Paul Brunton

As a well-known author, PB maintained an active correspondence with his readers.  We must remember that most of his books were written before the internet and even before television when the only way to contact an author was by letter.  For this purpose PB maintained postal boxes where he received correspondence, or his readers could write him care of his publisher who forwarded the letters to wherever PB was in the world at that time.  As the volume of letters grew, it was necessary for PB to have a secretary to help him with this task.

PB commented:

I have met and observed thousands of students in different parts of the world, in addition to receiving thousands of letters from others…. (PB Replies, p.62)

One of his secretaries, who worked with PB later in his life, wrote the following about PB’s correspondence: 

There were different ways that PB replied to letters that he received.  As his correspondence grew, he created form letters addressing different themes that were sent to a reader as appropriate.   These letters can be found in the archives of PB’s unpublished material in a binder titled “PB Replies.”  When PB replied to a letter personally, he did so with various degrees of involvement.  In some cases he wrote and signed the letter himself, in others he dictated the letter and signed it, or he gave an overview of what he wanted to say and the secretary wrote the letter and PB signed it.  Finally, PB might tell his secretary what he wanted to say and have the letter written from the secretary, who signed it in his or her name.  PB also responded to some letters mentally, commenting that the recipient may or may not have been receptive enough to receive it.”

Here is what PB’s secretary who worked with him while he was living in India stated:

…we opened up a packet containing dozens of unanswered letters from all over the world. They were in different sizes, shapes, colours, and even languages; they were typewritten, pen-written, and penciled. They bore dates stretching back over all the dates in the calendar for more than a year. P.B. was apologetic for this last fact but said his life being what it was, he could not help it…  in the case of his mail, speed in handling was so necessary that he called my assistance to take down in shorthand what he had to say to the readers, students, and friends with whom he tried to keep in touch but always in vain, for he was always in great arrears…. With a large mass of this correspondence spread out on his lap and all over the bed, he squatted with open shirt and cotton trousers, and dictated paragraph after paragraph in reply. . …A week's mail went out to every corner of the world.

Some of PB’s correspondents were close personal students, who helped him with different tasks, and who PB provided personal advice and instruction to.  Here are some excerpts taken from PB’s letters in 1948 to a married couple who were among his ‘inner circle’:

Three letters of yours were sent to Tucson about the time I left there for New York and in the middle of May I sailed for Europe where I have been ever since and so busy that I could not write to you before.

As you will gradually learn, I do not rely much upon written letters for the purposes of spiritual communication, but depend more on telepathic purposes. 

In this regard, PB said:

The spiritual help which you may be in a position to receive will come just as effectively on the mental plane if you have enough faith in the principles of mentalism to believe that it can come this way. (PB Replies, p. 155).

At some point, in the 1960’s, PB realized that his correspondence was taking up so much of his time that it was interfering with his writing and research work.  He then decided to drastically curtail his letter writing and personal interviews, hinting at the planetary scope of his inner work, in writing to this couple:

Please note that I am no longer able to get involved in questers’ and readers’ personal lives, affairs or spiritual problems. I must not be diverted from time and energy requiring aims that affect millions of others.  Therefore hold out no hope that I shall write to any or even that you can get in touch with me soon….

We conclude with some examples of how PB signed his letters to them:

Peace be with you
With my Peace
With Peace and Affection
May Heaven Bless us
May the Infinite Power Bless us!   
With affectionate regards,
Peace Profound and affectionate regards
Accept my Love
Peace and Blessing
With Peace and Love

In these excerpts about PB’s correspondence, we have explored his emphasis on the inner contact necessary for a student to receive a message from him, as well as his withdrawal from written letters in order for him to concentrate on his task as a writer and his work in the form of planetary service on the inner planes.  To embrace these themes requires an understanding of mentalism, an essential element of PB’s teachings and one of the keys to embracing a non-dual experience.

About the need to understand mentalism, PB said (excerpted from his Notebook of Replies to readers):

It is of tremendous help and importance to understand the doctrine of mentalism… Unless there is a thorough understanding of mentalism, several other important doctrines will remain incomprehensible to the human mind, or else, will be incorrectly interpreted. (PB Replies, p. 212)

In another of his Notebooks PB said, clearly referring to himself:

The researcher and writer concerned with such topics as I deal with must reject the social obligations of convention.  His time is too valuable to be wasted and his personal contacts must be carefully limited if he is to do his work properly.  Therefore, he guards both freedom and independence despite the disapproval of those who would rob him of one or the other.   (RVLS-II –p.545)

And, in response to a letter from a student, he wrote:

I should make it clearer, that there are two ways of working for others, be it a single person, or many more.  One is visible and public, with quicker effects.  The other is invisible, private and with deeper effects.  The first will not reach the consciousness of others until time has reached its final result which is inescapable.  The second renders more service, is more beneficial, but takes longer, and is even more certain in its results.  For this reason I can only say that my duty has moved me from the first to the second group.  I need not say more, and cannot.  We have to respect our limitations. (PB Replies, p. 231)

And, in a letter to another student:

I regret that I am not in a position to discuss it (your question) any further.  Advanced age has made retirement necessary.  Inner needs have compelled a retreat from personal correspondence and interviews. (PB Replies, p. 231)

In these replies, PB reflects on an important transition in his work as a teacher, writer and world-server.  In his initial, more public phase, over the course of approximately twenty years from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, PB wrote ten books and was an internationally known writer with an extensive correspondence and public profile.  As his realization deepened, he began to refer to himself as ‘a researcher’ and his service to humanity and to the planet took on a different, more inner form, causing him to retire from physical and written contact with others except in rare cases.  For the remaining thirty years of his life he lived hermetically with minimal outside contact, sharing his experiences, realizations and knowledge in the form of the Notebooks, which were reserved for posthumous publication.