Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 16: The Sensitives > Chapter 5: Pseudo and Imperfect Teachers

Pseudo and Imperfect Teachers

The prevalence of charlatans

There is not a little sham mysticism, specious religion, and false philosophy in these days. This is why seekers must approach such topics warily.

Quacks and charlatans prey on uncritical questing. This warning is no theoretical one; it is based on the knowledge of many cases which have been observed during travels in Asia, Europe, and America. Many a good-living, kindly, sincere, if simple, church-goer and temple-worshipper is in safer hands and more spiritually advanced than the pseudo-mystics and so-called occultists who are being wrecked on the tragic shores of semi-insanity and worldly ruin, their egoism exaggerated, their ethics jumbled, their minds muddled or drugged by extravagances, their emotions neurotically confused, and their finances reduced.

The public and private cults of occultism today make a sea in which you will find ten bad fish for every good one that you take out of it. Nor from such cheap and charlatanic sources is truth to be safely netted.

The sources of spiritual help are many, but of reliable help, few. Superstition, self-aggrandizement, or semi-charlatanry taints much of what is offered to the public.

Have we not witnessed in our own times how, on the pretext of doing good, great evil has been wrought? But it is not only in worldly circles that this is possible, for the same thing can be witnessed in spiritual circles, especially their organizations and institutions.

That this is a field where psychopaths and charlatans pose as teachers is correct. That the beginning seeker should be wary of them is also correct.

He will find himself in a field which, both in past history and present event, is infested with megalomaniacs who have messianic complexes, paranoiacs who hunger for disciples to command or exploit, hallucinators who recklessly mingle imagined fantasies with actual facts, and melancholics who insist on putting an ascetic blight on every human joy.

How many false teachers have led their flocks into more misery instead of less without leading them at the same time into the promised Nirvana!

Not even a loose-living saviour of mankind will fail to capture a devoted and obedient group of followers among these gullible people. Can such a situation be looked at without disquiet by those who care for the influence and dignity of mysticism?

The fraudulent guides who have fattened on the spiritual yearnings of inexperienced women have brought disrepute on the subject in England and America.

These charlatans invite all and sundry on plausible pretexts to put reason under the guillotine. A sensible aspirant will close his ears and turn away from such an invitation, for he will detect its danger from its very mode and manner.

One deplorable result of this wealth of knowledge and revelation which has poured into common accessibility during the past hundred and fifty years is increased charlatanry and confused sincerity.

Quack teachers take advantage of the misery and unsettlement of a transition period like ours to offer quack panaceas for disease and alleged magical methods of getting what we want.

He does right to keep away from charlatans, with their feigned powers and imagined revelations; but he is not always right as to who is or is not a charlatan.

All religious occupations lend themselves to hypocrisy, and this is no exception. The twentieth-century mystics are often pious impostors, playing upon the credulity of their ignorant following. There exists among them a solid, saving remnant of noble men who are making arduous and genuine efforts to attain the superhuman wisdom which mysticism promises to devotees.

Between these two poles the unwary, unsophisticated, and uncritical seeker often has to run the gauntlet of deluders and deceivers--mostly of others but sometimes of themselves. He will be lucky indeed if they take nothing more than his faith from him.

The refusal of the real adepts to appear publicly as such has opened the door for the cupidity and charlatanry of their counterfeits to enter all too easily.

The superior silence and quizzical smile with which certain mystics avoid affirming or negating a straightforward question, may certainly be the indicator of a higher knowledge--but then, it may also be mere charlatanry.

A trustworthy honest accurate and full history of a leader or of his sect is almost unobtainable. Significant bias or significant omission flaws all such records.

It is unfair to take these charlatans as characteristic of all mystics, much less of the few sages, and even more unfair to condemn all mystical and philosophical doctrines because some of them have been taught by the charlatans.

Such teachings are more widely given out today than ever before, but remember: there are teachings which bring out support for the evil in man just as there are teachings which support the good.

The beginner does not usually know how to distinguish what is true from what is false in the various personal cults or impersonal teachings which compete for his allegiance.

The teaching, the cult, or the teacher may appear authentic, sublime, inspiring, and true to the naïve, the inexperienced, or the gullible seeker but they will appear as a caricature of authenticity, a degradation of sublimity, a counterfeit of inspiration, and a falsification of truth to the proficient mystic.

