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PaulBruntonPhilosophicFoundationhomepage>NotebooksofPaulBrunton>Category16:TheSensitives>Chapter7:
ThePathofIndividuality

ThePathofIndividuality
Dangersofdependence
1

WewouldallliketolearnquickwaysofachievingNirvanawewouldallliketorealize
theOverselfovernight.Spiritualteachersareoftenaskedforsomemagicalformula
whoseusewouldturnmanintoOverman.
2

Thelessadvancedanaspirantis,themorehelphewantstoreceivefromoutsidehimself.
Thatiswhyabeginnerexaggeratestheroleofamaster.Themoreadvanceddisciple
seeksandfindsmoresustaininghelpinsidehimself.
3

Theworstofthisguruchelarelationshipisthat,byexploitingoneanother,bothare
preventedfromhavingafreegrowth.
4

Thosewhohavenevergrownup,whocannotcopewiththeproblemsofadultlife,
substitutethemasterfortheirmotherandrun,likechildren,tohimforthesolutionof
theirproblemsorforthemakingoftheirdecisions.Ifheyieldstotheirimportunity,he
hinderstheirtruedevelopment.
5

TheideaoftotalsubmissiontoaguruiswidelyprevalentamongOrientalseekersbut
doesnotappealsomuchtoOccidentalones.Theyfeardemandsmaybemadeonthem,
becauseoftheirlossofautonomy,thatwouldinvolvetheminunpleasantsacrifices,
deprivations,orrenunciations.
6

Thereisasimilarityinnatureandresultsonanumberofpointsbetweenthedictator
worshipwhichhasappalledusinrecenttimesandtheguruworshipwhichstillrunsriot
inashrams.Theattitudeofthesefollowerstotheirguruispsychologicallyfascistic.Such
pitifulselfsurrenderwillnotpromoteaman'sspiritualprogress.Onthecontrary,itwill
onlycheathimoutofestablishingconsciouscontactwithhisownhigherself.
7

Whentheyreachastagewheretheyareoverwhelmedwithjoyathispraiseandreadyto
commitsuicideathiscriticism,theyareinanunhealthycondition.
8

Intheearlierstagesofgrowthsuchanattitudeofservilesubmissionorunthinking
imitationmaybebothadequateandhelpful.Butinthemiddleandlaterstagesitisa
hindrance.
9

Iftheaspirantdevelopsthehabitofrelyingonlyuponthisoutsidesupportanddoes
nothingtodevelophisownselfsufficiency,hewillbecomeweakerandweakerinstead
ofstrongerandstronger.
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10

Atbesttheycanbecomemerereproductionsofthemasteratworst,inferiorimitations.
Fortheyhavenothingelsetodothanmakethemselvespassiveandabsorballtheycan
fromhim.
11

Thediscipleswhoturnthemselvesintocopiesoftheirgurudowellforthemselvesuptoa
certainpoint.Butafterthattheirapingactuallyretardstheirgrowth.
12

Theyexpectagurutobenotonlyateacher,friend,moralsupporter,andwhatnot,but
alsoamagicianwhocanmakethingshappen,byhismerewish,fortheirspiritualor
materialbenefit.
13

Ofwhatadvantagetohimisittobecomeapuppetonastringpulledbythemaster?
14

Somanywholookfor,orhave,agurudosobecausetheycomewithpersonalproblems
andexpecthimtoenablethemtohandletheseproblemsoreventohandlethemhimself.
Thisentirelymissesthehigherpurposeofthequest.
15

Whattheyexpectandlookforinamasterisakindofpersonalfriendshipexaggeratedto
suchanextremedegreethatheinterestshimselfineverylittledetailoftheirpersonal
lives.
16

Insomecasesthisdependenceismerelypatheticbutinothercasesitisactually
desperate.
17

Therelationshipwiththeguruismadeanexcuseforwantofeffortinthedisciple.
18

Thedisciplewhotriestoliveintheimageofhisgurubecomesacopyofhim.Thismay
begoodorbadoramixtureofbothbutitisstillonlyacopy.

