How to Read Books and Make Your Home Happy

By Swami Yogananda

East-West, May 1932

Read only spiritual books which contain self-realization. Such books as the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu old and new Testaments) and the Christian Bible should not be read as you would read a novel. Read a passage, think about its meaning, then meditate on its truth. Then try to live the truth in life.

Spiritual introspection and perception of intellectually studied truth both reinforce the Infinite source from which all intelligence comes. There are three Bibles which I read and from which I draw my outer inspiration: the Christian Bible, the Hindu Bhagavad Gita, and my Whispers from Eternity, which were given to me by God. Through meditation and intuitive perception I get more intellectual truths than through reading books. I tune my intelligence to my intuition after meditation, and then I hold my pen on paper and it writes, without stopping, anything I want to write. My pen stops only when I want it to do so.

Read books after meditation. Criticize books with intuitive perception. Keep your mind busy most of the time with good books unless you are meditating. In your spare time keep busy reading good, interesting books, which will keep your mind safe from the company of so-called friends and idle thoughts which create boredom and dissatisfaction.

Husband and wife should balance their first love by self-control and by reading and discussing good books together, instead of by engaging their minds in fruitless family wars or extremely peace-devastating matrimonial skirmishes, living on the sense-plane all the time, or in the exchange of soul-killing shots of discourtesy and heart-piercing bullets of unkind words.

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