Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 16: The Sensitives > Chapter 7: The Path of Individuality

The Path of Individuality

Dangers of dependence

We would all like to learn quick ways of achieving Nirvana; we would all like to realize the Overself overnight. Spiritual teachers are often asked for some magical formula whose use would turn man into Overman.

The less advanced an aspirant is, the more help he wants to receive from outside himself. That is why a beginner exaggerates the role of a master. The more advanced disciple seeks and finds more sustaining help inside himself.

The worst of this guru-chela relationship is that, by exploiting one another, both are prevented from having a free growth.

Those who have never grown up, who cannot cope with the problems of adult life, substitute the master for their mother and run, like children, to him for the solution of their problems or for the making of their decisions. If he yields to their importunity, he hinders their true development.

The idea of total submission to a guru is widely prevalent among Oriental seekers but does not appeal so much to Occidental ones. They fear demands may be made on them, because of their loss of autonomy, that would involve them in unpleasant sacrifices, deprivations, or renunciations.

There is a similarity in nature and results on a number of points between the dictator-worship which has appalled us in recent times and the guru-worship which still runs riot in ashrams. The attitude of these followers to their guru is psychologically fascistic. Such pitiful self-surrender will not promote a man's spiritual progress. On the contrary, it will only cheat him out of establishing conscious contact with his own higher self.

When they reach a stage where they are overwhelmed with joy at his praise and ready to commit suicide at his criticism, they are in an unhealthy condition.

In the earlier stages of growth such an attitude of servile submission or unthinking imitation may be both adequate and helpful. But in the middle and later stages it is a hindrance.

If the aspirant develops the habit of relying only upon this outside support and does nothing to develop his own self-sufficiency, he will become weaker and weaker instead of stronger and stronger.

At best they can become mere reproductions of the master--at worst, inferior imitations. For they have nothing else to do than make themselves passive and absorb all they can from him.

The disciples who turn themselves into copies of their guru do well for themselves up to a certain point. But after that their aping actually retards their growth.

They expect a guru to be not only a teacher, friend, moral supporter, and whatnot, but also a magician who can make things happen, by his mere wish, for their spiritual or material benefit.

Of what advantage to him is it to become a puppet on a string pulled by the master?

So many who look for, or have, a guru do so because they come with personal problems and expect him to enable them to handle these problems or even to handle them himself. This entirely misses the higher purpose of the quest.

What they expect and look for in a master is a kind of personal friendship exaggerated to such an extreme degree that he interests himself in every little detail of their personal lives.

In some cases this dependence is merely pathetic but in other cases it is actually desperate.

The relationship with the guru is made an excuse for want of effort in the disciple.

The disciple who tries to live in the image of his guru becomes a copy of him. This may be good or bad or a mixture of both but it is still only a copy.


The path is an individual not a corporate enterprise. You do not tread it by joining a mystical society any more than by joining an orthodox church.

Whoever seeks this intimate awareness of the Overself-presence does not need to seek anywhere outside his own heart and mind, does not really need to go to any distant land nor try to find some other person to become his "Master." Yet such is the power of suggestion that because he hears or reads that the one or the other is an essential prerequisite, he fills himself with unnecessary anxieties, frustrated yearning, or futile speculations as a result.

It is absolutely necessary for the person who has attained the highly sensitive and highly advanced state of mysticism to keep away from all Western cults and teachers because only with the completion of his training through the fuller initiation in the Ultimate Path will he become strong enough to have any contact with these movements without injuring himself.

He needs someone who can pilot him through these rocky unfamiliar seas. But if he can only find someone who misdirects him, he had better travel alone.

Any attempt to heal the breach between the various mystical societies is doomed to failure. They have degenerated into narrow and dogmatic religious sects. Seek rather to deal with ideas and not organizations, principles rather than persons. Here independence is praiseworthy.

We do not need to walk into new captivities.

As soon as the feeling of being tightly enclosed by a sect arises, it is time to put on one's shoes and take leave of it.

But there are also elements of danger here. There is a path downwards into the abyss which is being trod by some leaders who have succumbed to greeds and lusts. They begin by exciting unsuspicious curiosity and end by obtaining foolish credence. They end by betraying their followers with unfulfilled predictions and unredeemed promises, and themselves with travelling at an ever-wider tangent from the path of assured peace. Better by far to walk alone than walk into such pitfalls and snares in the company of others.

