Free from my passion
Free from my sorrow
Free from my freedom
I sit and just listen
Poem by Lawrence Birney, Sphinx photo by Paul Brunton from the Special Illustrated Edition of A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT. A map of the twentieth century’s search for consciousness would not be complete without an examination of the extraordinary writings of Dr. Brunton.
I wish to emphasize what I have already stated elsewhere-that I did not seek to teach people, but rather to show them how to direct their thinking inwards, and in so doing, build up an inner life which would enable them to live in constant communication with the spiritual realm while pursuing their normal activity in the market-places and on the busy thoroughfares of the external world. I did not desire disciples, because I wished rather to lead men to the discovery of the Teacher and Guide within themselves, the all-powerful Overself, and so make them the disciples, not of any person or object outside, but of the True Supernal Spirit which resides in the own hearts. Paul Brunton
Paul Brunton is perhaps best known for his expositions on yoga and his introduction of Ramana Maharshi, the sage of Arunachala, to the world. A SEARCH IN SECRET INDIA is a classic spiritual journey taken in the 1930’s. PB, as his students call him, was a constant companion for me as I roamed America in my VW camper in search of my identity. His seaches in India and Egypt led him to write many books examining the mind, meditation and Western scientific thought.
Ramana Maharshi was born on December 30, 1879 in southern India. After receiving some education at English speaking schools he decided, at age 16, to devote his life to spiritual practice. Know first the I and then you shall know the truth. Ramana Maharshi
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 have 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 now seem to 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. Paul Brunton
To help suffering humanity regains its forgotten state of Perfection, Sri Ramana teaches that one should constantly ask himself: “Who am I?” – the Great Inquiry indeed. By stern rejection of all other thoughts the devotee soon finds himself going deeper and deeper into the true Self, and the sidetracking bewilderments of other thoughts ceased to arise. Yogananda – Autobiography of a Yogi
Nicholas Roerich, whose painting is seen on the cover of Overself, was born October 9, 1874 in St. Petersburg. A talented artist he became a designer for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe. He designed the set and costumes for The Celebrated Rite of Spring. He left Russia after the revolution and settled in London for a time. Like PB he became involved in Theosophy before moving to New York.From 1925 to 1930 Roerich traveled through the Himalaya’s painting and writing. His paintings of this period are the most stunning images of this region and the spiritual foundation upon which the Himalayan region is rooted imaginable. Roerich influenced FDR’s vice president Henry Wallace. The Roerich Pact, an early international treaty protecting cultural heritage, was signed at the White House in 1935.
Roerich was one of the first persons to introduce the land of Shambhala to Western audiences. Shambhala means Source of Happiness in Tibetan. It is a pure land, accessible by spiritual warriors with proper motivation. “Although those with special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human realm. And unless one has the merit and the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there,” the Dalai Lama. PURE VISION is a modern, prophetic novel that tells of a journey to Shambhala concurrent with a worldwide march of women to create a universal spiritual capital in the old city of Jerusalem.
The Nicholas Roerich Museum on West 107th Street in New York is one of the city’s hidden gems. As amazing as Roerich’s reproductions are, the large canvases simply take your breath away.
When Roerich first came to this country from Russia in 1920, the world was still reeling from the shock of one of history’s most cruel and devastating wars. The great material optimism that had dominated Western thinking for so long was deeply shaken. Uncertainty and fear were rampant; a new ideology had triumphed in Russia and threatened to engulf the world. For whatever reasons, the upheavals tossed Roerich onto our shores. The results resonate even today. Roerich arrived with ideas that promised stability and the victory of timeless and enduring truths. He brought proposals for utilizing these truths on the way to a spiritually richer future-a future that would see an end to war, a rejection of rampant materialism, and a flourishing of culture. All of this would be accompanied by the power of Beauty, which to Roerich was the fundamental motivating force in the universe. All the qualities that the imagination craves for humanity and for the world-equilibrium, truth, compassion, justice, synthesis-can be seen as expressions of this esthetic power. Any theoretical mathematician who rejoices in the beauty of a newly developed equation can understand this; any scientist engaged in the search for vital life energy can grasp it; any philosopher who dreams of a truly synthetic theory to explain existence comprehends it; and certainly any true artist, whose mind lives in that balance universe, expresses it. No room for theories of chaos here. This source of order, harmony, and synthesis is the Great Mother-the Mother of the Universe-who presides over all, who throws down her banner of peace between battling warriors, who lowers her veil of compassion so that those who have been wrong can ascend and become right. Daniel Entin, Executive Director, The Nicholas Roerich Museum
Nicholas Roerich, left. Paul Brunton, right.