Author Topic: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:  (Read 6519 times)

Subramanian.R

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The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« on: August 22, 2013, 02:49:32 PM »

Last night, without getting sleep, I was going through the above book of Paul Brunton.  This is from the three chapters of
his bigger book A Search in Secret India.  I went through this booklet and found that Brunton had really been enamored of
Sri Bhagavan's greatness and His jnana bodham.  Had he remained like Chadwick, sticking to Maharshi, without roaming all
over the places in the world, he would have attained great spiritual progress and even realized the Self.  Destiny played a role
that he had to be only a writer of books and some of them are writings of Sri Bhagavan plagiarized by him, which earned him
bad name from devotees of Sri Bhagavan.  But his darsan of Sri Bhagavan shows that he had great yearning for a Guru and
was ready to follow him and make use of his presence for his spiritual development.

*

I give some excerpts from the booklet The Maharshi and His Message:

Brunton along with one Sadhu by name Subramanya arrive at Tiruvannamalai Station.

At length I learn that we are approaching the Maharshi's hermitage.  We turn aside from the road and move down a rough
path which brings us to a thick grove of coconut and mango trees. We cross this until he path suddenly comes to an abrupt
termination before an unlocked gate.  The driver of the cart descends, pushes the gate open, and then drives us into a large
unpaved courtyard.  I stretch out my cramped limbs, descend to the ground, and look around. 

The cloistered domain of the Maharshi is hemmed in at the front by closely growing trees and a thickly clustered garden.
It is screened at the back and side by hedgerows of shrub and cactus, while away to the west stretches the scrub jungle
and what appears to be a dense forest.  It is most picturesquely placed on a lower spur of the Hill.  Secluded and apart,
it seems a fitting spot for those who wish to pursue profound themes of meditation.

...........

'We shall now enter into the Hall of Maharshi,' announces the holy man of the yellow robe, bidding me to follow him.  I pause
outside the uncovered stone verandah and remove my shoes. I gather up the little pile of fruits which I have brought as an
offering, and pass into an open doorway.

Twenty faces flash their eyes open upon us.  Their owners are squatting in half circles on a dark grey floor paved with
Cuddappah slabs.  They are grouped at a respectful distance from the corner which lies farthest to the right hand of the door.
Apparently everyone has been facing this corner just prior to our entry.  I glance for a moment and perceive a seated figure
upon a long white divan, but it suffices to tell me that here indeed is the Maharshi. 

My guide approaches the divan, prostrates himself prone on the floor, and buries his eyes under folded hands.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 10:39:15 AM »

continues....

The divan is but a few paces away from a broad high window in the end wall.  The light falls clearly upon the Maharshi and
I can take in very detail of His profile, for He is seated gazing rigidly through the window in the precise direction whence we
have come this morning.  His head does not move, so, thinking to catch His eye and greet Him as I offer the fruits, I move
quietly over to the window, place the gift before Him and retreat a pace or two.

A small iron brazier stands before His couch. It is filled with burning charcoal, and a pleasant odor tells me that some aromatic
powder has been thrown on the glowing embers.  Close by is an incense burner filled with joss sticks. Threads of bluish grey
smoke arise and afloat in the air, but the pungent perfume is quite different. 

I fold a thin cotton blanket upon the floor and sit down, gazing expectantly at the silent figure in such a rigid attitude upon
the couch.  The Maharshi's body is almost nude, except a thin, narrow loin cloth, but that is common enough  in these parts.
His skin is slightly copper colored, quite fair in comparison with that of the average South Indian. I judge Him to be a tall man;
His age is somewhere in the early fifties. His head, which is covered with closely cropped grey hair, is well formed. The high
and broad expanse of forehead gives intellectual distinction to His personality.  His features are more European than Indian.
Such is my first impression.

The couch is covered with white cushion and the Maharshi's feet rest upon a magnificently marked tiger skin.

Pin drop silence prevails throughout the long Hall.  The Sage remains perfectly still, motionless, quite undisturbed at our
arrival.  A swarthy disciple sits on the floor at the other side of the divan.  He breaks into quietude by beginning a pull a
rope which works a punkah fan made of plaited khaki.  The fan is fixed to a wooden beam and suspended immediately above
the Sage's head.  I listen to its rhythmic purring, while I look full into the eyes of the seated figure in the hope of catching
His notice. They are dark brown, medium sized and wide open.

