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from The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, Vol. 16, Part 1

It is beneficial to reflect on the Sage. Let us pray for a more accurate understanding of this mysterious state with some study of what has been written, a state not ordinarily recognized in human experience. PB writes: “Such men and women are indeed the spiritual vanguard of the human race.” (25.3.30 = Category 25, Chapter 3, Para 30)

PB gives us a rare opportunity to learn more in Chapters 3,4, and 5 of the Notebooks as well as in other references throughout the volumes. The spirit in these writings is revealed wisdom gained from observation, personal experience, and deep contemplation.

Examples of the depth and breadth of PB’s research in Chapter 3 include subtopics such as “The race of sages,” “Remarks about specific illuminates,” “Differences in attainment [and] expression;” “Wisdom beyond bliss,” “Qualities [and] characteristics of the sage,” “God alone is perfect,” “Sage not easily recognized,” “Isolation, privacy, reticence,” “Sage is usually misunderstood,” “Sages merit veneration.” These make fascinating reading for those of us whose interests lie along these mysterious pathways.

“Without direct experience of the inner nature of things, without personal revelation from the Overself, the only kind of knowledge humankind can possess is obtained by the use of logical thinking aided by memory. The cosmogony of a sage is truly scientific, for it is exactly descriptive of what really exists, whereas the other kind of knowledge is merely argumentative.” (25.3.5)

Reflection on this topic is valuable: “There is a wide confusion in religio-mystical circles, both of the Orient and of the Occident, as to what a sage is really like, what a spiritually enlightened master really experiences, what both say and do when living in the world of ordinary people, how they behave and appear. On these points truth is inextricably bound up with superstition, fact with exaggeration, and wisdom with sentimentality. There is also a wide confusion of the Real with its attributes and aspects, that is to say, with human reactions, interpretations, and experiences of IT.” (25.3.1)

“People think a sage exercises infinite tolerance and patience. This is because they have no standard by which to measure the qualities of his rhythm of consciousness. Tolerance and patience imply the opposites. The sage’s reactions conform to neither. The sage literally lives where they do not apply. The set of conditions which for the ordinary person gives rise to the possibility of tolerance and patience or their opposites is for the sage an opportunity for reflection. (25.3.158.)

“It is such a one who most serves others, yet who least receives the recognition of that service. This is because humanity fails to understand where its true interests lie and what its true goal is, and why it is here at all.” (25.3.493)

“Light the lamp and it will spread out its rays by itself. We are indeed blessed by the presence of these great souls and doubly so if we meet in person. They deserve not merely our respect but our veneration. But even if we are never fortunate enough to meet one of these masters, the mere knowledge that such persons do exist and live demonstrates the possibility of spiritual achievement and proves that the quest is no chimera. It should comfort and encourage us to know this. Therefore, we should regard such a one as one of humanity’s treasures. We should cherish their name as a personal inspiration. We should venerate their sayings or writings as whispers out of the eternal silence.” (25.3.524

“Such rare peace stands out in poignant contrast against the burdens and fretfulness of our ordinary lives. Such rare goodness is needed by a generation accustomed to violence, atrocity, bestiality, and horror, lunacy, and hatred.” (25 3.525) “The knowledge of someone far better than oneself shows human possibilities. The longing to become like that person provides one with an ideal for living.” (25.3.528)