnambulism with posthypnotic responsiveness. Some persons who say that they do not believe in hypnotism are very good subjests. I have also found and read good books on speed hypnotism: Techniques of Speed Hypnosis by Harry Arons; covert hypnotism: Advanced Techniques of Hypnosis by Melvin Powers; post hypnotic instructions: Post-Hypnotic Instructions by Arnold Furst, etc. The most comprehensive book on hypnosis that I have found is General Techniques of Hypnotism by Andre M. Weitzenhoffer. There are many other good books on hypnotism and even more that are not so good. I have found hypnotism to be the most powerful key to the mind, learning and the power of persuasion. There should be no problem teaching anyone with enough sense anything; even increasing the sensability of some to be able to learn. Torture and drugs are used only by dangerous sadistic perverts too stupid to interrogate effectively. Hypnotism is harmless, beneficial, friendly and clean. Hypnotism does not make anyone "susceptable to demon possession". Abusive false religions and teachings that convince persons to believe in demon possession actually use hypnotism, whether or not they realize it, to make persons experience "demon possession". Persons can, however, be hypnotized to do and say things that they might not want to do or say although this is often denied. Hypnotism is persuasion, convincing, training, conditioning, suggestion, etc. With hypnotism you can make a person remember anything that they ever experienced. You can help them find misplaced items. Be sure to have them remember objectively rather than subjectively so they do not re-experience traumatic events. You can condense days into minutes by time perception alteration. You can let someone experience a two week vacation in a few minutes or less. You can induce imaginary experiences and let someone visit a deceased friend or relative. This can be emotional. Be sure to tell them to wake up feeling well and happy. If someone refuses to wake up, simply tell them to wake up feeling well and happy when they are ready. No one has ever not woke up from hypnotism. You can make them remember or forget their hypnotic experiences. You can have someone experience years of training at a sport. After hypnosis, be sure they practice slowly at first. They might be overly enthusiastic at first. I hypnotized a friend to experience ten years of championship ping pong. When he woke up, he could not understand why he was not winning at first, but by the end of the day, he was beating everyone. I have read that you can actually make warts go away with hypnotism, but I have not tried that. You can relieve pain, but be sure the person in pain gets proper medical attention. Rasputin was able to control the Russian crown prince's bleeding from hemophilia over the phone. There is much, much, much more. Please look into it. I have not been very successful at self-hypnotism. You can be a good Svengali to some Trilby. Best wishes.

Comment by David Eberhardt on January 15, 2012 at 3:07am

Until now, the Atlanta Lodge of the Theosophical Society was my only contact with theosophy and theosophists as such.  I appreciate theosophy other than that of the TS and HPBlavatsky.  Theosophy is "divine wisdom".  The TS is an organization or organizations with their own versions of theosophy.  I probably would never subscribe to the requirements of the the governing Inner Circle of the TS.  To form a nucleus of Universal brotherhood is the object of the TS.  Universal brotherhood already exists only to be recognized.  I dearly love the Theosophical Society and especially the old Atlanta Lodge and the persons whom I knew there.  Dr. John Algeo is a member of the Atlanta TS Lodge and was the national president of the Theosophical Society in America.  I am privileged to have spent much time with the Algeos over the years, and with other wonderful personages in that lodge.  In the Atlanta TS I met Radha Burnier, international president of the Theosophical Society and Grand Master of the Eastern Order of Co-Masonry which I hope to resume membership in online when I am better settled in California after sixty years in Atlanta as a ninth generation Georgian in my paternal lineage with older Cherokee ancestry there.  I am very happy to have found this website where kindred spirits can share theosophy of whatever variety.  I see a Theosophy of Universal Consciousness ("the All-Being, God, Siva, perhaps even Brahman)  that is evolving or developing in the direction of establishing itself in a state in which all of it (the universe) ultimately remains within a comfortable range of harmonious existence with universal mutual practice of ahimsa as the "Golden Rule".  Some think that when things get too comfortable, we go to sleep eventually to be awakened by painful chaos that forces us again to evolve systems of order, become comfortable and sleep again -- an eternal recurrence  of creation, duration and withdrawal back into . . . nothingness or perhaps the all pervading fourth state, turya, or nirguna Brahman.  Asatoma sadgamaya.  Tamasoma jyotir gamaya.  Mrityorma amritam gamaya. Om shantih shantih shantih.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on January 14, 2012 at 10:49pm

David, may I suggest to begin a group on the study of Shiv Sutras together with Spanda Karika of Jaideva Singh. Noted theosophist IK Taimni wrote a beautiful commentary on Shiv Sutras too which could be included in the study. If you have read Tantraloka in Sanskrit, explanation of that may be considered too as due to lack of English translation such an important body of knowledge is not available to a wide audience. Thank You.

Comment by William John Meegan on January 14, 2012 at 9:32pm

i am not so sure Joe because Asimov though a science fiction writer must have obtained his ideas from somewhere and he could not have just pulled that idea out of his hat in college.  He must have been privy to something.  His ideas on mathematics is a bit uncanny especially since it sync with the esoteric science.  It makes me wonder that  being Jewish he may have known something of the Kabbalah I personally am not aware of.


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