Paul Brunton ( aka H. Raphael Hurst or Hirsch )
Born : 21st October, 1898 - London, England
Died : 27th July, 1981
Paul was 32 when he first met Meher Baba
NEWS was received at this time that a freelance journalist named Paul Brunton was coming from England for Baba's darshan and to interview him. Brunton had been an editor and the publicity advisor to three large corporations but, in 1929, he gave up his occupation to travel throughout India, Egypt and Asia, investigating the ideas and practices of yogis, sadhus and holy men, and personally living in their retreats, hermitages and ashrams.
Baba had no desire to see Brunton, as he was in seclusion, and remarked to the mandali, "See how Maya obstructs my work! I did not wish to see anyone and now my work is being impeded." Baba instructed Vishnu to write to Adi K. Irani in Nasik, informing him to go to Bombay and meet Brunton at the dock, lodge him in a hotel for the night at his own expense, and bring him to Meherabad with brother Jal. He also instructed Adi that Brunton should bring plenty of fruit with him because no fresh food except milk was available at Meherabad.
Accordingly, Adi met Paul Brunton, and he and Jal arrived in Meherabad on November 22nd. Brunton was accommodated on Meherabad Hill in one of the rooms in the Water Tank. Although Sidhu did not know a word of English, he was appointed by Baba to look after Brunton's needs.
The next day, Baba called Brunton to him in the cave along with Jal. The purpose of Brunton's interview was to determine if Baba was a genuine Master. Vishnu read Baba's alphabet board as he dictated. The following are excerpts of their conversation when Brunton questioned Meher Baba about his mission:
I shall change the history of the whole world. As Jesus came to impart spirituality to a materialistic age, so I have come to impart a spiritual push to present-day mankind. There is always a fixed time for such divine workings, and when the hour is ripe, I shall reveal my true nature to the entire world.
The great teachers of religion – Zarathustra, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad – do not differ in their essential doctrines. All these Prophets came from God. These Divine Ones appeared in public when their spiritual help was most needed, when spirituality was at its lowest ebb and materialism was apparently victorious everywhere. Mankind is rapidly approaching such a time.
At present, the whole world is enmeshed in sensual desires, in racial prejudice, selfishness and money-worship. God is forsaken! True religion is abused. Man seeks life and the priests give him stones! God, therefore, must send his True Prophet among men once again to establish true worship and to awaken people out of their materialistic stupor. I but follow in the line of these earlier Prophets. This is my mission.
The Prophets lay down certain rules and practices to help the masses lead better lives and to incline them toward God. These rules become the tenets of an organized religion; but the idealistic spirit and motive force, which prevail during the Avatar's lifetime, gradually disappear after his death. That is why organizations cannot bring spiritual truth home to people. Religious organizations become like archaeological departments trying to resuscitate the past. Therefore, I shall not attempt to establish any new religion, cult or organization. I shall rejuvenate and revitalize the religious thought of all people and instill a higher understanding of life in them.
Remember, though, that the fundamental truth of all religions is really the same, because all issue from the same source – God. But the Avatar considers the times, circumstances and prevailing mentality of the people before his public manifestation. He therefore preaches doctrines best understood and best suited to such conditions.
Baba then brought up a different point to Brunton:
This is the only known image of Meher Baba with a beard
Have you not noticed how all nations have been brought into instant communication with each other during this modern epoch? Do you not see how the railways, steamships, telephones, telegraph, radio and newspapers have caused the whole world to become a closely woven unit? An important event happening in one country is made known within a day to the people of another country ten thousand miles away.
There is a special reason why all these developments have recently taken place. The time is soon coming to give mankind a universal spiritual belief, which will serve all races of people in every country. In other words, the way is being prepared to enable me to deliver a worldwide message to humanity.
"But, when will you tell the world about your mission?" asked Brunton.
Baba dictated this reply:
I shall break my silence and deliver my message only when there is chaos and confusion everywhere, for then I shall be most needed – when the world is rocking in upheavals, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions – when both East and West are aflame with war! Truly the whole world must suffer, for the whole world must be redeemed!
"Do you know the date of this war?" inquired Brunton.
"Yes, it is not far off. But I do not wish to reveal the date," dictated Baba.
"This is a terrible prophecy!" exclaimed Brunton.