Some of the presentations of doctrine and claim are plausible enough to deceive even those who are not entirely inexperienced beginners.

The result of a carpenter's work stares him in the face. It cannot lie. If the table's legs are of unequal length, the table's top will be wobbly. If the chair's seat is of too frail material, it will collapse when anyone sits down in it. But the religio-mystic teacher can propound any idea or suggest any practice that comes into his brain, and the truth of the one or the result of the other will either not be known at all, or only after the passage of years. The person of trained and balanced mind, who is expert or experienced in these matters, will of course detect falsity, distortion, hallucination, or imposture very quickly but the beginner has no such advantage.

Most people are incompetent to know whether a man has really arrived at the highest goal or not. Hence comes their misguided worship of holy men who are still working out their salvation but who prematurely announce their attainment of it. The result is foreseen by Jalaluddin Rumi, the Persian dervish poet: "To say I AM HE at the wrong moment is a curse. But to say I AM HE at the right moment is a blessing."

The common kind of teacher, with no real inspiration and no complete realization, but with a commercialistic attitude or a beggar's instinct, is not worth considering. But the uncommon kind, with nothing to sell and not even the willingness to accept voluntary contributions, is well worth considering.

Test the teacher

The antique method, whereby a master's teachings are made compulsory upon the student, is unsuited to the modern man who is now beginning to come of intellectual age. Today the student is advised to keep mentally free and open, weighing and judging the worth of all teachings--including his master's--by every means of appraisal known to him.

Let us not mistake the true mystic for the false one who gathers to himself a credulous following by spectacular claims and who passes the counterfeit of necromancy for the real coin of spirituality. He still mistakes the phenomena of the senses for the fact of the Holy Spirit. He is the victim of delusions whereas the true mystic is the vanquisher of them.

Anyway, where is the man who can expound truth satisfactorily and who expresses in action the doctrines which he has embraced? Self-anointed babbling gurus exist in the flesh; long-distance Tibetan Mahatmas exist in books.

These teachers are like a crowd of blind men. The pupil believes what the teacher says, and the teacher believes what he has heard from other teachers. So he who stands in front sees nothing, and he who stands in the midst sees nothing--nor does he who stands at the back see anything. "The faith of these teachers is worthless," says a writer, on Buddha.

The spiritual exhibitionism which often accompanies the leadership and following of these cults, is another feature absent from the philosophic school.

An imposter, clever at simulating mystical insight, will nevertheless invariably fail to match his conduct with his pretensions. This is only one of the tests, but perhaps the chief one.

The pseudo-masters are full of demerits. The imperfect masters show both merits and demerits. The perfect masters reveal merits and values only.

The teacher himself must be the best advertisement of his teaching. Where there is no congruity between the two, the seeker should be cautious.

Seek truth from a suitable source. What can you gather from a man whose actions condemn him?

Many mouth what they have read in books or what they have heard said, but few have any real knowledge of the soul.

Has he personally employed the methods he teaches others? Has he tested their value in this way?

A teacher of the higher philosophy will not assist a pupil in the development of clairvoyance because this only increases the troubles and dangers from which he may be suffering already. The best advice that can be given in such a case is to refrain from endeavours in that direction and to apply his efforts to the development of his character and spiritual nature. Remember the words of Jesus: "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things shall be added unto you." Only after he has become established in high ideals and self-discipline will he be fit for the instruction he desires.

It would be useful to learn how few of these lecturers and teachers have done any original and independent research work on this subject, how many are merely repeating others' opinions like parrots.

There is this difference between the philosophic and the foolish mystic: whereas the first will always seek to clarify your mind, the second will often seek to mystify it.

The genuine mystic is always sympathetically interested in the achievement of Realization by others. However, his interest is continuously balanced by reason and intuition.

Those who merely read his reported sayings, which run so smoothly and upon so elevated a rail, will begin to fear that I have done this cult-founder an injustice and one which will appear doubly so to the serious-minded flock which follows him--for I doubt whether they can differentiate between the light irreverent treatment of my pen and mere personal maliciousness. But when I remember his acts by the light of the maxim that we best prove the attainment of lofty consciousness by lofty conduct, I know that there is no other treatment which can suit him so comfortably.

Instead of trying to clear life's mysteries for his followers, he increases their number or obscurity, or both.

