Sakthivikatan Jan 12 2012

Edited Nov 16, 2017

   Great wonder envelopes, as I cogitate about Brunton. He lived somewhere in Europe and explored the nations depicted in the line drawings of the geographic maps. Kanchi Mahāperiyava gave his blessings to the publisher and the world traveler Paul Brunton in search of spirituality, and directed him to Bhagavan Srīramaṇar as the most suitable spiritual guide for him.

Paul Brunton had many questions and found everything beguiling. He felt the pervasion of peace and tranquility in him. With passing time, his thoughts were backtracking to thought-void. He realized he was sitting there experiencing ease and comfort. ‘What is this? There are no thoughts in my mind. The mind that wanders in all directions, abandoned its own nature and remained like a still snake under the control of snake charmer’s pipe. My mind is tranquil. I never had this tranquil moment before in my life. Paul Brunton realized, it happened because of Bhagavan.

A person prompted Paul Brunton, whether he had questions to ask. Paul said, “No. I have no questions to ask. I came here to pose some questions. At present, I am not in a state to ask any questions.” He came back after noon interval, the devotees told Paul Brunton that Bhagavan regretted having given him a spicy-hot meal in the place of spice-free meal.

He said, “Food is unimportant now. Maharishi! I must know Truth. For that only, I have made the visit. The scientist in the west never told us the life’s truths. They did not reveal the hidden truths. People are after creature comforts, burdened with greed and loss of peace and tranquility. That is my observation. Though I spoke with a multitude of people, I never received a satisfactory answer. I must know what Truth is. For that I am here seeking you.”

A little while later, Bhagavan Srīramaṇar said, ‘You keep saying “I,” “I.”  What is that “I.” Do you know who that “I” is?”

Paul Brunton moved his head in assent. “Know it. Since the day of my ability to think, I know who I am.”

Bhagavan: “When you say ”I,” don’t you refer to your body?  Do you know that matter inside your body?  How do you discover it?

Brunton: “You have to teach me that. What do I do to discover it? You should explain it to me.”

Bhagavan: “Perceive what your mind does, without interruption. By your deep analysis (meditation), you will find the answer.”

Brunton: “I do meditations but do not see any progress.”

Bhagavan: “How do you know you have not made any progress?  In spiritual life, progress is hard to discern.”

Brunton asks a simple question, “How is my future?”

Bhagavan: “When you are unable to know your present, what is the use of knowing what your future is going to be? Pay attention to the present.”

Brunton: “There are many problems around the world. In the future, would people be friendly to each other?  Or will the world drown in war?

Bhagavan: “The creator of the world knows how to save this world. The creator of the world will be the savior and not you. Therefore, you should not worry about it. “

Brunton: “Maharishi, I look around. It is rare to see God’s mercy.”

Bhagavan: “Not knowing who you are, what merit do you gain by knowing about the world? Not only that, why are you wasting your power by getting involved in worldly matters? You must know yourself. Then, clarity and perspective about the world will certainly come to you.”

Brunton: “If one is to know the truth or to know himself, he should sit down in the forest all alone and perform austerities as said by Yogis.”

Bhagavan: “It is not necessary.  It is enough to meditate for an hour or two with closed eyes. That meditation will help you clarify your other matters. That is, all the work can be done by remaining in meditation. Meditation will become your life and living for the whole day. The feeling associated with meditation will rise to help you with other works.

Brunton: “You talk about Ātmā. You say, ‘go search for Ātmā.’ Are there two Ātmās: the knowable Ātma and knowing Ātma?

Bhagavan: How could there be two Ātmās?  You don’t apprehend who you are in truth. You imagine yourself to be many things. You regard yourself as a body, Buddhi, and the doer of this and that. The realization who you are is in truth concealed from you. You who is beyond this concealment that is discarding all the fabrications of the mind one by one, see yourself and the truth is apprehended. After that, from the mind, an important matter will come to the forefront. That will take control of you completely. That controller is what behind the mind.  

