Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Paul Brunton: the original yogi:)

Paul Brunton -- if you are yoga-crazed, and in that sense spiritually yearning -- then u simply must have heard of Paul Brunton. He is the one who introduced the mystical aspect of yoga to the world...  In fact, the western fascination for Ramana Maharishi (who I believe is one of the last of the real saints, never mind all the other late-comers  laying claim to that title) began with Brunton's book A  Search in Secret India..It is a pretty objective book if you can call something that is obviously a dairy of his spiritual experiences in India. though he is arch with some gurus he meets along this life-long love affair with India, the only  person's before whom he surrenders with abject devotion is  Ramana Maharishi(Photo below). And those experiences he speaks of, where the mind stand stills when u are in (or feel)  Ramana's presence is what u want in a guru... somebody holding your mind by its tail, and chaining down its lunacy.
After that book I visited the Ramana Ashram and have read every book of the Maharishi (or records from his speeches). If you read what the Maharishi says you don't need to read any other book on Vedanta, or even do yoga... he reaches you there, to where the soul longs,  in a simple, lucid manner that accomodates one's spiritual naivete. After Swami Sivananda, the one whom I adore absolutely and feel his presence (those amazing eyes) are Ramana...
My yoga is rooted in these two people, what they say yoga must be (Sw Sivananda would be a raja yogi, Ramana would be the jnana yogi) . The rest of what I do -- teach, do poses, practice -- is just a way to keep myself occupied as I wait for That:)
So, Brunton also brought famous westerners to the ashram or influenced other famous writers who had a mystical bent. Somerset Maugham's famous protagonist in Razor's Edge is said to be based on Brunton:)
The funny thing is that not many Indians know of Ramana (I myself got to learn of him so late in life) which just shows how lacking our cultural education is (between jingoism and secularism many of us lost out of important cultural lessons -- not being exposed to the Gita, not being aware of yoga as children, not having a clue of Vedanta, not knowing the magic of Sufism, among a whole lot of things that we only stumbled upon serendipitously late in life  -- what were are our parents thinking of, and what are we thinking of:(  But his writings and his speeches are translated in every known language in the world. People trek from around the world to visit his humble ashram (in which even now boarding and lodging is free)
Now Hermit in the Himalayas is only for hardcore Brunton fans and those who have already read his other books ... this one is a meandering one, where he is thinking aloud about his current political issues, spewing forth on charlatans and shares intimate moments of his spiritual expansion.... Yes, it is a lazy read, but feels good: his old-fashioned English, his gentlemanly style, his reverence for his Master (Ramana) and his constant stepping-back from himself...
I need this book to unwind from my own spiritual knots:)
                                                     (Paul Brunton)

1 comment:

evnathan said...

Thanks for writing about Paul Brunton and Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi. I too am a Bhagwan Ramana follower. His teaching "Do not try to change others, change yourself"always rings in my ear.