Skip to main content

Selected from
The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga
by Paul Brunton

The subject of the 7th PB e-teaching is Mysticism, and it is from Chapter III, “The Religious and Mystic Grades,” from The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga. In this section PB points out the important function that mysticism serves in our development and also its limitations. He writes that whatever good mysticism can do, there is much that it cannot do, yet wrongly claims to do, and says the social value of mysticism is as little as its individual value is great. Therefore, it cannot constitute a complete solution of the problem of human existence or offer a complete panacea for the malady of human suffering.


Mysticism might be cryptically described as a mode of life which claims, without long and laudatory praises of God, to bring us nearer to Him than do ordinary religious methods; as a view of life which rejects the all-too-human God made by man in his own image and out of his own imagination, replacing it by a formless infinite divinity; and as a psychological technique which seeks to establish direct communication with this spirit, through the channel of interior contemplation.

Certain collective tenets of mysticism are not confined to any one faith, to any one country, or to any one people, and are roughly universal. These cardinal positions of the mystic’s thought are five in number and may be briefly picked out and exhibited as follows. Mystics hold first that God is not to be located in any particular place, church or temple but that His spirit is everywhere present in Nature and that Nature everywhere abides in it. The orthodox notion that God is a particular Person among many other persons, only much more powerful yet still saddled with likes and dislikes, anger and jealousy, is rejected as childish. Pantheism is therefore the initial note to be sounded. Right thought hallows a place or makes it profane, and real sacredness dwells within the mind alone, Next they hold that as a corollary from the first tenet, God abides inside the heart of every man as the sun abides in all its myriad rays. He is not merely a physical body alone, as materialists believe, not a body plus a ghost-like soul which emanates from it after death, as religionists believe, but he is here and now divine in the very flesh. The heavenly kingdom must be found whilst we are yet alive, or not at all. It is not a prize which is bestowed on us in the nebulous courts of death. The practical consequence of this doctrine is embodied in the third tenet of the mystics, which asserts that it is perfectly possible for any man, who will submit to the prerequisite ascetic discipline, to enter into direct communion by contemplation and meditation with the spirit of God without the use of any priest or prelate as an intermediary and without the formal utterance of verbal prayer. This renders it quite unnecessary to lift upturned palms in suppliant adjuration of a higher Being. Silent aspiration thus replaces mechanical recitation. The fourth tenet is as obnoxious to official religion as the last for it declares that the stories, events, incident and sayings, which in their totality constitute a holy scripture, are merely a mixture of imagined allegories and actual happenings, a literary concoction whereby mystical truths are cleverly conveyed through the medium of symbolic myth, legendary personification and true historic fact; that the twentieth century indeed could quite justifiably write its new Bibles, its new Korans, its new Vedas afresh if it wished, for the divine afflatus may descend again at any hour. Mystics hold, fifthly, that their practices ultimately lead to the development of supernormal faculties and extraordinary mental powers or even strange physical ones, either as the gift of God’s grace or as the consequence of their own efforts.

… The broadening effect of mysticism upon man’s religious outlook is an incentive to tolerance and therefore a definite asset in this intolerant world …

The fully developed mystic understands that God’s sun shines on all alike, and that he is free to follow any particular creed or none. That which he seeks he must discover for himself and from himself by meditative introversion.

The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga, pp. 77-79