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A Search in Secret India

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  613 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
2010 Reprint of 1935 American Edition. Illustrated Edition. Paul Brunton (1898 - 1981) was a British philosopher, mystic, traveler, and guru. He left a journalistic career to live among yogis, mystics, and holy men, and studied Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. Dedicating his life to an inward and spiritual quest, Brunton felt charged to communicate his experiences a ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published June 18th 2010 by Martino Fine Books (first published 1969)
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Neelesh Marik
The last chapter called 'Tablets of forgotten truth' is the crowning glory of this tale of exploration, standing out like a beacon of light in an otherwise pedestrian narrative. Just read that and get the full import.

'Men make formal and pretentious enquiry into the mystery and meaning of life, when all the while each bird perched upon a green bough, each child holding its fond mother's hand, has solved the riddle and carries the answer it its face. That life which brought you to birth, O Man !
Oct 17, 2009 Sampath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read and must own book.
I know I will read this book again.
The author has shared his invaluable and spellbounding dialogues with Maharishis and Yogi's. Its a great service to a man kind that the author has shared his experience.
May 03, 2010 Krystn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is a very readable tour of India during the early 1900s. Paul Brunton Ph.D. went on a quest to find real Yogis, holy men, in India and try to ascertain their legitimacy. Being a British intellectual with a scientific and philosophical education, he approached Yogis with skepticism and an open mind (quite unusual for the scientific minded). He describes in detail the Yogis dedicated to spiritual growth and gives brief reviews of those focused on magic and egotism. He spends the last quarter ...more
Sep 29, 2009 Joli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved that this author explored India the way I might. Wanting to find inspiration/insight but always having a skeptical eye. He went quite slowly, as far as explaining the spirituality of gurus. Then, at the end, he LEAPT to some high spirituality. I wish there had been a medium step to bridge the gap. Brunton has many books and I have just requested about 5 of them. I'll write about them as I read them.
Dec 01, 2010 Suba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who would like to explore the spiritual world in India
I like the writer's style of writing. It is more like a diary and the writer's experience is recorded vividly through his own words.

Paul Brunton wrote about his journey to india to explore the secrets of the spiritual world. My prior knowledge in Hinduism and my own experience in India helped me to digest his words easily. Its worth reading if you are interested in yoga, spiritual and mystic.
Jan 05, 2009 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. Tells about British authors strange experiences exploring India. Really makes you think...particuarly for ethnocentric Americans/Brits!

I learned that the US/Western way of thinking is not exclusive(or necessarily best)
May 04, 2013 Mary-lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had been recommended to me about thirty years ago by the father of a close friend, Mr Goss, and I had never sought it out until now. I am glad I didn't read this book until I was 'ready' for it. It is,in short, a classic on the search for spiritual meaning. It is set in India but this search is ultimately a search for Self which can occur in very many situations. At times Bruntons lack of understanding of the ways of another culture made me cringe especially when it is things that I th ...more
Ajitabh Pandey
Bruton has recorded his experiences while searching for a Guru (Holy Teacher) who can initiate him into Yoga. Its a marvolus account of how he travelled the whole country as a critical seaker and found some great Yogi's and spiritual teachers but could not accepet any of them as his Guru until he find Raman Maharshi.

My own Guru Pt. Sriram Sharma Acharya, who is the founder of All World Gayatri Parivar used to say, "when you are going out in the market to but vegitables etc you check thoroughly
Maria Carmo
A marvellous book, taking us by the hand through an India which had all sorts of contradictions, but also the best and more excellent Human Beings expressing the Wisdom of Perenial Philosophy. The search for truth and for a suitable, credible Teacher takes Paul Brunton, a Western skeptic, to a journey of Self discovery in which he learns to distinguish betwwen simple fakirs and really Holy Men, culminating with his realisation that Ramana Maharishi is the One who deserves to be recognised as a H ...more
What a long journey this book was. The author went up and down India, into jungles, across desserts, all in search of a rishee. By the time he actually found the rishee, or Maharishee in this case, I was so tired of reading the book that I didn't even realize this was the big deal of the whole story!

Additionally, each page was packed with such dense writing and descriptions that I had to read them over and over again sometimes. But I did learn a lot about India and about the extensive search on
Sumangali Morhall
For anyone seeking a spiritual teacher, or even anyone having found the right one, this story is incredibly moving. Brunton's erudite use of language, coupled with his ruthless inner and outer search, makes this a gripping read from start to finish. Following an inner call, he spends months travelling around India, interrogating yogis, pundits and fakirs –some genuine and some not so. His descriptions of the journey alone would make a beautiful travel journal. But his descriptions of inner exper ...more
Kiran Kishore
Apr 05, 2015 Kiran Kishore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on my wish list since a long time. Finally, managed to finish it. I must say that I enjoyed each and every page of the book! The author provides a glimpse of what it means to be a truth seeker and how adventurous the journey could be, which could open new realms of possibilities for a truth seeker in a mysterious land. The way the author balanced the book with his rationalistic outlook and open mind to accept see the truth as it is, sets an example for all spiritual seekers to make ...more
Nov 26, 2013 Naliniprasad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book mentioned in a telugu biography of ramana maharshi.Paul brunton was one of the first westerners to give a first hand account of meeting the maharshi.He was drawn to the sage of arunachala just like the maharshi himself was drawn to the mountain shrine in his teenage.The book describes brunton's various encounters with Indian spiritual masters of the previous century.Must read book for any one interested in Spiritual masters of yester years.
Lohit Namboodiri
Apr 04, 2016 Lohit Namboodiri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a biography of author's travel in India searching for sages/Yogis. The author beautifully describes his journey with a critical mindset. In this book, you will get introduced to Ramana Maharshi.
The book has a lot of old English words which makes it a bit difficult to read.
In technical terms, I can call this as a survey paper on different Yogis of India in early 20th Century. :P
Phil Calandra
May 14, 2015 Phil Calandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of the author's spiritual search and his experiences with yogis, mystics and other holy men in India. Paul Brunton was a western journalist who approached this task with skepticism and with a scholarly journalistic style for seeking the "truth". As a result, Paul Brunton uncovered incidents of charlatanism as well as examples of true mysticism. Paul Brunton eventually became a follower of Ramana Maharshi and through Ramana's tutelage experienced his own spiritual awakening. Raman ...more
Sowmya Subbegowda
Cannot ask for a better introduction to the secret world of spiritual philosophies in India. A skeptical mind, a journalist by professions and a deep interest in learning the mystical experiences which have been achieved in real, makes a perfect combination to conceive this book.

