89. Paul Brunton. Part one
Paul Brunton went to India in search of Yogis and Fakirs, in early nineteen thirties.
He had heard that in remote areas of India and Tibet, there exist very very few men who had trained there mental and physical faculties to an extraordinary degree and possessed occult powers. He was determined to find these supermen, if they still existed. The thought of finding spirituality, or divine light was not his main aim, although he considered that too. It is not clear from his book, which he published in 1934, whether he believed in God before he went to India. He writes in the first chapter of his book (‘a search in secret India’) that not too long ago he thought God a hallucination of human mind.
This book is one of the most delightful books to read. It is full of suspense and adventure. The author writes beautiful prose, each word fits nicely like a jewel. It is a story which reminds one of explorers like Magellan, and Columbus. The destination hidden and uncertain.
Brunton landed in Bombay and met a real magician, who had thirty disembodied entities at his command. The magician demonstrated his powers by showing him examples which defied any logical explanation.
His first encounter with a genuine Fakir was with, a hundred or so, years old woman (Hazrat Babajan ), who was famous in that area. She was sick and bedridden. She gazed in Brunton’s eyes and said that he has been called to India. At that time he did not believe it, because he had come to India at his own free will, but at the end of his journey he was not so sure. One other person, subsequently, said the same thing.
He met his first Yogi, Brama, who was still in training. He practiced Yoga of body control. He could stop his heart for few seconds. He could go in trance like condition and stop his breathing. He claimed that his master was four hundred year old. His master was several hundred miles away, but he could communicate with him. His master told Brama that in previous life Brunton was one of them, but now he had come in white skin, and to tell him that soon he will meet a master. Light will come to him after that, and that was certain. He will not go from India empty-handed.
Brunton learnt of a yogi who lived alone in a cottage in strict seclusion. He spent his days in deep trance like condition. He had come to that place eight years ago from nowhere. He squatted in yoga posture, in a piece of wasteland which was close to a field where now his cottage had been built, in the suburbs of busy Madras city. He talked to no one. He did not change his posture. He had no overhead coverage. So he sat there under burning sun and pouring Monsoon rains, clad only in a loincloth. He would sometime go for begging food. One time street boys started beating and persecuting him regularly, but he would never say a word, and undergo the maltreatment patiently. Once police came to know they stopped it. Eventually his fame spread and somebody built this cottage for him. He was a disciple of a famous Fakir, Marakayar, who had since died. He had come to that wasteland at the orders of his master, who had described this place to him, and told him to practice yoga over there till he became perfect.
Brunton saw the man sitting, unmoving, like a statue, on a dais, in a yoga posture. What struck him most was that for two hours that Brunton watched him, he did not blink! His eyes were open, staring straight ahead. Finally he showed signs of awareness of his surroundings. Brunton introduced himself and posed questions. The mystic gave this answer:
“Seek your own self, and you shall know the Truth which is hidden therein”
This mote is struck by the fact, that two other mystics, Sudhei Babu and Maharishee Ramana whom Brunton later met, said exactly the same thing. All three talked of self and not God! Is God and self the same?
There was another swami sitting, he told Brunton to meet his master who could answer all his questions. The swami also said that it was his master’s power which had drawn him to India!
Next day, unexpectedly, he met the spiritual head of South India, His Holiness Shri Shankara Acharya. He told His Holiness that he wanted to meet a high caliber Yogi, who could give some sort of proof of his attainment. His Holiness replied; that he knew of two such men . One of them was a recluse, but the other was the same master that the swami had mentioned.
That night he suddenly woke up around three. The atmosphere seemed to be charged. The room was totally dark. Suddenly he became aware of a bright object at the foot of the bed. He saw the face and form of His Holiness Shri Shankara!
Lips smiled and seem to say “Be humble and then you shall find what you seek!”
To be continued.