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.
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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
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