Independence
19

Thepathisanindividualnotacorporateenterprise.Youdonottreaditbyjoininga
mysticalsocietyanymorethanbyjoininganorthodoxchurch.
20

WhoeverseeksthisintimateawarenessoftheOverselfpresencedoesnotneedtoseek
anywhereoutsidehisownheartandmind,doesnotreallyneedtogotoanydistantland
nortrytofindsomeotherpersontobecomehis"Master."Yetsuchisthepowerof
suggestionthatbecausehehearsorreadsthattheoneortheotherisanessential
prerequisite,hefillshimselfwithunnecessaryanxieties,frustratedyearning,orfutile
speculationsasaresult.
21

Itisabsolutelynecessaryforthepersonwhohasattainedthehighlysensitiveandhighly
advancedstateofmysticismtokeepawayfromallWesterncultsandteachersbecause
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onlywiththecompletionofhistrainingthroughthefullerinitiationintheUltimatePath
willhebecomestrongenoughtohaveanycontactwiththesemovementswithoutinjuring
himself.
22

Heneedssomeonewhocanpilothimthroughtheserockyunfamiliarseas.Butifhecan
onlyfindsomeonewhomisdirectshim,hehadbettertravelalone.
23

Anyattempttohealthebreachbetweenthevariousmysticalsocietiesisdoomedto
failure.Theyhavedegeneratedintonarrowanddogmaticreligioussects.Seekratherto
dealwithideasandnotorganizations,principlesratherthanpersons.Hereindependence
ispraiseworthy.
24

Wedonotneedtowalkintonewcaptivities.
25

Assoonasthefeelingofbeingtightlyenclosedbyasectarises,itistimetoputonone's
shoesandtakeleaveofit.
26

Buttherearealsoelementsofdangerhere.Thereisapathdownwardsintotheabyss
whichisbeingtrodbysomeleaderswhohavesuccumbedtogreedsandlusts.Theybegin
byexcitingunsuspiciouscuriosityandendbyobtainingfoolishcredence.Theyendby
betrayingtheirfollowerswithunfulfilledpredictionsandunredeemedpromises,and
themselveswithtravellingataneverwidertangentfromthepathofassuredpeace.Better
byfartowalkalonethanwalkintosuchpitfallsandsnaresinthecompanyofothers.
27

Lethimavoidthespreadoutnetsoforganizedcultsandholdontothefreedomtotake
hismindthroughthebestthoughtofmankindandthedeepestfindingsofseersandsages.
Independentsearchhasitsdifficultiesbutalsoitsrewards.
28

Thequestisalonelyenterprise.Thosewhojoincults,groups,societies,ashrams,orsects
inordertoescapethislonelinessdosoonlyinappearance,notinreality.
29

Tobeherdedtogethermaybetheonlywayoutforthosewholackcapacitytofinda
measureofspirituality.Butitisnotthewayforanindependentmind.
30

Thewantofinneraffinitymaymakeitadvisable,afteratime,tobecontentwithwhat
onehaslearnedfromateaching,aschool,asect,evenareligion,andmoveonelsewhere.
31

Thosewholookforsalvationongrouplines,thatistosayonmassproductlines,lookfor
selfdeception.
32

Itisnotbysedulouslyapingotherquestersthatonefollowsthequest,notbyconforming
toarigidpattern.Itsrequirementsmustchangewitheachindividualandevenwithhis
circumstances.
33

Whenateachingisturnedintoacultandcongealedintoasect,itistimetogetupandgo
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away.
34

Hecanrecognizetheusefulnessofaninstitutionoranorganizationoragroupwithout
wishingtoidentifyhimselfwithit.Forheknowsatthesametimethatthereisalsoa
limitationinitwhichwouldstopthefreedomofhissearchfortruth.
35

Thedisciplewhoentrustshimselftoaguruhas,inBacon'sphrase,givenahostageto
fortune.
36

Ifpeopleonlyknewwhattheycoulddoforthemselves,theywouldnotrunhitherand
thitherlookingforvicarioussalvationthroughanotherperson.
37

Itisunwisetomakeoneselfjoinanygrouporsociety,orforcediscipleshipwithany
teacherwherenoaffinityisfelt,howevermuchothersrelatives,friends,or
acquaintancestrypersuasion.
38

Thehopethatbyjoiningsectsorfollowingleaderstheycandeveloptheirowninner
resourcesisavainone.Togoinwardstheymuststopgoingoutwards.
39

Whyshouldamanhavetoassociatehimselfformallywithanyparticularcultor
organizationifhewantstruth?Whyshouldhenotfollowhisprivateandindependent
judgement,feeling,orinterests?
40

Itiscompletelyunnecessaryforaspirantstoseekouteachothers'companyorjoin
togetherintogroupsorsocieties.Thiscandoasmuchharmasgood.
41

Thosewhofeeltemptedtodosomaystudythepubliccultsandlistentothepublic
teachers,butitwouldbeimprudenttojoinanyofthefirstorfollowanyofthesecond.It
wouldbewisertoremainfreeandindependentortheymaybeledastrayfromthe
philosophicalpath.

