Enlightenment: After PB published The Spiritual Crisis of Man in 1952 he continued writing on all four of the previous phases: Initiatory, Mystical, Epistemological, and Philosophical—but now from the perspective of Sahaja, the condition of complete realization within waking consciousness. The Hindus call this state jîvanmukti, and the Buddhists call it "enlightenment." For anyone but a sage to write about this phase is inevitably misguided, but to fail to include it is equally in error. Fortunately, we have the corrective of PB’s own words to rectify the mistakes we cannot help but make in our efforts to integrate this phase of spirituality into our understanding and practice. After all, this is the true work, the true beginning of humankind. According to PB only the enlightened human has reached his or her full potential and is thereby ready to properly research both the wide realms of manifestation and the profundities of Unmanifest Mind.
Besides recasting his views on the earlier phases of the Quest, PB wrote down observations that we can only describe as “advice for the newly enlightened.” The meditative states of Savikalpa and Nirvikalpa Samadhi are assumed; a sound familiarity with the metaphysics of Truth is required, and an impersonal attention to the purest phase of reality—Mind Alone—is the primary focus of this material. While PB’s talent is such that anyone can easily gain new insight by reading these paras, he also incorporates many subtle points that will remain hidden until the reader has become familiar with the great traditions of the world and has become competent in the art of meditation. When these efforts have matured, one will find that PB’s writings are not theoretical projections of what enlightenment might be, but are precise, living descriptions that tangibly point to the immediate reality of enlightenment as the spiritual fact upon which all of our seeking is based. For in the end, we are seeking something that has always been growing within us, even as we only grow within the authenticity of the spiritual quest.
Throughout his writings PB has shared his own growth with us, and here he has reached the moment of sharing the fruition of that growth—his own realization. Such writings are rare in the annals of spiritual philosophy: much is written about enlightenment, but little is written from enlightenment, especially from a sage unencumbered by the obligations of a spiritual tradition. In these rare notes PB discusses the mysterious relationship between the Sage and the World-Mind and hints at the mysterious process through which even the Overself is transcended and the sage enters the pronaos of Mind Alone. If we are to understand them, we must understand a little more about PB and about what he accomplished—exemplified—in his life. Some of what he was can be discovered elsewhere on this site, especially in his Biography, and in Reflections on PB. There we will discover PB as the quintessential 20th century man: independent, skeptical, open-minded, well-traveled, cultured, scholarly, psychic, mystical, and relentlessly dedicated to the Truth.
All these qualities factor into his writings and more importantly into the establishment of a new path to Liberation—the pathway of the Independent Quester. Through his realization, PB has ‘made real’ this Independent Path, and henceforth it is available for anyone to follow, even as the well-tried practices of great traditions continue to provide viable approaches for those who are drawn to them. In contrast, the Independent Path is for one who wished to be free to investigate any and every tradition of the world without becoming bound over to them. On this path people are empowered to think, feel, and act for themselves, while conscious of the genuine guidance of their own Overself, wary of false gods of the psyche and the psychic, of the ego and the intellect; and ever aware of the extraordinary beauty of life in this world and the sacred mysteries Mind. Finally, it is in our study and meditation on the mysteries of the World-Mind, the World-Idea, the Overself, and Mind that we will find many of our personal and practical questions answered, while many more will simply fade away, as our hearts are freed from the cyclic turmoil of the ego and awaken to the great silence that is Mind Alone.
The Notebooks of Paul Brunton
25. World-Mind in Individual Mind (Volume 16) - The first of the four categories in this volume should be subtitled “The Sage” for that is its subject matter—and indeed, it is one of the chapter-titles in this section. Here PB describes the profound mystery of the relationship between the World-Mind and the Sage—making it absolutely clear that while there is an immersion, there is not an annihilation of the sage’s consciousness nor identity in this union. The union is one of Being, not of knowing; this allows the sage to simultaneously access the mysterious realm of the World-Mind and the world as we experience it. PB explains how this comes to pass and points out the necessity for this state, if the sage is to be of any value to humankind at all—which of course he or she is, both as an emissary of the World-Mind, and as the Intercessor with the World-Mind on humanity’s behalf. This is the great service that the sage gives to all humanity; he or she can also give some help to individuals, as PB discusses in the last chapter of this category.
26. World-Idea (Volume 16) - This category contains PB’s teachings about the Thought of the World-Mind—a Thought in the Mind of God, as it were. That Thought, or Thinking, is what we dimly experience as intelligent order in the universe, the meaning and purpose of life and what PB calls “The True Idea of Man.” This is an Idea in the Platonic sense and is the principle of the Universal Particular—that within each evolving human being is a unique link to Universal Mind, a link that cannot be broken nor dissolved, but which lies latent in all of us until that lifetime in which we are forever joined through the Overself to the Mystery of Mind Alone. PB also discusses the duality of the universe and compares his own viewpoint to other such visions and theories. His is an impersonal and remarkably positive vision that sees an upward spiral movement ever pushing humankind—and all living creation—towards higher and more perfect participation in the World-Mind’s own Presence. He teaches us that part of the Sage’s work is to help align whole cultures with this evolutionary process and to prepare us for the World-Mind’s corrective measures whenever possible.
27. World-Mind (Volume 16) - From this topic PB moves to reflections on World-Mind Itself. Since the World-Mind’s thought is the World-Idea, it is only natural that we should consider it Divine. This raises a number of fundamental questions familiar to all seekers—questions like: Is God good? Is God conscious of its Act? Should or can we worship God? How can we understand the differing views of Divinity—and Divinities? PB discusses all these, and offers us his own understanding for our consideration. He then moves on to a more impersonal discussion of the World-Mind as a Philosophic Principle and concludes by differentiating World-Mind from Mind Alone. Throughout these paras we encounter glimpses of PB’s own enlightened state, as he is clearly writing from his own insight as well as from his reflections on the revelations of others. These glimpses should not be taken as measures of PB—who was a uniquely humble man—but as aids to our understanding of what the interior life of the sage might be like.
28. The Alone (Volume 16) - Perhaps the best description of this category comes from the section titles themselves: Mind Alone Is; Levels of Mind; Real as Self-Existent; Real as Unchangeable; Real as Void, Real as Consciousness; Meditations on Mind; and the Ultimate “Experience.” In this slim category PB tersely summarizes what little can be put into meaningful words about Mind Alone. He even discusses this very problem in the section titled “Inadequacy of human symbolization,” which is immediately followed by “Reporting, nonetheless, has value.” To approach this mystery PB uses his own lens and the lenses that the great sages of the past provided for us. He shows us how each approach both reveals and conceals something of Its Truth. When PB himself spoke about Mind, there was a palpable reverent silence that seemed to fill the room; if we are to get any real benefit from reading these paras, we will do so by taking them into meditation, into the contemplative stillness that ever abides in our hearts.