The Wisdom of the Overself Book Reviews


“In The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga published two years ago, Dr. Paul Brunton promised to write a final volume in which his investigation of the nature of the mind and the self would be carried to a conclusion. The Wisdom of the Overself amply fulfills that promise. All the loose ends have been gathered up and tied into a compact and satisfying explanation regarding the difference between mind and consciousness, the meaning of death, of sleep and dreams, of time and space, also what is God, what is man, and what is the relationship between the two.
   “For people...who hunger and thirst for understanding of the riddle of existence it comes as meat and drink. Directions are given for different methods of meditation which are not mere repetitious prayers but proven techniques for arriving at the sublime knowledge of the true self. Both books seem to have been written with the intention of aiding us to come into identification with That which we really are, and to set free from human bondage all who will accept these amazing revelations.”—World [Tulsa, Oklahoma]

“...truly inspired by the greatness of some of the doctrines he has discovered on his way. The book contains an account of highest, ultimate meditative achievements of a number of related Eastern systems. Brunton's scholarship cannot be doubted, though it is not of usual academic linguistic type. To question his honesty, as some reviewers have done from time to time, is an unwarranted insult. Brunton covers the field of his studies fairly well and knows practically all that is available in translations of meditation texts. After all, he does not write for Orientalists and Sanskrit scholars versed in Yoga texts, but discarding all the ballast connected with philological, anthropological, and historical research, he simply renders the latest results of his spiritual investigations in an unrestricted way, beyond geographical and historical limitations and without the provincialism of any particular narrow convention. Brunton has become able to think and to develop an argument and a meditation in the way the yogi in India has ever done; in fact, he is one himself and develops consequences and results of spiritual research quite as a matter of course. He handles the material as a master and not as a mere onlooker.
   “Strange as this approach to Indian philosophy may seem, we have to realize that it is a most valuable and needed one, because, without Brunton's reliable guidance in the ways of Indian thinking, a great many people in the Western world, feeling frustrated by academic 'objectivity,' would fall victim to all kinds of occultist fakers. Thus Brunton is the needed link between scholarly research, without which he himself would never have arrived where he is now, and the layman who is longing for a way of higher life as so many sense it somehow in the East.
   “Brunton has penetrated further than many others who are writing in his line. He has touched the heights of overcoming even meditative mysticism and its achievements, as Brunton calls it, in order to arrive at 'philosophy,' by which he means the realization that Yoga is means, not ends.
   “Brunton has successfully avoided any conventional or worn out religious terminology—even the word 'God' is not used."—Review of Religion, Prof. Frederic Spiegelberg, Stanford University

“His book should make good reading for those who are interested in mysticism, especially that of India.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer

“It is not given to everyone to write words that hit hammer blows or use images with tongues of flame...this grand book is full of yogic wisdom but is backed by the facts of existence. Paul Brunton has produced a wonderful book.”—Norfolk Ledger Dispatch [Virginia]

“Mr. Brunton discusses the deep mysteries of life...of mentalism, of the constitution of the universe, of the four states of being (waking, dreaming, deep sleep, and union with the Deity), of mysticism, of world-mind and of many cognate matters.”—The Times Literary Supplement [London]

“I can, therefore, recommend Paul Brunton's The Wisdom of the Overself as a book for those who wish to know the path to inner strength and, in fact, to a kind of godhood. Founded on the doctrines of Yoga, Dr. Brunton writes clearly and inspiringly.”—Journal American [New York City]

“The author of this volume is an indefatigable and well-balanced expounder of the half-forgotten thought of the ancient world, and a stimulating guide to those who would be initiated into the Wisdom of the East.”—Buffalo News [New York]

“For the thousands of students of the esoteric, this book will be eagerly sought.”—News & Book Trade Review [London]

“...the two volumes [The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga & The Wisdom of the Overself] now lay before readers a teaching which constitutes an endeavor to acquaint this epoch with the fundamental meaning of existence, and which, in such explicit fullness, is for the first time written down in a Western language.”—East Anglican Times [UK]

“Not withstanding the difficulty of the subject presented, it is written in a most lucid manner which could be comprehended by everyone, even if this is their first book on the higher philosophy. Dr. Brunton applies this ancient wisdom to the great philosophical problems which have been cause for inquiry throughout the ages. His analyses...are masterly.”—Occult Review [London]

“Here is a book that one may read as a student, absorbing the richness of its observations from cover to cover, or open at random and be rewarded with worthwhile phrases and paragraphs. It is a book in which many will find inspiration and reassurance. In years past Paul Brunton has been into the pyramids of Egypt, into the caves of the Himalayas, hunting the wisdom of the ancient East. And out of it finally has come The Wisdom of the Overself. The result is worth the lifetime of effort.”—Montgomery Advertiser [Alabama]