Beresponsible
42

Thereisnosubstituteforpersonaleffort,nogratuitouspresentationofthedivine
consciousnessbyamaster,noescapefromthehardnecessityofunfalteringpracticeof
theexercises,nowayofbeingabsolvedfromtheneedofpatience.
43

SinceallthingshavecomeoutoftheprimalSource,allthatIreallyneedcandirectly
comeoutofittomeifIputmyselfinperfectharmonywiththeSourceandstaytherein.
Thisisthetruthbehindthefallacyofthesecults.Fortoputmyselfintosuchharmony,it
isnotenoughtopronouncethewords,ortoholdthethought,ortovisualizethethings
themselves.Morethanthismustbedonenolessathingthanallthatlabourof
overcomingtheegowhichiscomprisedintheQuest.Howmanyofthefollowersofthe
cultshaveevenunderstoodthat,andallitsimplicationsinconnectionwiththeirdesires?
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Howmanyofthemhavetriedtoovercometheego?Iftheyhavenotsucceededin
understandingandcomplyingwiththedivinelawgoverningthismatter,whyshouldthe
divinepowerbeattheirbeckandcalltobringwhattheywant?Iftheyhavenotsought
andlargelyattainedthatmasteryoftheanimalpropensitiesandthatdeepconcentrationin
thecentreofconsciousnesswhichtheQuestseeks,isitnotimpertinenttoexpecttoreach
thatpowerwiththeirvoice?
44

Intheendhehastobehisownteacher.Itisacomfortingkindofescapismtoimagine
thatsomeoneelseisgoingtosavehim,butthiswillhappenonlyinhiswishful
imaginationandexcitedemotion.Suchatremendoussavingofeffortwouldbewelcome
indeedbutitwouldbecontrarytoNature'slawofgrowth.Thosewhoare"saved"in
returnfortheirferventfaitharemostlyvictimsofsuggestion,whetheritbetheirownor
others'.Yetsuchdependenceisaninevitablestageoftheirinnerlifeatthereligiouslevel.
45

Givenenoughtimeorratherlifetimes,themastermayleadhimtopeaceandwisdombut
theycanneverbeunearnedgifts.Theycancometohimonlythroughhisowndeserving.
Ifpeopleacceptaspuriousorashoddymysticismastherealthing,itcanonlybebecause
theyarenotyetreadyforit.
46

Becauseitcanbeturnedintoanescape,turningoverresponsibilityforadecisiontoa
group'sleaderiseasierthanacceptingitoneself.
47

Hewasnotputheretoliveonothermen'sspiritualexperiencebutonhisown.
48

Donotmakeanyothermanresponsibleforyourhappiness.Hecannotreallycarryyou
evenifhewanted.Assertions,claims,promises,madetothecontrarybygurusortheir
disciples,arethefruitofimaginationintheoneorwishfulthinkingintheother.
49

Thepassivefollowingofsomeleaderinthoughtisnotenough.Thepositiveworkingon
one'sowncharacterandconsciousness,usingtheweightofone'sownwill,isalso
required.
50

Theteacherwhotakesfromapupiltheresponsibilityforhisownspiritualgrowth,
preventsthatgrowth.
51

Theresponsibilitymustbeplacedwhereitbelongsontheaspiranthimself,notonhis
guidewhateverthelatterclaims.
52

Hewillnotfindtruesecuritybydependingonanothermanforitevenifthatmanbehis
spiritualmaster.Hemustbuilditwithinhimself,byhimself,forhimself.Thegenuine
mastercancontributetowardthisworkbutcannotperformitforhim.
53

Eveninthecaseofthosewhotaketheguidanceofaguru,itshouldnotbeforgottenthat
ifdevelopmentadvancessufficientlythepupilmuststartsomewheretobehisown
teacher,muststartlookingfor,andfinding,theinnerguruhisownsoul.Asincere
competentguruwoulddemandthis.
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54

Whenacertainfamousyogidied,anumberofhisdisciplesfellintonegativeconditions
formonthsoryears.Somehadnervousbreakdowns,othersbecamephysicallyverysick,
otherssufferedfrommelancholia.Allthesecaseswereobservedonlyamongresident
disciples,livinginashrams,notdistantones.
55

Theserviceofaguideishelpfultobeginnerstodirecttheirway,topointoutwhereit
lies,andiftheguideisinspired,ifthestudentsaresufficientlyreceptive,iftheir
personalkarmaisfavourable,andiftheWorldMindusestheguideforthepurposeto
givethemtheimportantexperienceofaGlimpse.Beyondthistheguidecannotgo,
despiteallthegrossexaggerationswhichsurroundthissubjectinmostOrientalcircles
andwhich,ifbelievedandfollowed,actuallykeepaspirantsbackfrommakingrealrather
thanfictitiousadvance.Theythemselvesmustdothetravelling.
56

Toomuchdependenceonanotherpersonevenifhebeagurudevelopsaninferiority
complex,afeelingofunworthinessorofweakness.
57

