Brahmasrii Dr K C Varadachari
However it is to be noted that whenever Sri Aurobindo tries to expound the mystic or occult reality he utilises the super-consciousness or his supramental consciousness, not the humanistic jargon so famous and current to the modern intellectuals both within and without the academies and universities. It is basically necessary to realize that Sri Aurobindo uses that kind of knowledge that discerns by identity the real in its integral and concrete status what the intellect would only understand by means its knowledge by difference. His epistemological preparation is about the most striking evidence of his being more true as a world philosopher than the encyclopaedic intellectuality of even the most brilliant of the philosophers who could best be described as brilliant mediocres (humanists).
Whether the knowing by identity is possible to all mankind is problematical. But that it has been one of the most concrete possessions of the Mystics and Indian Seers of the original Darshanas is undoubted. Much of our failures to grasp the intuitive axioms of the several Darshanas today lies in this lack of pramana, the capacity to know by identity -- that which the Isavasyopanisad has stated most luminously:
Sa paryagat sukram akayam avranam asnaviram suddham apapaviddham Kavirmanisi paribhuh svyambhur yathatathyato’rthan vyadadhat sasvatibhyah samabhyah ||8||
“It is he that has gone abroad-That which is bright bodiless, without scar of imperfection, without sinews pure, unpierced by evil. The Seer, the Thinker, the One who becomes everywhere, the Self-existent has ordered objects perfectly according to their nature from years sempiternal."
Wherein Lies His Greatness?
SRI AUROBINDO, the sage of Pondicherry was a poet, professor, political worker, prophet and yogi. As a poet he had written much and in his last days was working at an epic poem, Savitri. He had written on the nature and scope of future poetry wherein he claimed that true poetry would hereafter bring down the supramental rhythms and express them in words charged with its force. As a political worker he had suffered and fought for Independence in the first decade of this century and left the field for what he himself felt to be a greater work for the world. His last will and testament to the nation on the eve of his retirement from politics in 1910 bears witness to the prophetic vision of the emergence of a new figure in the Indian political science who would lead the country to Independence. It was not an accident, according to Sri Aurobindo, that Indian Independence was achieved and
declared on his birthday 15th August, 1947. In the world political scene he opposed the dictatorship of Hitler and forecasted his collapse.
His period of Yoga from 1910 to 1950 was most fruitful. From 1910 to 1921 he was engaged in the most arduous task of realizing to the full the importance of the religious and spiritual heritage. Though as early as 1906 he had glimpses of the deep and abiding presence of the Divine Personality within himself yet the period of preparation continued. His own fundamental realization on siddhi came only on 24th November 1926. But from 1914, on the eve of the first World War, he presented to the world his system or Darsanam in the pages of his journal ARYA. His magnificent contributions covered all branches of thought and culture. The Life Divine, The Essays on the Gita, The Secret of the Veda, Commentaries on the Upanishads Isa nad Kena, and translations of the Hymns of the Veda, and the Synthesis of Yoga, are epoch-making in Oriental thought. In the field of controversy he contributed a series of articles entitled the Defence of Indian Culture. To political theory his contributions were the Ideal of Human Unity and the Psychology of
Social Development (republished recently with the title “Human Cycle”). Almost all these writings have been revised and published in separate volumes except the Secret of the Veda, and the Kenopanishad. His poems also have been published in two sumptuous volumes.
Briefly his most important contribution to philosophic thought lies in his integral philosophy. His integral philosophy aims at explaining the whole creative process as the manifestation of the One Immortal Spirit or Brahman. Though one, Brahman is eternally many, and as One or the principle of Oneness He upholds, manifests, and establishes the Oneness of the many. The many are real, even as the Oneness is real. The world is a real world, the souls are real souls but they are a unity in the One, they are the multiplicity of the One. The world process or Change is a creative change, not a phenomenal projection merely. Divine evolutionism which Sri Aurobindo offers as the explanation is different from the ordinary evolutionary theory of the biologists and the logical evolutionary theory of the Idealists and the creative evolutionism of Bergson and the emergent evolutionism of Lloyd Morgan. The process of evolution is not merely an
ascent of the inner impulse (elan vital) from a homogeneous undifferentiated matter or life to the complex heterogeneous organisms, nor the ascent of the logical ideal by a process of dialectical integration through opposition and abstraction; it is also a process of descent of the Primal principle or spirit for the purpose of self-limiting and self-dividing or multiplicity, and measuring itself out. By this process the world of space and time, and the several levels or layers of Being and consciousness are established. Involving itself in one part of its infinite being, there is the integration, biological or physiological part of its infinite being, there is the integration, biological or physiological and organic of these several planes in the personality of the many souls (psyches). Thus in the human evolution we have the integrated structures of the physical, vital and mental consciousness. But the organism is yet ignorant of the higher levels of the One Being which is organic to it. The primal spiritual principle is bending towards the individual with a new basic spiritual form, the supermind, which is a new universal-individualised form, dynamic and effective for the organization of social unity, in a global manner.