If He is aware of my presence, He betrays no hint, gives no sign.  His body is supernaturally quiet, as steady as a statue.
Not once does He catch my gaze for His eyes continue to look into remote space, and infinitely remote it seems.  I find this
scene strangely reminiscent.  Where have I seen its like?  I rummage through the portrait gallery of memory and find the
picture of the Sage Who Never Speaks, the recluse whom I visited in his isolated cottage near Madras, that man whose body
seemed cut from stone, so motionless it was.  There is a curious similarity in this unfamiliar stillness of body which I now behold
in the Maharshi.

It is an ancient theory of mine, that one can take the inventory of a man's soul from His eyes.  But before those of the
Maharshi I hesitate, puzzled and baffled.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                               

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 11:12:54 AM »

continues...

The minutes creep by with unutterable slowness.  First they mount up to half-hour by the hermitage clock which hangs
on a wall.  This too passes by and becomes a whole hour.  Yet no one dares to speak.  I reach a point of visual concentration
where I have forgotten the existence of all save this silent figure on the couch.  My offering of fruit remains unregarded on the
small carved table which stands before Him.

My guide has given me no warning that his Master will receive me as I had been received by the Sage Who Never Speaks.
It has come upon me abruptly, this strange reception characterized by complete indifference.   The first thought which would
come into the mind of any European, 'Is this man merely posing for he benefit of His devotee?' crosses my mind once or twice,
but I soon rule it out.  He is certainly in a trance condition, though my guide has not informed me that his Master indulges in
trances.  The next thought which occupies the mind, 'Is this state of mystical contemplation nothing more than meaningless
vacancy?' has a longer sway, but I let it go for the simple reason that I cannot answer it. 

There is something in this man which holds my attention as steel filings are held by a magnet.  I cannot turn my gaze away
from Him.  My initial bewilderment, my perplexity at being totally ignored, slowly fade away as this strange fascination begins
to grip me more firmly.  But it is not till the second hour of the uncommon scene that I become aware of a silent, resistless
change which is taking place within my mind . One by  one, the questions which I prepared in the train, with such meticulous
accuracy drop away.  For it does not now seem to matter whether they are asked or not, and it does not matter whether I
solve the problems which have hitherto troubled me.  I know only that a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me.
That a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being, and that my thought tortured brain is beginning to arrive at some
rest.

How small those questions which I have asked myself with such frequency?  How petty grows the panorama of the last years!
I perceive with sudden clarity that intellect creates its own problems and then makes itself miserable trying to solve them.
This indeed is a novel concept to enter the mind of one who has hitherto placed such a high value upon intellect.

I surrender myself to the steadily deepening sense of restfulness until two hours have passed.  The passage of time now
provokes no irritation because I feel that the chains of mind made problems are being broken and thrown away.  And then,
little by little, a new question takes the field of consciousness.

''Does this man, the Maharshi, emanate perfume of spiritual peace as the flower emanates fragrance from its petals?"

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         
                     

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2013, 11:15:41 AM »

continues.....

I do not consider myself a competent person to apprehend spirituality, but I have personal reactions to other people.
The dawning suspicion that the mysterious peace which has arisen within me must be attributed to the geographical
situation in which I am now placed, is my reaction to the personality of Maharshi.  I begin to wonder whether, by some
radioactivity of the soul, some unknown telepathic process, the stillness which invades the troubled waters of my own
soul really comes from Him.  Yet He remains completely impassive, completely unaware of my very existence, it seems.

Comes the first cripple. Someone approaches me and whispers in my ear: 'Did you wish to question the Maharshi?'

He may have lost patience, this quondam guide of mine.  More likely, he imagines that I, a restless European, have
reached the limit of my own patience.  Alas, my inquisitive friend!  Truly I came to question your master, but now, -- I,
who am at peace with all the world and myself, why should I trouble my head with questions?  I feel that the ship of my
soul is beginning to slip its moorings.  A wonderful sea waits to be crossed. Yet you would draw me back to the noisy
port of this world, just when I am about to start a great adventure!

