The Quest of the Overself Book Reviews


“I have derived great pleasure and profit from reading The Quest of the Overself. Redolent as it is of the Maharshi's teaching, it contains for the most part what was familiar to me, but had never come home with so much force. Mr. Brunton writes with the quiet assurance and authority of one who has had the supreme experience. His book will be highly prized by all who have had the call of the spirit but are yet looking for one to guide their footsteps.
   “It is characteristic of the universal appeal of the Maharshi that it is left to a Westerner to make known the wisdom of the ancient Orient, not merely to the younger West, but also to the modern East that forgetting its own heritage has imbibed only the froth of the West. The Quest of the Overself is a book which every beginner on the path of the spirit should keep with him and cherish.”—S. S. Suryanarayana Sastri, Prof. in Philosophy, University of Madras

“I come to the fourth book which, to my mind, is much the most valuable of the four. It is an exposition of Eastern mysticism, as satisfactory in its way as anything Miss Evelyn Underhill has done for the mysticism of the West. Mr. Brunton's previous books have shown that his mind is critical and not at the mercy of its own will to believe. He sees no necessary cleavage between science and metaphysic, and he would cordially endorse that phrase in the recent Times obituary of Sir Jagadis Bose which said "his achievements provide a unique example of the virtual union between the immemorial mysticism of Indian philosophy and the experimental methods of Western science."
   “Mr. Brunton's book gains enormously by the fact that he is a mystic himself. He writes deliberately for the Western mind and what he says is not the justification of a particular philosophy so much as a plea for mysticism as the revealer of certain underlying realities. If we are capable of understanding mysticism at all we should be capable of understanding The Quest of the Overself.”—The Spectator (London, UK), Dec. 19, 1937

“I recommend The Quest of the Overself as by far the safest and most rational exposition of Eastern metaphysic and the practice of mental discipline that I have yet met.”—Monk Gibbon in the Spectator

“The author's exposition of the Yoga involved is extraordinarily clear and simple. It is highly recommended.”—Modern Mystic

“Perhaps no one has more beautifully written of these finer feelings than the great contemporary English philosopher, Paul Brunton.”— Columbus Dispatch [Ohio]

“The Quest of the Overself gives clear instructions for the exercise of the Oriental method of discovering the spiritual self. The simplicity of the exercises should appeal to many who desire help and guidance in the art of meditation. It is stated that half-an-hour a day given to the practices explained in the book will enable anyone who faithfully follows them to come into contact with his own divine spirit.”—Yorkshire Evening Press, Jan. 31, 1938

“It is definitely his most important and searching work on scientific Yoga and one not to be duplicated elsewhere. Original in outlook, terse and modern like all Mr. Brunton's work, this book exceeds its predecessors by a more serious scope and penetrating analysis of philosophic theory and practice.”— Inner Culture

“Full instructions are given of the Oriental method of psycho-spiritual self analysis, showing how a student may arrive at his inner divine self by the use of mental methods conjoined to simple breathing and visual exercises. The finest and safest system of Indian Yoga constitutes the basis of this system, but it has been altered and adapted to suit modern needs and circumstances. Every step of the path has been carefully explained.”—Cambridge Daily News , Nov. 10, 1937

“Those who find orthodox Church teaching insufficiently helpful in leading the mind to the realization of the Christian verities will find in this book much helpful teaching. The author has made an exhaustive study of Eastern religious thought. In this book, written in beautiful and simple language he explains a method of approach to God which, if followed, leads to the realization of divine immanence.”—Church of England Newspaper [London]

“In the first part of his book...he has analyzed in turn the physical, emotional, and intellectual self in order to show that the real self transcends each of these. In the second part he has set forth practices by which this real self may be discovered and lived in. The principal feature of the practices is the right attainment and use of mental quiet and because there is nothing extreme or sensational about them they should prove helpful to many.”— Yorkshire Post [Leeds] Jan. 5, 1938

“The book may best be described as an amplification of The Secret Path; it is a distillation of certain of the simpler Yogic practices of Indian teachers adapted to the needs of the West. And without doubt it is a work which many people will find of very great help. In brief, it sets forth a system of self-analysis by means of which the aspirant may achieve knowledge of his 'divinest self.' To this end, Mr. Brunton indicates certain meditation practices.”—Inquirer & Christian Life [London]

The Quest of the Overself is by far the ablest thing Mr. Brunton has yet done....a careful study of this book, and a determined attitude towards the recommended exercises will result in an appreciable measure of attainment. The book is well planned and the reader who appreciates art is well catered for. There is an illuminating chapter on the true nature of Time and another on the creative inspirations of genius. The author's exposition of the Yoga involved is extraordinarily clear and simple. It is highly recommended.”—The Modern Mystic, Dec., 1937

“This large book is of thrilling interest....The teaching as regards meditation is simple, clear and inspiring. It is an exhaustive treatise for the uninitiated, beautifully expressed and most encouraging. The writer wisely stresses the fact that the mere reading of books will get a man nowhere....this is not a volume for mere reading; it is a wise, experienced, and inspiring friend that one needs...whatever the cost.”— Quarterly Transactions of the British College of Psychic Science, Jan. 1938

“...should be read by all. Full instructions are give here in the Oriental method of psycho-spiritual self-analysis, enabling anybody to arrive at his inner divine self. This is based on an old Indian Yoga system, modified to suit modern conditions.”—Indian Literary Review, April 1938