“No more than a suggestive intimation of the coherence of Dr. Brunton's treatment of mentalism can be given here. The theme is immense in scope and at the same time filled with subtleties. The book contains material for the practice of meditation; and students of psychology, philosophy, mysticism, and occultism will find here refreshing and illuminating material for their deepest interest.”—Tomorrow [New York City]

“Dr. Brunton gives a full description of...disciplines which may be practiced to assist in achieving this higher state of consciousness and which have been adapted by him from the esoteric methods of the Orient to the requirements of our Western way of life.”—Houston Texas Press

“Dr. Brunton has made a deep exploration into the metaphysical...and has created a work of considerable importance in this present age. The author's message is intended to create a transformation in both mind and body, a mystical asceticism which transcends all personal self-interest.”— The Border Standard [England]

“This book is an exposition of the philosophy of 'Mentalism'....And through the examination of numerous phases of being with which we are all more or less familiar—sleep, dream, trance, inspiration, mysticism, etc.—Dr. Brunton develops the theory of Mentalism into a coherent form in which both causal principle and responsive effect are inter-related in Mind.
   “Dr. Brunton emphasizes the mystical nature of will be gratifying to many students and practitioners of spiritual life to find it here revived in its own name and proper nature. Dr. Brunton's work has now become a full philosophical system of thought, a definitely modern teaching, in which the ancient Wisdom is transposed for realization by these times.”—The Beacon [New York City]

“...every paragraph deserves careful reading. It provides a great deal of new information....It is probably the most practical book yet written in its particular field....Its teaching is very sound and it appeals very much to the reason of the student of the eternal realities and Yoga philosophy. It is such a remarkable book and its contents of knowledge is so extensive and so well presented, that one inclines to believe a great deal of help has been given to its gifted author. The chapter on the World-Mind contains, what is possibly the best description of the term God yet written, and a very full description of the Overself is given and its relation to the World-Mind.”—Theosophy in Ireland [Dublin]

“Western readers as a rule are thoroughly unprepared for the type of thinking demanded by Dr. Brunton's book. So dominated have we been by a thorough-going super-naturalism or by a too mechanical naturalism that we are grossly unprepared to appraise this well-wrought argument or the mentalism and mysticism commonly associated with the Orient. Americans in particular have been touched by the references of Emerson and William James to the 'Oversoul,' although most casual students were unwilling to follow this elusive concept to its logical conclusions. Paul Brunton willingly assumes this task and fearlessly draws his conclusions.
   “This stimulating volume will serve as an adequate corrective for the overconfidence of pseudo-scientific people who continually persist in maintaining that science deals with the 'facts' and proceeds upon no presuppositions. Brunton has informed himself on matters scientific and he makes a commendable effort to deal justly with all areas of investigation.”—Birmingham News [Alabama]

“The book is an interesting and clear statement of orthodox Yoga. It is comparatively free from the obfuscation which so often attends mystic writings and is less a communication of mystical experience than it is the presentation of a metaphysical system. The virtue of Dr. Brunton's books is their freedom from the usual esoteric decoration. The vocabulary, both verbally and ideologically, is modern....and his ideas and expressions thought-provoking.”— San Francisco Chronicle

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

“This book is one of the greatest works of the 20th century. As a person who was highly scientific and possessed a clear understanding of Einstein's Theory of Relativity and of Quantum Theory, the conventional ideas of God as presented in western and some eastern religions could not satisfy me. I had started to think that I would never really believe in an Intelligent God, just impersonal "intelligent nature". Until I read this book. Like Albert Einstein, I was bothered by the existence of the Cosmos itself: why it should be here at all. This book gave me the answer to my deepest and most troubling questions about God and the world. Now I understand clearly why the laws of the Universe are the way they are: Intricate and intelligent. After reading and truly assimilating the ideas in Paul Brunton's book, I now know why matter and energy has to be one entity as proven by Einstein's Relativity Theory. I also now understand why the Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Theory has to be the way it is.

“This book clearly shows how everything has to be an expression of One All-Encompassing Principle (God) that is inherently intelligent, but not God as the arbitrary creator in Geneses in the Bible. It shows how the cosmos is not a huge material thing, as formerly thought of in nineteenth century Newtonian physics but is really a vast, dynamic, mental expression existing in a Cosmic Mind. I'm a scientifically minded person to whom God has become real and experience able, thanks to this book. If you have covered the prerequisites: some advances in meditation, and have intelligently questioned the nature of matter and reality, then you are ready to read this book.”

“Brunton explains the Overself as the meeting point of the Universal mind and the individual consciousness. Like a ray is to the Sun, the Individual consciousness is to the Overself...the infinite mind at the background of all that is. This book will bring Buddhism and Hinduism into your understanding like no other work. Profound, deep and full of understanding that can be used every day. It was a pleasing and very uplifting read.”

“Nothing I have read even came close to expounding and yes EXPLAINING the most profound mysteries of life-the true meaning and purpose of "EVIL". Why in a PERFECT world there must be suffering etc. Rare and exciting insights. A gold mine of spiritual thought.”