By Annie Cahn Fung translated from



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Paul Brunton
A Bridge Between India and the West

by Annie Cahn Fung

translated from




Paul Brunton: un pont entre l’Inde et l’Occident

a doctoral thesis presented to

the Department of Religious Anthropology

Université de Paris IV Sorbonne, 1992

© Annie Cahn Fung 2004


T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s


Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. A Creative Independence

2. Issues in the Present Work



Part I: GENESIS OF A QUEST



Chapter 1: PRELUDE TO A QUEST




1.1 India and the West


1.2 Early Years

1.3 Theosophy

1.4 The New Science

1.5 Independent Spiritual Seekers

1.5.1 Adventurers of the Spirit

1.5.2 Sir Francis Younghusband

1.5.3 Guénon, Krishnamurti, and Brunton

Chapter 2: THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE

2.1 The Three Journeys

2.2 Brief Encounters

2.2.1 Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram

2.2.2 Sahabji Maharaj

2.2.3 Krishna Menon (Atmananda)

2.3 Major Encounters: Ramana Maharshi

Chapter 3: IN MYSORE
3.1 The Maharaja: A Philosopher King

3.2 Subrahmanya Iyer: A Neo-Vedantin

3.2.1 Renewing Hindu Tradition

3.2.2 Neo-Hindu Inclusivism

3.2.3 Reinterpreting Shankara

3.2.4 Remarks

3.3 The Master and the Maharaja

3.4 Indian Master and British Disciple

Part II: THE QUEST FOR TRUTH
Introduction
Chapter 4: INQUIRING INTO THE WORLD
4.1 Critiquing Materialism

4.1.1 A study of Perception

Sensation to Perception

Three Kinds of Optical Illusions

4.1.2 Structuring Cognition: Space, Time, and Causality

Space and Time

Causality

Two Remarks

4.1.3 Modern Science and the Concept of Matter

4.1.4 Mentalism and Idealism

Berkeley’s Immaterialism

Prakasananda’s drsti-srsti-vada


4.2 Mentalism and Cosmogony

4.2.1 Causality of Ideas: the Notion of World-Mind

Karma

Evolution



4.2.2 Cosmogenesis: the Notion of World-Idea

Cosmogenesis

The World-Idea

4.2.3 Individual Mind and Cosmic Mind

Mind and Brain

“Double Creation” of the World

4.3 Mentalism and Non-Duality: the Notion of Mind

4.3.1 A Key to Non-Dualism

A Non-Dualist Formula

The Status of Manifestation

Inclusive and Exclusive Views of Reality;


vivartavada and ajativada

4.3.2 A Threefold, Non-Dualist Conception of the Real

A Diagram

4.3.3 Symbolism of Numbers

4.3.4 Conclusion: Mentalism and Advaita
Chapter 5: INQUIRING INTO THE SELF: THE CONCEPT OF THE OVERSELF

5.1 The Illusory Nature of the Ego

5.1.1 Discriminating Subject and Object: drg-drsya viveka

5.1.2 Analyzing the Three States of Consciousness: avasthatraya

5.2 The Concept of the Overself

5.2.1 Its Evolution in Brunton’s Thought

5.2.2 A Metaphysical Principle of Consciousness

5.2.3 The Overself as an Intemediary

5.2.4 The Overself and the Individual Karmic Series

5.2.5 The Overself as Our Higher Individuality

5.2.6 A Dual and Paradoxical Concept

5.2.7 The Overself and Vedantic Notions

5.2.8 The Overself and Non-Dualism: two Interpretations

A Metaphysical Hypothesis

A Hypothesis of Psychological Realism

5.2.9 A Soteriological Aid for Westerners

5.2.10 The Overself and Other Traditions

5.2.11 Symbols for the Overself

Divine Atom in the Heart

Inner Divinity

Metaphors of Divine Emanation

Chapter 6: THE PHILOSOPHIC LIFE

6.1 An Ethical Critique of Materialism

6.1.1 Brunton’s Evolution

6.1.2 Critiquing Materialistic Values

6.1.3 The War: a “Materialist Cancer”

6.2 The Philosophic Life

6.2.1 The Philosophic Discipline

6.2.2 Long and Short Paths

6.2.3 The Notion of Grace

6.2.4 Progressing on the Path

6.2.5 Stages and Aspects
6.3 The Ideal of the Sage

6.3.1 The Faculty of Insight

6.3.2 Realization

6.3.3 Ethics and Metaphysics of Compassion

6.3.4 Character of the Sage

6.3.5 Synthesis and Balance: the Idea of Intermediary

APPENDIX: Mutual Impressions: Brunton, India, and the West

1. Brunton and India

India’s View of Brunton

Brunton’s View of India

2. Brunton and the West

The West’s View of Brunton

Brunton’s View of the “Hinduized” West
CONCLUSION

1. His Work: Renewal and Synthesis

A Reformulation of Advaita Vedanta

A Contemporary Synthesis

2. The Man: Bridging East and West

Seeker, Messenger, Awakener, and Guide

A Pioneer
Bibliography

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would first like to thank here all those without whose help my original French dissertation, presented to the Department of Religious Anthropology at the Sorbonne in June 1992, could not have been completed:

– My professors: Charles Malamoud and Laksmi Kapani, who initiated me into Sanskrit and Indian culture; Michel Meslin, who opened my mind to the new science of Religious Anthropology; and Michel Hulin, who has continued to help me fathom the subtleties of the brahmanic darsanas.
– Indologists Catherine Clémentin-Ojha and Christian Bouy, who by their judicious advice helped me to enrich my documentation and to deepen my understanding of Advaita Vedanta.
– Maud Lallement of the Vedantic Center of Gretz, France; Rukmani Kuppanna of Salem, South India, Pandit V. Subrahmanya Iyer’s daughter; and Antonio Gili, Director of the Lugano Municipal Archives, who kindly provided me with biographical documents needed for this study.
– The members of Wisdom’s Goldenrod Center for Philosophic Studies in Valois, NewYork, founded by students and friends of Paul Brunton, for the generous hospitality shown me during several summers spent in their Library working with Brunton’s voluminous papers and notes. Special thanks are due to Alan Berkowitz, who gave me precious information, and to Avery Solomon, who helped me to understand Brunton’s thought over long and enriching discussions.
* * *
For the present English language version of my thesis, I wish especially to thank:
Laurie Conrad, who devoted countless hours to producing a draft translation of the entire text; Helen Perl, Mark Scorelle, and others, who gave freely of their time in keeping the project alive through different stages of rereading and several changes of format; and finally, Ken Fung, mon mari patient, who spent countless more hours reviewing and rewriting the draft with me, and finally adapting it for the English-speaking reader.

It is with great satisfaction and relief that we are at long last able to bring to conclusion this translation which is now to be made available on the internet.

The original thesis, the work of seven long years, has so far been the only academic work on Paul Brunton. In it, I have attempted to to honor his pioneering contribution to the emerging culture of East and West, while placing him against the backdrop of spiritual currents of his time, tracing his life through his Indian years, and examining the influence of traditional and Neo-Vedanta on his ideas. The picture of Paul Brunton and his work which emerges in this scholarly study cannot hope to do justice to the man or his vision of the philosophic life, which have been a source of inspiration for so many. Nevertheless, I hope that my work will be of some use to those interested in having a context for his writings.

Annie Cahn Fung

Ithaca, NY

March 2004

Note: The author welcomes interested readers to address comments by e-mail to her at:
acf23@cornell.edu



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