The individual has to open himself to this descent of the supermind, which would grant him peace and poise and harmony. The discovery of the Supermind not as principle of explanation but as an actual presence, different from its manifestations such as poetic vision, intuition and overmental experiences which go by the name of occult or extrasensory experiences is the next step in evolution, the goal to which whole creation is moving. Man is not the highest term in existence. The Superman is the possible and inevitable next step. Nietzsche and Fichte theoretically canvassed this possibility, but it has been left to Sri Aurobindo to affirm its actuality.
Yoga is the means to this end. It is an evolutionary principle or instrument nor merely a transcending instrument or escapist method. Yoga is the integral aspiration for the total universal existence or realization of the absolute Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, Saccidananda. Jnanayoga, karmayoga and bhaktiyoga are all necessary. So too hathayoga forms part of this purnayoga. But more than all these yogas which are ego-centric and impelled by the half-illumined consciousness and aspiration of the individual, it is
necessary to open out to the Divine Lord in all things and creatures, and to His Power, to permit Him to work out the lines of Yoga for the sake of becoming supermentalised. This opening out to God is called Surrender, prapatti in all one’s parts. Jnanayoga would become an opening of the mind to His divine transmutive action, karmayoga would become the opening of the physical and vital to His power, and bhaktiyoga would become the process of opening to the delightful surge of His consciousness which permits the experience of His abiding love universal.
Sri Aurobindo thus opened up a new chapter in Vedanta and Yoga. His greatness lies in his having done so much pioneer work in this direction. The morass of superstition and apathy in matters spiritual had to be cleared and a new path almost forgotten opened up to man. Sri Aurobindo not merely cleared the old path but extended it to territories beyond. Herein lies his greatness. The world is poorer by his death.
MYSTICISM – A CRITICAL STUDY
“The Aim of philosophy is to maintain an active novelty of fundamental ideas illuminating the social system. Philosophy is mystical, for mysticism is direct insight into depths as yet unspoken. But the purpose of philosophy is to rationalize mysticism, not by explaining it away to but by the introduction of novel verbal characterization rationality coordinated”
Mysticism is the theory regarding the way of life which furnishes a supreme transcendence over all divided or disintegrated methods of living. It is a life lived constantly in union with the bed-rock of reality, which is conceived to be one and the only absolute Being or Existence. A mystic is one who lives entirely in and by this awareness of that reality. Through no adequate description or analysis can be given of this
awareness of the Integral1 or the Absolute, yet it is possible to understand what it is and distinguish it from what it is not. The descriptions and delineations of this experience however widely differ from mystic to mystic.
Mysticism can, however, be said to have three fundamental characteristics which are common to all mystical experiences. First and foremost there is the quality of transcendence over (or freedom from) the forms and patterns of thought and perception with which man is normally acquainted. Secondly, there is the quality of dissolution of the individual himself in a larger and universal variety-a dissolution which has degrees and stages. Thirdly the mystic awareness dissolves the multiplicity of the world in the Oneness of the Absolute. Therefore transcendence dissolution and unification seem to be the essential qualities of mystical experience. Because it has these three characteristics, the mystical consciousness is said to involve supra-sensory knowing process, quite unlike our normal
1 Integral means the unique totality which satisfies and sustains every fact and facet of beings, individually or collectively, and therefore the true concrete Universal
knowing (or cognitive) process. It involves a different method of acting in the world, since all our actions centre round individual fragmental portions of reality whether these be men or matter or even God’s multiple personalities or powers. We seize upon one fact or portion of a fact in a large area and concentrate our efforts on the same. Even so is this true of our emotions and volitions.
