PAUL BRUNTON AND MEHER BABA
It is about more than 25 years back I was returning from Shiradi and I happened to visit Meherabad with some of my friends. I never heard of Meher Baba before. I visited Meher Baba’s tomb which is on the small hill. It was in the afternoon there was only an old man who was like caretaker of the tomb. The whole area was so peaceful and it was quite different from other places. At that time I did not give much importance to Mehrebaba because I was fully immersed in Shiradi Sai Baba. When I returned from that trip, one of my old friend whom I met after many years gifted me a book ‘A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA’. After reading that book I decided I will never again visit that place and I forgot about Meherbaba completely. But suddenly after many years I started getting the visions of the Tomb on the Meherabad hill, which made me restless. I had stopped visiting Shiradi and Thiruvanamalai and Pondicherry and I was not interested in meeting any gurus or Babas. I decided to visit the Tomb again just to check why I am getting the visions of the Meher Baba’s tomb, which I never wanted to visit the place after reading Paul Brinton’s book. So I landed in Meherabad in 2008.
I was fortunate to meet Prof, Amiya Kumar Hazara, who is the author of THE MEMOIRS OF ZETETIC – My life with MEHER BABA. He is from Jabalpur. He was about 80 years of age. OSHO happened to be his classmate. He was very familiar with all the western Baba lovers and he introduced me to many of his friends mostly westerners. I discussed with him about Meher Baba because it is the first hand trust worthy information and also he knew Meher Baba very closely. And one cannot question the integrity of Mr, Amiya Kumar Hazara. He was so pure and sincere hearted and full of love and humility. As I was discussing with him and few western friends whom I met. I was more and more curious about Meher Baba. The meeting Prof,Amiya Kumar Hazara was like pre arranged meeting and I enjoyed every moment I spent with him. But still the Paul Brunton version of Meher Baba was still strongly ingrained within me. I stayed for more than 20days in Meherabad. I am a very private person and I like to keep my personal experiences very private and I shared my experiences with very few.
One day I was in the Meher Pilgrim Retreat [MPR] library going through the books I found GLOW INTERNATIONAL magazine February, 1985 edition. I saw Paul Brunton’s photo on the page no 13. I was curious and I read the whole article by Lous Agostini . And now I was 100% sure that Paul Brunton’s assessment about Meher Baba was only an exaggeration.
In Paul Brunton’s book The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (1941)
Paul Brunton kept changing is opinion time to time. I have included some extracts collected from different sources in this post.
Now I realized why I was getting those visions and I was drawn to Meherabad in a very unique way and which wiped out my wrong assumption and judgment of Meher Baba derived from reading ‘A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA’ vanished. But I still respect Paul Brunton as great soul who contributed on his own way to the seeking world.
I fully agree with BUDDHA who said: - Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.
Meher Baba was the greatest spiritual icon of the spiritual world, and his contributions are more valuable for the seeking world. And his teaching are mystical oriented with full of Advaitic essence. All Baba lovers are completely surrendered and devoted to Meher Baba and they do not like to discuss anything other than Meher baba, and they feels Meher Baba's presence is always there with them . Meher Baba 's teachings are good for practical life within the practical world and also they are very valuable to seekers of truth if mystism is bifurcated, than it is pure Advaita. Even the prayer they sing at the tomb has pure Advaitic essence. His teachings are non-religious non-ritualistic and suits who are searching love and peace in this practical life within the practical world. Thus deeper research is needed to unfold the Advaitic or non-dualistic essence hidden in Meher Baba’s treasure. I respect all the sages of truth of the past and their contribution the Spiritual world.
Paul Brunton contribution is very valuable to the seeking world. People all over the world long enjoyed Paul Brunton's book ‘A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA’, which was instrumental in making Sri, Ramana Maharsi famous, Meher Baba wince. This book is all time bestseller at the time and continues to sell to this day.