The adroit imaginativeness of these imposters, paranoids, and exhibitionists, their facility in inventing Masters whom they have probably never seen, is helped by the inability of their followers to check the veracity of their pretensions about pilgrimages to Tibet.

They speak or write not what they have experienced inwardly but what they would like to have experienced.

Domination and narrowness

In a proper relationship, no true master would seek to create a dependence on him which would cause the pupil to be unable to progress alone. Yet this is exactly what happens in so many Oriental circles today and so many Occidental pseudo-mystical circles also. The pupils become less and less able to handle their own problems, less and less fit for responsible living, less and less willing to struggle to find an adjustment to life. They will not find the path of true progress by extending the delay in effecting such needful adjustment until they become chronically incapable of making any at all.

Just as the true teacher will widen the circle of a student's mental contacts, so the false one will plunge him in intellectual isolation, will keep him wholly under his own influence and prevent the enrichment of ideas and expansion of outlook necessary to his progress.

Expert advice is always useful, often essential, in several lines of activity. But advising someone is not the same as dominating or tyrannizing over him.

The guru can easily persuade his followers to believe anything or to submit to any suggestion because he previously persuades them to think rationally only from the premises he supplies.

What this posturing leader gives his disciples is nothing less than a hypnotic performance through which he lures them to moral destruction and intellectual deformity.

If we are to believe the high priests and chief representatives of these pretentious cults, there is no salvation for misguided humanity outside their own little folds.

False guides put the seeker's mind into handcuffs whereas true guides free him.

Men must begin to know such truths for themselves. The age of patriarchal domination over their minds is vanishing.

Instead of segregating his disciples and followers into monasteries, the Persian prophet Baha'u'llah told them they ought to disperse themselves throughout the world and help to enlighten others.

The psychoanalyst who keeps on turning over his patients' complexes for exhibition and discussion, as well as the guru who encourages his disciples to talk of their achievement or non-achievement of spiritual progress, is merely helping the unfortunate follower to build up his ego still more strongly.

The spiritual guide who encourages his pupils to speak openly to others of their occult experiences is acting dangerously. The more he continues to do so, the more are they likely to fall into the foolishness of personal vanity and to commit the error of placing a higher value on these things than they deserve. The next step is for them, and others, to regard their advancement up the ladder of perfection as being greater than it really is. All this leads the disciples astray from the true mystical path and creates confusion as to what constitutes true mysticism.

The quest is a mysterious enterprise. To engage in it with success, it must be engaged in mysteriously. The disciple should not make public announcement of every moral move, every psychical experience, every spiritual rapture.

The quest is so much an individual affair that although all questers must arrive at the same destination, each will do so by his own separate way, by his own special experiences. Any spiritual guide who ignores this fact merely tries to make his disciples mere copies of himself. This cannot possibly happen although both may exhaust themselves in the attempt. There are no two things, no two creatures, and no two quests identically alike anywhere in Nature.

He who arrogates to himself the right to decide what his disciples shall or shall not think read say and do, is not progressing but rather converting them into gramophone records.

The spiritual guide who does not try ceaselessly to get his followers to stand on their own feet is not the best guide for them.

A true teacher does not want to direct anyone's life. He may offer suggestions but he would never insist on their being carried out.

An unqualified teacher's own personal wish to impose his will on others is misconstrued into the wish to obey the will of God.

So-called masters who suffer from such limitations cannot set others free. Those who themselves worship the flesh-born idols of nationality race colour and status can only keep their devotees imprisoned in the same illusions.

Such pseudo-teachers do not want to enhance the self-reliance of their students, do not want to increase their strength but rather to diminish it. They prefer to have people around them to act like blotting-paper and merely absorb first, ideas, in order to reproduce them without thinking and second, commands, in order to obey them without hesitation.

The guru who intimidates, forces, compels, and tyrannizes over his followers may or may not be indefensible, but he must be regarded with some hesitation and even caution before acceptance.

There is a place for the guru; he has his services to render and only he can render them as with all specialists. But in giving this service he is not entitled to cripple the individuality of the disciple, nor is the disciple entitled to ascribe imaginary attributes and powers to the guru.

If the guru fails to lead his disciple to greater and greater freedom, he fails to encourage healthy growth, to help him find his own potentialities and to realize them.

There is a type of guru, common enough, who likes to keep his disciples as disciples always. It is an unpleasant shock for him to find them outgrowing the relationship (which has become irksome) and claiming freedom.

