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In 1935 Paul Brunton published A Search in Secret India. In this wonderful account of his travels in that exotic and mysterious land, he describes the two sages who most impressed him: Shankaracharya and Ramana Maharshi. Here are some of PB’s impressions.

The Shankaracharya of Kamakoti Peetam:

Some of His Holiness’ teachings and sermons have been translated into English. His explanations throw fresh light on several details of Hinduism. He patiently goes through point after point to reveal the rational side to modern minds.
But all these are secondary compared with His Holiness’s own person. He exhibits in himself the qualities of a knower of Brahman, the attributes of a holy Rishee. Those who come into his presence, suitably prepared by previous aspiration or faith, may feel his power, even see his light and experience his grace… (15.2.412)

Ramana Maharshi:

Whatever status is assigned to him by his followers, or whatever indifference is shown to him by others, my own position is independent and unbiased. It is based upon our private talks in those early days when such things were still possible, before fame brought crowds; upon observations of, and conversations with, those who were around him; upon his historical record; and finally, upon my own personal experiences, whatever they are worth.

Upon all this evidence one fact is incontrovertibly clear–that he was a pure channel for a Higher Power…Again and again he gave us this teaching, that the real Maharshi was not the body which people saw; it was the inner being. Those who never made the journey to India during his lifetime may take comfort in this thought: that it is possible to invoke his presence wherever they are, and to feel its reality in the heart. (15.2.413)

Ramana Maharshi was one of those few men who make their appearance on this earth from time to time and who are unique, themselves alone–not copies of anyone else–and who contribute something to the world’s spiritual welfare that no one else has contributed in quite the same way. (15.2.414)

Sri Ramana Maharshi is certainly more than a mystic and well worthy of being honored as a sage. He knows the Real. (15.2.416)

There are few men of whom one may write with assured conviction that their integrity was unchallengeable and their truthfulness absolute, but Ramana Maharshi was unquestionably one of them. (15.2.417)

One night in the spring of 1950, at the very moment that a flaring starry body flashed across the sky and hovered over the Hill of the Holy Beacon, there passed out of his aged body the spirit of the dying Maharshi. He was the one Indian mystic who inspired me most, the one Indian sage whom I revered most, and his power was such that both Governor-General and ragged coolie sat together at his feet with the feeling that they were in a divine presence. Certain factors combined to keep us apart during the last ten years of his life, but the inner telepathic contact and close spiritual affinity between us remained–and remains–vivid and unbroken. Last year he sent me this final message through a visiting friend: “When heart speaks to heart, what is there to say?” (15.2.453)

Let there be no misunderstanding about my connection with Ramana Maharshi. My appreciation and reverence for him remain as great as ever. I still consider him one of the few enlightened seers of modern centuries. I did during his lifetime adopt the outward attitude of an independent student. However, my inner connection with the living mind which manifested as Ramana Maharshi remains unbroken. (15.2.454)

I need not have taken his sentences down on paper, for I wrote them on my mind. (15.2.457)

The Maharshi’s body lies buried in an Indian grave, but his teaching lives inside the minds of all who can perceive its truth. (15.2.471)

Three new videos, created by Louis Damiani, document PB’s travels in India. They may be viewed at


Prepared by Janet S., PBPF Board Member