“The search in secret India” a book by Paul Brunton caused many westerners to visit India many times. This book was first published in England in 1933 and later in United States in 1935 ant it has enjoyed unusual success and it is still popular even today. His book laid the foundation for the seekers of truth in India's spiritual traditions.
An article in Glow International Feb 1985. Page -14-15-16 titled -- How I was drawn to Meher Baba:-
Two chapters of this book is devoted to MEHER BABA, the most spectacular of all the figure of Indian landscape whom Paul Brunton has met and so it was Meher baba who received a greatest attention in this book.
But it was quickly evident that reading his book “SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA” Paul Brunton had come to swift conclusion that Meher Baba’s assertions about his role about his world redeemer were nothing but a compound of fanciful exaggerations and oriental fantasy. Meher Baba he wrote was suffering from paranoia, that is, illusions about his own grandeur. And no matter that he conceded there were grains of religious genius in many of Meher Baba’s sayings and that Meher Baba exuded a gentle atmosphere, the overall picture that his facile pen drew is harsh and critical one. Meher baba he said, he said suffered from no modesty and he added, “Some men are born great, some archived greatness, while others appoint press agent. He meant by the latter that Meher baba favoured this course when he asked Paul Brunton to return to England and work for him.
Paul Brunton however declined on the ground that he first wanted Meher Baba grant him some yogic experience of consciousness which would revel life’s secrets to him, and he also wanted Meher Baba to perform a serious of miracles which would convince ‘West’ that Meher Baba indeed a superman.
“Stay with me than!” invited Meher Baba, but Paul Brunton packed his suitcase after spending one week of an invited one month’s stay at the ashram at Nasik –he had already seen Meher Baba once before at Meherabad – and left utterly convinced that this strange phenomenon of self-styled Messiah was a fruit that would wither on its vine.
The manner in which Brunton presents the case against Meher Baba sufficiently plausible the mould the opinion of cynical audience I did not exclude myself, but as I discovered much later he had omitted that ought to have been revealed. I am referring the fact that before he ever landed in India and while he still living in England he used to write poems in praise of Meher Baba. And I have in my possession an article by him –taken from the old Meher Baba journal “THE WEST NEEDS MEHER BABA.” These were all written by him under his original name of H. Raphael Hirsh, Paul Brunton being his pen name.
I had often wondered how it was that Brunton was managed to see Meher Baba within one month of landing in India and although he had mentioned having had some correspondence with Meher Baba’s secretary who at that time was Vishnu, he went no further than his bald statement in the book.
What then had caused this somersault in his feelings towards Meher Baba? The answer may have rested partly in the following. Meher Baba had always discouraged his disciples from taking issue with those who criticized him, including of course Paul Brunton, and although this may have been keeping with his well-known intention ‘He needed opposition for his work, the result of such an order was that a rounded point of view of events and circumstances was impossible to attain . For Meher Baba thus intentionally allowed only the opposition to speak while He made no effort to defend himself.
In any case, as I have gathered it, when Paul Brunton first met Meher Baba at Meherabad, he told baba that he wanted to write a book about him and Meher Baba replied, that was not the time to write anything about him.
This answer was as unexpected as it was frustrating for Brunton had hardly began his investigation of the vast Indian sub-continent and his reporter instinct could not comprehend this decision of Meher Baba was further fortified Baba’s order to his disciples they should not speak to Brunton . This quarantine was also extended by the fact that for the time of his short stay , Brunton was supplied with servant who spoke no English.
So it was suggested that the ensuing pit of pique was cause of Brunton hasty departure from baba’s ashram and it was this mood which then become reflected in SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA.
All those who have read the biography of Meher Baba will already be familiar with the story of the unveiling of the super consciousness of the Avatar to assume his office and begin to function at the head of the spiritual hierarchy which rules the creation.
This is necessarily a mysterious act which happens at a level of being to which the gross mind of man has and can have no access. But Paul Brunton is not prepared to accept such things and so he decided the worth of Upasani Maharaja himself. And in order to this he journeyed to Bombay to interview a retired judge who debunks Upasani Baba by relating to experiences he had with him, one of which I will mention.
