94. Mysticism. Part two
4. Mysticism is different from religion. In this mote’s opinion mysticism (spirituality) is far superior to religion. However it is limited to very very few. Why is it practiced only by very few is because it is extremely difficult to practice, it is a very long process (often lifelong), there is no worldly reward at the end, it is very difficult to practice without a competent teacher and teachers are rare, and one has to have a spiritual receiver to begin with. Therefore one need not worry that if everybody starts meditating how the world will function. I am simply amazed that how Mr. Shahab considered it inferior to shariat . The bliss of God’s touch on one’s face is ineffable. Words cannot describe it. One touch is greater than thousand ritualistic prostrations. All great saints, like St Teresa of Avilla, and Sri Ramakrishna have said the same thing.
One critical difference between religion and spirituality is that religion is a collective formula, whereas mysticism is an individual effort. Religion provides a set of laws, a code of conduct, for a group of persons ( may be in millions or billions ). It tells them how to lead their life and how to build their society based on those set of laws. Mysticism does no such thing. Its aim is only God; to reach God, to be near God, to realize God. Mystics neither care for themselves or society, although their heart does melt at the suffering of others. Indra Devi said it beautifully, I quote from blog 88:
“ Her love for her Beloved is the reality of her life. It is like air to her. Whether or where she shall arrive is not very important because all she needs is to love Him and seek Him. There is no urge to become anything at journey’s end. Her prayer is to give herself completely to Him. It is not her aim to help or better the world. Everything which comes from God is a blessing: joy or pain, love or rejection. “Only reveal to me Your will and the way to do it……………………………………………………………………….good or bad, whatever I am, belongs to You………………………………………that You draw me closer to You is all I ask”
Mystics indulge in their practices not for any material benefit, but because an inner force compels them to do it. They are helpless against this superior force. They do it for God. Most of the times they derive joy from them ( although dry periods come frequently )
5. Does religion make a person spiritual. I don’t know the definite answer, but I have the following observation to make
a) There is no evidence that, at least since Renaissance, societies based on religion, have been superior to secular societies.
b) There is no evidence that the set of laws pronounced by various religions are better than the secular laws. In fact there are glaring deficiencies in religious laws. There is no mention of Universal Human Rights ( freedom of thought, freedom of expression,freedom of assembly, and others ) , the Rights of animals, etc. Slavery was not abolished, outright.
c) I had previously outlined three standard paths ( see blog 26 ). Since then I have learnt of a fourth path; the path of religion. Deeply religious persons may too have a receiver in them. Devotional practices then lead to love of God, which may make them a mystic. Therefore, religious tenets should not be criticized. They serve a good and noble purpose. They attempt to kindle love for God, and be nice to other human beings.
What is missing in religious practices performed by billions ? There is no one to one session with God. For power of God to work, one has to let it work. One has to invite it, give it time, and stop worldly thoughts. This mote had the opportunity to watch a very religious couple for some months. They performed their five daily prayers, and even an optional 6th prayer (namaz ). But they performed their namaz in public (often children running around, TV going) and hurriedly (because of the pressure of worldly activities). I once advised them to perform their prayers in private, that way they will get more benefit. Their reply was that namaz was an obligation. They had to do it as efficiently as possible. And yes, they were bothered by wandering of thoughts, but it could not be helped. That couple did not change their habit.
To be continued