It is sometimes needful to remind those who emotionally exaggerate the office and service, the power and knowledge of their master and display this trait in their relationship with him, of Jesus' words: "It is good for you that I go away," and also of Ramana Maharshi's words to Swami Dandapani when he was expelled by the ashram: "This is the best thing to have happened for you now."

That these cults can attract apparently intelligent people or spiritually ardent people says little for the truth of their teaching but much for the mesmeric power of their founders. The temperament and tendency of some of these men make them dangerous teachers.

The teacher who requires absolute submission from another human being, and demands the surrender--partial or complete--of that person's property, is likely to be doing so out of selfish motives.

The mistake of men like Swami Ramdas is to prescribe for all seekers the particular way which suits only some seekers. The Swami successfully used mantra yoga and offers it to all alike. The grand Quest of man has been reduced to a simple kindergarten affair, a mere babbling of God's name with no attempt to understand God's purposes and workings. It makes the Overself too cheap and the nature of it too childish.

His suave impressive bearing, his completely assured pontifical talk, do not fail to have their effect on those whose intuition is lacking.

Their terrified followers are led to believe that if they stray away from his teaching, they stray away from God.

These fanatics propagate their opinions with such intense conviction that they mesmerize weaker minds into a similar wild, undiscriminating, and unbalanced state.

Neurotic flamboyant gurus who try to "hold" their disciples on the strength of their own alleged personal attainments instead of letting them free to receive truth from all sides, all eras, all media, exist in the East as well as in the West.

Incomplete teachers

Too many persons have assumed the role of a teacher without sufficient justification for it. Too many want to show others the way to a previously unknown cosmic experience which they have failed to attain themselves.

Too many have set up as teachers when their own stage of development was only a partial and unbalanced one. Consequently they can lead their people only to an incomplete goal and, which is worse, do them harm as well as good.

The time comes, after some years of this excessive worship by disciples, when he lets it affect him and destroy his sincerity. Then he assumes a pose to suit their idea of what a master should be. Then he is not only no longer himself, a seeker after truth, but one who has lost the possibility of truth's visitation to him.

When a man plays the role of guru without having reached the enlightenment of the true guru, the years of adulation and slavish obedience by disciples will affect his mind and alter his character. The more his power becomes absolute, the more will he suffer from paranoia and develop a belief in his own infallibility.

Those who provide quick and facile answers to such hard questions about man's lot and life merely act as unwitting purveyors of deception.

I am afraid that many occult teachers suffer from what Socrates called "the conceit of knowledge without the reality."

There are weaknesses in the thinking of these reformers, prophets, or guides, as well as serious deficiencies in their facts. They are walking in fields which not only need a deeper exploration than they were able to give but also, if they are to be walked safely, a better balance of the faculties.

It is an error to believe that they are necessarily attained. Most are still striving.

Only he who has himself been lifted up can uplift others.

Those in this category can inspire themselves but not others. They cannot give, or even be given through.

The pure truth cannot come out of human vessels which are crooked, deformed, enraged, destructive, insane, exasperated, extremist, perceiving nothing good or true or beautiful in the past, and fanatically believing they alone hold such values. But such people may still be vessels for a partial, confused, and mixed-up truth. This is where the young--naïve, inexperienced but adventurous, courageous, fresh, idealistic, utopian--may fall into traps, marshes, or illusions.

They have some kind of mystical knowledge but it is so small in quantity, so vague and blurred in quality, that it is unreliable.

What they know and teach still comes from within the limits of their own little ego-consciousness, although transferred to a psychical level. It does not come from the infinite Overself--the sole source of authentic truth.

Those prophets who have not undergone the purificatory discipline of the mind and emotions often see the truth in a false light and communicate this caricature of it to their followers.

Rather than search their subconscious carefully, or face their conscious frankly, they continue to dispense error, hallucination, and superstition. For this is their way of escape from the humiliation of publicly admitting either that they had been grossly mistaken or grossly deceived.

How many contemporary mystics have gained from all their work in meditation nothing but illusion, self-aggrandizement, or giddy hallucination? One claiming communication every day with the Buddha drips nonsense, propagates fear, and repeats the profound metaphysic read in Buddhist books; another while professing to be Jesus reincarnated and announcing his own Messiahship makes extensive financial demands on his disciples every year.

