This Book is written by Arthur Osborne.
In my youth I was tormented by the desire to be a writer. When I actually became one, some twenty years later, it happened almost by accident — so far as anything can be an accident; that is to say, without planning on my part.
After two to three years at Tiruvannamalai it became necessary to earn an income again and I took a job as an assistant editor of a newspaper in Madras, the nearest large town. Thus my destiny took the shape that Bhagavan approved for his followers — a period of intensive training followed by the practise of Self-enquiry in the life of the world.
I took with me a life-sized reproduction of the photograph painted over in oils, a gift from a devotee who had, over the years amassed a fine collection of pictures of Bhagavan. Before leaving I showed it to Bhagavan who took it in his hands and then gave it back to me, saying: “He is taking Swami with him.”Such was the impersonal way in which he would speak of himself. After that it had a peculiar significance for me. It is one of the most inward and profound of the portraits, though less obviously gracious and immediately accessible than some of the others.
I took to journalism immediately. I should never have had the effrontery to make a good reporter, but fortunately that was not necessary; and editorial work came naturally to me as teaching never had. I doubt whether, before this, I should have been capable of writing either a book or an article successfully; my style was too subjective and abstract; but under the impulse of professional need I straight away began to write professionally. The editing of contributed articles, deciding which were written in a practical way and what changes were needed, taught me also to write in a practical way, and almost without effort. Perhaps this was a training in the technique of writing to enable me to write later about Bhagavan and his teaching.
I scanned the papers and wrote leaders, but in particular I took over and developed the Sunday magazine section, including a book review page. It was in this way, not as a student but as a critic, that I broke my long abstention from reading. Even after giving up journalism as a profession I continued to review books for various papers and therefore still read widely, but in a haphazard way, never buying books or borrowing them from libraries, only reading what came my way for review. Primarily these were books of spiritual interest, and indeed for a number of years most new publications of this type came to me, but I received many other books also — history, politics, current affairs, various branches of philosophy, even books of travel and fiction — and thus I became well read again. I read aloofly, scanning as a critic, not letting myself get engrossed, so that there could be no distraction from the quest, and therefore the type of writing for which I was suited was critical and analytical, not creative. It would have saved a lot of heartache if I had known myself well enough to realize this earlier in life. How many people bring frustration on themselves by trying to be what they are not, instead of developing what they are! “Better one’s own dharma, though done badly, than the dharma of another, though done well.” (Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 12, v. 47). It is seldom done well.
It was only now, in my Madras period, that I became a complete vegetarian. Physical disciplines are, of course, much less important on the direct path of Self-enquiry than on any other, but one which Bhagavan did lay stress on was vegetarianism. The most obvious motive for it is compassion — not merely personal compassion for the beasts slaughtered; that also, of course, but beneath it is the more intellectual compassion of equal-mindedness, seeing the same sanctity in all life and not consenting that other creatures should be deprived of theirs in order to sustain mine own. Even apart from that, however, vegetarianism is in one’s mind as well as body. Animal food is deleterious for spiritual development; it sets up an undesirable vibration or magnetism and the mind imbibes the wrong qualities. Whenever any one asked Bhagavan about it, he always and quite definitely recommended vegetarianism. It is also characteristic of his wisdom and patience that if any one did not ask, he did not enjoin it. It is the tree that produces the fruit, not the fruit the tree. To impose vegetarianism from above might lead to suppressed resentment which would smoulder and increase; it was better to wait till the inner development demanded it.
I had been a great meat-eater all my life, taking meat daily, often, in one form or another, three times a day, morning, noon and night, except for a short period at Oxford when I had been a vegetarian as a result of reading Leonardo da Vinci’s saying that we are all cemeteries of dead animals. At Tiruvannamalai we ate less meat than ever before but did not completely renounce it. By the time we moved to Madras we had given up cooking meat at home, but every Tuesday I used to go into town at lunchtime to lay my weekly stock of tobacco, and I would eat a meat lunch at a restaurant. One Tuesday I ordered a chicken pilau but when it arrived I felt that I just could not face the thought of eating it. It was not any theoretical objection or even any feeling of compassion for this chicken, just an inner revulsion. So I sent it back and ordered fried fish instead. Next Tuesday I repeated this order, but I had the same feeling about that also and sent it back. I never ate meat or fish again. The meditation sets up a finer vibration and in some ways makes one more sensitive to food and environment. The point had been reached when vegetarianism had become a necessity.
