Spiritual Biographies and Autobiographies



Meetings with Remarkable Men
G.I. Gurdjieff
E.P. Dutton (1963)

'Meetings' is Gurdjieff's semi-autobiographical account of his youth and early travels. It chronicles Gurdjieff's search for esoteric knowledge in remote parts of the Near East and Central Asia accompanied by a number of remarkable men and women.

Born in Tibet
Chögyam Trungpa
Shambhala (1977)

Chögyam Trungpa was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who adapted the dharma to contemporary Western culture. The book describes Trungpa's education and early life in Tibet, as well as his daring escape from Tibet to India in 1959.

First Among Sufis: The Life and Thought of Rabia al-Adawiya
Widad El Sakkami
Octagon Press (1982)

Rabia was an extraordinary Sufi woman saint who was born in Basra in the 8th century. Rabia became an ascetic, then passed beyond this stage to that of Sufi and reputed miracle worker.

The Life and Work of Jalaluddin Rumi
Afzal Iqbal
Octagon Press (1983)

Dr. Iqbal discusses the life, writings and spiritual influence of the great 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi with sensitivity, insight and understanding.

I Come From Behind Kaf Mountain
Murat Yagan
Threshold Books (1984)

This is the spiritual autobiography of Sufi teacher Murat Yagan, a Caucasian tribal prince who resided in British Columbia until his death in 2013. The book describes his search for truth and his encounters with many exceptional individuals, culminating in a series of mystical experiences.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana: A Pictorial Biography
Sri Ramanasraman (1985)

Sri Ramana Maharshi was one of the most renowned spiritual masters of the 20th century. This pictorial biography follows his life from his birth in a small village in southern India to his spiritual enlightenment and eventual mission as a teacher of Advaita - the direct path of self-knowledge.

A Zen Life: D.T. Suzuki Remembered
Masao Abe
Weatherhill (1986)

Zen scholar and teacher D.T. Suzuki is rightly regarded as one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century. The volume provides an intimate view of the man credited with introducing Zen Buddhism to the Western world.

The Golden Guru
James Gordon
Stephen Greene Press (1987)

Psychiatrist James Gordon spent thirteen years in India and the United States investigating controversial guru Bhagavan Shree Rajneesh. The book reveals Rajneesh's powerful control over his disciples and the personality flaws which led to his eventual downfall.

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton
Edward Rice
Harper (1990)

Sir Richard Burton was one of history's most fascinating and romantic characters - scholar, adventurer, poet, explorer, British undercover agent and spiritual seeker. This engrossing biography tells the dramatic story of Burton's many astonishing feats throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Gurdjieff: Anatomy of a Myth
James Moore
Element (1991)

G.I. Gurdjieff was arguably one of the most important and powerful spiritual teachers of the 20th century. James Moore draws on published and unpublished sources to create a fascinating portrait of Gurdjieff's life and his Fourth Way teachings.

Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet
Karen Armstrong
Harper (1993)

Award-winning author Karen Armstrong's accessible biography of Muhammad strips away centuries of distortion and myth and presents a balanced view of the man whose religion continues to dramatically affect the course of history.

Sunyata: The Life and Sayings of a Rare-born Mystic
Betty Camhi and Elliott Isenberg
North Atlantic Books (1993)

Sunyata, who was born Alfred Sorensen on a small Danish farm in 1890, experienced a spiritual awakening when visiting the famous Indian sage Ramana Maharshi in 1940. For the rest of his life he travelled the world sharing his profound spiritual knowledge.

Krishnamurti 100 Years
Evelyne Blau
Stewart, Tabnori & Chang (1995)

Through photographs, personal recollections, interviews and Krishnamurti's own writings, Evelyne Blau tells the story of the young Brahmin boy who renounced his role as "world teacher" to travel the world teaching and speaking to countless seekers of all ages, races and nationalities.


Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki
David Chadwick
Broadway Books (1999)

Shunryu Suzuki was an influential San Francisco Zen teacher and author of the modern spiritual classic Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. Pupil David Chadwick draws on Suzuki's own words and the memories of his students, friends and family.

A Voice at the Borders of Silence
William Segal
Overlook Press (2003)

William Segal was a multi-talented writer, artist and spiritual seeker. His extensively illustrated autobiography describes his encounters with P.D. Ouspensky, G.I. Gurdjieff and various Zen and Tibetan Buddhist teachers.

Rumi: Past and Present, East and West
Franklin Lewis
Oneworld (2003)

This award-winning work examines the background, legacy and continuing significance of Rumi, the great Sufi poet and mystic. Professor Lewis draws on a vast array of sources, from Rumi's own writings to the latest scholarly literature, to produce this detailed survey of Rumi's life and work.

Chögyam Trungpa: His Life and Vision
Fabrice Midal
Shambhala (2004)

Chögyam Trungpa was a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master, an artist, a poet and a social visonary. This detailed biography examines his long journey from Tibet to the West, his controversial teaching style and enduring legacy to spiritual seekers around the world.

Adi Da Samray: Realized or/and Deluded?
William Patterson
Arete Communications (2012)

The title says it all. Franklin Jones a.k.a. Da Free John (and numerous other monikers) was one of the most controversial self-proclaimed Western spiritual teachers of the last 40 years. Patterson covers the whole gamut of his life from sex and drug scandals to extraordinary states of higher consciousness in as objective and balanced a way as possible for such an enigmatic teacher.

Georgi Ivanovitch Gurdjieff: The Man, the Teaching, His Mission
William Patterson
Arete Communications (2014)

Fourth Way author and teacher William Patterson has written the most comprehensive and insightful study yet of one of the most controversial spiritual figures of the twentieth century. Drawing on previously unavailable material from the library archives of Gurdjieff’s direct students and previously written books about Gurdjieff, Patterson provides a panoramic view of his life and teachings on spiritual self-development. Many never-before-published essays and notes by important students such as P.D. Ouspensky are included, as well as the complete scenario of Gurdjieff’s ballet The Struggle of the Magicians.

Gurdjieff Reconsidered: The Life, the Teachings, the Legacy
Roger Lipsey
Shambhala (2019)

Roger Lipsey has been involved in the Work for more than 40 years, during which he developed close relationships with many of Gurdjieff’s direct students. This allowed him access to many previously unpublished materials, and contributed to this insightful, wide-ranging and scholarly yet accessible, biography of Gurdjieff.