In this case, the judge’s son-in-law went to Maharaj to inquire whether it would be alright for him to buy a seat in Bombay stock exchange and Maharaj replied it would be very fortunate to do so. But the result was financially disastrous.
From this incident, the judge and Paul Brunton concluded that if that was the sort of undependable advice that a ‘Perfect Master dispensed a young man who came to him in order to augment his worldly fortune, then there could be very little likelihood of merit that the same Upasani Maharaj of the spiritual mechanics which had elevated Meher baba in the far more difficult task to the topmost rung of the spiritual ladder.
The whole lesson contained in this episode was lost on the judge, on Paul Brunton and on me when I read the story initially for it seemed so logical. But it was only surface reasoning.
The only benefit of spiritual master is interested in conferring on any individual who has come to him, is spiritual benefit. And if he deems it necessary to empty the hands of that individual of what he considers to be worldly trash that will hinder the individuals spiritual development, he will un hesitatingly do so even at the cost of great pain to the individual for the sake of the spiritual benefit which will accrue to that individual.
Paul Brunton should have paused at this point to do some reflection for he had also taken trouble to travel to Poona to visit Hazrat Babajan on two occasions. And he is very frank in reporting in his book that these excursions had had left him with strong favourable and remarkable impression. She appeared to him to be beyond the run of ordinary humanity and to be possessed of some strange power that was sufficient to startle the most hidebound rationalist. Yet despite this exceptional evidence which his meeting with Hazarat Babazan had produced, Brunton refused to allow it any weight in the final adverse judgement he drew up against Meher Baba.
It will be seen therefore that I was quiet familiar with the name and fame of man called Meher baba when I saw an advertisement in The New York Times many years ago and someone was going to talk about him at a public meeting. So armed as I was then with the criticism which was only borrowed one but which I nevertheless wished to press on others, I hurried to the meeting to secure the seat in one of the front rows.
The speaker was Darwin Shaw whom I did not know at the time and it turned out that he has recently returned from spending and incredible three weeks with Meher Baba at Meher Baba.
I cannot recall much what he said that afternoon for it must have been out of context for me as I knew Meher Baba from the view which Brunton has presented in his book. And so I was impatient for question time to arrive and when it did, I was quickly on my feet with the first question of the day. “What did you think of Paul Brunton’s assessment of Meher Baba”? I enquired.
However my first sword –trust was blunted by the speaker’s disclaimer that he has not read the book and therefore was in no position to supply an answer. So when the next opportunity presented itself, I was again in my feet and this time I based my question on something the speaker had stress in his talk.
“You said” I commenced that Meher Baba has come into the world to awaken the consciousness of the mankind. Then what is he waiting for?” and I concluded with “I am ready !” I do not remember the speaker reply because I must have been obviously unprepared to receive it and to hold it.
So the meeting came to an end and I was firmly convinced that I had spent a most unprofitable afternoon on a foolish wasteful expedition sitting among lunatic fringe. For who beside lunatic fringe ever expected a second coming in this modern, sophisticated and technological age of 20th century – and in India of all places! What was wrong with America where mass media possessed the greatest number of kilowatts?
However fate was plying her in inscrutable game that afternoon –and Fate or Chance as Anatole France had put it, is pseudonym that god uses when He does not want sign his name- for on my way out form the meeting I stopped at the door to accept the leaflet which described a Meher spiritual centre-at Myrtle beach, south Carolina. In time this was to become my most important directive, and as I look back now on my acceptance of the leaflet and with my experience I have since had , I am firmly convinced that it was Meher Baba ‘ instant but silent reply to my somewhat angry but nonetheless earnest final question at the meeting.
Moreover, as I look back through the years on that afternoon‘s performance of attempting to sow the seeds of personal disbelief which I had natured for some time regarding this unlikely story of the world redeemer in our midst, I view it differently. Not so much as a as a want negative act directed outwards, but as a rebellion against my own self –an impatience with an exasperating inability to free my mind of some disturbing debris over which I had been stumbling for too many years.