Itisasuperstitiontobelievethatsalvationcanbegivenbyanyotherman,behepriest,
guru,orwhatever.Thenotionthatitcanbederivedfromsomeman'sgraceisamirage.
58

Withoutlabour,sacrifice,exertion,ortraining,butmerelyfortheasking,therarefruitof
enlightenmentistofallintotheirmouths.Howillogicalandunreasonableissucha
demand!Howcananysoundandlastinggrowthcomeinsuchaway?
59

Themerebeliefthatanyonecanhandoverpermanentsalvationorfreedomfromthe
seriesofearthlyreembodimentsisoffensivetothesenseofjusticeandfairness.Sucha
consciousnessisnotamaterialthingtobeladledoutincharitylikesoup.Ithastobe
workedfor.
60

Thelabourofdiscoveringandrealizingthesoulissomethingnootherpersoncan
vicariouslytakeoverfromyou.Youalonemustdoitbecauseitispreciselythroughsuch
labourthatyoucangrowintosoulconsciousness.

Useyourjudgement
61

Independenceinspiritualseeking,amindkeptwideopenfornewandtrueideas,
discriminationbetweenappearancesandrealitybehindthemthesearewhatwillleada
manintheendtodiscoverandknowthingsforhimself.Lethimkeephiscommonsense
andkeepoutsideallfantasticreligiouscults,withtheirhocuspocus.Lethimavoidthe
sheerlunacywhichmasqueradesincertaincirclesasmysticism.Thereisnothingtobe
gainedfromthegrotesquecharacterswhoformthemembershipofcertaincultsnorfrom
theselfappointedMastersorMessiahswholeadthem.
62

Thestudentofcomparativemysticismmayexaminethevariousdoctrineswithout
necessarilyacceptingthem.Hisapproachshouldbedispassionate,unbiased,andopen
mindednolessthandiscerning,cautious,andquestioning.Heshouldrememberthatthey
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arenotonlysourcesofenlightenmentbutalsoofobfuscation.Inthiswayhemaypass
intellectuallythroughtheregionoffanaticalsuperstitionsandpsychicdelusionstothe
truth.
63

Itispossiblethatthemembershipofsuchacultorthefollowingofsuchateacherwill
stillbenefithimifhetakescarenottomakethemistakeofaskingmorethantheoneor
theothercangive.Thatis,heshouldnotaskforthetruthwhichonlyperfectly
equilibrated,fullydevelopedphilosophycangive.Heshouldacceptthefactthatthesect
hasitslimitations,theleaderhiserrors.Butifthissafeguardisnottaken,ifhefailsto
resistthedoubtfulenthusiasmuntemperedbyrealitywhichwillsurroundhim,orthewild
eccentricityintowhichweakpersonsaresweptaway,thenthegrouportheguidemay
bogdownhisprogressorevenharmhim.
64

Itisunfortunatethattheprintedpagedemocraticallylevelsallalikethatitputsonterms
ofaflatplaneofequalitythevitalconvincingspeechofaJesuswiththespeechofa
nonentitythatitinvestsamanoranideawithadignitywhichinactualitytheymaynot
atallpossessthatallwordswhensetintypelookmoreorlessequallyimposingand
important,nomatterbywhoselipstheyarespokenorbywhosehandtheyarewritten.
Wereweallgiftedwithprofoundermentalpercipiency,thefoolinphilosopher'sclothing
wouldthenbeplainlyrevealedforwhatheisthescratcherofTruth'ssurfacewouldno
longerbeabletobawlsuccessfullythathehadsolvedthesecretsoftheuniverseand
eventhebrainlessidiotwhostumblesonamomentaryecstasywouldnotbeabletoassert
toanadmiringaudienceofdevoteesthathehadbecomeaMaster.Then,too,wewould
beabletopenetratethedisguisesofsomehumbleonesandraisethemhighuponthe
pedestalsofrespectwhichtheydeservewewouldbendthekneeinreverencebeforethe
figuresofthosewhoreallydopossesstruthbutdonotpossessthegiftforpersonal
publicity,whoknowtheInfiniterealitybutwhoknownothowtoturnittofiniteprofit.
65

Itdoesnotreallymatterthattherearecults,creeds,andteachingsstretchingallthewayin
qualityfromthelowestandmostprimitiveupthroughthemediocreandmostorthodoxto
thetheosophicandmystical.Thelimitedrangeofhumanmentalityandcharacterputs
limitsonitsspiritualsatisfactions,demands,andexpectations.Whatdoesmatteristhat
anyoneshouldconfusethem,shouldregardtheworstasthebest,thecommonplaceasthe
inspired,thefalseasthetruethatgoodjudgementissolackingthatthereishardlyany
recognitionofthebestasthebest.
66