That is undivided, inspiring and permanent.  Some religions call this Heaven’s Empire. Another religion calls it ‘Āṉmā.’ Some call it ‘Nirvana.’ Hindus, that we are, call it ‘Mukti.’ Mukti = Liberation. Whatever is the name, Satyam (Truth) is one. That which is behind you: what is it? What are your fabrications. Abandoning all the fabrications, and asking, ‘What, What, What,’ that rises and takes hold of you. In this condition, you do not lose yourself. Contrarily, you find out who you are with clarity.

In this world, the kings and politicians desire to reign something. How can someone who cannot rule himself, can rule others.  Did you get an answer to the puzzle, ‘What is God?’ If you know it not, what else is known.

Brunton: Is it easy for the westerner to search?

Bhagavan: “This is an easy path for all, Indians, Westerners… with no demarcation. You think it is hard; but it is easier than you thought. The hurdle is to think that you can’t do it.  Pessimism is the impediment. You must understand, once you have can-do attitude, you will make life prosperous. What else is there? It must be done. It must be done by everyone.”


Paul Brunton sat before Bhagavan with no questions. Bhagavan concentrates his sight on Paul Brunton. Paul loses his self-consciousness and feels he is all-pervasive. Later he finds relief from that feeling and comes back to his self. The mind is at peace.

The mind with no questions, with no desire, with no agitation remained wilted, drooped and silent.

Brunton with opposed palms addressed Bhagavan, “Would you accept me as your disciple?”

Bhagavan: “What is Guru-disciple paradigm? The differences are in disciple’s perception. Once you discover Āma, there is no Guru and there is no disciple. He (God) sees all with an equal eye. He sees with non-difference.”

Brunton: When I retire to the forest, there is no one to distract my attention. Is it not true? Living in the city poses many mental distractions.”

Bhagavan: “Once you attain your perceived goal and realize the real you inside, it is the same whether you live in the forest or the country.”

Brunton: “You talk of lofty things. But, Indians have not advanced.”

Bhagavan: “Yes. What you say is true. We are backward classes. Because of that, do not think we are not happy. Our needs are minimal. Are Europeans with higher needs and more clothes happy? Where there is no happiness, there is no gain either with increased or with diminished needs. What kind of calculation is that? Are not needs for happiness? When happiness does not prevail and the mind is not tranquil, what is the meaning of needs and gains?”

Brunton after his arrival in London wrote a book “A Search in Secret India.” Though he wrote many books, the accolades he received from this book remains enduring. Paul Brunton celebrates Maharishi very much. Without the pretense of scientific or acquired book knowledge of Tattvas, Maharishi explains his experiential truths from direct perception in an easy to understand and easy to follow manner.  By his sight, by his presence and by his subtle power, he brings tranquility, peace and focus to the wandering mind.

He shows the path to all. Bhagavan is not a mere explicator. He does not stop with just a speech. He has the power and persuasion to drive home his message and tenets with ease. Bhagavan’s path is not the harsh Yoga Mārga but is the Bakthi and Jnana. Just as the Muslim turns his face to Mecca from wherever he is, my mind turns to Tiruvannamalai. It is the sacred Margās place in my psyche. Remaining at the feet of Bhagavan, lighting up the spiritual flame, and taking it to the West, I gave it to the spiritually parched souls. They received the light with earnestness. I should not pride myself because of this good deed. This spiritual flame, received by the Western Sādhakas was lighted by Bhagavan; and in truth I am simply the messenger and the bearer of the torch.

Paul Brunton was the driving force behind Sādhakas from many foreign countries paying homage to the mountain, Ramanar and other Jñānis.

Jñānam is not the exclusive property of one nation, one religion, and one path. Man, in pursuit of Jñānam is at it constantly. Tiruvannamalai is the refuge for the seekers. Ramanasramam is a great fane.

Paul Brunton’s book has many rare titbids in its pages. He described Tiruvannamalai beautifully from the perspective an Englishman. Forty years later, he came to Tiruvannamalai and paid homage to the SriRamanar’s Samādhi. Many events were forgotten in forty years. He confides, “The memory of Srīramaṇar is in me as fresh as ever.”

Paul Brunton adds, “Bhagavan’s Darśan is still an event even today.”

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