But the spell is broken. As if this infelicitous intrusion is a signal, figures rise from the floor and begin to move about the
Hall, voices float up to my hearing, and wonder of wonders -- the dark brown eyes of the Maharshi flicker once or twice.
Then the head turns, the face moves slowly, very slowly, and bends downward at an angle.  A few more  moments  and it
has brought me into the ambit of its vision. For the first time, the Sage's mysterious gaze is directed upon me. It is plain
that He has now awakened from His long trance.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2013, 11:33:58 AM »

continues....

The intruder, thinking perhaps that my lack of response is a sign that I have not heard Him, repeats His question aloud.
But in those lustrous eyes which are gently staring at me, I read another question, albeit unspoken:

'Can it be -- is it possible -- that you are still tormented  with distracting doubts when you have now glimpsed the deep
mental peace which you -- and all men  - may attain?'

The peace overwhelms me.  I turn to the guide and answer:

'No.  There is nothing I care and to ask now.  Another time.....'

I feel now that some explanation of my visit is required of me, not by the Maharshi Himself but the little crowd which has
begun to talk so animatedly. I knew from the accounts of my guide that only a handful of these people are resident disciples,
and that the others are visitors from the country around.  Strangely enough, at this point my guide himself arises and makes
the required introduction.  He speaks energetically in Tamizh, using a wealth of gesture while he explains matters to the assembled
company.  I fear that the explanation is mixing a little fable with his facts, for it draws cries of wonder.

The midday meal is over.  The sun unmercifully raises the afternoon temperature to a degree I have never before experienced.
But then, we are now in a latitude not far from the Equator.  For once I am grateful that India is favored with a climate which
does not foster activity, because most of the people have disappeared into the shady groves to take a siesta.  I can, therefore
approach the Maharshi in the way I prefer, without undue notice or fuss.

I enter the large Hall and sit down near Him.  He half reclines upon some white cushions placed on the divan.  An attendant pulls
steadily at the cord which operates the punkah fan.  The soft burr of the rope and the gentle swish of the fan as it moves \
through the sultry air sound pleasantly in my ears.

The Maharshi holds a folded manuscript book in His hands,  He is writing something with extreme slowness.  A few minutes
after my entry, He puts the book aside and calls a disciple.  A few words pass between them in Tamizh and the man tells me
that his Master wishes to reiterate His regrets at my inability to partake their food.  He explains that they live a simple life
and never having catered for Europeans before do not know what the latter eat.  I thank the Maharshi, and say that I shall
be glad to share their unspiced dishes with them.  For the rest, I shall procure some food from the township.  I add that I regard
the question of diet as being far less important than the quest which has brought me to his hermitage.

The Sage listens intently, His face calms,  imperturbable and non committal.


'It is a good object', he comments at length.

This encourages me to enlarge upon the same theme.

'Master, I have studied our Western philosophies and sciences, lived and worked among the people of our crowded cities,
tasted their pleasures and allowed myself to be caught up into their ambitions.  Yet I have also gone into solitary places
and wandered there amid the loneliness of deep thought.  I have questioned the sages of the West. Now I have turned
my face towards the East.  I seek more light.'

The Maharshi nods His head as if to say, 'Yes, I quite understand.'               

'I have heard many opinions, listened to many theories.  Intellectual proofs of one belief or another pile up all around
me. I am tired of them, sceptical of anything which cannot be proved by personal experience.  Forgive me for saying so,
but I am not religious.  Is there anything beyond man's material existence?  If so, how can I realize it for myself?'

The three or four devotees who are gathered around us stare in surprise.  Have I offended the subtle etiquette of
the hermitage by speaking so brusquely and boldly to their Master?  I do not know. Perhaps I do not care. The accumulated
weight of many years' desire has unexpectedly escaped my control and passed beyond my lips..  If the Maharshi is the right
kind of man, surely He will understand and brush aside mere lapses from convention. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2013, 02:43:17 PM »


continues....