Overcomingtheegodoesnotconsistofreplacingone'sownbysomeotherman's.When
weleavescience(sofarasitconsistsofrecognizingordiscoveringfacts,notputting
forwardtheories)andentertheworldofoccult/mysticstudies,wehavetobewaryof
unprovedassertions,ofstatementsforwhichnoreliableevidenceisoffered,of
revelationswhicharecompoundedfrominventionsandimaginationsaswellasfrom
inspirations.
67

Theseekershouldbewareofcultsmaskingtheircommercialisticmotiveundertheguise
ofanearnestpurpose.
68

Weshouldapplythetestofreasontotheserevelations,howeverloftytheirhuman
sources,forwemustrecognizethatnohumanmindisinfallible.Thefailuretomakethis
recognition,therefusaltoseethecontradictionsbetweenrevelations,canonlyworkto
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ourowndetrimentinthesearchaftertruth.
69

Allthisdoesnotrenderhismessagevalueless.Itismerelyanindicationthattherecipient
shouldnotparalysehiscriticalfacultiesmerelybecausethemessagedoesunquestionably
springfromaninspiredsource.
70

Doubtisthespearheadofhopeforbelieversdeceivedintheirquestofspirituallife,asis
discontentforthosedeceivedintheirquestofpupilship.
71

Itwouldbeablundertoacceptallmysticallyderivedmessagesasdivinelygivenand
speciallyrevealed.Theymaybewhollysobutitismuchmorelikelythattheyareonly
partiallyso,andeventhattheyhavenodivineoriginatall.Itiswiseandneedfulto
examinethemcarefully,sympatheticallyifwewish,butcriticallythereafter.Weshould
notewherepersonallimitationshaveinsidiouslyorblatantlycreptinandwherepure
universalityhasletthedivinestreamflowclear.
72

Theimportantthingisthekindofmentalitywhichproducessuchideas.Isitalivewith
goodwill,alightwithwisdom?Orisittheopposite?
73

Whenitsassertionsbecomemysticaltothepointofbeingquitemysteriousandthereader
cannolongerfollowitalongtheseobscurepathsofthought,itistimetobecautious.
74

Thestatementsofprophetsandreformers,teachersandexponents,whohaveshown
themselvesirresponsibleinbehaviourandunpoisedinconsciousness,cannotbetrusted.
Yettheremaybesomemeasureoftruthbehindtheexaggerationorthefallacy.
75

Embracewhatissoundandprogressiveinthesesystemswhilerejectingtheirabsurdities,
falsities,andtyrannies.
76

Psychicaldelusionsandimaginaryexperiencesborrowedfromthesecultsshouldnotbe
imposedonthetruequest.
77

Selfishhypnotistsposeasspiritualteachers.Theyusuallyattempttosuborntheirpupil's
intellect,inordertomakehimtheirobedientslave.Whenthelatterisfrightenedtouse
hisreasoningandcriticalfacultiesupontheclaimsmade,hereadilybecomesamere
puppetinthehandsofhismental"Master."Intellectisnottobeabandoned,buttobe
rightlyunderstood.Itsdoubtsofthedivinearetobecastasideitsscepticismofthe
Ineffablemaybediscardedbutitspowersofreasonandlogicarenotthereforetobe
destroyedattheunscrupulousbiddingofsomepseudosage.
78

Toadaptcertainselectedideasandpracticestoourownthoughtanduseiswise,toadopt
themwholesaleisfoolish.
79

Everybodymakesajudgement,actsasajudge,evenwhereheseemsnottodosoatall
merelybyacceptinganorganization'sview,orareligion'screed,heactuallyjudgesthe
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organizationorreligionandtheview.Hemayseemtodependonauthority,tosubmitto
thehierarchyoftheorganizationorreligionwithitssupposedlysuperiorknowledgeor
power,butinactualityheunwittinglypronouncesjudgementinitsfavour.Intheend,the
responsibilityforthisdecisionisprimarilyhisown.
AnancientSanskritwork,TheYogaVasisthaRamayanabyValmiki,pertinentlysays:
"Judgementisthesoleresourceofseekerstheyhavenootherwayfortheirintellectto
shunevilandattaingood.Thestateofspiritualreleasewhichisboundlessfreedomis
broughtaboutbythehelpofjudgement."
80

Hemakeschoiceswhetherornottoadheretoacertainmoralcode,belongtoaparticular
organizedgrouporinstitution,followsomespiritualguideorteaching.Thisisthefact,
whateverhemayassume,believe,orasserttoescapepersonalresponsibility.
81

Beforehejoinsthecrowdpressingdowntheroad,hewantstoinquirewheretheyare
going,andwhetheritisrightorreasonable,andthentochoosewhetherhewantstogo
theirwayatall.
82