“It is in the section of his book dealing with the "Mystery of the Heart" and the "Overself" that Paul Brunton rises to his greatest heights. The authentic spiritual message, like a voice from far off, breathes through the whole book. It is in its atmosphere, its overtone, that the power of Brunton's book lies....Like all truly mystical works, its message lies hidden beneath the mere surface meaning. In the life of dedication to the Overself lies the secret of that inner repose which manifests in the outer world as added power....and the way to gain it is indicated plainly enough in Brunton's new book if only the meditational practices there described are conscientiously and regularly followed.”—The Occult Review, Jan., 1938

“ once his deepest and most considerable work thus far. And it is written with a measure of real mastery of his subject.”— The Science of Thought Review

“This is indeed an epoch-making book and it should be deeply appreciated in such a country of spirituality as is India. Mr. Brunton gives careful instructions for short daily exercises in order that readers may discover their own Overselves.”—Illustrated Weekly of India, Jan. 23, 1938

“He has attempted to show by analysis that the real man is not to be confused with his bodies, and to Brunton must be given considerable credit for the painstaking work he has put into this preparatory part. In 'demonstrating' analytically that Time is an idea, that Immortality is a fact, and that great advances have been made withing the last century in physics which provide illustrations for his arguments, Brunton shows himself a finer, smoother writer than in any of his former works.”—Psychic News, Nov. 13, 1937

“Paul Brunton has the journalistic touch which makes for easy reading. This book falls into two parts; in the first we get a masterly analysis of Self which places the book among those of leading philosophers in its attempt to get down to bedrock of thought. In the second part there is gradually unfolded a series of lessons and exercises in mind and soul-culture which although taking something of the form of Yoga philosophy and practices, nevertheless is expounded in such a way as to invite serious study. The quest for the Christ-self in each of us that we may be released to closer spiritual communion with God, to use the more familiar term, is here extolled as lying along the path of quietism, of being still, of forgetting self, of regular and systematic concentration.”—Spiritual Vision [UK]

“Every chapter of this book bears the stamp of ripe and accurate scholarship and direct experience. He writes with the confidence of one who knows. The treatment of his main theme is lucid and logical. It may be acclaimed as a philosophical treatise of no mean order. God and soul and their intimate relations are no more mysterious and unknowable problems. They are as much within the scope of human knowledge as any scientific truth is. This valuable book has an inspiring message...and it is intensely practical in its outlook and design.”—The Leader [Allahabad, India]

“One of the most extensive of modern descriptions of the ageless quest in print, this guidebook outlines in rather full and stimulating detail the need, methods, and practical results of progressive self-discovery.”—The World Observer [New York] April, 1938

“We cannot recommend too highly....The author goes to much pains and into great detail regarding the technique of meditation and contemplation of spiritual and inner things...”—The Inner Life [Akron, Ohio] May, 1938

“In his latest book he offers a practical program for the open-minded modern who feels himself a spiritual exile and honestly wants to find his way back to those sources of eternal energy...”—The Rock Island Argus [Illinois] Jan., 1938

“There are detailed explanations of the method of arriving at the blissful yoga state by the exercises of breathing and visual fixations. The discussions of the importance of regard for our finer feelings, the knowledge of the character of thoughts as creative forces, and the Overself in action are quite enjoyable reading.”—The American Theosophist

“I would like to meet Paul Brunton. Any writer who can, with words, transport a reader here and there through the far reaches of infinity, must be an amazing person. Whether you are a credulous person or a skeptic, you will be amazed at his what Paul Brunton has written about you. You may not know who and what you are, but you will get a mighty clear picture if you follow directions.”—Tulsa Daily World [Oklahoma]

“Taken from the teachings of the Orient, it nevertheless, has a striking resemblance to the best of modern Occidental psychology and the practical application of the system is lucidly set out.”—Deseret News [Salt Lake City]

“Furthermore there is a definite spiritual stimulation in this book, especially when it deals with certain holy men and religious potentates in India--men of undoubted spiritual penetration an exceptional wisdom.”—The Detroit News

Amazon reader reviews for The Quest of the Overself (UK):

“All Brunton books are a must if our world is to become what it should be. This particular title is a masterpiece which represents solid, authentic spiritual teaching for anyone taking their first step on this wonderful journey. My experiences have been similar to that of Dr. Brunton and for that reason alone may I, with humility, totally endorse his writings.”

“Paul Brunton is one of the greatest sages recently produced by the West. I pair him with Plotinus. His books should be studied, more than read. The Quest of the Overself, however a great book, is just a a starter to his later developed concept of mentalism (akin to Bishop Berkeley's philosophy but more in the line of the Upanishads and other Christian esoteric teachings). The reader is advised to continue to The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga, and then The Wisdom of the Overself. Paul Brunton traveled and experienced the spiritual path. His message is universal, however he had tried to bring together East and West, it is above and beyond geographical locality. I respectfully and gratefully bow to Him!”

“It would be appropriate to point out that one needs to read and apply the teachings of Paul Brunton's earlier book The Secret Path before one can fully appreciate this book. Paul Brunton attempts to bring the eastern methods of attaining oneness with God to the western world using techniques that are appropriate in this day and age. The eastern methods of renouncing materialism and other worldly temptations are no longer practical in this day and age.
  “The author expands on the teachings provided in the book The Secret Path, which I feel would be greatly helpful to the beginner. He devotes individual chapters that give greater detail to the analysis of physical self, emotional self and intellectual self. He also provides additional techniques to help the meditative process that were missing (for a reason) in his earlier book. Though I have read various books, the bible, books by Rudolph Steiner, books about Edgar Cayce's readings, and come across the term `I AM', this was the first book that actually gave me an explanation that made sense to me. The chapter `The Overself in Action' is a chapter that I hold especially dear to my heart. It describes the gradual changes that one will experience, some of which I can attest to. It brings new meaning to many of Jesus' words in the Bible.”