Yoga, a practice to push the limits of human mind and body beyond anyone's imaginations can be believed only by experiencing it first hand. And that's exactly what author does here.

Here its well justified that "our less
Apr 05, 2014 Nvenky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strongly recommended to those who want to why India is considered the spiritual center of the world. Opens up you to see beyond the general perception that India is.
This was the book that attracted millions to Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi.
Manoj Chacko
Nov 07, 2015 Manoj Chacko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book that will take you back in time. Written in 1931 it give a westerners view of India and that too in the pre independence era. Its ever more fascinating to hear from a skeptic and see how he metamorphosed through the chapters and was eventually left impressed with the ancient knowledge of India. The British while ruling India had take away a lot of valuables but he laments that fact that they missed on some of the troves of knowledge that was not discovered!!
Travel, it looks like is
Dr. M
A rational ans skeptic Westerner undertakes a journey through India, meeting yogis, sanyasins, and a lot of holy men. Some of them were genuine, some half baked magicians and a few outright frauds. Finally he land at Thiruvannamalia where he encounters Ramana Maharshee and realizes that there is more to spirituality than meets the eye. Through unspoken words he gets the spriritual experience of self realization by which he could look at himself as a third person still realizing his soul's onenes ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a great spiritual travelogue on India, written before most of them.
Sunita Parida
Sep 12, 2014 Sunita Parida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book answered 'Whom am I?' to some extent!
Bernie Gourley
Jul 25, 2015 Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga, wisdom
A Search in Secret India is a travelogue by Paul Brunton as he wondered through India in search of sages. In the process, he found a number of masters of body, mind, and both. However, he finds these individuals as rare nuggets in a sea of frauds.

Brunton states up front that he won't waste time with any of the blatant frauds or suspected frauds, but he does devote space to a number of the more impressive ones. Impressive either by way of a large following or artfulness of technique. He also fin
Oct 04, 2013 Navakanth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2013 Balakumar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with interest in eastern philosophy
'A search in secret India' is one of the books by Paul Brunton, one of the explorers of the spiritual traditions of the East. I learnt about this book when I was reading the biography of the Great South Indian saint Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi of Thiruvannamalai. In this book, the author explains in detail the efforts he took in seeking a real spiritual Guru in India, and in this attempt how he came across several self-styled godmen. This explains how the faith of the people of India in philosophy ...more
Dr Adesh
Jan 13, 2016 Dr Adesh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent journey memoir of a western scholar though at times it reflects in his writings the sense of superiority. The search of the author to find a genuine Guru for himself reminds the similar quest of Swami Vivekananda who did not 'accept' Yogi Ramkrishna Paramhamsa as Guru until he examined all his attributes and satisfied his wisdom and morals.
Balaji Sundarrajan
real story of the author travelling the length and breadth of india in serch of genuine yogis. the objectivity of the author is impressive. he approaches every one with an open mind and at the same time refuses to believe in anything that he cant experience himself. this was the book which introduced ramana maharishi to the world at large
Mar 05, 2014 Kavya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a variety of experiences, a perfect not too formal nor conversational tone of writing, staged at an all together different time era , an inquisitive rational author trying to look through colored scientific and spiritual glasses - only some of the reasons one should read this book.

This is one of the books that one can say changed him/her.
Jay Nair
Mar 14, 2014 Jay Nair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the author starts of in a very condescending way about pre-independence India and during his journey becomes completely taken by the spirituality and the gurus/sadhus he meets.

An excellent account about spirituality for all non-believers and believers. A must read indeed from the point of view of a complete outsider and a complete non-believer and how he transforms through his experiences.
Hrishi Kesav
Jul 26, 2013 Hrishi Kesav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author describes the book as his adventure in self-metamorphosis. After reading the book you will also feel the same. The books contains description of the authors encounters with the sages and other wise men in India. Some were chanced encounters while others where premeditated meetings.

There is one chapter which tells the authors meeting with the sage Shri Shankara. The book was originally written in 1934. I was surprised to see that whatever issues they were discussing about this world, a
Paul Brunton's account of his search for genuine spirituality in 1920s India was a delightful discovery for me.
The writing is exquisite and the sincerity and determination with which he pursues his goal is both inspiring and moving.
I can see myself coming back to it again and again.
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Born Raphael Hurst, he later changed his name to Brunton Paul, and then Paul Brunton. He was a British philosopher, mystic, traveler, and guru. He left a journalistic career to live among yogis, mystics, and holy men, and studied a wide variety of Eastern and Western esoteric teachings. With his entire life dedicated to an inward and spiritual quest, Brunton felt charged with the task of communica ...more
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