Paul Brunton (October 21, 1898 - July 27, 1981) was born Raphael Hurst, and later changed his name to Brunton Paul and then Paul Brunton. He was a British philosopher, mystic, traveller, and guru. He left a journalistic career to live among yogis, mystics, and holy men, and studied Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. Dedicating his life to an inward and spiritual quest, Brunton felt charged to communicate his experiences about what he learned in the East to others.
His works had a major influence on the spread of Eastern mysticism to the West. Taking pains to express his thoughts in layperson's terms, Brunton was able to present what he learned from the Orient and from ancient tradition as a living wisdom. His writings express his view that meditation and the inward quest are not exclusively for monks and hermits, but will also support those living normal, active lives in the Western world.
Paul Brunton was born in London in 1898. He served in First World War, and later devoted himself to mysticism and came into contact with Theosophists. In the early 1930s, Brunton embarked on a voyage to India, which brought him into contact with such luminaries as Meher Baba, Sri Shankaracharya of Kancheepuram and Sri Ramana Maharshi. Brunton's first visit to Sri Ramanasramam took place in 1931.
During this visit, Brunton was accompanied by a Buddhist Bhikshu, formerly a military officer but meanwhile known as Swami Prajnananda, the founder of the English Ashram in Rangoon. Brunton asked several questions, including 'What is the way to God-realization?' and Maharshi said: 'Vichara, asking yourself the "Who am I?" enquiry into the nature of your Self.' Brunton has been credited with introducing Ramana Maharshi to the West through his books, A Search in Secret India and The Secret Path.
One day�sitting with Ramana Maharshi�Brunton had an experience which Steve Taylor names 'an experience of genuine enlightenment which changed him forever'. Brunton describes it in the following way: 'I find myself outside the rim of world consciousness. The planet which has so far harboured me disappears. I am in the midst of an ocean of blazing light. The latter, I feel rather than think, is the primeval stuff out of which worlds are created, the first state of matter. It stretches away into untellable infinite space, incredibly alive.'
Paul Brunton also made a notable comment on Mahatma Gandhi and the struggle for Indian independence in general while speaking of his conversation with an Indian college student in his work, A Search in Secret India, which reveals quite another facet of his personality: 'I discover, too, that he has not yet succumbed to the hysteria for politics which has attacked most of the young students in the towns, though India is now in the throes of the long turmoil which Gandhi has aroused into being in his effort to disturb the relations between white rulers and brown ruled.'
After two decades of successful writing, Brunton retired from publishing books and devoted himself to writing essays and notes. Upon his death in 1981 in Vevey, Switzerland, it was revealed that in the period since the last published book in 1952, he had rendered about 20,000 pages of philosophical writing.
If Brunton could not be credited with introducing Yoga to the West because of the existence of other previous luminaries such as Blavatsky, Vivekananda and Yogananda, at least he holds a preeminent position in bringing to the West the best the Orient has to offer: the doctrine of Mentalism. No other writer but Brunton has declared Mentalism to be the esoteric doctrine of the Orient. Brunton is also the only writer to differentiate Oriental Mentalism from Berkeley's.
As the theory of relativity, according to Einstein, brings space and time together so does Mentalism unite spirit and matter; this phenomenon is explained by Brunton as being inherent in imagination. Paul Brunton expounds the doctrine of Mentalism in his magnum opus, first in part one which is introductory and preparatory entitled The Hidden Teachings Beyond Yoga and last but not least in a revelatory work named The Wisdom of the Overself.
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[Source: Paul Brunton, Wikipedia]