He makes no verbal reply but appears to have dropped into some train of thought.  Because there is nothing else to do
and because my tongue has been loosened, I address Him for the third time:

'The wise men of the West, our scientists are greatly honored for their cleverness.  Yet they have confessed that they
can throw but little light upon the hidden truth behind life.  It is said that there are some in your land who can give what
our Western sages fail to reveal.  Is this so?  Can you assist me to experience enlightenment?  Or is the search itself
a mere delusion?'

I have now reached my conversational objective and decide to await the Maharshi's response.  He continues to stare
thoughtfully at me.  Perhaps He is pondering over my questions.  Ten minutes pass in silence.

At last His lips open and He says gently:

'You say I.  'I want to know.' Tell me who is that I?'

What does He mean?  He has now cut across the services of the interpreter and speaks direct to me in English. 
Bewilderment creeps across my brain.

'I am afraid I do not understand your question,' I reply blankly.

'Is it not clear?  Think again!'

I puzzle over His words once more.  An idea suddenly flashes into my head.  I point a finger to myself and mention
my name.

'And do you know him?'

'All my life!' I smile back at Him.

'But that is only your body!  Again I ask, 'Who are you?"

I cannot find a ready answer to this extraordinary query.

The Maharshi continues:

'Know first that I and then you shall know the Truth.'

My mind hazes again.  I am deeply puzzled. This bewilderment finds verbal expression.  But the Maharshi has evidently
reached the limit of His English, for he turns to the interpreter and the answer is slowly translated to me.

'There is only one thing to be done.  Look into your own self. Do this in the right way and you shall find answer to all
your problems.'

It is a strange rejoinder.  But I ask Him:

'What must one do?  What method can I pursue?'

'Through deep reflection on the nature of one's self and through constant meditation, the light can be found.'

'I have frequently given myself up to meditation upon the truth, but I see no signs of progress.'

'How do you know that no progress has been made?  It is not easy to perceive one's progress in the spiritual realm.'

'Is help of a Master necessary?'

'It might be.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

       

   

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 01:53:49 PM »

continues....

'Can a Master help a man to look into his own self in the way you suggest?'

'He can give the man all that he needs for this quest.  Such a thing can however be perceived only through personal experience.'

'How long will it take to get some enlightenment with a Master's help?'

'It all depends on the maturity of the seeker's mind.  The gunpowder catches fire in an instant, while much time is needed
to set fire to the coal.'

I receive a queer feeling that the Sage dislikes to discuss the subject of Masters and their methods.  Yet, my mental pertinacity
is strong enough to over ride this feeling, and I address a further question on the matter to Him.  He turns a stolid face
toward the window, gazes out at the expanse of hilly landscape beyond and vouchsafes no answer.  I take the hint and drop
the subject.

'Will the Maharshi express an opinion about the future of the world, for we are living in critical times?'

'Why should you trouble yourself about the future?' demands the Sage.  'You do not even properly know about the present!
Take care of the present; the future will then take care of itself.'

Another rebuff !  But I do not yield so easily on this occasion, for I come from a world where the tragedies of life press far
more heavily on people than they do in this peaceful jungle retreat. 

'Will not the world soon enter a new era of friendliness and mutual help, or will it go down into chaos and war?'  I persist.

The Maharshi does not seem at all pleased, but nevertheless He makes a reply.

'There is One who governs the world, and it is His look out to look after the world.  He who has given life to the world
knows how to look after it also.   He bears the burden of this world, not you.'

'Yet, if one looks around the world with unprejudiced eyes, it is difficult to see where this benevolent regard comes in.'
I object.

The  Sage appears to be still less pleased. Yet His answer comes:

'As you are, so is the world.  Without understanding yourself, what is the use of trying to understand the world?
This is a question that seekers after the truth need not consider.  People waste their energies over all such questions.
First, find out the truth behind yourself.  Then you will be in a better position to understand the truth behind the world,
of which yourself is a part.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

           

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 01:33:02 PM »

continues....

There is an abrupt pause.  An attendant approaches and lights another incense stick  The Maharshi watches the blue smoke
curl its way upwards and then picks up His manuscript book.  He unfolds its pages and begins to work again, thus dismissing
me from the field of His attention.