Our sensations are fragmentary snatches of sense, like colour, sound shape, taste or touch, Kant’s2 explanations notwithstanding, in this togetherness of senses in the perception of an apple for example, there is no given unity nor is their any necessity which compels us to perceive them together. To infer inner necessity or prove it is impossible. This Gautama, the Buddha, and Hume, the British Philosopher, have shown once for all Mystic-sensory experience is super sensation, since it grasps in a single moment without
2 Kant was a very great Philosopher in Germany. His discussions on our experience or knowledge are contained in his three critiques. Critique of pure Reason, Practical Reason and Judgement
the mediation of the diverse sense-organs the universal-particular nature of the object. Thus the reality given in the mystic supersensory and supra-rational experience is a true and integral reality requiring no further assistance. Of course a distinction has to be made between this mystic sensation and the non-sensory perception (or mental perception-manasa-pratyaksa). This latter is the extrasensory perception of modern psychologists. But ESP is not mystical, because it does not possess the three fundamental characteristics of transcendence, dissolution and unification as applied to sense-knowledge.
Mystic experience is of the universal reality as an existential imperative of Being of which one feels oneself to be an integral or inseparable part. One experiences even in this part of a feeling of fulfillment through the drive of an interpenetrative perfecting power of the Spirit that is One and indivisible. There happens an enlargement of one’s consciousness which almost reaches co-existentiality with the entire spread of Reality. This is also described as an experience of fusion of oneself with the Infinite. The experience is
such that the feeling of one’s erstwhile finiteness tends to be replaced by the feeling of one’s new-born sense of infinite freedom. The passage is from ignorance to knowledge, (a passage that illumines not merely the forward but also the behind), from darkness to illumination, from mortality to immortality, from conditioned-ness to unconditioned self-freedom. Mystics know these in different levels and in different degrees of intensity, but the complete mystic experience-purnabrahmanubhava is not satisfied with any one of these but knows that all these are necessary for the integral experience of the Divine Absolute Spirit.
It is in this four fold movement that one becomes gradually compresent with God or the Absolute and is fused in an ‘osmotic’ inter-passage and finally inseparable union with Him. Such experience leads to the realization that all reality has a peculiar fullness in each part and in all its collective being. It is impossible for man to accept that what is true of the individual can also be true of the collective, for the collective is a new fact which cancels individual differences and evolves a new pattern. Mystic experience however transcends
this collective and seizes the universal behind the collective and the individual and states the axioms of mystic truth: that ‘what is in the microcosm is in the macrocosm’, that ‘What is true of the microcosm is true of the macrocosm, structurally, functionally and axiologically,’ and that it can be accepted that ‘if one knows oneself one knows the All’. But this self to be known is not the superficial physical, or the psychological or rational being, but that self which is intuited by mystic experience. He is God, immanent in oneself, and one discovers oneself with Him, of Him, dependent on Him, existing for Him, freely luminously immortally moving with Him in all His worlds, and beloved of Him. To know the One is to know all else.
Mystic vision leads to a peculiar perception of the human world and helps to transcend the human world. It would be wrong to say that it sublates the world. Certain changes happen which are incidental to seeing suprarationally and supersensorily, or from an integral spiritual view of the Self. At first or almost the very first thing that happens is the reversal or inversion of the percept or inference or comparison. Pratyaksa,
anumana, and upamana, these instruments of knowledge undergo inversion.
a. Not the object but the subjective state it is that becomes an object.
b. The inductive is deduced from the deductive. Vyapti3 (invariable concomitance Sahacaraniyama) is given first and everything is shown to be a particular. Or even a particular is treated as a universal and universal as a particular.
c. The abstract appears to become concrete and the concrete tends to become abstract and afar.
d. In comparison that which is normally the upameya becomes the upamana. The archetype and the unperceivable becomes the upamana, or the upamiti-karana, which is used to explain the perceived, particular4.
3 Vyapti can be abstractly defined as a relation which is invariable concomitance between any two events. This relation is presented first and the relata later.
4 The integral view can be said to be the most clear and complete perception of the entire reality from the spiritual inner point, or as
God Indra is said ‘to be like Sri Rama ordinarily, but in this consciousness Sri Rama is said to be like Indra etc.
e. The mystic experience is its own authentic self certifying experience not dependent on any sruti. Sruti becomes helpful or subservient to this mystic omni-pervading comprehensive reversed experience. Pravrtti or the external activity becomes an expression of the reversed withdrawing experience and activity. Reversed imagery is the quality of the mystic symbolism of self-experience; and expression in poetry and art lays bare this reversed (unnatural, unscientific, irrational) form.