Another effect of the quest is that the repercussion of one’s actions, favourable or unfavourable, recompense or retribution, becomes more swift and recognizable. Every action brings its repercussions (“As a man sows so shall he reap”), that is the law of karma, but in the spiritually ignorant and the worldly it may be so long delayed and heavily masked as not to be recognized by the person himself. As one becomes more deliberately equipoised, much less impurity is sufficient to cause disequilibrium, just as a delicate machine can be thrown out of gear by an impediment too minute to affect a heavier, clumsier machine. Also the repercussions follow more swiftly in a more recognized form.
My Tuesday lunches in town soon ceased to be necessary in any case, because I gave up smoking. Ever since Oxford I had been a heavy pipe-smoker. Even in the internment camp in Thailand, I was able to get pipe tobacco most of the time, and when it was not available I smoked Burmese cheroots or fat Thai cigarettes wrapped in banana-leaf.
After some practise the meditation sets up a sort of current of awareness which can actually be felt physically as a vibration. At first it is felt only during meditation and only in the heart and head and between them, but gradually it becomes more pervasive and more constant, forming a sort of undercurrent to one’s life and actions. Smoking also is a sort of undercurrent, so I felt that it was a spurious imitation, an actual impurity, once the meditational vibration was awakened. I had twice before in my life given up smoking. Both times I started again about six months later. This time, however, it was final. I did not even wait to finish the tobacco in my pouch. I gave it away with the remaining tobacco in it and all my pipes to a young journalist, who fancied himself as a pipe-smoker — perhaps because it made him look English — and never smoked again, or even wanted to.
This current of awareness of which I speak could not be called exactly a pleasure, and yet one would not barter it for any pleasure imaginable. Thus faded out the question that had confronted me when I first undertook the quest: whether I was prepared to sacrifice pleasures I knew to be real for pleasures that might be real.
My wife was not with me at all constantly in Madras. The children were still at school in the hills and expected her to spend the hot months there with them, and she also wanted to stay some time at Tiruvannamalai. We had had difficulty with accommodation and so now, while I was at Madras, she built a house there. She had firm faith that we should eventually be able to retire and settle down there, unlikely as it seemed at the time. She engaged no architect and drew up no blueprints, just told the masons what to do next, and yet it turned out a delightful little house, beautiful and compact, a palace the size of a doll’s house.
I have told elsewhere the story of Bhagavan’s long and painful illness and his leaving the body (see my Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge) and will not repeat it here. In 1949 and 1950 my wife, like other devotees, was reluctant to leave Tiruvannamalai longer than necessary. I used to go for occasional weekends and holidays. I was there on the occasion of one of the operations. Immediately after it, Bhagavan’s couch was carried out on to the veranda of the dispensary where the operation took place. He looked exhausted. I ascended the few steps. He had not known that I was in Tiruvannamalai and as I came before him his face lit up with a smile of radiant beauty. I stood there, looking at him, overwhelmed by what transpired, by the undeserved grace.
We were there when he left the body, in April 1950. After that every one seemed anxious to get away. The place became deserted. I was able to stay for a few days and then my leave expired. My wife stayed on. Neither of us felt any gloom, any vacuum. The whole place was radiant with his presence. Never had the vibration of peace been so pervasive or so powerful. He had said: “They say that I am going away, but where can I go? I am here.” The ‘here’ is universal, the infinite here and now of the Spirit; but it also meant Tiruvannamalai, as it had in his body’s lifetime. Gradually others also began to feel it and to come back and the place filled up again. New devotees also began to be drawn there, both from India and abroad, and the movement has continued.
Arunachala Hill, with the town of Tiruvannamalai at its foot, is one of the most ancient spiritual centres in India. It is peculiarly associated with the direct path of Self-enquiry and the silent initiation connected with this. Indeed, it is the traditional centre of Dakshinamurti, who is Siva teaching in silence in the form of a youthful Guru with aged disciples. That is why Bhagavan was drawn there and made it his home and why he wrote hymns to Arunachala as a form assumed by Siva, the Formless God. Perhaps it is also why Arunachala has been less well known than other centres such as Benares and Mt. Kailash — the direct path of self-enquiry has been less accessible and less widespread than other, indirect paths. Now, however, since Bhagavan has restored it and simplified it to suit the spirit of our age, Arunachala has once again become the active spiritual centre. Bhagavan has said that it is the centre of the world. People who come here feel a potency and beauty and a tremendous vibration of peace.