This renewed indifference of His plays like cold water upon my self esteem.  I sit around for another quarter of an hour,
but I can see that He is in no mood to answer my questions.  Feeling that our conversation is really at an end, I rise from
the tiled floor, place my hands together in farewell, and leave Him.

*

In the next sub-chapter Brunton describes his visit to the Big Temple and various shrines and also visiting the shops
around the Temple.

*

Fireflies whirl about the hermitage garden, drawing strange patterns of light on the background of darkness, as we drive
in the palm-fringed courtyard.  And when I enter the long hall and drop to a seat on the floor, the sublime silence appears
to have reached this place and pervaded the air.

The assembled company squats in rows around the Hall, but among them there is no noise or talk.   Upon the corner couch
sits the Maharshi, His feet folded beneath Him, His hands resting unconcernedly upon His knees.  His figure strikes me anew
as being simple, modest; yet withal it is dignified and and impressive.   His head is nobly poised, like the head of some
Homeric sage.  His eyes gaze immovably towards  the far end of the Hall.  That strange steadiness of sight is as puzzling
as ever.  Has he been merely watching through the window the last ray of light fade out of the sky, or is He so wrapped in some     
dreamlike abstraction as to see naught of this material world at all?

The usual cloud of incense floats among the rafters of the roof.  I settle down and try to fix my eyes on the Maharshi, but
after a while feel a delicate urge to close them.  It is not long before I fall into a half sleep, lulled by the intangible peace
which, in the Sage's proximity, begins to penetrate me more deeply.  Ultimately there comes a gap in my consciousness and
then I experience a vivid dream.

I seems that I become a little boy of five.  I stand on a rough path which winds up and around the sacred Hill of Arunachala,
and hold the Maharshi's hand;  but now He is a great towering figure at my side, for He seems to have grown to a giant's
size.  He leads me away from the hermitage and, despite the impenetrable darkness of night, guides me along the path,
which we both slowly walk together.  After a while, the stars and the moon conspire to bestow a faint light upon our surroundings.
I notice that the Maharshi carefully guides me around the fissures in the rocky soil and between monstrous boulders that are
shakily parched.  The Hill is steep and our ascent is slow.  Hidden in narrow clefts between the rocks and boulders or sheltered
by clusters of low bushes, tiny hermitages and inhabited caves come into view.  As we pass by, the inhabitants emerge to greet
us and, although their forms take on a ghostly appearance in the starlight, I recognize that they are yogis of varying kinds. 
We never stop for them, but continue to walk until the top of the peak is reached.  We halt at last, my heart throbbing with a
strange anticipation of some momentous event about to befall me.

The Maharshi turns and looks down into my face. I, in turn, gaze expectantly up at Him.  I become aware of a mysterious
change taking place with great rapidity in my heart and mind.  The old motives which have lured me on begin to desert me.
The urgent desires which have sent my feet hither and thither vanish with incredible swiftness.  The dislikes, misunderstandings,
coldness and selfishness which have marked my dealings with many of my fellows collapse into the abyss of nothingness.
An untellable peace falls upon me and I know that there is nothing further that I shall ask from life.

Suddenly the Maharshi bids me turn my gaze away to the bottom of the Hill.  I obediently do so and to my astonishment discover
the Western hemisphere of our globe lies stretched out far below.  It is crowded with millions of people; I can vaguely discern
them as masses of forms, but the night's darkness still enshrouds them.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2013, 11:27:28 AM »

continues....

The Sage's voice comes to my ears, His words slowly uttered:

'When you go back there, you shall have this peace, which you now feel, but its price will be that you shall
henceforth cast aside the idea that you are the body, or this brain.  When this peace flow into you, thern you
shall have to forget your own self, for you will have turned your life over to That.'

And the Maharshi places one hand of a thread of silver light in my hand. 

I awaken from that extraordinarily  vivid dream with the sense of its penetrating sublimity yet upon me. Immediately,
the Maharshi's eyes meet mine.  His face is now turned in my direction, and He is looking fixedly into my eyes.