Leibniz suggests from within-monadically which is the clearest perception of the mirrored universe including the Divine and all monads. Reversion is the clear perception of that which is known only immediately through reason and sensation. Which we normally call direct or immediate. Jaina doctrine called the inner knowing pratyaksa and not the indriyartha Sannikarsa Jnanam.
The mystic fusive comprehension of reality in its extra subjective or trans-subjective form is best
communicated in the form of myth. But there is only one form which is suitable, if the myth personalities constantly, invariably should suggest and concretize their multiple reference in all the planes of experience and help recognition of their different forms (or masks so to speak). The wrong myth is ‘closed’ as Bergson put it, and expresses only the unconscious racial or biological, sexual or power-perpetuative drives within, surging up and creating more heat than light, more confusion than clarity, more bondage and ill-health than freedom. Myth of the higher order, as Plato knew, and invented is unhomeric, and is not the creation of lower forms in conflict with higher or equally demonic forces. But Plato missed the sheer unity of the Supreme. Mystic experience is, as already pointed out, more than the cognitive affective unity of total being apprehended in an immediate integral vision. It is supra-affective since it reveals that one’s own being is suffused with an overpowering delight in an orgasm of unity. Each pore of one’s being suffused with the higher power and being becomes a prism so to speak that synthesizes or analyses the elements of super cognition and fusion. In
this multiple integration is seen the dynamic energy of the myth-making function, where the myth becomes a real expression, and the only means of expression.5
The cognitive-affectivity of the Mystic consciousness is to be known as a dynamic creative continuity or infinite prolongation of the recovered unity with the whole. It is this intrinsic power of self-continuity without interruption or diminution through the Absolute Being in its infinite nature that gives the quality of immortality and peace. Mystic silence is the first sign of mystic experience of inward strength, and of solid knowledge. Further it is an experience of infinite bathing in the waters of light which flow into oneself from overhead enveloping all round, illuminating, cleansing, and delighting, opening out the interiors to the overhead consciousness leaving no darkness or suffering, no crookedness any where. One who has had this
5 Integral Mysticism (of Sri Aurobindo) aims at the experience of the Divine in all and all in the Divine. It is the Simultaneous full experience of the Eternal oneness of the eternal Manyness, which transcends all the states of mind, life and matter yet maintains them. It reveals this occult secret of oneness-manyness in each and every plane of Existence-consciousness-Delight and thus transfigures the so called levels of ignorance.
experience is a fearless forerunner, a quiet concentrated pillar of light-power, a messenger from above to lead, to teach, to transform and illumine the dark abyss within and show its possibility. Such a mystic is ‘an Open’ one. Such a mystic has real existence, not indeed is he a vegetative animal or mental being closed up in customs which have lost their significance or hugging differences which have lost their boundaries. Even the ancient traditions and ways are restored to their eternal meaning. Thus is he restored to universal eternal history. Smrti in this great and universal sense, the smrti of one’s own eternal or long and beginning less past, and smrti of one’s own fundamental nature are granted by mystic experience becoming slowly the only experience displaying every other.
The soul in its ineffable rapturous union with God realizes its eternal oneness with Him. But wore than this oneness there is the sense of ‘return’ and therefore reunion and rejoicing which does not forebode any further ‘separation’. Metaphysical it is difficult for the logical mind to grasp the meaning of the departure of
fall or the meaning and significance of ‘return’ while yet clinging to the experience of ‘eternal belonging’ (aprathaksiddha sambandha) to the Divine or in Sri Aurobindo’s terminology ‘eternal oneness in eternal manyness’ having the ascent and to the descent away from each other or fronting the one or the other poise of the Eternal. The mystics have always felt that this separation from God is due to a beginningless ignorance, karma or sin or fall or Ignorance which is due to the power of the Divine (mama maya duratyaya). Whether this is a delusive separation or otherwise there it is as a confronting fact. This is an original and primordial mystery of creation and to get over this mystery or maya it is necessary to have the grace of God. It is then that the Divine knowledge bodies forth into the individual and makes him realize his eternal oneness or unity with the Divine and grants the experience real existence (being). It is the culmination of integral divinely bestowed knowledge in vision and feeling (beauty)6.
6 A brief note may be added here to show the difference which mark out the three kinds of mysticism: advaitic, dvaitic and visistadvaitic.
Advaita mysticism is the fusion and dissolution of the many in the One, a complete nisprapancikarana of the world so that all that is just being or existence. This can be called Existentialistic non-relativistic Experience of the One, Identity.
