Sakthi Vikatan 2011 Dec 27  Revised 2018-June 23

Sri Ramanamaharishi

There was no reason for an Englishman to sit cross-legged on the floor before Indian Sadhus, Yogis, Rishis, Gurus… As the ruling class, to sit before an Indian Sannyasi brings disrespect to his country. This was the firm belief of the British, those days.

That hubris prevented them to know India. When a British official was asked whether he met a Yogi, the answer was, “A Yogi, what is that?”  “Yogi, is that a wild animal?’ What is there in India for the British to find out or learn?  Railway Engine? Warship? Airplane? Any new discovery or invention. Nothing of the sort. That was the bombast of the British then.

They did not have deep knowledge of the inscrutable mind, self-enquiry… among many Indians. But Paul Brunton, the pen name of Raphael Hurst, a journalist and book publisher (21 October 1898 – 27 July 1981) had contrary opinion. He went in search of stories for publication.

He travelled the foothills of Himalayas, on the shores of Ganges…He interviewed Mantra-meisters, naked Sadhus, Madathipathis…Each had his or her own greatness. Almost all surprised him. But he never had the Aha Moment with anyone.  Brunton came to Chennai and heard about Ramana Maharishi. Thinking Sadhus are dime a dozen, he got rid of a friend who promised to take him to Bhagavan.

Later another friend took him to Kanchi Pīdāthipathi Mahāperiyava SriChandrasēkarēntira Sarasvati Swāmygaḷ. His tranquil face, smile, intense piercing look…moved Paul Brunton.

There was a rise of jealousy as he saw Mahāperiyava. He stated he went around India with an open mind and sought the help of Periyava to point to him the path pursuing which he could attain a lofty state. Mahāperiyava advised him, “You told me you had Darśan of many Sadhus. Take one, as your Guru and follow his path. If none drew your interest, pay attention to your own mind. Try to get Darśan of your Ātmā. It will take you in the right path.”

Paul Brunton implored, “Why can’t I get a Guru to show me a path? Can’t you guide me to a Guru?” There was a pregnant silence. Mahāperiyava did not speak for a while. Then he spoke in a soft voice, “There are two people in India, one in Kasi, who never meets with any one and the second in Tiruvannamalai, who I met once, is a real great Jñāni.”

Paul Brunton: “Is he not Ramana Maharishi? A friend said he would take me to him. Not knowing about him, I did not go to him.”

Mahāperiyava asked for a promise from the Englishman saying, “Do one thing. Change your travel plan. Go see him. Don’t leave India without seeing him. Promise me that.” Paul Brunton gave him the promise he will meet with him. One great Jñāni sends an Englishman to another great Jñāni. Through that Englishman, the Maharishi’s greatness will be known all over the world. His article will draw many to Tiruvannamalai.

They don’t come for sight-seeing.  They were in pursuit of deep Jñānam in India. They will find out about the Ātmavichāra (self-enquiry), talk about it, write about it, spread the tenet all over Europe. The root cause of this publicity is Paul Brunton. The trip to Tiruvannamalai will bring it to fruition.

Mahāperiyava knew that false notions about India would be erased and the British would go to India with opposed palms.

Mahāperiyava did a great service as if he turned a small boulder to give a great river its destined path. Time has come for the light on the hill in Tiruvannamalai to illuminate the whole world.  Satyam celebrates Satyam and gave light to many souls all over the world.

Paul Brunton asked Mahāperiyava, “Why can’t you be my guide and Guru?”

Mahāperiyava blessed him and told him, “How could I take you as my disciple? Now I get only about three or four hours sleep. With the time constraints, keeping you by my side and answering all your questions are impossible. My established duties are different. You follow my advice and go to the Maharishi. You will attain what you seek.”

Paul Brunton travels by rail to Tiruvannamalai with a South India friend and describes the sights of Tiruvannamalai.

There are no black-top roads as present now. There were houses and Mutts around the temple. In other places, there were groves and bush. They travelled in a bullock cart on a dusty road towards Ramanasramam. The people had scanty clothes on them. There were only a few people here and there. Upon reaching Ramanasramam, Paul Brunton saw with amazement the youths working around the Āśramam and drawing water from the well.

He knew at first sight the occupant of the white sofa in a hall was Maharishi. There was a container from which spiraled fragrant smoke.  Not having the complexion of the south Indians, Maharishi’s body was of wheat complexion. Turning to see them coming, Maharishi was looking far away. Hoping he will turn to his side, Paul Brunton put down the fruits and waited. Time passed. Maharishi did not turn. He wondered in a devious sense whether Maharishi was acting (or ignoring him).

Let us get Darśan  End 45