One of the great mistakes to be found in mystical circles is that which fails to recognize that most glimpses fade away. They come for a time only, not for all time. Out of this mistake there are born cults and sects, teachings and doctrines, practices and methods which merely reflect human opinion, guesses, theories, prejudices, and preferences, and not at all divine enlightenment.

The guru, sitting on his lonely eminence and surrounded by his disciples' awe, is a mystical, not a philosophical, figure.

They do not make any real contact with the Overself but only imagine that they do. For they are still enclosed within the field of the ego.

We may admire a man for his holiness and yet reject his ideas for their wrongness.

In those mystical and pseudo-mystical circles, where fanaticism is not seldom pushed to the point of madness, it is not easy to find a guide who is not only competent but also sane.

It is conceit for the mystic and an error for his followers to take his personal colouring of truth as being the infallible inspiration of truth.

The ego's ambition

If he sees himself appointed to lead a spiritual movement or in the limelight at the centre of a large group of fervent followers, he ought to exercise extreme prudence. For it may be nothing more than his own fantasy, the play of his own secret ambition. The need for protection against his own vanity is essential. The temptation of self-exaltation is a common trap for unwary occultists. The way to keep out of it is to keep humble: let others oppose him and criticize him or belittle his mystic experiences and ridicule them; if he can bear this without anger, without resentment, and with coolness, he will not fall into the trap and exploit the manifestation to glorify himself. So important is this virtue of humility that it may be labelled both first and final. The asserted spirituality which lacks this quality but which makes its own personality occupy a prominent position ought to be regarded with suspicion. That is why upon those who really do aspire to the very highest there descends the dread phenomenon of the dark night of the soul. When later they emerge from this awful experience, they emerge with all vanity ground down to powder and all pride burnt down to ash: it is better in the frail state of human nature to have nothing to burn, to hide our occult experiences from the knowledge of others.

The charlatanism which accompanies several of these cults need not necessarily be deliberate; it may also be unconscious. This is possible in cases where their founder's earnest efforts resulted in a partial mystical illumination but where his imagination was unrestrained and his speculations unguarded, his critical judgement and reasoning power undeveloped, while the ambitions of his ego were strong enough to push him into premature leadership.

If he is a man of ambitious nature, his predictive messages or directive intuitions will themselves reflect this. They will reveal a brilliant future of leadership and urge him to assume the robe of authority or to ascend the dais of Power. Thus a new cult will be born.

Few start with a pure motive, that is, with the deep and disinterested wish to assist the spiritual welfare of others without receiving any reward in return. As for the others--and they are in the majority--they are usually started with mixed motives, that is, the desire to do some good by propagating some teaching plus the desire to receive adequate financial reward for the trouble taken. These usually degenerate into forming an increasingly broadened definition of the word "adequate" until irremediable spiritual rot sets in. Finally, there are a few institutions which represent clear attempts to exploit gullible people in the basest manner--dark manifestations of an immoral greed for power. Apart from such organizations and ashrams there are always individuals who seek a purely personal following--long-armed fanatics who would gather the gullible into their clutches and over-eager proselytizers who would chain the impressionable to a ridiculous and dogmatic credo.

A teacher of the highest wisdom can serve his disciples only if he serves them with the highest aims. If he mixes selfish considerations, egotistic exploitations, personal desires with his interest in them, his teaching will to that extent itself become impure, ineffective, and falsified.

It is not necessary to deny that these hierophants honestly hold spiritual beliefs in order to point out that they are using these beliefs to subserve their personal ambitions and selfish vanity.

Any cult leader who pretends to be working solely for the service of humanity is either a mountebank with a following of fools or a fool with a following of greater fools.

The leader of a little cult, surrounded by devotees who openly and adoringly give him Himalayan rank, hearing nothing else and meeting nobody else, is conquered by their suggestions and soon begins to believe them. This puts him (and them) in danger. If he were more prudent, he would take care to reject the flatteries of disciples and welcome the fulminations of detractors.

No matter how he disguises these efforts under tall talk about "service to humanity," high-sounding ideals for himself, or the achievement of transcendental nirvanic goals, they are designed to gratify his own ego.

This eagerness to capture new disciples has too often a somewhat egotistic motive blended in with the wish to communicate teachings. The pure giving in a spirit of genuine love and selfless obedience of those simple apostles and first preachers who went forth to preach the Christian gospel seems to be absent or else adulterated.