Dvaita mysticism is the functional identification though dependence with the Godhead, which prognosticates a state of non-function through dependence with the Godhead, which prognosticates a state of non-function and as such of separational existence. But since the functional dependence is all through available it is the realization of functional identity.
Visistadvaitic mysticism is organistic unity, where the functional identity is as permanent as the existential for the individual and nature is the body to the self, who is the divine, in knowledge, works and delight. Thus it synthesizes the advaitic identity with functional identity, a synthesis that abolishes the need for nisprapancikarana or abolishes the world and the embodied state as such.
Aurobindonian Mysticism seeks the installation of the divine Mind in the embodied terrestrial existence and thus transforms the human and all and realizes the Divine organic transcendence which ensures the immanence of the eternal oneness in the eternal manyness.
MATERIALASTIC MYSTICISM AND MYSTIC MATERIALISM
Mysticism is a supersensory suprarational or transcendent form of experience of Reality or things comprising reality. Matter or Nature is one such element in our ordinary experience. Matter is said to be an obscure substratum which is subject to change at all
times. It is seething with activity evening its smallest atomic particles. It is humming with activity. Mechanical activity forms as much a part of it as the purposive activity characteristic of living creatures, cells or corpuscles. Mental activity in addition to being purposive is correlational conscious activity. There are several philosophical theories about matter and motion and mind. One view holds that all motion and mind are material in substance. We see matter, and what senses it are organs which are in ultimate analysis matter or extended things. Mind itself is a product of the aggregation of material parts. A mind is seen only in an organism made up of parts which are most diverse in structure. And though it is argued that it is mind that confers and upholds the unity of the organism, there are indeed cases when mind itself is in a disintegrated condition in organisms. In such cases we are either to accept a soul which is incapable of being proved or known or we have to accept matter itself as the only principle which has the powers of keeping unity, of exhibiting purpose and of breaking up unity. Thus mystical experience or knowledge of matter or Nature
reveals matter in its real nature as the principle of change which can work and is working under the inner impulse of an intelligence or consciousness and for its enjoyment. The various forms of this Nature are our own several organs of sense perception which gather information about the outer world. They are the doors opening outside. And the mind which organizes and integrates the diverse impressions is also of Nature. It is also seen that the pseudo-soul or, ego which unconsciously gathers these sensa and preserves them in memory and own them, and the reflective mind which discriminates these and confers permanence to them in consciousness as images and things also are recognized to belong to Nature. This is so far as the manner of knowing the nature of Matter in regard to one’s own inner psychological structure goes.
The second form of Nature is to intuit the nature of each fundamental quality of an object. Things or qualities are sensed. There are five types of objects known by the five senses. These are intuited as sound, touch, taste, form and smell. A finer purity of these sensations is available which is almost always a mixed
experience. The experience of the atoms or the finest sub-divisions or units of these elements is rendered possible. And in each case our intellect grants a cause-effect account of them. Indeed it is even claimed that a history of each atom is also delivered in the mystic perception. All the same the recognition of atoms and the perception of the process of their aggregation or disintegration are beyond the ordinary perceptive level. Even modern science can only assure their existence and their constitution by the effects on paths traversed or the lines of movement. The search for the structure of the atom has proceeded with a definite faith in its discoverability. So too, the search for the knowledge of the stellar cosmic structure is governed by a similar faith. That every part of the universe is reciprocally related to every other part and reacts to every change wherever occurring however obscurely, is also the faith behind the astrologer’s reckonings and postulations. The entire question is, as it always has been, how far can human capacity go to the unravelling or calculation of the possibilities of Nature. Nature seems to be inscrutable in its minuteness as much as it is in its
vastness. But what gives a ray of hope and light is the mystic faith and recognition that the structure of the atom is similar to, corresponds with and reacts or is repeated in the cosmic structure. An identity of structure pervades all nature. The atom, the embodied personality and the cosmic prakrti are of one pattern. This is the mystic materialism which is being gradually taken for granted. The organismic pattern seems to be repeated both above and below: man is midway in size between the biggest and the smallest as Max Born stated. He is important in respect of the lower and smaller masses but insignificant in relation to the masses of stellar magnitude. But in structure too there is correspondence, as the atomic (Vaisesika mystics) said that the minutest atom should have six primary atoms7, the psychologists (yogis) (declared that the
7 Nyaya Vaisesika conception of a visible or experienceable anu is that it is composed of six primary anus. This is a mystical correspondential theory. We shall have to remember that the six Qualities of the Divine in triple dyads is a further focusing of attention on this peculiar structural mysticism- Yatha pinde Tatha Brahmandah. The number of heads of gods or titans has something to do with symbology. The four-headed Brahma, the five-headed Rudra, the six-headed Kumara, the ten-headed Ravana are symbolic of qualities. Even so, the elephant headedness or horse headedness have symbolic reference to
human organism has six systems or charkas in organic unity, and the theists affirmed that the Divine must have six attributes or centre of radiating energy of Being for all existence to be.