What lies behind that dream?  For the desires and bitterness of personal life fade for a while into oblivion.  That condition
of lofty indifference to self and profound pity for my fellows, which I have dreamed into being, does not take its departure
even though I am now awake.  It is a strange experience.

But if the dream has any verity in it, then the thing will not last. It is not yet for me.

How long have I been sunk in dream?  For everyone in the Hall now begins to rise and to prepare for sleep.  I must perforce
follow their example.

It is too stuffy to sleep in that long, sparsely ventilated Hall, so I choose the courtyard.  A tall, grey bearded disciple
brings me a lantern and advices me to keep it burning throughout the night.  There is possibility of unwelcome visitors
such as snakes and even cheetahs.  But they are likely to keep clear of a light.

The earth is baked hard, and I possess no mattress, with the result I do not feel asleep for some hours.  But no matter --
I have enough to think over, for I feel that in the Maharshi I have met the most mysterious personality whom life has
yet brought within the orbit of my experience.

The Sage seems to carry something of great moment to me.  Yet, I cannot easily determine its precise nature.  It is
intangible, imponderable, perhaps spiritual.  Each time I think of Him tonight, each time I remember the vivid dream,
a peculiar sensation pierces me and causes my heart to throb with vague but lofty expectations.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             
   

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2013, 11:15:06 AM »

continues....

During the ensuing days, I endeavor to get into closer contact with the Maharshi, but fail.  There are three reasons for
this failure.  The first arises naturally out of His own reserved nature, His obvious dislike for argument and discussion,
His stolid indifference to one's beliefs and opinions.  It becomes perfectly obvious that the Sage has no wish to convert
anyone to His own ideas, whatever they may be, and no desire to add a single person to His following.

The second cause is certainly a strange one, but nevertheless exists.  Since the evening of hat particular dream, I feel a
great awe whenever I enter His Presence.  The questions which would otherwise have come chatteringly from my lips are
hushed, because it seems almost a sacrilege to regard Him as a person with whom one can talk and argue on equal plane,
so far as common humanity is concerned.

The third cause of my failure is simple enough.  Almost always there are several other persons present in the Hall and I feel
disinclined to bring out my private thoughts in their presence.  After all, I am a stranger to them and a foreigner in this district.
That I voice a different language, to some of them is a fact of little import, but that I possess a cynical, sceptical outlook
unstirred by religious emotion is a fact of much import when I attempt to give utterance to that outlook. I have no desire to
hurt their pious susceptibilities, but I have no desire to discuss matters from an angle which makes little appeal to me.
So, to some extent, this thing makes me tongue tied.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2013, 01:35:37 PM »

continues.....

It is not easy to find a smooth way across all the three barriers.  Several times I am on the point of putting a question
to the Maharshi, but one of the three factors intervenes to cause my failure.

My proposed week end quickly passes and I extend it to another week. The week passes and I extend it to a fortnight.

The last day of my visit arrives and yet I am not closer to Him.

............

I hasten to the Hall and sit down conveniently near the divan.  The Maharshi turns His face immediately, His mouth relaxing
into a pleasant greeting.  Straightaway, I feel at ease and begin to question Him:

'The yogis say that one must renounce this world and go off into secluded jungles or mountains, if one wishes to find Truth.
Such things can hardly be done in the West.  Our lives are so different.  Do you agree with Yogis?

The Maharshi answers (after the question translated):

'The life of action need not be renounced.  If you will meditate for an hour or two every day, you can then carry on with
your duties.  If you meditate on the right manner, then the current of mind induced will continue to flow even in the midst
of our work. It is as though there were two ways of expressing the same idea.  The same line you take in meditation will be
expressed in your activities.'

'What will be the result of doing that?'

'As you go on you will find that your attitude towards people, events and objects will gradually change.  Your actions will tend
to follow your meditation of their own accord.'

'Then you do not agree with the yogis?' I  try to pin Him down.

But the Maharshi eludes a direct answer.

'A man should surrender the personal selfishness which binds him to this world.  Giving up the false belief is true renunciation.'

'How is it possible to become self less while leading a life of worldly activity?'

'There is no conflict between work and wisdom.'