After his death I wrote a number of articles about Bhagavan for my own paper and others. The ashram wanted to continue publishing as a sign that it was still flourishing, and I collected these together and edited them to form the chapters of a book which I called Ramana Arunachala and gave to the ashram to publish, taking no royalties for it. So, almost by accident, my first book was published.
There already was an official ashram life of Bhagavan, but it only went up to 1936 and was written in a florid Indian imitation of Victorian verbosity. I was asked whether I could revise it and bring it up to date. At first I agreed, but when I got down to work I found that so much needed to be changed, both in style and structure, that the only thing to do was to write a new book. So my second book came to be written, Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge, the first half of it largely, though not exclusively, based on the previous ashram biography. Before it was ready for publication some one told Gerald Yorke of Rider & Co. about it and so he wrote to me suggesting that I should get it published in England, so that it could be given proper publicity and serve to make Bhagavan and his teaching known outside India also. I immediately agreed and gave the royalties of this book also to the ashram.
Rider’s were at the time publishing rather second rate occultist stuff, and I was not pleased to have a life of Bhagavan brought out by them; but Yorke was reading manuscripts for them and trying to raise their standard. A year or two later he became publications manager for the firm and, with the help of others on the staff, succeeded in his efforts so considerably that they became one of the most outstanding publishers of books of real spiritual interest and a pleasant firm to deal with in every way. My correspondence with Yorke continues and I always found him friendly and helpful. Several times I was able to refer people to him when they wrote to me from England about the possibilities of spiritual affiliation.
It was in 1950, before this book came out, that we sent Catherine and Adam, the two eldest children, to England to finish their education.
Had conditions been different, this might have been my last job. As it was, it became necessary to leave in 1952. I had an offer of a post on better conditions as principal of a high school in Calcutta. With Adam to pay for in England that was quite a consideration. Catherine had been staying with my parents and she finished school and returned to us before the end of 1952, but Adam had longer to go and then had to go on to university.
After I had left the paper, the management of the school I was to take over vacillated and postponed, so it was already 1953 before we went to Calcutta. Thus the last job I was to take up followed the pattern of my whole professional career — that each successive post was not only a new job but also a new kind of job, and that each job lasted four years.
I found the work interesting. The work of the head of a school is quite different from that of a teacher, in fact mainly organization and administration. And this job also I found of value in my own development, in developing the qualities of decisiveness and organizational ability which had remained latent. Does it sound odd to speak of work helping the development of one’s character in one’s late forties? Anyway, so it was. There are two explanations, one personal and the other general: the former is that altogether I matured late, the latter that a person who has undertaken the quest does not ossify with advancing years but remains in a constant state of development. The school was drying up from the base when I took over, the two lowest classes both being below strength; when I left it five years later it had more than doubled in numbers.
Catherine also took a job in Calcutta. At the beginning of 1955 she married and left for Peshawar with her husband who had a job there.
Ever since I came to India I had been hearing of a bizarre saint known as Sai Baba, who not only never wrote a book but never read one. He lived in a mosque but was worshipped there by Hindus, making his Hindu and Muslim disciples live peaceably side by side. He performed a reckless profusion of miracles but justified them with the profound saying: “I give people what they want so that they will begin to want what I want to give them.” He would fly into a rage and abuse or even beat his devotees, and yet he was all love. He would ask for money (a thing a saint in India never does) and yet it was all distributed among the poor, and he himself would go out and beg his food. He died as long ago as 1918 in the little town of Shirdi near Bombay, where he had spent his life, and yet as far south as Madras I found his bust or portrait in house after house, shop after shop, with incense sticks burning in front of it.
Moreover, in four important respects he seemed a precursor of Bhagavan in adapting spiritual training to the conditions of the modern world. Like Bhagavan, he gave no formal initiation; like Bhagavan, he had disciples of different religions; like Bhagavan, he did not encourage them to renounce the world. And finally, he also continued to guide his disciples and to attract new ones after physical death. In hearing or reading the many stories of his appearance to devotees in dream or vision or in physical form and of his miraculous intervention in sickness or misfortune, there is no barrier at 1918; the same sort of cases occur after this date as before, and are just as frequent.