Let him avoid the spread-out nets of organized cults and hold on to the freedom to take his mind through the best thought of mankind and the deepest findings of seers and sages. Independent search has its difficulties but also its rewards.

The quest is a lonely enterprise. Those who join cults, groups, societies, ashrams, or sects in order to escape this loneliness do so only in appearance, not in reality.

To be herded together may be the only way out for those who lack capacity to find a measure of spirituality. But it is not the way for an independent mind.

The want of inner affinity may make it advisable, after a time, to be content with what one has learned from a teaching, a school, a sect, even a religion, and move on elsewhere.

Those who look for salvation on group lines, that is to say on mass-product lines, look for self-deception.

It is not by sedulously aping other questers that one follows the quest, not by conforming to a rigid pattern. Its requirements must change with each individual and even with his circumstances.

When a teaching is turned into a cult and congealed into a sect, it is time to get up and go away.

He can recognize the usefulness of an institution or an organization or a group without wishing to identify himself with it. For he knows at the same time that there is also a limitation in it which would stop the freedom of his search for truth.

The disciple who entrusts himself to a guru has, in Bacon's phrase, given a hostage to fortune.

If people only knew what they could do for themselves, they would not run hither and thither looking for vicarious salvation through another person.

It is unwise to make oneself join any group or society, or force discipleship with any teacher where no affinity is felt, however much others--relatives, friends, or acquaintances--try persuasion.

The hope that by joining sects or following leaders they can develop their own inner resources is a vain one. To go inwards they must stop going outwards.

Why should a man have to associate himself formally with any particular cult or organization if he wants truth? Why should he not follow his private and independent judgement, feeling, or interests?

It is completely unnecessary for aspirants to seek out each others' company or join together into groups or societies. This can do as much harm as good.

Those who feel tempted to do so may study the public cults and listen to the public teachers, but it would be imprudent to join any of the first or follow any of the second. It would be wiser to remain free and independent or they may be led astray from the philosophical path.

Be responsible

There is no substitute for personal effort, no gratuitous presentation of the divine consciousness by a master, no escape from the hard necessity of unfaltering practice of the exercises, no way of being absolved from the need of patience.

Since all things have come out of the primal Source, all that I really need can directly come out of it to me if I put myself in perfect harmony with the Source and stay therein. This is the truth behind the fallacy of these cults. For to put myself into such harmony, it is not enough to pronounce the words, or to hold the thought, or to visualize the things themselves. More than this must be done--no less a thing than all that labour of overcoming the ego which is comprised in the Quest. How many of the followers of the cults have even understood that, and all its implications in connection with their desires? How many of them have tried to overcome the ego? If they have not succeeded in understanding and complying with the divine law governing this matter, why should the divine power be at their beck and call to bring what they want? If they have not sought and largely attained that mastery of the animal propensities and that deep concentration in the centre of consciousness which the Quest seeks, is it not impertinent to expect to reach that power with their voice?

In the end he has to be his own teacher. It is a comforting kind of escapism to imagine that someone else is going to save him, but this will happen only in his wishful imagination and excited emotion. Such a tremendous saving of effort would be welcome indeed but it would be contrary to Nature's law of growth. Those who are "saved" in return for their fervent faith are mostly victims of suggestion, whether it be their own or others'. Yet such dependence is an inevitable stage of their inner life at the religious level.

Given enough time or rather lifetimes, the master may lead him to peace and wisdom--but they can never be unearned gifts. They can come to him only through his own deserving. If people accept a spurious or a shoddy mysticism as the real thing, it can only be because they are not yet ready for it.

Because it can be turned into an escape, turning over responsibility for a decision to a group's leader is easier than accepting it oneself.

He was not put here to live on other men's spiritual experience but on his own.

Do not make any other man responsible for your happiness. He cannot really carry you even if he wanted. Assertions, claims, promises, made to the contrary by gurus or their disciples, are the fruit of imagination in the one or wishful thinking in the other.

The passive following of some leader in thought is not enough. The positive working on one's own character and consciousness, using the weight of one's own will, is also required.

The teacher who takes from a pupil the responsibility for his own spiritual growth, prevents that growth.

The responsibility must be placed where it belongs--on the aspirant himself, not on his guide whatever the latter claims.

He will not find true security by depending on another man for it--even if that man be his spiritual master. He must build it within himself, by himself, for himself. The genuine master can contribute toward this work but cannot perform it for him.

