A Search in Secret India
by Paul Brunton
The many inspiring passages in A Search in Secret India are worth reading and rereading. In later years PB wrote, as an inscription in the book, “What am I? The answer is a quiet smile.” The following are some passages from Chapter XVII of the book, entitled Tablets of Forgotten Truth :
It seems to me that the presence of men like the Maharishee ensures the continuity down history of a divine message from regions not easily accessible to us all. It seems to me, further, that one must accept the fact that such a sage comes to reveal something to us, not to argue anything with us. At any rate, his teachings make a strong appeal to me for his personal attitude and practical method, when understood, are quite scientific in their way. He brings in no supernatural power and demands no blind religious faith. The sublime spirituality of the Maharishee’s atmosphere and the rational self-questioning of his philosophy find but a faint echo in yonder temple. Even the word “God” is rarely on his lips.
He avoids the dark and debatable waters of wizardry, in which so many promising voyages have ended in shipwreck. He simply puts forward a way of self-analysis, which can be practiced irrespective of any ancient or modern theories and beliefs which one may hold, a way that will finally lead man to true self-understanding.
But how divorce oneself from the age-old tyranny of thoughts? I remember that the Maharishee has never suggested that I should attempt to force the stoppage of thinking. “Trace thought to its place of origin,” is his reiterated counsel, “watch for the real self to reveal itself, and then your thoughts will die down of their own accord.”
All that is truly grand in Nature and inspiringly beautiful in the arts speaks to man of himself. Where the priest has failed his people the illumined artist takes up his forgotten message and procures hints of the soul for them. Whoever can recall rare moments when beauty made him a dweller amid the eternities should, whenever the world tires him, turn memory into a spur and seek out the sanctuary within. Thither he should wander for a little peace, a flush of strength and a glimmer of light, confident that the moment he succeeds in touching his true selfhood he will draw infinite support and find perfect compensation. Scholars may burrow likes moles among the growing piles of modern books and ancient manuscripts which line the walls of the house of learning, but they can learn no deeper secret than this, no higher truth than the supreme truth that man’s very self is divine. The wistful hopes of man may wane as the years pass, but the hope of undying life, the hope of perfect love, and the hope of assured happiness, shall ultimately find a certain fulfillment; for they constitute prophetic instincts of an ineluctable destiny which can in no way be avoided.
He who looks within himself and perceives only discontent, frailty, darkness and fear, need not curl his lip in mocking doubt. Let him look deeper and longer, deeper and longer, until he presently becomes aware of faint tokens and breath-like indications which appear when the heart is still. Let him heed them well, for they will take life and grow into high thoughts that will cross the threshold of his mind like wandering angels, and these again shall become forerunners of a voice which will come later – the voice of a hidden, recondite and mysterious being who inhabits his centre, who is his own ancient self.