He probably has a larger following in India than any other saint, but is almost unknown in the West, perhaps because he has no philosophy or written teaching to comment on. There was no readable book about him in English and I had long felt the need for one. I even wrote an article to that effect to an Indian periodical. I sent a copy of it to Yorke, hoping that he might be able to find somebody to undertake the task. I felt that the life of so vivid and bizarre a saint should be written by some one with a more colourful style than mine. However, I saw eventually that if it was going to be done I should have to do it myself. So I wrote my next book, The Incredible Sai Baba. It was published in Calcutta by Orient Longmans, the eastern offshoot of Longman Green. By arrangement with them, Riders also published an edition for sale in England. By this time I was headmaster of the school in Calcutta.
Now that the beloved face was no longer with us, my wife at last started work on the long delayed sculpture. It was felt that there should be a statue of Bhagavan and the ashram had several times commissioned one, but the results were deplorable. One can measure features, but to reproduce the expression of the Divine Man would require love and understanding. My wife got some clay and started work on a bust. For over a year she worked at it, never quite satisfied, always changing and perfecting. Finally the face came to have a beautiful expression reminiscent of the living Bhagavan, but the poise of the head and shoulders was still not right. Then she went to Tiruvannamalai for a few weeks and it dried up and cracked. The face fell off in one unbroken piece, while the rest broke into bits. Taking this as a sign, we made a plaster cast of the face alone.
I had no intention of becoming a writing addict and going on with book after book. However, there were two more books that I wanted to get written. Both of them were ideas that had been in my mind ever since I was in the internment camp; which means that both were legacies from the period of Guenon’s influence and were concerned rather with contingent matters than with the path and its technique. I had vaguely hoped through the years that I should meet some scholar to whom I could pass them on, but had not considered writing them myself. I saw now, however, that they would not be written unless I did it, and, having a connection now with two publishers, I decided to do so. I was so familiar with them that it was rather a case of writing out than writing; nevertheless an idea is vitally affected by the crystallisation of form-giving and there was quite a lot of work to do — work which I found enthralling.
The first to be written was called The Rhythm of History and was published by Orient Longmans in Calcutta. I was not joining the ranks of historians who try to decide what this rhythm is, but simply indicating that if the history of the various civilizations of mankind falls into any uniform pattern at all, and if this pattern cannot be ascribed to mutual influences or to progress, there must be some meaning or harmony underlying it; it cannot be a mere succession of blind accidents. That there is such a pattern is clear but has been rather overlooked by historians. I began with the amazing coincidence of the founding or re-founding of religions and civilizations about the 5th century before Christ — Lao Tsu and Confucius in China, Buddha and Mahavir in India, probably Zoroaster in Persia, Ezekial and the Deutero-Isaiah and return from the Babylonian Captivity among the Jews, Pythagoras in Greece, the founding of the Roman Republic, at all approximately the same time. Then, midway between this time and the time of Christ, there was the creation of great empires which served the diffusion and interconnection of the new cultural patterns, although not created for that purpose — Alexander’s Empire stretching from Greece to India, that of Asoka in India, the unification of China by the Chin, followed by the Han Dynasty with its state patronage of Taoism and Confucianism. The next wave is the contemporaneous infiltration of the young Roman Empire and the West by Christianity and of the young Han Empire and the East by Mahayana Buddhism. Then all the classical civilizations alike fell into dark times, times of turbulence and governmental impotence. Out of this eventually rose recognizably mediaeval types of civilization — in China, in India, in Islam, in Christendom, everywhere. The Renaissance also was a worldwide phenomenon, only in the West it triumphed whereas in all Eastern civilizations Counter-Reformatory movements suppressed it. This led to an end in the present century by the uniform acceptance of the modern, materialistic, mechanized, utilitarian type of civilization without spiritual foundations.
There was, of course, much more detail, but it was still a slim book. It might have been better if it had been twice the length or more, based on more erudition, but I have not the disposition of a research worker. It said more than I now consider wise about the world being ripe for the coming of the Tenth Avatar. Whether that is so or not, it may unsettle an already unsettled age to talk about it and thus do more harm than good.
The next book was Buddhism and Christianity in the Light of Hinduism and was published by Riders. Although refuting Guenon’s condemnation of Buddhism (by implication but without actually referring to his statements) it was considerably influenced by his teaching, as was my whole outlook.
