Never at any time in my research did I depend on mere texts alone. There have been other and fresher sources: the living voice of reputed experts, my own metaphysical reasoning, and my own mystical experience. Equipped with a readiness to learn from even the most obscure expositor, an utter absence of conscious colour or racial prejudice, many years of advanced meditation practice, and a modicum of cultural preparation, I turned from the dead worm-bored manuscripts themselves to living men, discussing all the knotty historical, textual, metaphysical, and yogic-practice problems arising out of these studies with Sanskrit pundits, learned pontiffs, grave ascetics, mountain-dwelling hermits, contemplative mystics, heads of monasteries, and even specialist university professors. I did not hesitate to ask them hundreds of questions with plaguey persistence or to keep my critical faculties alive, for I sought to bring Oriental truth and not Oriental superstitions to the West. I also accepted a few mystical initiations from among those which were offered. The third source which has informed this exposition of the hidden teaching was an internal one. Being a practising and not merely a theoretical mystic, I sought whenever possible and whenever within the scope of my restricted powers to test and verify our revelatory statements before publishing them. For example, I succeeded in confirming in this way the truth of mentalism, a doctrine which forms the very basis of the hidden teaching. This happened during mystical semi-trances wherein I found the source of the surrounding things to be deep below the threshold of the wakeful mind. This single experience out of several is mentioned to dispel the misconception that these pages are merely an indulgence in academic theory, as also to encourage fellow pilgrims plodding farther back on the same road.
Nevertheless my attainment is only a limited one. I am unable to achieve similar verifications of certain other tenets. In such cases I have tried to check my declarations by those of ancient sages who, it is believed, themselves possessed the requisite capacity. Be that as it may, the labour of correlating all these fragments, the toil of eliminating the puzzling contradictions was an exceedingly heavy one. Abnormal reflective ability was needed to understand this philosophy and abnormal introspective ability was needed to describe its ultramystic experiences. The theme was indeed so far beyond an ordinary capacity that at times I strongly felt like renouncing it. I have elsewhere acknowledged our indebtedness to that practical philosopher His Highness the late Maharajah of Mysore for his patient personal encouragement in this undertaking. The immense mass of material which gradually accumulated within my head and notebooks was so confusing in parts that I had to reduce it to systematic shape by a comparative study and careful analysis which required so prodigious an amount of work that the excessive labour involved doubtless cut several years off my earthly life. It was only an iron determination to try to master something of Asia's highest wisdom that enabled me to persevere in putting all the pieces of this mosaic pattern together until they finally fell into proper places and an intelligible pattern came into view at last. Although India has been the central scene of these studies, conversations, and experiences, its insufficiencies compelled my visits to a number of other Asiatic countries upon the same quest, unexpectedly earning myself from His Holiness the aged Supreme Monk of Siam a gift of one of his personal treasures in the form of an ancient bronze statue of the Buddha as well as a Certificate of Merit.
-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 3: Encounter With Destiny > # 71