PB on himself


   The essence of this teaching is to be found only in that unlimited sphere where impersonality and universality reign. No better name than philosophy could be found for it, because no other is so impersonal and so universal. Although Brunton has written so many pages about it, he does not want it called by his name and turned into a cult. If Bruntonism should arise, he himself would be the first anti-Bruntonist! He is not at all interested in the triumph or fame of P.B. But he is deeply interested in the triumph and spread of that attitude which will best advance mankind's spiritual life. He does not ask for personal acceptance and honour to be bestowed upon what is true and helpful in his ideas. He does not want people to follow him but to follow the quest of truth. He does not call them to a declared creed but to a suggested way of approach, to the integral philosophical way which secures results no narrow sect could secure. Let people use the signposts he has erected, by all means, but let them not ignore the many other valuable ones which have also been erected for their benefit from the earliest times until today.

   Sharing my ideas with others is not the same as claiming to be a personal guru: the latter is a responsibility which I could not accept, do not desire, and have not authority for.

   When I die I shall leave no disciples--only adherents to my views or followers of my ways.

   Let them remember that the Truth comes not from any person but from the Holy Spirit. It is from such a source that what is worthy in my writings has come; the errors however are mine. Let them therefore describe themselves as students of philosophy, not as followers of Brunton. (P)

   To be regarded as a spiritual master, or as a holy man, would be embarrassing to me.

   It is their problem, not mine, to find the particular teaching and teacher best suited to their personality and level. It is not my duty to go beyond the general teachings given in the books. Those who demand personal instruction must find their own affinity. I do not give names and addresses and recommendations, but stay within the area of my authorization. Too many fail to realize that their own higher self has already begun to work and that they must co-operate with it.

   If this text can jolt a reader here and there into new experiments and newer thoughts, it will be for him to take off from that point and get others for whatever further help is needed.

   Let him take from this literature what seems to apply to his own case, what seems to help his own need. It will not help to follow a path specifically intended for other cases and other needs.

   I am sorry that I do not know any teacher who can be recommended to them. The references in my books to the characteristics and methods of true teachers represent my conception of the ideal teacher and are not necessarily a portrait of someone I have met in the flesh. However, if I do not know where they can find such a man, or if he does not exist, then I am his forerunner and foreteller. He is needed and he must come. Providence will see to it and knows when and where he will appear.

   There is no particular system of philosophy which can be called Paul Brunton's, no movement or group attached to his name. There are readers of his books, but no personal disciples.

   To the objection that since P.B.'s books contain teachings, he is therefore a guru whatever denials are made, his answer is: books are general, written for an anonymous mass-group whereas a guru is occupied with individual students, with named separate persons. An author's relationship with his reader is quite impersonal: the latter is quite unknown to the author, the former is never seen by the reader. But a guru meets, converses with, trains, and guides each disciple personally.

   Many ask for a teacher. Mature experience has shown the inadvisability of taking such a course. It is better for each one in the end to be guided by the inner promptings of his own Overself which is always with him. Personal experience of teachers both in India and in the West makes it impossible to recommend them to others.

   The seeker must remember that his Real Guide is his own divine Soul, or Higher Self; that it is This which led him to his present stage of awareness, whilst my books were merely used as instruments. It is to this Self that he should address his prayers and petitions for Grace and Guidance.

   I know that this free, uncommitted kind of approach is quite unsuited to most persons who feel and seek and expect to find some kind of definite structured course of training or guidance. Their way is proper and suited to them. I can help them but little; I cannot be a personal guide to anyone.

   I refuse to let others regard me as a superior being and I will not meet them, either in person or by correspondence, on any other terms than those of equality. Since I make no pretensions on my own behalf, it would be inconsistent to let them do it for me. It is unfortunate that the reputation I enjoy is so exaggerated! And it is amazing how often people want you to be dishonest with them, just to satisfy their delusive preconceptions of you. How many have tried to induce me to become their personal master, or the head of an ashram, or the leader of a cultist following! How firmly have I had to detach myself from their pressures and become deaf to their importunities! No matter what I insisted to the contrary, they clothed me with qualities, powers, and knowledge I did not possess. I became very uneasy. It was of no avail that I denied the reputation fathered on me. Finally, I saw that I was lending myself to this false position by answering letters, granting interviews, and getting involved with friends who were seekers after help. All this was a kind of insincere posing, although it did not appear so on the surface. So I brought it to an end, cut off nearly all contacts with others, and made myself inaccessible. With that, many turned to the spiritual guides who were quite willing to collect a following, lost interest or faith in me, and left me in peace. If it be criticized that I have adopted a selfish attitude, I must defend myself by first recalling the Tibetan saying about a half-developed guide being like a half-blind man leading his credulous disciples into a ditch and falling in with them too and then pointing out that yielding to misconceived importunities is a weakness even when it takes on the semblance of compassionate service. To allow others to thrust upon me the role of personal teacher when no mandate for it has been received from within myself, my higher self, would be wrong. It is therefore my duty to resist their pleading.

   Organizations really exist to help the beginners. The advanced student cuts loose from the herd and makes his own path, or finds his personal teacher. And because my message is chiefly for the few who are advanced enough to appreciate it, I do not care to handicap myself with the formation of any organization.

   No one is required to submit to any ruling made by me, but only to what his own intelligence can agree with or sanction.

   The books have for intention the awakening to certain ideas of minds that are at a point of readiness for them. The author of the books is not able to go farther than that; he is not a guru to guide the reader personally through all the successive stages.


   The Notebooks of Paul Brunton (Burdett, New York: Larson Publications, 1987), Vol. 8, Chapter Four: Reflections on Truth