Theprudentseekerwillnotbesweptoffhisfeetbytheimpressivebuttheatrical
appearanceofaproclaimedmaster,norstupefiedbythegrandioseclaims,titles,
organization,andtheorieswhichaccompanytheproclamation.
83

Whiletheyaretryingtogetridofoldfaults,theveryproceduretheyareusingleadsto
thebirthofnewones.Themoretheyusethisprocedure,themoretheyunwittingly
nurturethesefreshevils.Whatgoodisitinthefinalbalancingofaccountstobe
continuallycuringonediseaseatthecostofcreatinganother?Theharmfuleffectsofthe
procedureareinherentinitandcanbeavoidedonlybyusingitwithcriticaljudgement,
andnotwithblindpartisanship.
84

Philosophictrainingprotectshimfromfallingintothenetsspreadbythosewhoarrogate
tothemselvesextravaganttitlesinordertoplayGod.Hewillbeinapositioncorrectlyto
evaluatethemandtheirprocedures.
85

Notonlynovicesbutevenothersask,intheagonyoftheirdisillusionmentortheshockof
theirdiscovery,why,whentheyaresosincere,thehigherpowerpermitsthemtomake
thesemistakes,whyitletsthemfallintothetrapsandpitfallssetalongtheway,whyit
doesnotsavethemfromgettingintothehandsofdeluded,unscrupulous,evil,or
dementedprophets.
86

Toomanybelievethatbecausetheyhavebecomeinterestedinmysticism,theymustjoin
oneoftheminorormajorcultswhichuseitasabackground.Toooftentheirbubbleof
romanticdelusionsneedspricking.Lifewillhavetobecrueltothemsoastobekindin
theultimatepurpose.
87

Itisunderstandablethattheearnestaspirantwhoiswillingtoconsecratehislifeto
followingthequestwhereveritleadshim,willgivehimselfenthusiasticallyand
obedientlytothedisciplineofconductandthepersonalrearrangementdemandedfrom
him.Butifthesearestrange,morallydubious,orignorantfanaticisms,hehasarightto
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questionthemandaneedforcautionconcerningtheirsponsors.
88

Togetbehindthescenesofthesesmallcultsandtofindoutwhattheiroriginandhistory
reallyis,mayshatterasmanyidolsasdoingthesametothegreatoldestablished
religionsdoes.Forthehumanego'sselfworshipmanifestsinboth,althoughindifferent
degrees.Theinformedseekerneednotbedismayedbyhisdiscoveries,fortheywillserve
himwelliftheyturnhimawaytofinalandfirmerrelianceontheOverselfalone.
89

Theyneedphilosophynotonlytoleadthemtotruthbutalsotoprotectthemfromthe
foolsandfrauds,thehallucinatedteachersandmercenaryguideswhoinfestthe
approachestoit.
90

Theaspirantwhoisthefrequentvictimofhisownorotherpeople'sfalsebeliefsand
sufferstheconsequences,wouldbefoolishtoabandonhissearchfortruth.Thatwouldbe
anemotionalreaction.Hewoulddobettertoprobeintothementalweaknesseswhich
renderhimsoliabletosuchdeception,andtoputhimselfonguardagainsttheminthe
future.
91

Ateachingcannotalwaysbejudgedaccuratelybyitseffectsonthosewhofollowit.For
some,bytheirowninferiorcharacter,giveitaworsereputationthanitdeserveswhile
others,bytheirsuperiorcharacter,exaltitsapparentvaluebeyonditsownmerits.
92

Hecouldeasilybecomehalfcynicalaboutwhatthesegroupsandmovements,institutions
andorganizationsaredoingbut,asagoodphilosophicapprentice,heturnsasidefrom
themandfromthenegativestheyarousetocollectandkeepthepositiveshehas
uncovered,theverities,grandorexciting,thathehasdiscovered.
93

Pretensiontosuchwisdomandpowerisonethingbutpossessionofthemisanother.
Whereenthusiasmisnotcounterweightedbydiscernment,thisdifferenceremains
unseen.
94

Wemaybringtothepagesofthesemysticalwritersallourintellectualsympathyand
generalfaithbutweoughtalsobringtothemsomeofourcriticaljudgement.
95

Theearnestbutinnocentaspirantshouldbewareofteachingswhichareoutwardly
attractivebutinwardlydestructive,whicharesubtleformsofegoismormaterialism
disguisedasspiritualpaths.
96

TodetectthosewhoknowTruthishardbutitisevenharder,amongsomanyconflicting
teachings,todetectthetrueone.
97

Whatissaneinthesecultsmustbeseparatedfromwhatisnot.Thefollowersdonot,and
cannot,doso.Afairevaluationcancomeonlyfromoutside.
98