Even in the case of those who take the guidance of a guru, it should not be forgotten that if development advances sufficiently the pupil must start somewhere to be his own teacher, must start looking for, and finding, the inner guru--his own soul. A sincere competent guru would demand this.

When a certain famous yogi died, a number of his disciples fell into negative conditions for months or years. Some had nervous breakdowns, others became physically very sick, others suffered from melancholia. All these cases were observed only among resident disciples, living in ashrams, not distant ones.

The service of a guide is helpful to beginners to direct their way, to point out where it lies, and--if the guide is inspired, if the students are sufficiently receptive, if their personal karma is favourable, and if the World-Mind uses the guide for the purpose--to give them the important experience of a Glimpse. Beyond this the guide cannot go, despite all the gross exaggerations which surround this subject in most Oriental circles and which, if believed and followed, actually keep aspirants back from making real rather than fictitious advance. They themselves must do the travelling.

Too much dependence on another person--even if he be a guru--develops an inferiority complex, a feeling of unworthiness or of weakness.

It is a superstition to believe that salvation can be given by any other man, be he priest, guru, or whatever. The notion that it can be derived from some man's grace is a mirage.

Without labour, sacrifice, exertion, or training, but merely for the asking, the rare fruit of enlightenment is to fall into their mouths. How illogical and unreasonable is such a demand! How can any sound and lasting growth come in such a way?

The mere belief that anyone can hand over permanent salvation or freedom from the series of earthly re-embodiments is offensive to the sense of justice and fairness. Such a consciousness is not a material thing to be ladled out in charity like soup. It has to be worked for.

The labour of discovering and realizing the soul is something no other person can vicariously take over from you. You alone must do it because it is precisely through such labour that you can grow into soul-consciousness.

Use your judgement

Independence in spiritual seeking, a mind kept wide open for new and true ideas, discrimination between appearances and reality behind them--these are what will lead a man in the end to discover and know things for himself. Let him keep his common sense and keep outside all fantastic religious cults, with their hocus-pocus. Let him avoid the sheer lunacy which masquerades in certain circles as mysticism. There is nothing to be gained from the grotesque characters who form the membership of certain cults nor from the self-appointed Masters or Messiahs who lead them.

The student of comparative mysticism may examine the various doctrines without necessarily accepting them. His approach should be dispassionate, unbiased, and open-minded no less than discerning, cautious, and questioning. He should remember that they are not only sources of enlightenment but also of obfuscation. In this way he may pass intellectually through the region of fanatical superstitions and psychic delusions to the truth.

It is possible that the membership of such a cult or the following of such a teacher will still benefit him if he takes care not to make the mistake of asking more than the one or the other can give. That is, he should not ask for the truth which only perfectly equilibrated, fully developed philosophy can give. He should accept the fact that the sect has its limitations, the leader his errors. But if this safeguard is not taken, if he fails to resist the doubtful enthusiasm untempered by reality which will surround him, or the wild eccentricity into which weak persons are swept away, then the group or the guide may bog down his progress or even harm him.

It is unfortunate that the printed page democratically levels all alike; that it puts on terms of a flat plane of equality the vital convincing speech of a Jesus with the speech of a nonentity; that it invests a man or an idea with a dignity which in actuality they may not at all possess; that all words when set in type look more or less equally imposing and important, no matter by whose lips they are spoken or by whose hand they are written. Were we all gifted with profounder mental percipiency, the fool in philosopher's clothing would then be plainly revealed for what he is; the scratcher of Truth's surface would no longer be able to bawl successfully that he had solved the secrets of the universe; and even the brainless idiot who stumbles on a momentary ecstasy would not be able to assert to an admiring audience of devotees that he had become a Master. Then, too, we would be able to penetrate the disguises of some humble ones and raise them high up on the pedestals of respect which they deserve; we would bend the knee in reverence before the figures of those who really do possess truth but do not possess the gift for personal publicity, who know the Infinite reality but who know not how to turn it to finite profit.

It does not really matter that there are cults, creeds, and teachings stretching all the way in quality from the lowest and most primitive up through the mediocre and most orthodox to the theosophic and mystical. The limited range of human mentality and character puts limits on its spiritual satisfactions, demands, and expectations. What does matter is that anyone should confuse them, should regard the worst as the best, the commonplace as the inspired, the false as the true--that good judgement is so lacking that there is hardly any recognition of the best as the best.