qualities. The Gk, Satyr having human head and horse’s body is the exact reverse of Hayagriva-both of them being representatives of highest wisdom, Satyr in form however is identical with the Indian Kinnara.
A peculiar mystic meaning is given to numbers – two, three, four, five six, seven, eight, nine and ten. We are of course not concerned with these symbols. But the materialism of the mystic is a real recognition of the correspondence of the planes-the reality of the planes being accepted, and the identification of the supreme principle in and through Nature. Natural Mysticism in either of its forms leads to the recognition of a supreme transcendent principle which is actively associated with it, which in a sense exists for its control and enjoyment and which can be recognized as helping its own transition from one kind to other kinds of activity or changes. Nature thus is revealed as the field and body of God. One supreme Nature diversified into
bodies of the soul in every one of its parts, continuously exists as the body of God by the principle of being determined, supported, controlled and enjoyed and helping its own fulfillment exclusively by God in a transcendent manner. Nature is in an essential revelation fused through and through in God and is indeed the first discovery of the cosmic consciousness. The pantheisms of Giorduno Bruno, of Spinoza and Shelley, are close parallels to the experience of Svabhava-vadins.
Mysticism is realistic and recognizes that all aspects of reality or existence must be granted real status not the inverted status that philosophy grants to them. Nature has no absolute independent status as such. But every part of it in so far as it is experienced is a real experience. Its existential status it gains in and through the cosmic spirit but the experience of this cosmic spirit underlying it does not sublate it. It is fused with it. Pantheism is true in this sense, but pantheism emphasizes Nature and denies the transcending factor of mystic experience and triumph over process which grants sublimity.
In the experience of Nature there is also another factor that presents itself in the process. All process is rigidly determined by the law of uniformity. Given the same conditions the same effects follow. This law is the characteristic of natural process. Science aims at discovering the laws of nature having faith in this axiom. Mystic vision finds law to be the prime form of correspondential structure which must be felt and cognized in a universal form. In one sense a running thread of identity pervades all branches of knowledge, and both science and mysticism aim at the same goal, only mysticism has a more integral purpose and vision of the substance of Unity through law than science. The mastery over matter by science is a hope; mysticism discovers mastery in the freedom of the soul to see not only what Nature can show in it but something more, and thus gives a new direction to Nature itself.
At this point I would like to make a distinction between materialistic mysticism which is acceptable and mystic materialism which is an aberration. All the criticisms leveled against mysticism by science are due to this kind of materialism. Indeed when materialism in
its naturalistic or animistic or vitalistic forms becomes a ‘vague cognition without clear understanding’ (a type of monistic materialism of the Heackelian variety) or becomes a type of omni-organic feeling, primitive and atavistic sense of herd-cognition, then it is mere heat without light. It is then best described as mystic materialism. Indistinguishability and non-discrimination parade as direct apprehension or direct and unmediated sensibility. A vegetative stupor however produced is not real experience of being, which is eluded by this process. Men seek to practice all types of sensibility through decoctions and drugs, secret and hidden practices of postures and rites and fancies. Though these may be surely beginnings of science, yet rarely have they led to the real mystic experience of freedom, sense of existence and truth. They are more often escapes from existence-consciousness.
There are mystics who have seen in matter the absolute negation of being-which is the polar opposite of spirit (atyanta-bhava). A deeper abyss than matter is God. If darkness is matter, greater darkness is as it were God who makes possible this darkness.
pantheistic identification is surpassed or transcended when God is said to be the creative ground of non-existence. This means that in an ultimate consideration, non-existence is an opposite outside existence but inseparable from God in every way. But there are degrees or grades of non-existence or existence. The passage of any ray of existence from non-existence to existence is a passage in every way different in kind and free from any relation to it. One thing is certain that this is different from matter which is but existence inversed, an existence which is wrapt up or inconscient as Sri Aurobindo puts it.
