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Your letter of May was read with interest and although I don't really have the time to develop correspondences, I will make an exception in your case by answering your questions.

Your friend last year found his spiritual affinity in the teachings called Transcendental Meditation, which have been put out by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He joined the society with great enthusiasm and devotes his studies to their teachings--in fact, intends to become one of their teachers when he is sufficiently qualified. He came and informed me about this. I told him I was delighted at the news, since he had tried meditation for many years and never succeeded in getting any result from his efforts. Now that he is getting some kind of result from the new methods which he is practising, he blames his former method (Who Am I?) for his failure. He also asserted that it was a wrong method and criticized Ramana Maharshi for teaching it, but I assume that Maharshi did so because, as he himself describes, it was the way he used to come into his own illumination, so it was not wrong for him. Moreover, some years after I met Maharshi I discovered in an old Sanskrit text the same Who Am I method. Whether Maharshi knew of this text or not, I do not know. Since it existed in this text, it was therefore one that had the authority of tradition. It is hardly likely that it would have been given out in those days among the students of Advaita if it had been useless. The real mistake your friend made was to cling for so many years to something that was not helpful to him when so many other ways are easily available. This is a well-known fact.

I am happy that he is now happy himself, since there are many paths to go, as Krishna pointed out, and many ways of reaching the goal of yoga. I have always taken an interest in all the different ways and always said and written that a seeker should try whatever attracts him until he finds the one with which he feels an affinity and from which he gets help. It is true that I gave the Who Am I method in the first book about meditation, which was The Secret Path, but I did that to honour Ramana Maharshi. My own personal path which I used before I ever went to India was quite different and one which I had not learned from anyone else. This student ignored these statements of mine that most of the different yogic paths are valid for different persons, and if he had told me that Who Am I did not suit him, I would have immediately suggested that he look for something that did suit him. I do not know where he got the idea that I was wedded to the Who Am I teaching alone. I don't know of anyone else who thought so. He visited Anthony Damiani at Wisdom's Goldenrod a year or two ago and he must have seen that various teachings are being studied there.

Your inability to accept your friend's persuasions to join Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's society is nothing you need worry about, but follow your own intuitive feelings in the matter. It is true, as your friend told you, that I approved of his having joined them, but it is not true to say that I advised him to join. It was only after two or three months of his membership that he even came and told me for the first time about his interest in the Transcendental Meditation teachings. You ask whether I advise you to do what he has done and join them. My answer is that you should feel perfectly free to do whatever your reason, your personal feelings, and your own knowledge, so far as you have studied philosophy, altogether tell you to do.

Finally, your friend knows that very many years ago, I spent a day and a half watching the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, at Mahesh Yogi's request, that he asked me to write a book about him and I refused, and that since that time Mahesh Yogi tells people that I became his disciple, which, of course, is not true. But the work of introducing mantram yoga to the world is one he's successfully doing and I acknowledge that. He is to be admired for this. On the other hand, I do not wish to have any personal connection with him.

The feeling of unsettlement, oppression, and depression which this episode with your friend has caused you, is quite unnecessary. He is entitled to go the way which is helping him but you must find your own way which helps you and you need not imagine that what is suited for him must necessarily be suited for you. That you must ask yourself. Be true to yourself. I am not a personal guru and have no personal pupils and I can look at all these happenings impartially. Anyway, don't worry since both of you are seekers. With Peace, Paul Brunton


-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 6: The Profane and The Profound > # 76






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