Not long after the meeting, Meher Baba’s major book dealing with theme of creation and it purpose (God Speaks) appeared, and being still curious about such matters, I hurried down to a fifth avenue book stores to examine a copy. But having looked it over I decided that it was too difficult and toilsome a metaphysics for my own palate which thanks Paul Brunton’s later books on philosophy, inclined me more to the belief that the state of highest consciousness by pursuing a set of bodily and mental yogic disciplines.
And here again the Fete stepped in with an unusual decree by arranging that while I was thus bathed in a glow of enchantment with my favourite philosopher, or path should cross New York City. We met, became friends and I was eventually asked to become his secretary. He was still much travelled person and I was able to care of his mail in New York City.
It is strange to reflect that in choosing me as his secretary from among many friends, admirers and camp followers, even including the man he sent me after I have written him my first letter concerning point about Spinoza –for he had replied that I should first speak to this man who was very familiar with all that he had written before I could have my first appointment with him that he disagreed with assessment of Meher Baba and that this guru whom he had so badly chastised in his book, had become the sad guru in my life.
I would like to get back to the state of highest consciousness as Brunton viewed it in order to make a point.
This state of highest consciousness, according to Brunton, unfolded first through intuition which is a secondary product of the mind, but it glimmers discontinuously during a period when the possibilities of error are immense. Hence checks must be supplied at this stage through intelligence, experience and authority. And that is the possibilities of error were indeed great, was ironically illustrated by Brunton himself.
For at one time he had let it be known verbally to the close circle of friends, myself included that plunged in yogic trance he had received a vision of a terrible calamity undoubtedly resulting from nuclear warfare that would be fall the world, affecting mostly the Northern Hampshire .
I need not tell about the activity which sized some his friends, as search was undertaken for the safe place in Southern Hampshire. I can even remember the time I became convinced that such place might be on the boundary between Peru and Bolivia. Why? Because the initials for these two countries were the same as Paul Brunton whom we endearingly addressed as ‘PB’.
Such was my enchantment in those days with my favourite philosophers. Of course he gave whatever scientific and other advice he was able together from his friends in Washington, but when he finally learned that he would not accompany the group, the idea melted away.
Regarding the above calamity, he later issued printed circular entitled “The Message” which modified his forecast by stating that there is no longer and certainties and that the only real security lay in one’s own karma and dependence on God.
In the same circular there appeared a curious paragraph in which Paul Brunton referred to himself as ’JR’, meaning ‘Jupiter Rex’ or the king of the Gods and pointed to himself as an example of a man who has reached the end of a spiritual path. I waited for a further explanation of this statement but it never came. In fact in the very last letter which he wrote to me from Auckland ,New Zealand , in response to my which to drop the work I was doing for him because of my love to Meher baba, he stated that he felt that his original statements about Meher Baba had been written by another person and that certainly if he had to do it over again ,he would write differently. However as he had not seen Meher Baba for those long bygone days, he did not know what he would write.
Regarding the expression of my new relationship with Meher Baba, he wrote that the important thing was that I found spiritual stimulus and help through finding Meher Baba and added, I am only a writer and if what I have done erroneous ,perhaps you may be able to show me so? Two years previously he had stated in print that he has finished the spiritual path and now he was only a writer! I had no mind to suggest that we should both visit India and attempt to see Meher Baba who was then in speculation but the obedient lover in me stayed my hand and I never replied his question.
The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (1941)
In Hidden Teaching, Brunton changes the question “Who am I?” to “What am I?” He says that "Who Am I" was a question which emotionally pre-supposed that the ultimate 'I' of man would prove to be a personal being, whereas "What Am I?" rationally lifted the issue to scientific impersonal enquiry into the nature of that ultimate 'I.' (Hidden Teaching, 17).