'Do you mean that one can continue all the old activities in one's profession, for instance, and at the same time get enlightenment?'

'Why not?  But in that case, one will not think that it is the old personality which is doing the work, because one's consciousness
will gradually become transferred until it is centered in That which is beyond the little self.'

'If a person is engaged in work, there will be little time left for him to meditate.'

The Maharshi seems quite unperturbed at my poser.

'Setting apart time, for meditation is only for the merest spiritual novices,' He replies.  'A man who is advancing will begin to
enjoy the deepest beatitude, whether he is at work or not.  While his hands are in society, he keeps his head cool in solitude.'

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                           

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2013, 11:45:04 AM »

continues.....

'Then you do not teach the way of Yoga?'

'The Yogi tries to drive his mind to the goal, as a cowherd drives a bull with a stick, but on this path the seeker coaxes the
bull by holding out a handful of grass.'

'How is that done?'

'You have to ask yourself the question, Who am I?.  This investigation will lead in the end to the discovery of something
within you which is behind the mind. Solve that great problem, and you will solve all other problems thereby.'

There is a pause as I try to digest His answer.  From the square framed and barred hole in the wall, which does duty as
a window, as it does in so many Indian buildings, I obtain a fine view of the lower slopes of the sacred Hill.  Its strange
outline is bathed in the early morning sunlight.

The Maharshi addresses again:

'Will it be clear if it is put in this way?  All human beings are ever wanting happiness, untainted with sorrow.  They want to
grasp happiness which will not come to an end.  The instinct is a true one.  But have you ever been struck by the fact that
they love their own selves most?'

'Well?'

'Now relate that to the fact that they are ever desirous of attaining happiness through one means or another, through drink
or through religion, and you are provided with a clue to the real nature of man.'

'I fail to see...'

The tone of His voice becomes higher.

'Man's real nature is happiness. Happiness is inborn in the true Self.  His search for happiness is an unconscious search
for his true Self.  The true Self is imperishable, therefore when a man finds it, he finds a  happiness which does not come
to an end.'

'But the world is so unhappy.'

'Yes, but that is because the world is ignorant of its true Self.  All men, without exception, are consciously or unconsciously
seeking for it.'

'Even the wicked, the brutal and the criminal?' I ask.

'Even they sin because they are trying to find the Self's happiness in every sin, which they commit.  This striving  is instinctive
in man, but they do not know that they are really seeking their true selves, and so they try these wicked ways first as a means
to happiness.  Of course, they are wrong ways, for  man's acts are reflected back to him.'

'So we shall feel lasting happiness when we know this true Self?'

The Maharshi nods His head.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva,.
             

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 10:49:37 AM »

continues....

A slanting ray of sunshine falls through the unglazed window upon the Maharshi's face.  There is serenity in that unruffled brow,
there is contentment around that firm mouth, there is a shine-like peace in those lustrous eyes. His unlined countenance does
not belie His revelatory words.

What does the Maharshi mean by these apparently simple sentences?  The interpreter has conveyed their outward meaning
to me in English, yes, but there is a deeper purport which he cannot convey. I know that I must discover it myself.  The Sage
seems to speak, not as a philosopher, not as a pundit trying to explain His own doctrine, but rather out of the depth of His
own heart. Are these words the marks of His own fortunate experience?

'What exactly is this Self of which you speak? If what you say is true, then must be another self in man.'

His lips curve in smile for a moment. 

'Can a man be possessed of two identities, two selves?' He makes answer  'To understand this matter, it is first necessary
for a man to analyze himself.  Because it has long been his habit to think as others think, he has never faced his 'I' in the true
manner.  He has not a correct picture of himself;  he has too long identified himself with the body and the brain.  Therefore, I
tell you to pursue this inquiry, Who am I?'

He pauses to let these words soak into me.  I listen eagerly to His next sentences.

'You ask me to describe this true Self to you.  What can be said? It is That out of which the sense of personal 'I' arises.
And into which it shall have to disappear.'

'Disappear?' I echo back.  'How can one lose the feeling of one's own personality?'