Overcoming the ego does not consist of replacing one's own by some other man's. When we leave science (so far as it consists of recognizing or discovering facts, not putting forward theories) and enter the world of occult/mystic studies, we have to be wary of unproved assertions, of statements for which no reliable evidence is offered, of revelations which are compounded from inventions and imaginations as well as from inspirations.

The seeker should beware of cults masking their commercialistic motive under the guise of an earnest purpose.

We should apply the test of reason to these revelations, however lofty their human sources, for we must recognize that no human mind is infallible. The failure to make this recognition, the refusal to see the contradictions between revelations, can only work to our own detriment in the search after truth.

All this does not render his message valueless. It is merely an indication that the recipient should not paralyse his critical faculties merely because the message does unquestionably spring from an inspired source.

Doubt is the spearhead of hope for believers deceived in their quest of spiritual life, as is discontent for those deceived in their quest of pupilship.

It would be a blunder to accept all mystically derived messages as divinely given and specially revealed. They may be wholly so but it is much more likely that they are only partially so, and even that they have no divine origin at all. It is wise and needful to examine them carefully, sympathetically if we wish, but critically thereafter. We should note where personal limitations have insidiously or blatantly crept in and where pure universality has let the divine stream flow clear.

The important thing is the kind of mentality which produces such ideas. Is it alive with goodwill, alight with wisdom? Or is it the opposite?

When its assertions become mystical to the point of being quite mysterious and the reader can no longer follow it along these obscure paths of thought, it is time to be cautious.

The statements of prophets and reformers, teachers and exponents, who have shown themselves irresponsible in behaviour and unpoised in consciousness, cannot be trusted. Yet there may be some measure of truth behind the exaggeration or the fallacy.

Embrace what is sound and progressive in these systems while rejecting their absurdities, falsities, and tyrannies.

Psychical delusions and imaginary experiences borrowed from these cults should not be imposed on the true quest.

Selfish hypnotists pose as spiritual teachers. They usually attempt to suborn their pupil's intellect, in order to make him their obedient slave. When the latter is frightened to use his reasoning and critical faculties upon the claims made, he readily becomes a mere puppet in the hands of his mental "Master." Intellect is not to be abandoned, but to be rightly understood. Its doubts of the divine are to be cast aside; its scepticism of the Ineffable may be discarded; but its powers of reason and logic are not therefore to be destroyed at the unscrupulous bidding of some pseudo-sage.

To adapt certain selected ideas and practices to our own thought and use is wise, to adopt them wholesale is foolish.

Everybody makes a judgement, acts as a judge, even where he seems not to do so at all; merely by accepting an organization's view, or a religion's creed, he actually judges the organization or religion and the view. He may seem to depend on authority, to submit to the hierarchy of the organization or religion with its supposedly superior knowledge or power, but in actuality he unwittingly pronounces judgement in its favour. In the end, the responsibility for this decision is primarily his own.

An ancient Sanskrit work, The Yoga Vasistha Ramayana by Valmiki, pertinently says: "Judgement is the sole resource of seekers; they have no other way for their intellect to shun evil and attain good. The state of spiritual release which is boundless freedom is brought about by the help of judgement."

He makes choices whether or not to adhere to a certain moral code, belong to a particular organized group or institution, follow some spiritual guide or teaching. This is the fact, whatever he may assume, believe, or assert to escape personal responsibility.

Before he joins the crowd pressing down the road, he wants to inquire where they are going, and whether it is right or reasonable, and then to choose whether he wants to go their way at all.

The prudent seeker will not be swept off his feet by the impressive but theatrical appearance of a proclaimed master, nor stupefied by the grandiose claims, titles, organization, and theories which accompany the proclamation.

While they are trying to get rid of old faults, the very procedure they are using leads to the birth of new ones. The more they use this procedure, the more they unwittingly nurture these fresh evils. What good is it in the final balancing of accounts to be continually curing one disease at the cost of creating another? The harmful effects of the procedure are inherent in it and can be avoided only by using it with critical judgement, and not with blind partisanship.

Philosophic training protects him from falling into the nets spread by those who arrogate to themselves extravagant titles in order to play God. He will be in a position correctly to evaluate them and their procedures.

Not only novices but even others ask, in the agony of their disillusionment or the shock of their discovery, why, when they are so sincere, the higher power permits them to make these mistakes, why it lets them fall into the traps and pitfalls set along the way, why it does not save them from getting into the hands of deluded, unscrupulous, evil, or demented prophets.