In Hidden Teaching, Brunton says that he still regards Ramana as “the most eminent South Indian yogi.” But he also says something quite surprising: that he had known about meditation and yoga before he came to Ramana's ashram, and that his experience with Ramana was no new experience. He makes the “confession” that when he first came to India, he was "no novice in the practice of yoga," Even as a teenager …the ineffable exstasis of mystical trance had become a daily occurrence in the calendar of life, the abnormal mental phenomena which attend the earlier experience of yoga was commonplace and familiar, whilst the dry labours of meditation had disappeared into effortless ease (Hidden Teaching, 23).
Brunton claims that he not only had practiced yoga, but that he had experienced the abnormal phenomena, or siddhis. He refers to the experience of being seemingly extended in space, an incorporeal being.
What I omitted to state and now reveal was that it was no new experience because many years before I had met the saintly yogi of Arunachala, I had enjoyed precisely similar ecstasies, inward repose and luminous intuitions during self-training in meditation (Hidden Teaching, 25).
Brunton says that Ramana only confirmed his earlier experiences. Is Brunton being honest here? Or has he invented this story of previous experience in view of his disenchantment with Ramana? Surprisingly, the independent record seems to show that Brunton may be telling the truth. There is evidence that Brunton had had earlier experiences. The 1931 independent report of his first meeting with Ramana reports Brunton (then known as Hurst) as telling Ramana that he had earlier experienced moments of bliss .
It is in Hidden Teaching that Brunton says that he used the story of Ramana as a “peg” on which to hang his own theories of meditation:-
It will therefore be clear to perspicacious readers that I used his name and attainments as a convenient peg upon which to hang an account of what meditation meant to me. The principal reason for this procedure was that it constituted a convenient literary device to secure the attention and hold the interest of western readers, who would naturally give more serious consideration to such a report of the “conversion” of a seemingly hard headed critically-minded Western journalist to yoga (Hidden Teaching, 25).
It is also in Hidden Teaching that Brunton made public his criticisms of Ramana. Brunton says that there were “threats of physical violence” against him. He says he left the ashram “abruptly.” He refers to “threats of physical violence” and "malicious lying ignorance." He speaks of being “harshly separated by the ill-will of certain men.” He speaks of “hate” and “low manners”, which he attributes to jealousy over his success (Hidden Teaching, 18). Brunton did not return to see Ramana at all in the 12 years before Ramana’s death, even though he passed within a few miles of the ashram (Notebooks 8, s. 6:233.)
Brunton had many disagreements with Ramana. An article in The Maharshi gives the following reason for Brunton’s disagreements with the ashram. It says that after the success of his book A Search in Secret India, Brunton had published many books without acknowledging that Ramana was the source of his ideas.
As we have seen, there certainly appears to be truth in the allegation that Brunton did not sufficiently acknowledge Ramana as his source for many ideas. Chadwick says that Brunton was “a plagiarist of the first water” (Chadwick, 16). But there were also other disagreements with Ramana, at least as noted by Brunton.
Brunton disagreed with Ramana's brother, who was the Sarvadhikari in charge of the ashram. Brunton describes the situation at the ashram as: ... a highly deplorable situation in the Ramana ashram which represents the culminating crisis of a degeneration which has been going on and worsening during the last three years .
He says that Ramana’s ascetic indifference meant that he could not control the ashram:
But during my last two visits to India it had become painfully evident that the institution known as the Ashram which had grown around him during the past few years, and over which his ascetic indifference to the world rendered him temperamentally disinclined to excercise the slightest control, could only greatly hinder and not help my own struggles to attain the highest goal, so I had no alternative but to bid it an abrupt and final farewell (Hidden Teaching, 18).
The ashram had turned out to be “a miniature fragment of the imperfect world I had deserted” (Hidden Teaching, 43).