Outwardly there is an extraordinary parallel between Buddhism and Christianity. Each in its own way relaxes the rigour and simplifies the complexity of the law, instituting instead a new form of religion based on the love or compassion of the founder. Both, as originally propounded, were religions of renunciation, favouring celibacy and leading naturally to monasticism. Both proved unacceptable to the people among whom they were proclaimed but provided a sort of ‘export variety’ of the older religion for adoption by the neighbouring peoples who had lost the spiritual plenitude of their own religions.
In doctrine, on the other hand, they appear so mutually exclusive that one might be tempted to suppose that if one is true the other must be false, were it not for the sight of both types of doctrine existing side by side in Hinduism, both recognized as orthodox. Buddhism teaches non-duality and the dissolution of the individual being in Nirvana; Christianity, duality and the perpetuation of the purified individual being in a formal heaven. Actually, I had first envisaged the book simply as a comparison of Buddhism and Christianity; only later it occurred to me that reference to the co-existence of the two types of doctrine in Hinduism, non-dualism and dualism, knowledge and worship, both recognized as valid and sometimes even taught by the same guru, according to the needs and understanding of the disciples, would make it much easier to explain how both alike could be valid paths.
In this book some reference to the doctrine of avatars was a necessary part of the theme. The word is used rather loosely nowadays, but technically there are ten avatars in the whole course of the manvantara, that is, of the Adamic cycle. The seventh is Rama, whose story is told in the Ramayana. The eight is Krishna and its gospel the Bhagavad Gita. The function of the tenth, who is still to come, is the consummation of this cycle and inauguration of the next, which means that he is equivalent to the Second Coming of Christ. The ninth is described traditionally as the ‘Foreign Avatar’. It is generally agreed he has already appeared, and he is sometimes identified with Buddha, sometimes with Christ. My thesis was that the ninth avatar consists of the twofold establishment of a proselytising religion based on the love or compassion of the founder, in the form of Buddhism and non- duality for the East, Christianity and the dualistic worship of a personal God for the West.
Having finished Buddhism and Christianity, I decided that I would not write another book unless the time came when I should be able to write one purely of guidance on the quest and should feel that it was legitimate for me to do so. As I have already explained, outer activity is useful on Bhagavan’s path, but it should be aloof activity which keeps the mind working smoothly on the surface while underneath the current of meditation can continue. Emotionally involved activity, on the other hand, is harmful, since it turns the mind outwards, absorbing it in the activity and thereby impeding spiritual progress. Such activity may be of various kinds, but three of them are particularly dangerous, and also particularly alluring. Two of these I have mentioned already: reading and acting the guru; writing is the third.
It is not reading itself that is harmful but absorption in it — unless, of course, it is the sort of reading that serves as a spiritual reminder, turning the mind in the right direction. The sort of aloof, critical reading that I was doing remained a surface activity and could do no harm.
Similarly, there is no harm in giving help and advice on the path when the need to do so comes one’s way; but one who makes himself responsible for the spiritual welfare of others is turning his mind outwards, entangling it in worry and anxiety, and thereby impeding his own progress.
Writing also is an activity into which a man normally throws himself whole-heartedly and which therefore impedes his spiritual progress. I felt that I should desist.
The same thing can be expressed in a more doctrinal way. It is not actions that impede one’s sadhana or spiritual strife but the vasanas, that is the deep-seated desires or tendencies giving rise to the actions. Indeed, sadhana is sometimes represented simply as the elimination of vasanas, since it is these which turn the mind outwards, fling one into unnecessary activity, and drag the consciousness back to re-birth after this life has finished. Aloof or routine activity which does not nourish the vasanas is harmless; only emotional activity is dangerous. This also explains why unintelligent asceticism (not that all asceticism need be unintelligent) fails of its purpose: it attacks the actions produced by the vasanas instead of the vasanas themselves, which may drive them to seek other outlets or to grow and fester in the dark. Intelligent self-discipline, whether asceticism or not, attacks the vasanas themselves. Self-enquiry, the most direct and efficacious method, does not even do that; it dispels the illusion of the ego which has the vasanas. Restricting activity is like trying to kill a tree by picking off the flowers and fruit; attacking the vasanas is like breaking off the branches; Self-enquiry is like uprooting the tree.
The worst method is to try to destroy the vasanas by gratifying them. That has the opposite effect, like trying to put a fire out by pouring oil on it. Nevertheless, it may happen that indulging it can finally exorcise a more or less innocuous remnant of a vasana. I think it is Sri Ramakrishna of whom the story is told that he had once desired a silk shawl and a gold chain, so he asked for them and sat on the bank of the Ganges wearing them; then, saying, “Now I have had my desire,” he took them off and threw them into the Ganges. It is possible that in a similar way the writing of these books extinguished what vestige still remained of the urge to write. However, to have continued would have fanned the flame again.