Theattitudetowardscultismshouldbepreciselythesameasthattowardsallother
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religionswithorganizedinstitutions.Onemaylearnwhattheyhavetoofferwithout
joiningthem.Itisneedfultouseone'scriticaljudgementandtrytoseeclearlytheir
limitations,deficiencies,andweaknessesalongwiththeirtruthsandservices.
99

Adoctrinemaybefalseeventhoughitisgiveningoodfaith,eventhoughtheteachers
believeittobetrue.
100

Experienceistheacidtestwhichprovestherealworthofatheory.Ifateachingappeals
toboththeheartandmind,ifitseemsrationalandfeelsright,thenIamwillingtoadopt
ittentatively.ButwhenlaterIdiscoverthattheresultofpracticalapplicationofthe
teachingisnegativeandthatthefactscannotbemadetosquarewiththeclaims,thenI
mustunhesitatinglyrejectthatteachingnomatterhowgreatbethereputeofthemanwho
haspromulgatedit,norhoweverholyheberegarded.
101

Howmanyhavefelttheirfaithshaken,theirmindworried,theirintelligencepuzzledby
thesecontradictionsbetweenclaimandresult,betweentheoryandpractice?Theymay
suppresstheirdoubtsforyears,hidetheirfearsintheirmostsecretheart,buttimewill
onlyincreaseratherthanlessentheirtorment.
102

Themomentmustcome,intheend,whentheconsequencesoffalsebeliefshow
themselvesinunavoidableformandmustbefaced.
103

Itisavaluablepracticetojudgeatheorybyitseverydayresults,tomeasureitstruthby
itspersonaleffects,andtotestitscorrectnessinone'sownexperience.Suchacourse,
however,isvalidonlyifaccompaniedbyotherandnonpracticalassessments.
104

Itisquestionablewhetherthesemastershaveledmorepupilsastraythanaright.Butthe
finaltestis:Dotheseyearsofmembershipleavetheaspirantwherehewasbeforehe
joined?Havetheyavailedhimnothing?
105

Heprojectsallhishopesofahigherknowledgeandexperienceuponsuchaninferior
teachingandimaginesthathehasfoundthetruth.Itmaybemanyyearsbeforethe
painfulawakeninghappens.
106

Thewaytotestsuchanargumentistopushitoutfartherandfartheruntilitreachesits
ridiculousultimate.
107

Itissaid,andbelieved,thattimewillsortoutthecharlatansfromthetrueseers.

Bediscriminating
108

Itiseasytounderstandthatitisnotnecessarytoacceptthegibberingsofabsurdquacks
merelybecauseoneiswillingtoaccepttherevelationsoftruemystics.Butitisnot
generallyknownthateventheserevelationsneedalsotobescreenedbycritical
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judgement.
109

ThemystichasbeguntofeelthepresenceoftheMindwithinhismindbuthehasnot
beguntounderstandit.Thisisbecausethefirstismucheasierthanthesecond.
110

A"pure"intuitionisararityinourexperiencebecausewishesanddesires,fanciesand
fearsinterferewithit,maulit,andevenkillit.
111

Philosophyfullyadmitsandbelievesinthepossibilityofrevelations,betheyreligious,
mystical,orevenpsychical,butitpointsoutthattotheextentthattheseermixesinthe
picturizationsofhisownimaginativefacultyortheratiocinationsofhisownthinking
process,tothatextentwhathereceivesorgivesoutisnolongerarevelation.Itisonlyan
ordinaryidea.Philosophygoesevenfartherthanthatandassertsthathishumanegomay
interfereunconsciouslywiththeveryprocesswherebyhebecomesawareofthe
revelation.Whenthathappenshisawarenessistingedbyinheritedtraitsorbysuggested
beliefsorbypersonalwishes.
112

Ifthepersonalityhasbeenunevenlydeveloped,ifitsforceshavenotbeenproperly
harmonizedwitheachotheranddefectsremaininthinking,feeling,andwilling,thenat
thethresholdofilluminationthesedefectswillbecomemagnifiedandoverstimulatedby
theupwellingsoulpowerandleadtoadversepsychicalresults.
113

If,however,anyoneweretobelievethatagenuinemysticexperienceisonlyaproductof
themystic'sownsubconsciousmindandconscioustendencies,andnothingmore,he
wouldbegravelymistaken.
114

Themanwholookswithinhisownconsciousnessmayeventuallyfindimpeccabletruth.
Buthemayalsofindinanefantasy.Thusthemysticalpathhasitsattendantdangers.
115