Too many believe that because they have become interested in mysticism, they must join one of the minor or major cults which use it as a background. Too often their bubble of romantic delusions needs pricking. Life will have to be cruel to them so as to be kind in the ultimate purpose.

It is understandable that the earnest aspirant who is willing to consecrate his life to following the quest wherever it leads him, will give himself enthusiastically and obediently to the discipline of conduct and the personal re-arrangement demanded from him. But if these are strange, morally dubious, or ignorant fanaticisms, he has a right to question them and a need for caution concerning their sponsors.

To get behind the scenes of these small cults and to find out what their origin and history really is, may shatter as many idols as doing the same to the great old-established religions does. For the human ego's self-worship manifests in both, although in different degrees. The informed seeker need not be dismayed by his discoveries, for they will serve him well if they turn him away to final and firmer reliance on the Overself alone.

They need philosophy not only to lead them to truth but also to protect them from the fools and frauds, the hallucinated teachers and mercenary guides who infest the approaches to it.

The aspirant who is the frequent victim of his own or other people's false beliefs and suffers the consequences, would be foolish to abandon his search for truth. That would be an emotional reaction. He would do better to probe into the mental weaknesses which render him so liable to such deception, and to put himself on guard against them in the future.

A teaching cannot always be judged accurately by its effects on those who follow it. For some, by their own inferior character, give it a worse reputation than it deserves while others, by their superior character, exalt its apparent value beyond its own merits.

He could easily become half-cynical about what these groups and movements, institutions and organizations are doing but, as a good philosophic apprentice, he turns aside from them and from the negatives they arouse to collect and keep the positives he has uncovered, the verities, grand or exciting, that he has discovered.

Pretension to such wisdom and power is one thing but possession of them is another. Where enthusiasm is not counterweighted by discernment, this difference remains unseen.

We may bring to the pages of these mystical writers all our intellectual sympathy and general faith but we ought also bring to them some of our critical judgement.

The earnest but innocent aspirant should beware of teachings which are outwardly attractive but inwardly destructive, which are subtle forms of egoism or materialism disguised as spiritual paths.

To detect those who know Truth is hard; but it is even harder, among so many conflicting teachings, to detect the true one.

What is sane in these cults must be separated from what is not. The followers do not, and can not, do so. A fair evaluation can come only from outside.

The attitude towards cultism should be precisely the same as that towards all other religions with organized institutions. One may learn what they have to offer without joining them. It is needful to use one's critical judgement and try to see clearly their limitations, deficiencies, and weaknesses along with their truths and services.

A doctrine may be false even though it is given in good faith, even though the teachers believe it to be true.

Experience is the acid test which proves the real worth of a theory. If a teaching appeals to both the heart and mind, if it seems rational and feels right, then I am willing to adopt it tentatively. But when later I discover that the result of practical application of the teaching is negative and that the facts cannot be made to square with the claims, then I must unhesitatingly reject that teaching no matter how great be the repute of the man who has promulgated it, nor however holy he be regarded.

How many have felt their faith shaken, their mind worried, their intelligence puzzled by these contradictions between claim and result, between theory and practice? They may suppress their doubts for years, hide their fears in their most secret heart, but time will only increase rather than lessen their torment.

The moment must come, in the end, when the consequences of false belief show themselves in unavoidable form and must be faced.

It is a valuable practice to judge a theory by its everyday results, to measure its truth by its personal effects, and to test its correctness in one's own experience. Such a course, however, is valid only if accompanied by other and non-practical assessments.

It is questionable whether these masters have led more pupils astray than aright. But the final test is: Do these years of membership leave the aspirant where he was before he joined? Have they availed him nothing?

He projects all his hopes of a higher knowledge and experience upon such an inferior teaching and imagines that he has found the truth. It may be many years before the painful awakening happens.

The way to test such an argument is to push it out farther and farther until it reaches its ridiculous ultimate.

It is said, and believed, that time will sort out the charlatans from the true seers.

Be discriminating

It is easy to understand that it is not necessary to accept the gibberings of absurd quacks merely because one is willing to accept the revelations of true mystics. But it is not generally known that even these revelations need also to be screened by critical judgement.

The mystic has begun to feel the presence of the Mind within his mind but he has not begun to understand it. This is because the first is much easier than the second.

A "pure" intuition is a rarity in our experience because wishes and desires, fancies and fears interfere with it, maul it, and even kill it.

