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26.4.09

Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)


I would say there are so many great writers in English language, which I cannot name them in a series, but I have read them. Somerset Maugham, I would say was another one. I was very much impressed by his writings and read most of his novels because he was very much there. ... But all that was to show that there is a higher being, you see, which sees all this, and giving you a drama of yourself, projecting it through you. That this is what you are, you see, see yourself. That’s what they did and despite everything we’re lost. We are lost quite a lot. We have to become the same like Shakespeare to see the drama, like Somerset Maugham, we have to become the same.

H.H.Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, Public Program, Ilford Town Hall, England, 8/7/84


In January 1938, whilst in India, Somerset Maugham visited the Indian sadhu, Ramana Maharshi. The visit had a profound impact on him, and he based his novel, The Razor's Edge (1944) on the visit. In the novel the hero describes his experience:

"How grand the sight was that was displayed before me as the day broke in its splendour...I was ravished with the beauty of the world. I'd never known such exaltation and such a transcendent joy. I had a strange sensation, a tingling that arose in my feet and traveled up to my head, and I felt as though I were suddenly released from my body and as pure spirit partook of a loveliness I had never conceived. I had a sense that a knowledge more than human possessed me, so that everything that had been confused was clear and everything that had perplexed me was explained. I was so happy that it was pain and I struggled to release myself from it, for I felt that if it lasted a moment longer I should die; and yet it was such rapture that I was ready to die rather than forego it. How can I tell you what I felt? No words can tell the ecstasy of my bliss."

further reading:
David Godman, Somerset Maugham and The Razor's Edge
website about The Razor's Edge
Ownerless Mind: Self and World
Wikipedia: W.Somerset Maugham

1 comment:

Liallyn said...

W.S. Maugham is one of the most subtle writers of the spiritual inner life that I've ever encountered. His Writer's Notebook is marvellous, and Razor's Edge is brilliant (as is the wisdom, depth and insight found in the teachings of Ramana Maharshi who played a key role in Maugham's spiritual awakening).