TheauthenticinspirationsoftheOverselfandthehumanillusionsoftheegowilloftenbe
mingledtogetherinhismysticalintuitionsandexperiences.Bothfactorsbeingpresent,
theresultmayconfusehismindifheisdiscriminatingenoughaswellasexhilarated
sometimesitwillmisguidehismindifheisconceitedenough.Onlywhentheegomakes
andkeepsitsfullestunionwiththeOverselfcanhebesureofanunerringlytrueintuition
oraperfectlytranscendentalexperience.
116

Theirinterpretiveworldviewsoftenrevealthelimitationsoftheirintellectualknowledge
andgeneralbackgroundsindeedaresometimesquiteoutofaccordwithindisputable
historicalorscientificfact.Itisonlywhentheydescribesuchmatterswhichhaveactually
comewithintheirowninwardexperience,suchastheopeningintothehigher
consciousnessandthewaythereto,thattheiraccountspossesselementsofpermanentand
universalvalue.
117

Therevelationsthatcomeoutofthepurityofman'sOverselfcontrastdefinitelywith
thosethatcomeoutofthefanciesofhisego.Clearandauthenticarethetonesofthefirst
butdiffusedarethevaporingsofthesecond.Intheonecasetheendismorelight,inthe
othermorefog.
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118

Theproportionsvarywidelywithindividualmystics.Somemessageshaveenough
inspirationandlittleadulteration,othershavelessoftheoneandmoreoftheother.
119

Wheninquiringintothegenuinenessoftheteachingsofonewhoclaimstohavereceived
directguidanceandrevelation,aseekermustrememberthatsubconsciouscomplexesare
veryimportantinthisconnection.Ifheinquiresintothebackgroundandassociationsof
theseerormystichewilldoubtlessfindtheseedsoutofwhichmanyoftherevelations
havegrownwithorwithouttheseer'sconsciousassistance.
120

Wearealltoofamiliarwithmysticalrevelationswhichlacksubstance,aboundwithold
clichs,losethemselvesinawoollyvagueness,andareevenslightlysicklytothemental
tastebecauseofoversentimentalcloyingsweetness.
121

Thistendencytobringupfrombelowthemysticalexperienceelementswhichmingle
intimatelywiththosethatcomeintoitfromaboveisinnateinalldisciplesuntiltheyhave
passedthroughthepurifyingfireofphilosophicdiscipline.
122

Messagesveryoftencontaingenuineguidanceplussomecontributionfromthepersonal
ego.Naturally,whentheegoattemptstoenterthepureatmosphereoftheImpersonal,the
possibilityofmisinterpretationbecomesfargreater.
123

Thatvisionariesoftensufferfromhallucinationsislamentablytrue,andIspendmuchof
mytimedodgingsuchpersons!Itwasanimportantpartofmytraininginphilosophical
mysticismtostudythem,tounderstandhowitisthattheseexperiencesariseandwhy,
andthentodevelopallthenecessarysafeguards.
124

Fewpeopleareonsohighalevelthattheyareabletohavebothgenuinemystical
experiencesandtherightreflectionsarisingoutofthem.
125

Themysticwhohasreachedsomepointoftruthinhisconsciousness,butnotthefarthest
point,mayeasilyfallintothefallacyofbelieving(andteaching)thatthewaywherebyhe
cametoitisthebestway,probablytheonlyway.
126

Itisapictureofpersonalfeelingsandhumanopinionsposingasimpersonaltruthsand
divinerevelations.Theconsequencesareworsethanwhattheywouldotherwisebe
becausetheprophetisunabletobelievethathecouldbesofallible.
127

Whatisnotpossiblefortheegoexpressingmanbecomeseasyforthedivineexpressing
man.Thisshift,fromthelesserconsciousnesstothegreater,opensthegatesofpower.
Butitmustbedivine,orintheresulttheegowillmerelybecomefatter.
128

Aman'sinnerexperiencemayreachfarandyetbecommingledwithacharacteronly
partiallypurified.Hismysticalattainmentmayormaynotconferatotaltransformationof
hisnature,atotalsubjugationofitslowerparttothehigherthatdependsonGrace.This
explainsthemoralweaknessesofsomemysticswhohavegivenusgreatteachings.Only
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theveryfewwhohavetakenthepainstoundergoathoroughreeducationoftheirwhole
being,andtobringitintoproperequilibrium,involvingitsdevelopmentandits
discipline,arelikelytoreceivetheGracewhichwillmakethemmorallyfaultlessaswell
asscrupulouspractitionersoftheirownpreachment.
129

Mostmysticscommunicateintheirteachingorrevelationamixtureofrealityandfiction
therealitycomesfromtheOverself,thefictionfromtheirownlimitedmind.Fewareable
toreproducetherealityaloneandtoexcludetheother.
TheNotebooksarecopyright19841989,ThePaulBruntonPhilosophicFoundation.

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