PREFACE TO THE FIRST BRITISH EDITION aspirant now stands. Every successful passage through the tests pro- vided by worldly life gives him a chance to make a spurt not only in consciousness and understanding but more especially in character. It offers him one quick way of changing his character for the better. The error which deems mystical belief and meditation practice as suitable only for, and confined to, ascetics, monks and holy men, or cranks, neurotics and freaks, is a serious one. The old easy-travelling pre-war world has gone. Despite aero- planes, Himalaya seems tardier away to most Britons today than it was when I first entered its many-coloured domain under a tur- quoise sky. He who seeks a retreat cannot go far nowadays, perhaps no farther than the next county. Indeed, in these days of housing shortage, sometimes he cannot even get the undisturbed privacy of a room. Is the way closed, then? No. It is still open for all men, albeit differently. A half-hour, stolen from the day's activities or the night's rest, set apart for meditation in his own house, will in the end yield a good result. A useful suggestion for those who cannot get the right conditions at home or in the open air, is to try a church outside of service-hours. It is admittedly harder than trying the same exercise in a peaceful mountain valley, but wherever he is it is his mind alone that counts. The tranquil passivity he sets out to reach, will eventually deepen and deepen until a point is felt where thinking is still and the mind emptied. Into this inner silence there enters, we know not how, the Overself s godlike consciousness. Those who spend sufficient time on the mystical quest, and with sufficient keenness and guidance, find it infinitely inspiring because it links them—however remotely weakly and momentarily—with an infinite power, an infinite wisdom, an infinite goodness. The fruit of such meditations comes in the form of brief glimpses of the soul's flower-like beauty. Although it comes only for a few minutes in most cases, its bloom endures and recurs in memory for years afterwards. Only the adept, he who has travelled far on his inward journey, is able to return at any time, and at will, to the serene beatitude of this high consciousness. P. B. Jerway, 1949.