Baba looked sad for a moment and explained:
Yes, it is. The war will be terrible in its nature, because scientific ingenuity will make it more intense than the last war. However, it will last only a short time – a few months – and when it has reached its worst, I shall make myself known publicly and declare my mission to the entire world.
After the war, a long era of unique peace will come – a time of world tranquility. Disarmament will no longer then be a matter of mere talk, but an actual fact. Racial and communal strife will cease. Sectarian hatred between religious organizations will come to an end. I shall travel widely throughout the world and all nations will be eager to see me. My spiritual message will reach every land, every town and every village, bringing universal brotherhood in its wake, peace among men, compassion for the poor and the downtrodden. And most importantly, I will bestow love for God.
"What is India's future?" asked Brunton.
In reply, Baba stated:
In India, I shall not rest until the pernicious caste system is totally uprooted and destroyed. When this happens, India will find itself to be one of the most influential countries in the world. Despite its shortcomings, India is still the most spiritual country in the world. The future will find India to be the moral leader of all nations. All great founders of religions were born in the East, and it is to the East that the people of the world must continue to look for spiritual light.
Brunton thought this over for a moment and then said, "Europe is hard and skeptical. How can you convert unfamiliar peoples to your brand of belief? The average European will tell you that it is impossible and very likely laugh at you for your pains!"
Baba then remarked:
But you do not realize how changed the times will be. Once I publicly announce myself as the Avatar, no one will be able to withstand my power! I shall openly perform miracles as proof of my mission, not to satisfy idle curiosity, but to convince the skeptically-minded.
When the conversation ended, Brunton admitted that he did not understand why Meher Baba was confining himself inside a stone cave when there was a well-structured building to abide in; but he was impressed by what Baba revealed to him.During his final interview on November 24th, Brunton asked Baba,
"How do you know you are the Messiah?"
Dictating from his board, Baba replied:
I know! I know it so well. You know that you are a human being, and I know that I am the Avatar. It is my whole life! My bliss never stops!
You never mistake yourself for some other person; so I cannot mistake who I am. I have a divine mission to fulfill and I will do it! My manifestation will occur in the near future, but I cannot give you the exact date.
"There are others who claim to be the Messiah," said Brunton.
Baba smiled, and then remarked:
Yes, there is Krishnamurti, Annie Besant's protege. The Theosophists deceive themselves. Their chief wire-pullers are supposed to be somewhere in the Himalayas – Tibet. You will find nothing there but dust and stones. Besides, no real spiritual Master ever required someone else's body for his own use. Such thinking is ridiculous!
Baba then commented about America:
America has a tremendous future and will become a spiritually-minded nation. Whenever I visit a place and stay there, however short a time, its spiritual atmosphere becomes greatly elevated – and I intend to visit America.
Baba ended his meeting with Brunton by urging him, "Go to the West as my representative! Spread my name as that of the coming Divine Messenger. Work for me and you will then be working for the good of mankind."
Brunton looked startled and said, "I don't know if I can do that; the world will probably think I'm mad."
Baba assured him that he was mistaken, "I will help you to render service to me in the West."
Baba then directed Brunton to meet Hazrat Babajan in Poona, and to see the Tiger Valley cave in Panchgani, and then to visit Kolhapur High School and the Madras Centre. Accompanied by brother Jal, Brunton soon left for Poona to meet Babajan.
Letter to Meher Baba 30th December 1930
- Courtesy of AMB Trust Archives, Meherabad, India
K. J. Dastur not only carried out his propaganda campaign through Meher Message in India, but in correspondence to foreign countries as well. His opposition, however, had quite the reverse effect because it convinced the Master's Western followers to stick to his feet even more firmly. It was later discovered that it was Dastur who influenced the journalist Paul Brunton against Baba.
Kitty Davy received a letter from her father saying that scandalous, unpleasant reports had appeared about Baba in some of the London newspapers which he thought needed to be repudiated. It was Paul Brunton who, provoked by K. J. Dastur, had published some erroneous articles about Baba in the John Bull magazine which had a dubious reputation for exposing frauds. In a slandering manner, Brunton wrote that Meher Baba owned a movie theater and motor garage, used to own a toddy shop and kept hired women companions.
Hearing this, Baba consoled them, "Don't worry. It is a good thing. It is an aspect of my game and I am happy to face this situation. This opposition has been deliberately created by me to give a greater force and effect to my work in the West, and to the spiritual earthquake and upheaval that is also to take place. But what I wish of you is to not pay the slightest attention to it.