Philosophy fully admits and believes in the possibility of revelations, be they religious, mystical, or even psychical, but it points out that to the extent that the seer mixes in the picturizations of his own imaginative faculty or the ratiocinations of his own thinking process, to that extent what he receives or gives out is no longer a revelation. It is only an ordinary idea. Philosophy goes even farther than that and asserts that his human ego may interfere unconsciously with the very process whereby he becomes aware of the revelation. When that happens his awareness is tinged by inherited traits or by suggested beliefs or by personal wishes.

If the personality has been unevenly developed, if its forces have not been properly harmonized with each other and defects remain in thinking, feeling, and willing, then at the threshold of illumination these defects will become magnified and overstimulated by the upwelling soul power and lead to adverse psychical results.

If, however, anyone were to believe that a genuine mystic experience is only a product of the mystic's own subconscious mind and conscious tendencies, and nothing more, he would be gravely mistaken.

The man who looks within his own consciousness may eventually find impeccable truth. But he may also find inane fantasy. Thus the mystical path has its attendant dangers.

The authentic inspirations of the Overself and the human illusions of the ego will often be mingled together in his mystical intuitions and experiences. Both factors being present, the result may confuse his mind if he is discriminating enough as well as exhilarated; sometimes it will misguide his mind if he is conceited enough. Only when the ego makes and keeps its fullest union with the Overself can he be sure of an unerringly true intuition or a perfectly transcendental experience.

Their interpretive world-views often reveal the limitations of their intellectual knowledge and general backgrounds--indeed are sometimes quite out of accord with indisputable historical or scientific fact. It is only when they describe such matters which have actually come within their own inward experience, such as the opening into the higher consciousness and the way thereto, that their accounts possess elements of permanent and universal value.

The revelations that come out of the purity of man's Overself contrast definitely with those that come out of the fancies of his ego. Clear and authentic are the tones of the first; but diffused are the vaporings of the second. In the one case the end is more light, in the other more fog.

The proportions vary widely with individual mystics. Some messages have enough inspiration and little adulteration, others have less of the one and more of the other.

When inquiring into the genuineness of the teachings of one who claims to have received direct guidance and revelation, a seeker must remember that subconscious complexes are very important in this connection. If he inquires into the background and associations of the seer or mystic he will doubtless find the seeds out of which many of the revelations have grown--with or without the seer's conscious assistance.

We are all too familiar with mystical revelations which lack substance, abound with old clichés, lose themselves in a woolly vagueness, and are even slightly sickly to the mental taste because of over-sentimental cloying sweetness.

This tendency to bring up from below the mystical experience elements which mingle intimately with those that come into it from above is innate in all disciples until they have passed through the purifying fire of philosophic discipline.

Messages very often contain genuine guidance plus some contribution from the personal ego. Naturally, when the ego attempts to enter the pure atmosphere of the Impersonal, the possibility of misinterpretation becomes far greater.

That visionaries often suffer from hallucinations is lamentably true, and I spend much of my time dodging such persons! It was an important part of my training in philosophical mysticism to study them, to understand how it is that these experiences arise and why, and then to develop all the necessary safeguards.

Few people are on so high a level that they are able to have both genuine mystical experiences and the right reflections arising out of them.

The mystic who has reached some point of truth in his consciousness, but not the farthest point, may easily fall into the fallacy of believing (and teaching) that the way whereby he came to it is the best way, probably the only way.

It is a picture of personal feelings and human opinions posing as impersonal truths and divine revelations. The consequences are worse than what they would otherwise be because the prophet is unable to believe that he could be so fallible.

What is not possible for the ego-expressing man becomes easy for the divine-expressing man. This shift, from the lesser consciousness to the greater, opens the gates of power. But it must be divine, or in the result the ego will merely become fatter.

A man's inner experience may reach far and yet be commingled with a character only partially purified. His mystical attainment may or may not confer a total transformation of his nature, a total subjugation of its lower part to the higher--that depends on Grace. This explains the moral weaknesses of some mystics who have given us great teachings. Only the very few who have taken the pains to undergo a thorough re-education of their whole being, and to bring it into proper equilibrium, involving its development and its discipline, are likely to receive the Grace which will make them morally faultless as well as scrupulous practitioners of their own preachment.

Most mystics communicate in their teaching or revelation a mixture of reality and fiction; the reality comes from the Overself, the fiction from their own limited mind. Few are able to reproduce the reality alone and to exclude the other.

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