The temptation to set himself up as a new prophet, acquire disciples, and gather followers will have to be met and overcome--even if it disguise itself as service to humanity.

He is all-too-eager to play the missionary or the apostle who will make dramatic conversions of men--a spiritual ambition in which, although he does not know it, his ego is playing a central part.

If only the masters of these cults could leave their pedestals and step down from time to time, both they and their flocks would benefit greatly. For the former might then get a truer perspective of themselves and the latter might lose their complacent self-congratulation.

If a man believes he has become enlightened and wishes to spread the Truth, he is less likely to do it if he also becomes conceited, puffed up by his knowledge, and arrogant in his attitude towards those who hold and spread other teachings. He is more likely to succeed if he shows goodwill, tolerance, and understanding towards these others.

When a man sets up to instruct his fellows spiritually, to guide them--still more, to lead them--in this way . . . it is only in the end that he discovers that he was working as much to obey his ambitions as to obey God, that it was as much because he loved his ego as because he loved his highest being that he entered and maintained all his activity.

The teacher who has a personal motive behind his work of teaching may give out a true doctrine, but only so far as it suits him. Consciously or unconsciously, he will mislead his pupils at the point where his own personal interest is affected.

Through vanity or through ambition, these teachers never allow themselves to look impartially at their teaching or honestly at its results. If they did, and if they were honest, they would renounce the one and be ashamed of the other.

That which makes a man set himself up as the head of a cult is usually ambition. It may however disguise itself as pious service. It is rare that such a man receives the divine mandate authentically.

When either pride of achievement or desire of exploitation enters into him, he will start a cult of his own.

Somewhere along the path they lose their way. Their good intentions become bad actions. The ideal of service disappears, the lust of exploitation replaces it.

The crazy visions or egoistic doctrines which float through their feverish brains and push reason from its seat, will not fail to find believers so long as they are pushed forward by ambitious, power-seeking leaders and would-be leaders.

The danger here of course is of spiritual megalomania, of believing that one's egoistic actions are inspired by God, that one's thoughts come straight from divinity itself and represent infallible wisdom, that one's personal interests coincide with humanity's welfare, and that one's baser motives are in fact higher ones.

When they present opinion as personal opinion and theory as speculative theory, no harm is done. But sooner or later the position in which they find themselves--placed on pedestals and worshipped as idols--brings on a belief in their own infallibility and a presentation of mere opinion as divine revelation. The situation is much worse when the guru is a man locked up in his own mad delusions and misleading his followers into sharing them.

They confuse their lust for adulation with the law that bids us give to the thirsty.

The teacher who becomes drunk with the wine of his disciples' adoration will soon commit egregious blunders. The power which has come to him has corrupted him. Punishment will surely follow.

The arousing of messianic expectations and millenial hopes is another suspicious sign. Countless unbalanced fanatics have followed this line. True mysticism has no necessary connection with it.

These self-anointed apostles of eccentricity prey on misguided followers, mostly women.

Where gurus are mainly intent on profiting personally from their work of instructing disciples, the latter may receive little benefit spiritually in return.

One form of delusion from which quite a number of cult-leaders have suffered is the belief that they are a reincarnation of Christ. Meher Baba, the Parsee Messiah, and Father Divine, the Negro Messiah, have shared it. Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater attached it to the young Krishnamurti--who eventually rebelled and rejected it. Several others still hold and teach the belief. No philosophic student need be taken in by this fancied revelation.

The larger his following becomes, the larger his megalomania grows.

The so-called spiritual teacher who plays tricks on his disciples and practises deception on them, fools himself in the end and he stops his own progress.

When his meditations lead him to believe in his own great importance, he would do well to stop them. When his communications boastfully proclaim his own spiritual eminence, it would be better to dismiss his disciples and be content with obscurity.

Cult-leaders give themselves too much importance and their followers too deceptive a satisfaction.

They want to increase the ego's powers, disregarding the fact that if successful this must be paid for with inflated ego, thus obstructing the channel to the Overself still more.

Their spiritual light is no larger than the glimmer which shows under a door.

They expect to be worshipped by their followers as a tribal god is worshipped. The history of all such cults is full of misplaced devotion and misguided seeking.

Too much personal worship is not only bad for their followers but also for some spiritual guides themselves.

Those who pose as infallible mentors and perfect masters get the kind of gullible disciples suited to them.

The Notebooks are copyright © 1984-1989, The Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.