"My mandali know me and my game; so they remain unaffected. But I tell you all that you should not get upset in the least. Just moments ago you were telling me to distribute a major portion of my suffering through the display of open antagonism toward me, and now that it has happened, you have already begun worrying. Do not be disturbed by it. It is my own play and I know who is responsible for it."
Margaret Craske asked, "Baba, will you tell us who has done it? In the newspapers, there is no mention of who has written the article."
Baba smiled, spelling out to her:
Since you want to know, I will tell you. It is Raphael Hurst (Paul Brunton). He is creating opposition against me in London. The poor chap is to be pitied; we should pity him rather than blame him. Unknowingly, he has been made an instrument of K. J. Dastur's in India. He is unaware of the real situation, inner details and aim. Dastur is the cause of all this animosity. What hypocrisy! What humbug this is! He is creating false propaganda against me, saying that I am running ashrams only for show, keeping paid women servants, and speaking with the mandali while simply pretending to keep silence in public to deceive people. But there are different facts which I will clarify here out of my love for you.
My close disciple, Rustom, has dedicated the cinema and motor garage in India to me so that I may use the income for my work. As for the other two accusations, that I keep paid women companions and privately speak with my own people, I can but reply with a merciful smile.
Paul Brunton (October 21, 1898 - July 27, 1981) was probably born as Hermann Hirsch of German Jewish origin. Later he changed his name to Raphael Hurst, and then Brunton Paul and finally Paul Brunton. He was a British philosopher, mystic, traveler, 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 learnt in the East to others. His works had a major influence on the spread of Eastern yoga and mysticism to the West. Taking pains to express his thoughts in layperson's terms, Brunton was able to present what he learnt 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 a tank division during the First World War, and later devoted himself to mysticism and came into contact with Theosophists. Being partner of a occult bookshop, The Atlantis Bookshop,
in Bloomsbury, Brunton came into contact with both the literary and occult British intelligentsia of the 1920s. 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 Ramana's asram 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."
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.
The times of World War II Brunton spent in India, being hosted a guest by the Maharaja of Mysore, His Highness Sri.Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV. He dedicated his book "The Quest of the Overself" to the Maharaja and when the Maharaja died in 1940, he was present at his funeral.
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 noted that in the period since the last published book in 1952, he had rendered about 20,000 pages of philosophical writing.
A longtime friend of Paul Brunton, philosopher Anthony Damiani, Founder of Wisdom's Goldenrod Center for Philosophic Studies in 1972, coordinated the publishing effort together with a team of people including Paul Cash and Timothy Smith. The Swedish-American publisher Robert Larson started publishing the 16-volume set in 1984.
The Hidden Teachings Beyond Yoga
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 unites 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 titled
The Hidden Teachings Beyond Yoga and last but not least in a revelatory work named The Wisdom of the Overself. According to Joscelyn Godwin, "...Since discovering Brunton's work in the 1960's I have found no
reason to discard their philosophical principles."
American author and former psychoanalyst Jeffrey Masson, the son of a Jewish American friend of
Brunton published a memoir of his childhood under the title My Father's Guru. In the 1940s and 1950s, Brunton lived with
Jeffrey Masson's family. Masson's parents were among his handful of close disciples. Initially influenced by Brunton, Masson gradually became disillusioned with him. According to Masson, Brunton
singled him out as a potential heir to his spiritual kingdom. In 1956, Brunton decided that a third world war was imminent and the Massons moved to Montevideo, since this location was considered
safe. From Uruguay, Masson went at Brunton's bidding to study
Sanskrit at Harvard. Brunton himself did not move to South America, instead spending some time living in New Zealand. Masson subsequently became proficient at Sanskrit, and realized that Brunton did not have the facility with
the language that he claimed.
- Are You Upward Bound with William G. Fern (1931)
- A Search in Secret India (1934)
- The Secret Path (1935)
- A Search in Secret Egypt (1936)
- A Message from Arunachala (1936)
- A Hermit in the Himalayas (1936)
- The Quest of the Overself (1937)
- Indian Philosophy and Modern Culture (1939)
- The Inner Reality (1939) [published in the U.S. as Discover Yourself, same year]
Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (1941) 
- Wisdom of the Overself (1943)
- Spiritual Crisis of Man (1952)