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Selected from
The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, v. 13, & The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga
by Paul Brunton

PB E-Teaching #13 – The Independent Path

PB wrote in Category 20 (Vol. 13 of The Notebooks): I am a student of philosophy. During my journeys to the heavenly realm of infinite eternal and absolute existence, I did not once discover any labels marked Christian, Hindu, Catholic, Protestant, Zen, Shin, Platonist, Hegelian, and so on, any more than I discovered labels marked Englishman, American, or Hottentot. All such ascriptions would contradict the very nature of ascriptionless existence. All sectarian differences are merely intellectual ones. They have no place in that level which is deeper than intellectual function. They divide men into hostile groups only because they are pseudo-spiritual. He who has tasted of the Spirit’s own freedom will be unwilling to submit himself to the restrictions of cult and creed. Therefore I could not conscientiously affix a label to my own outlook or to the teaching about this existence which I have embraced. In my secret heart I separate myself from nobody, just as this teaching itself excludes no other in its perfect comprehension. Because I had to call it by some name as soon as I began to write about it, I called it philosophy because this is too wide and too general a name to become the property of any single sect. In doing so I merely returned to its ancient and noble meaning among the Greeks who, in the Eleusinian Mysteries, designated the spiritual truth learned at initiation as “philosophy” and the initiate himself as “philosopher” or lover of wisdom.

This from The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga: The tool with which a philosopher must needs work is his mind. The ancient sages did not permit a man to begin philosophic studies until he had put his mind into proper shape so that it could function efficiently. This preliminary phase consisted in a practical course in the yoga of mental concentration often coupled with a parallel course in ascetic self-abnegation. (Long Path – editor) Both courses, however, were usually temporary and continued only so long as they were necessary to bring the mental faculties to a reasonable degree of concentrative competency, and the pupil’s character to a reasonable degree of self-detachment, sufficient to undertake the difficult task of philosophical reflection.

Our task is to learn wisdom from all experience, from pain as from pleasure, from cruelty as from kindness, and to express in the arena of everyday life just what we have learnt. In this way everything that happens gives us a better foothold for future living.

For the philosophy of truth is taught in a particular and peculiar way. It begins to lead men to truth by pointing out their error, by showing where they think or talk nonsense, by causing them to unlearn illusory knowledge and then by reminding them that penetration to a deeper level of enquiry is possible and desirable. It is established in the mind of its student not so much by the affirmation of what is as by the elimination of what is not.

The ancient Indian teaching postulates three stages of evolution through which the mind of man must pass, three progressive attitudes towards life. The first is religion and is based on faith, the second, mysticism, is controlled by feeling and the third, philosophy (which is inclusive of science), is disciplined by reason. Nor can it be otherwise for man’s understanding of the world must necessarily grow parallel to his mental capacity.

The ultimate purpose of the Indian esotericism was to lead men to detect the essential meaning of human life, to help them gain insight into the real structure of the universe and to point out the grand sun of absolute truth shining on the horizon of all existence.