There is great truth in materialistic mysticism but none whatsoever in mystic materialism which is vague, indefinite and escapist and not different from a superficial idealism.
Materialistic mysticism, as I have shown, tries to understand Nature (including its several phases of the
mechanical, vital mental and intellectual forms and patterns. The mystic principle or axiom of a transcendental immediate cognitive form of experience revealed to us the fact of a Natural theology, and the plausible justification of pantheism as an experience certifiable as mystic. We however showed that a clear mystic unity is recognizable as between Nature and Spirit and this unity-pattern is ‘organistic’, not merely in an outer semblance, as Swedenberg would put it, but in a deeper functional sense of an inner godhead on whom there is an intrinsic dependence in every regard. This is further truly characteristic of any body (or entity) than the various forms and organs.
One of the flaws in any theory of Organisms is the search for organs or locations of functions rather than the mystic unity and the features luminous in and amenable to mystic vision. Organistic mysticism seizes upon this mystic unity-factor rather than the physical or physiological structure that is natural to our perception and inference.
The importance of this realization to the knowledge of oneself is brought home to man in his most elevated moments. Preceded though by a veritable dark night of the soul, the search for oneself, the eagerness and earnestness to ‘see’ oneself as one is, has its finest moment in a glimpse, as pure light (tejas, jyoti), in a supersensation. It is perceived supersensorically not as a mere bundle or series of sensory impressions, memories, imaginations and perceptions but as a sheer luminous self-existence. It is indeed the vessel and ground of these series of impressions and memories, but these are its forms in consciousness and not its central essence.
The individual then realizes what he is not. Gradually he realizes that he is not the body, nor the mind, not even the intellect. Assuredly this is a negative inferential procedure, well-known from the earliest speculations of man. Man’s consciousness of himself is at the beginning with the physical distinctness from others and his ‘surround’. But with the perception of some identical features which dominate his practical thinking (for identity helps uniformity of response and
obliteration of distinctnesses) the difference refuses to be abolished. He discovers his consciousness in all its ramifications to be a central fact about himself, whether in his walking or dreaming or sleeping condition. All these states are indeed transcended in his spiritual awareness wherein he feels himself is what one finds oneself to be in this depth of experience when the body-consciousness is rolled up and is seen to depend on this central consciousness. But this consciousness no sooner than it is attained by mystic vision reveals itself an insufficient in its private character and displays itself as fused with a central cosmic consciousness or self which is seen to be the self of all else perceived in the ordinary consciousness. This insufficiency is not however an insufficiency in the sense of lack of any characteristic truly valuable to being but in its impossibility to remain alone in its personal privateness to which it was accustomed. The mystic experience of oneself is one of unconditionedness from privacy and existence in pure isolatedness which is possible in ordinary life. Truly the realization gives an enjoyment of freedom from privateness, a privateness which now
becomes more and more clearly a case of deprivation. Many mystics have sought their self realization through God-realization, as that made their own self realization permanent and not short lived. Man in himself has no self-sufficiency and is a term in the Existence of God. God realization is the experience in mystic life of fulfillment or self-sufficiency. The experience of God entering within up to the finger tips, controlling every sense organ and mind, illumining every single part of one’s organic being, is an expressive experience of extraordinary meaning to oneself. It is this process which is the ascent to cosmic consciousness, and a step towards divinization, ‘brahmanisation’ of the atman. God as indwelling cosmic will, cosmic reason and cosmic personality makes the individual’s consciousness expand to the levels of transcendence over even the cosmic level, by making it assume such proportions as to feel, to think and to experience in and through God; and by God’s inward presence and penetration to gain for one’s consciousness, the gift of cosmic expansion, if not absolute, transcendence itself.
In this gradual absorption and expansion, one’s existence becomes fused in God and rejoices in this unity of being, consciousness and delight. It even arrives at deeper levels of experience when it finds itself to be a living temple, a bhagavata, a saint and an amsa, a living portion of Divine Being. Whilst men may not recognize their nature to be divine-and the destiny of man is to realize this inward divinity as the Universal Self, the mystic feels it to be not an ideal, something to be cogitated or thought hard after, something in the womb of the future, but a fact, and an ever present relationship. Man’s personality becomes more and more important as he pursues the divine realization and worships or meditates on the Divine as ‘Tad Vanam’, Garden of wonderful Excellences, or transcending auspicious infinite attributes and modes of Being. A mystic who enjoys and meditates and loves and serves this Divine in all his parts, becomes most attractive to all creatures, and they seek him. A mystic becomes a presence of the Divine. And so closely realized is this presence that one cannot distinguish which in him is the divine part and presence. The indivisible Godhead
pervades all through and through and one perceives Him as All: Sarvam Samapnosi tatosi sarvah.