Comments made about Ramana: - Masson says that Brunton had given interviews in the Indian papers about Ramana, which the brother had not found satisfactory (Masson, 25). Were these disagreements even earlier than 1939? Brunton had not been at the ashram since early 1936. In September 1936, Ramana was asked about "some disagreeable statements by a man well known to Maharshi." Ramana replied, I permit him to do so. I have permitted him already. Let him do so even more. Let others follow suit. Only let them leave me alone. If because of these reports no one comes to me, I shall consider it a great service done to me. Moreover, if he cares to publish books containing scandals of me, and if he makes money by their sale, it is really good. Such books will sell even more quickly and in larger numbers than the others […] He is doing me a very good turn (Talks, 204; paragraph 250 (Sept. 7, 1936).
What can I do? If I go off to the forest and try to hide, what will happen? They will soon find me out. Then someone will put up a hut in front of me and another person at the back, and it will not be long before huts will have sprung up on either side. Where can I go? I shall always be a prisoner (Chadwick, 93)
Brunton says that with Ramana, he experienced intermittent satisfactions of mental peace. But these entered into conflict with “an innate, ever-enquiring rationalism” (Hidden Teaching, 21). He had hoped to obtain more guidance from Ramana: I turned in the first hope of finding clear guidance to the Maharishi. But the guidance never came. I waited patiently in the hope that time might draw it out of him, but I waited in vain. Gradually it dawned upon me as this question of obtaining a higher knowledge than hitherto rose uppermost in my mind, that so far he had never instructed any other person in it. The reason slowly emerged as I pondered the matter. From my long friendship with him it was possible to gauge that primarily this was not his path and did not much interest him. His immense attainment lay in the realms of asceticism and meditation. He possessed a tremendous power of concentrating attention inwardly and losing himself in rapt trance, of sitting calm and unmoved like a tree. But with all the deep respect and affection I feel for him, it must be said that the role of a teaching sage was not his forte because he was primarily a self-absorbed mystic. This explained why his open disdain for life’s practical fulfilment in disinterested service of others had led to inevitable consequences of a disappointing kind in his immediate external environment. It was doubtless more than enough for himself and certainly for his adoring followers that he had perfected himself in indifference to worldly attractions and in the control of restless mind. He did not ask for more. The question of the significance of the universe in which he lived did not appear to trouble him. The question of the significance of the human being did trouble him and he had found an answer which satisfied him. (Hidden Teaching, 16)
Paul Brunton regarded these trances as evidence of Ramana’s enlightenment. But in Hidden Teaching, Brunton criticizes trances. Brunton refers to the “sheer shrivelled complacency” of some of Ramana's followers, and their “hidden superiority complex.” He refers to this mystical attitude as a “holier than thou attitude,” and an assumption that total knowledge had been reached when in fact it was only a partial knowledge (Hidden Teaching, 16). He says that without the healthy opposition of active participation in the world’s affairs, they [mystics] have no means of knowing whether they were living in a realm of sterilized self-hallucination or not (Hidden Teaching, 19).
Brunton cites Aurobindo with approval:
Trance is a way of escape--the body is made quiet, the physical mind is in a state of torpor, the inner consciousness is left free to go on with its experience. The disadvantage is that trance becomes indispensable and that the problem of the waking consciousness is not solved, it remains imperfect (Hidden Teaching, 27).
Brunton refers to Zen as more sensible and practical. Young men are trained for 3 years; during that time they are given active tasks. They are not allowed to pass the day in lazy, futile or parasitical existence.” A half hour of meditation daily is sufficient after their departure from the monastery to keep them in contact with spiritual peace; their worldly life did not suffer but as enriched (Hidden Teaching, 28).
This criticism reflects a rather naïve view of Vedanta. Brunton had discussed this issue with Ramana as early as December 1935 (Talks, 106, par. 112). Brunton’s own later teaching moves from a personal to an impersonal Absolute. And instead of “Who am I?” Brunton refers to “What am I” as being more scientific (Hidden Teaching, 17).
Finally, Brunton seems to criticize Ramana for a lack of originality. He says, "some years after I met Maharshi I discovered in an old Sanskrit text the same Who Am I method" . This is also a strange criticism, in view of the fact that Brunton was not really interested in Ramana’s ideas at all, except as a peg for his own ideas. Nevertheless, there is some point to the criticism, for Ramana’s disciples have often assumed more originality in Ramana than is warranted by the facts. Ramana relied on many previously written works, including some tantric works, as I have shown in Jivanmukta.
