on 21 December 2000
This is an amazing book on the experience of a western journalist who traveled in India in search of a spiritual yogi and the yoga. I would recommend this book to any westerner, who would want to explore India from a spiritual point of view. This may also be read by the modern Indian, who may not have the opportunity to experience what the author has. The author travels from Bombay (Mumbai) to Madras (Chennai) to Cuttack to Calcutta, to Benaras and back to Bombay, completes a full circle of travelling in India. He simply takes us into the times and the walks of life at the time he traveled and expressed his inner feelings very generously. On many occasions he has been very respectful to many views/experiences, which can not be taken granted for someone who can be accept anything with out proof. I admire his patience while I ignore his arrogance at times, both are honestly written. During his travel he meets various gurus, yogis, astrologers some great and others not. To note a few of them, "An Egyptian in Bombay", "a Dravidian in Madras", "Saint Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt", "The great yogi Sri Ramana Maharishi", "Swami Vishoodhanadha", "Master Mahasya", "An astrologer from Varanasi", "A saint from Dayalbagh", "Ramaiah from Andhra Pradhesh". The author expresses himself well and this makes you feel at times that you are very close to him. The author also acts as a good filter in not accepting magical tricks and other acts of some of the yogis. He was not convinced with any of the gurus he had meet this period, until he meets a yogi who sends him back to Bombay. While in Bombay he experiences a moment wherein he decides to get back to down south to meet the great sage Sri Ramana Maharishi. The author's ability to express and experience some of what he has written is truly amazing. I am sure he underwent a fantastic experience in his final destination Thrivannamalai. The last few chapters where Paul experiences Sri Ramana Maharishi, is the highest point of this book. Conquering quest of "who am I?" was the essence of what he has experienced in the end. I do not want to explain this any further, I guess everyone need to experience this part in their own way. Best Wishes!
on 26 September 2004
When Paul Brunton decided to take up a long journey into mystical India in search of its secret spirituality he must have had a genuine urge to study Indian spirituality. The thirst to get a real 'Darshan' of a true yogi. He had something more than a journalists' inquiring mind. During his days India was ruled by Gora (white) Sahibs and the Indian treasure in terms of its spirituality, herb medicines, yoga etc. lay hidden from the world. The world was just amazed by the new scientific inventions taking place in the west. Indians themselves had begun doubting their ancient systems and methods. To set his foot in India in those times to discover its hidden mysticism is quite commendable.
Paul Brunton lands in Bombay from where he begins his mystical experiences and travels south in search of a true yogi. His experiences which he jots down in very lucid English are a pleasure to read.
on 12 February 2014
Paul Brunton (born Raphael Hurst) served in a tank division during WW1 then went looking for God. In 1931, after meeting many remarkable men, life led him to Ramana Maharshi (born Venkataraman Iyer). This gentle ascetic's forceful personality and spiritual accomplishments won his trust. With all the hesitancy of a Western sceptic he slowly settled into the role of disciple and through the guru's subtle guidance discovered within himself a way of thinking about God, a relationship to the universe, that made sense.
This year is the 80th anniversary of publication and I venture that someone will be reviewing this book eighty years hence.
Sri Ramana died in 1950 but his ashram at Arunachala near Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu is still going strong. Somerset Maugham was a visitor and based the character of Shri Ganesha in his novel 'The Razor's Edge' on Ramana.
on 15 December 2010
The last chapter called 'Tablets of forgotten truth' is the crowning glory of this tale of exploration, standing out like a beacon of light in an otherwise pedestrian narrative.
If you just read that you will probably get the full import.
'Men make formal and pretentious enquiry into the mystery and meaning of life, when all the while each bird perched upon a green bough, each child holding its fond mother's hand, has solved the riddle and carries the answer it its face. That life which brought you to birth, O Man ! is nobler and greater than your farthest thought; believe in its beneficent intention towards you and obey its subtle injunctions whispered to your heart in half-felt intuitions'.
In case you are ever 'searching' for a guru, this book will offer a thoroughly refreshing perspective that goes beyond words.
on 17 January 2016
This is one of the first books I read about Eastern spirituality. The final chapter when Brunton describes his experience of meditation at Arunachala was definitely a big factor in encouraging me to pursue meditation. It is a very readable book, which gives a fascinating insight into the mysticism of India. It is written with a sympathetic approach to yogic practises, but at the same time is not unquestioning. It is even more remarkable, when you consider it was written by an Englishman in the 1930s, at a time when 'Empire and all that' was still strong. A real spiritual classic.