Again and again the centre of concentration shifts from one self to the central core of one’s being which is either the heart or the crown of the head. It is this experience, which is more central than oneself, that gives it the sense of ‘drinking’ the immortal nectar of being, of discovering the hidden treasure of uniting with a ‘Perfect Person’ and ‘Male’. Such an indescribable union or pairing with the Divine spirit yields a unitive or bridal ecstasy. It is discerned in many wonderful and ever-new and novel unimaginable ways. By each of these supra-conscious ways (or rather through these) the conscious existence increase in depth and steady inwardness and silent rapture. Man more and more withdraws himself in God. Alone he is for all practical purposes, but he is alone8 with an inner poise from
8 Much of mystical thought has found its real poise in ‘loneliness’. Prof. A.N. Whitehead spoke of Religion as ‘what one does with his solitude’. Obviously the experience of solitude is a real fact of Religion. Ibsen in his ‘Doctor’ pleaded for this standing alone ‘as a peak of courage and spirituality’. ‘Ekaki’ as the Nature of Brahman, ‘Unenjoying na rameta’ is a mystical experience. I shall examine this in another set of Meditations.
which he derives all benefit, sreyas. Death is transfigured into silent inner union. Or Death is left behind, for death is only of the physical body. The seeker discovers in a single experience of the inner self, which is as swift as lightning, the radical difference between himself and his body and perceives that the unity granted between them is a result of a deeper activity and purpose which is not of the individual, or of an indescribable beginningless activity and ignorance. Some mystics indeed have had glimpsed this to be due to an original fall or due to an act of essential freedom granted to the individual by the supreme Ground or Being or God. Freedom is said to be the essential truth of both the individual and God. But the difference lies in this that the Divine Freedom does not lead to bondage at all, whereas the individual’s freedom or finite freedom so to speak can lead either upwards to the unconditioned Divine Existence or to the absolute negation of Freedom itself.
The personality of man gets a new dimension. Man in this experience lives in an utterly separated but sympathetic unity with his body in Nature. Nature in this
sense becomes a supple instrument of the supramental will in all its parts and grants a rich integrative perception to the soul which observes, approves and enjoys the process of a truly creative silence, conferring peace rather than war, clarity rather than abstract abolition of distinctions or discrimination.
For man there is a purpose clear and inescapable: a destiny which is from the very beginning of his career beckoning, an appetition dimly urging from within towards the divination of godhead, or realization of fullness or perfection or an attainment of real communion, ‘a losing oneself in the other’, or an undimininshing undisturbed peace and unshakeable strength and faith. All these and an omniscient consciousness or awareness or knowledge of all things in their eternal nature, are possible indeed only through a total dedication and complete or radical separation from Nature, so that a new approach to Nature may be rendered possible and a new evolution start from a point where both can be real to the Ultimate Being through a new relation between them.
There are several mystics who experience themselves as losing themselves once and for all time, utterly in a vast Universal Consciousness indistinguishably like rivers in an ocean, or like a light that merges in an illumination million times brighter than itself. There is a sense of dissolution of oneself in a Nihil or Supracosmic impersonal Being9, a dissolution which thereafter compels the utter giving up of all distinctions and differences between itself and others. Indeed it may be that he experiences none of these and least of all himself. One ceases. He alone is. He is the ‘I’, the only ‘I’ or the ‘I am or He or Thou or That’. Brahmanirvana is this losing of oneself in Brahman. This may be what Buddha might himself have meant by Nirvana, a total annihilation of the Nature that dragged itself inexorably with the soul and the soul itself. All
9 Impersonalism claims a mystic status as an experience beyond Subject-object relationship or Personal Existence. This conception is of two kinds.
a. There is an experiential spiritual idealism beyond subject-object and experience of a Bare subjectless ‘Objectivity or Reality, this remove the edge of the criticism of conditionedness and realitivity.
b. A different impersonalism is the ethical transcendence of doer and deed or the ought to be done.
Om Tat Sat