How Paul Brunton was told to go to Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi – Part II

Paul Brunton arrived in Madras (now called Chennai) in January 1931. He met the great author Mr. KSVenkataramani. It was Mr. Venkataramani who took Paul Brunton to the great sage of Kanchi, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swami.

After the Chingleput interview, Paul Brunton returned to Madras.

That night he saw the great sage in his vision.

He recounted his experience in his own words:

“My astonished gaze meets the face and form of His Holiness Shri Shankara. It is clearly and unmistakably visible. He does not appear to be an ethereal ghost, but a solid human being. There is an eerie luminosity around the figure that separates him from the surrounding darkness

Surely vision is impossible? Haven’t I left it at Chingleput? She squeezed her eyes shut in an effort to prove the point. There is no difference and I still see it clearly!

It is enough that you receive the sensation of a benign and friendly presence. I open my eyes and take in the gentle figure in the flowing yellow robe. Her face changes, as her lips smile and seem to say: “Be humble and then you will find what you seek!”

The vision disappears as mysteriously as it came. It leaves one feeling elated, happy, and unfazed by its supernatural nature. Do I dismiss it as a dream? What does it matter?” Paul Brunton went to Thiruvannamalai and met Maharishi Ramana. He was attracted to Bhagavan Ramana. He stayed there. He started asking various questions.

On the twenty-third of January, 1936, he asked Bhagavan many questions.


Mr. Brunton asked Bhagavan if the Hill here is hollow.

Maharishi: The Puranas (Hindu holy scriptures) say so. When it is said that the Heart is a cavity; penetration into it proves that it is an extension of light. Similarly, the Hill is one of light. The cellars etc are covered by that Light.

Brunton: Are there caves inside?

Maharishi: In vision I have seen caves, cities with streets, etc., and a whole world in them.

Brunton: Are there Siddhas (holy men of the highest order) in it too?

Maharishi: It is said that all the Siddhas are there.

Brunton: Are there only Siddhas or others as well?

Maharishi: Just like this world.

Brunton: The Siddhas are said to be in the Himalayas.

Maharishi: Kailas is in the Himalayas; it is the abode of Siva. Where this Hill is Siva Himself. All the paraphernalia of his abode must also be where he himself is.

Brunton: Does Bhagavan think the Hill is hollow, etc?

Maharishi: It all depends on the point of view of the individual. You yourself have seen hermitages, etc., on this Hill in a vision. You have described such in your book.

Brunton: Yes. It was on the surface of the Hill. The vision was within me.

Maharishi: That is exactly so. Everything is within oneself. To see the world, there must be a viewer. There could be no world without the Self. The Self understands everything. In fact, the Self is everything. There is nothing besides the Self.

Brunton: What is the mystery of this hill?

Maharishi: Just as you said in The Secret Egypt: “The mystery of the pyramid is the mystery of Being”, so also the mystery of this Hill is the mystery of Being. Brunton understood the mystery of the Sacred Hill Arunachala. He introduced Bhagavan Ramana to the West in his book A Quest in Secret India, published in 1935. He had spent several months in Ramanasramam. His next book, The Secret Path, described Maharishi’s “Who am I” technique of self-inquiry.