At the same time that I stopped writing, and for the same reason, my wife gave up painting. She had not previously known that she could paint. Indeed, when she was young it was music that was her great passion and to which she would have dedicated her life had circumstances been propitious. However, in Calcutta, Frania, our youngest daughter, began to take art lessons and, in order to encourage her and find out her difficulties, my wife also began to paint and found that she could. When we returned to Tiruvannamalai she began to see everything — mountains and clouds, trees and flowers — with the eye of a painter, as glorious arrangements of line and colour. Particularly she wanted to make pictures of Arunachala and of our house and garden to send to people. For a start, she decided to paint the garden as seen from our veranda, with the hedge full of flowering cactuses at the end of it and Arunachala rising up behind. Frania had left for an art school in England by this time. She had left some paints behind for her mother to use, but they turned out to be inadequate and some of them dried up. Unwilling to relinquish her project, my wife decided to use oil crayons — she had done one or two attractive crayon paintings in Calcutta. Just when she was starting she got a whitlow on her finger and had to stop. When that was better something else interfered. When the picture finally was completed a rat tore it up at night to make a nest for its young. We took all this as a sign that she should not waste her energies on painting. Housekeeping was not a distraction from meditation; painting was.
This does not mean that I am a Puritan opposed to art and literature. It depends what the alternative is. If the alternative is a superficial or materialistic life, art and literature are an ennoblement of it; but if the alternative is a more direct spiritual effort they are a distraction. At the beginning of a religion (as happened, for instance, in Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam) art and literature are normally either deprecated or ignored, because the powerful wind that then blows turns men to direct spiritual effort; but when the white heat has cooled down to a coloured glow, art and literature come to be not merely condoned but encouraged as a means of turning men’s minds from worldly values to spiritual, leading them gradually through harmonized form to the Formless. Therefore a wealth of religious art arose in these same religions in their mediaeval periods — the mystic power of Taoist painting and Mahayana sculpture, the Gothic cathedrals of Christendom, the poetry of the Sufi saints and the lace-like arabesques of Islam. For the same reason, various forms of art and literature are not merely encouraged but actually used as techniques of training on some indirect spiritual paths; but on the direct path of Self-enquiry they are a hindrance.
Before I stopped writing I still had two books to edit and one to revise. However, this was work which could be done aloofly; moreover, the editing involved constant preoccupation with the writings and sayings of Bhagavan and was therefore a help and inspiration on the path, not a hindrance. Bhagavan had written little — two prose expositions and two in verse, a few miscellaneous poems and the ‘Five Hymns to Arunachala’. All of these had been translated into English and the ashram had published them as separate booklets. Ever since the death of Bhagavan I had been trying to persuade the ashram to put them all together into one volume, so that it would be large enough for booksellers to stock and newspapers to take notice of. Soon after Buddhism and Christianity was finished the ashram president told me that they had decided to do so and asked me to edit it. This was published by Riders as The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, while the ashram also brought out an edition for sale in India.
Apart from the actual writings of Bhagavan, there were various collections of talks with him and of his sayings, the two largest being the 750-page Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi and the two-volume Day by Day with Bhagavan. Both of these were in the form of diaries and therefore contained a lot of repetition, with no arrangement according to subject. For the benefit of the general reader I decided that it would be advisable to take passages both from the various recorded talks and the written books and fit them together according to subject. A certain amount of editorial comment was necessary, explaining and connecting the various passages, but it was kept to moderate proportions and printed in a different type so as to be distinguishable at a glance from the words of Bhagavan himself. This book also, entitled The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words, was published both by Riders and the ashram.
The only other task remaining was the revision of The Cosmology of the Stars, the book I had written in camp on the philosophy underlying astrology. There was really no need to bother with it, but I have a tidy mind and do not like leaving loose ends, so I dug the typescript out of the cupboard where it had been lying. To my surprise I found that it required very little change in substance but had to be completely re-written in order to eliminate the arrogant and aggressive tone that had permeated my style under the influence of Guenon. I sent it to Yorke, but he decided, probably quite rightly, that there would not be sufficient market for such a book, so it remained unpublished.