'The first and foremost of all thoughts, the primeval thought in the mind of every man is the thought of 'I'.  It is only after the
birth of this thought that any other thoughts can arise at all.  It is only after the first personal pronoun 'I' has arisen in the mind
that the personal pronoun 'you' can make its appearance. If you could mentally follow the 'I' thread until it leads you back to its
source, you would discover that, just as it is the thought to appear, so is it the last to disappear.  This is a matter which can
be experienced.'

'You mean that it is perfectly possible to conduct such a mental investigation into oneself?'

'Assuredly !  It is possible to go inwards until the last thought 'I' gradually vanishes. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           
 
         
             

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2013, 02:41:53 PM »

continues.....

'What is left?' I query.  'Will a man then become quite unconscious or will he become an idiot?'

'Not so!  On the contrary, he will attain that consciousness which is immortal, and he will become truly wise, when he has
awakened to his true Self, which is the real nature of man.'

'But surely he sense of 'I' must also pertain to that?' I persist.

'The sense of 'I' pertains to the person, the body and the brain,' replies the Maharshi calmly.  'When a man knows his true
Self for the first time, something else arises from the depths of his being and takes possession of him. That something
is behind the mind.  It is infinite, divine, eternal.  Some people call it the kingdom of heaven, others call it the soul, still others
name it Nirvana, and we Hindus call it liberation.  You may give it what name you wish.  When this happens, a man has not
really lost himself.  Rather he has found himself.'

As the last word fall from the interpreter's lips, there flashes across my mind those memorable words which were uttered
by a wandering Teacher in Galilee, words which have puzzled so many good persons:  WHOSOEVER SHALL SEEK TO SAVE
HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT;  AND WHOSOEVER SHALL LOSE HIS LIFE SHALL PRESERVE IT. 

How strangely similar are the two sentences?  Yet the Indian Sage has arrived at the thought in his own non-Christian way,
through a psychological path which seems exceedingly difficult and appears unfamiliar. 

The Maharshi spoke again, His words breaking into my thoughts.

'Unless and until a man embarks upon this quest of the true Self, doubt and uncertainty will follow his footsteps throughout
life. The greatest kings and statesmen try to rule others, when in their heart of hearts they know that they cannot rule themselves.
Yet, the greatest power is at the command of the man who has penetrated into his inmost depth.  There are men of giant
intellects who spend their lives gathering knowledge about many things.  Ask these men if they have solved the mystery of man,
if they have conquered themselves, and they will hang their heads in shame. What is the use of knowing about everything else
when you do not yet know who you are?  Men avoid this inquiry into the true Self, but what else is there so worthy to be
undertaken?'

'That is such a difficult, superhuman task,' I comment.

The Sage gives an almost imperceptible shrug of His shoulders.

'The question of its possibility is a matter of one's own experience.  The difficulty is less real than you think.'

'For us, who are active, practical Westerners, such introspection....?' I begin doubtfully and leave my sentence trailing in
mid air.

The Maharshi bends down to light a fresh joss stick, which will replace one whose red spark is dying out. 

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                         

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Maharshi and His Message: Paul Brunton:
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2013, 03:11:27 PM »

continues....

"The realization of truth is the same for both Indians and Europeans.  Admittedly the way to it may be harder for those
who are engrossed in worldly life, but even then one can and must conquer.  The current induced during meditation, can be
kept up by habit, practicing to do so.  Then one can perform his work and activities in that very current itself;  there will be
no break.  Thus, too there will be no difference between meditation and external activities.  If you meditate on this question
Who am I?, if you begin to perceive that neither the body nor the brain nor the desires are really you, then the very attitude
of inquiry will eventually draw the answer to you out of the depths of your own being; it will come to you of its own accord
as a deep realization.'

Again I ponder His words.

'Know the real Self', he continues, 'and then the truth will shine forth within your heart like sunshine.  The mind will become
untroubled and real happiness will flood it; for happiness and the true Self are identical.  You will have no more doubts once
you attain this Self awareness.'

He turns His head and fixes His gaze at the far end of the Hall.  I know that He has reached His conventional limit.  Thus
ends our last talk and I congratulate myself myself that I have drawn Him out of the shell of taciturnity before my departure.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.