Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: March 10, 2017 Reading time: 2 minutes
Paul Brunton (21 October 1898 – 27 July 1981) wrote A Search in Secret India about his search for a Spiritual Guru, Yogi or guide in India. Paul Brunton was a theosophist, spiritualist and writer. He was educated at St. George’s College and got his doctorate in Philosophy from Mc.Kinley – Roosevelt College, USA. He fought the World War 1 in the Tank Corps. Post war, after a brief stint as a bookseller and journalist, he came to India in 1931 in search of a Guru or Master. This brought him in contact with many Yogi’s and the book is about that experience.
A Search in Secret India is about his search for a meaning to life. It was published in 1934. The book can be broadly divided into four sections. The first section deals with Brunton’s early encounter with Yoga in the UK. Following this is a section on the circumstances which increased his interest in the subject and the esoteric world of yoga and spiritualism.
The book then moves into the search, starting with an encounter with an Egyptian, Mahmoud Bey in Mumbai. This is followed by a meeting with Meher Baba, followed by many yogi’s, Guru’s, teachers and spiritual leaders. The book then touches his meetings with some of India’s most significant spiritual leaders – Shankaracharya of Kanchi – Paramacharya Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, Ramana Maharishi, Mahendranath Gupta – a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Vishuddhananda and Sahabji Maharaj.
Subsequently, there is the frustration and helplessness at having spent so much time and money without achieving anything.
Finally, there is deliverance. Brunton has presented his experience dramatically. He leaves the reader with a feeling that maybe, he was to find his solution in India.
Conclusion: For people wishing to understand the ancient Indian yoga and spiritual environment until the mid 1930’s, this book is a precious gift. Additionally, the faint colonial haughtier and old fashioned English would only add to the exotic appeal of the book. At the end, as one comes back to reality, there is a nagging feeling that India has lost a valuable heritage.