Although Brunton left the ashram, and wrote publicly about his disagreements with Ramana, he nevertheless expressed his "loving devotion and profound reverence for him”: As I wrote in a London journal when he died in 1950: "He was the one Indian mystic who inspired me most…The inner telepathic contact and close spiritual affinity between us remained vivid and unbroken… (Hidden Teaching, 33).
It should be noted that even in this appreciative comment, Brunton is emphasizing special occult powers, such as telepathy.
In his Notebooks, Brunton wrote that he regretted saying some of the things he did about Ramana. He says that he regrets the criticism of Ramana, and says that this criticism was occasioned “more by events in the history of the ashram than by his own self.”  But although he continued to admire Ramana as a mystic, Brunton did not change his views about the importance of ethics.
This review is from: My Father's Guru: A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion (Paperback) by BY E. VERRILLO
I picked up this book, not because I was interested in Paul Brunton (I'm not that kind of girl), but because I was intrigued by Jeffrey Masson. After reading three of Jeffrey Masson's controversial books on psychology, I wanted know what inspired him to challenge one of the legends of our time: Sigmund Freud. This book not only answered that question, but several others I had not thought of asking.
This book, unlike Masson's others, is a personal memoir. It recounts the long, strange relationship Masson's family maintained with their "guru", Paul Brunton. For reasons that are not entirely clear, though tantalizingly hinted at, Masson's father "adopted" Brunton, inviting him into their home, and becoming his disciple. Eventually every member of the family ended up walking Brunton's "Path to Enlightenment." Ultimately, the family's association with Brunton proved disastrous, involving financial loss, a precipitous move to Uruguay to avoid "WWIII", and the permanent estrangement of Masson's uncle, Bernard. Although having Brunton as a live-in guru was not ultimately as harmful as joining the Moonies or following Jim Jones to South America, Masson does point out the similarities.
In his Epilogue, Masson writes: "To see deep into the structure of one tyranny is to understand something basic about all forms of oppression. It is totalitarian. Like other authoritarian systems, it requires a suspension and suppression of critical questioning, it demands unquestioning submission to a rigid hierarchical structure, it centers on a cult of personality, and it engenders personal intrusion and abuse." This was the point of Masson's memoir, and it completely explains why Masson joined the Freudian cult of psychoanalysis, and why he ultimately rejected it. In Freud, Masson saw a reflection of Brunton's appeal, but found himself unable to suppress his critical faculties yet again. One charlatan in Masson's life was enough.
We can, and should, apply Masson's object lesson whenever we encounter anyone who requires that we suppress inquiry--whether he be a priest or a president. Such "gurus", according to Masson, always lead us down the primrose path to disaster. It is a lesson worth bearing in mind, and one which Masson's personal experience so amply demonstrates.
Paul Brunton contribution is very valuable to the seeking world. People all over the world long enjoyed Paul Brunton's book ‘A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA’, which was instrumental in making Ramana famous, Meher Baba wince. This book is all time bestseller at the time and continues to sell to this day.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Brunton lived with American author and former psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, the son of a Jewish American friend of Brunton, as Masson's parents were among a handful of Brunton's close disciples. Masson published a memoir of his childhood under the title My Father's Guru. Initially influenced by Brunton, Masson gradually became disillusioned with him. According to Masson, Brunton singled him out as a potential heir to his spiritual kingdom. In 1956, Brunton decided that a third world war was imminent and the Massons moved to Montevideo, since this location was considered safe. From Uruguay, Masson went at Brunton's bidding to study Sanskrit at Harvard. Brunton himself did not move to South America, instead spending some time living in New Zealand. Masson subsequently became proficient at Sanskrit, and realized that Brunton did not have the facility with the language that he claimed.wiki