GOD is experienced as the only real being or existence or the ground and basis of all the categories of experience. This experience is what one has in the depths of one’s own self and Nature. One becomes aware of His presence in moments of exquisite perception of beauty or truth or goodness. He needs His presence more and more. To know Nature is truly possible only through what it depends on for being what it is or is thought of. So too the human soul is known only through what it lives by. God thus is the central meaning of all existence. Without Him neither nature nor man can be known at all or be at all. He is known only by a direct or unmediated experience. This experience is called mystic because it is the experience of a ‘fused’ or integral or organic unity between the knowing person and the known object. So to speak there is a coalescence, fusion, interpenetration, a locking up in embrace, an osmosis, which gives the sense of losing and finding. God is all, this is the central fact of mystic experience of God.
Whether it is Nature Mysticism or Personal Mysticism the same psychological process happens. A return to the prior condition after this orgasm enchants and enhances the knowledge tempo, due to a strange intimacy and holiness which nothing else can simulate. The distinction between a mystic rapture and any other excitement in swoon or forgetting of self lies in the extraordinary and almost transcendental clarity of the cognitive process. One who experiences a mystic rapture even once emerges out of it a ‘sage’ and not like a ‘lost one’. The perfume, the taste, the light, the touch, the voice of the Infinite come along with the mystic trailing as inseparable parts of the being to which he had access. Then alone one realizes that one has become part of the Infinite united with it in his depths and may hope for it on the surface too.
Different indeed are the experiences of God in the cognitive understanding. God is experienced as different in kind from the soul, however eminent or advanced or freed it may be. In this experience the mystic perceives God’s absolute transcendence and otherness and wholeness, pure and absolute transcendence and otherness and wholeness, pure and absolute, but and because of these, having complete Mastery over Nature and souls. Isvaratva or Lordship is the sign of this experience. God maintains the laws of all things and actions in Nature and ordains the ways of men in Goodness. The mystic’s way of unity is to attain the closest service of God through utter dependence on Him, feeling love for Him and devotional ecstasy. But without God’s service man is but a worker bee who without the queen bee, being helpless hopeless and masterless perishes. This ecstasy of the servant (dasa), selfless and dedicated and existing for the Godhead, is a mystic experience relevant to Deism. This experience is substantial. This is also said to be dualistic mysticism or transcendental mysticism.
Another experience of Godhead is monistic. The mystic experiences God as All. Nothing is outside Him, everything is Himself. Nature, souls and all Time and Space are fused into an ecstasy of Oneness so much so the distinctions are all abolished in it. Void of all characteristics one discovers the All as God and All as God only. Absolute experience of Identity is a state of immanence-a perfect featureless distinction less Being. All relationships are annulled or sublated by this experience of the relationless one beyond all thought, and all senses. Pantheism is the theism of immanence and identity. Thought annuls itself in this supra intellectual movement of itself towards grasping the Identity in All. God is the core of Identity and only supra intellectual cognitivity is capable of realizing this identity. This path was followed by great teaches like Sankara; and in the West also we have Plotinus’ experience to testify to its reality. It is the realization of the Impersonal Absolute. But as Patanjali found the theory of Maya or illusion of the many is not necessarily mystical. Yogavasishta pleads for an illusory theory, a relativistic revelation of experience. But the main difficulty is that imaginism itself requires to be explained. By referring all to sankalpa or imagination or desire, the problem of manyness is not solved. Whatever may be the logical aspect of the matter, mystic monism cannot explain the emergence and existence and persistence of manyness in being. Illusion is not mystical. Monism is not an explanation of unity. It is an assertion of identity on the basis of primacy of aesthesis. But as all mysticism is an experience of a union, a uniting, losing and a finding of one in another, monism or mystic monism is an aberration. “There can be no greater error than to interpret mystical experience in terms of monistic experience “said Berdyeav.
The organic experience of the Divine as the Self of all, including Nature and Souls both individually and collectively, is a mystic experience of a real order as distinct from the abstract order of experience in mystic monism. The unity of the multiplicity by which the multiplicity in nature and souls is being sustained, and supported, is a real principle subordinating the multiplicity to the Unity and Oneness of Spirit or God. In Him they find their fulfillment and value; for Him they exist; and attain for themselves too that perfection that is possible because of perfect awareness of Him. In God everything is realized as a perfect existence and real and not as an illusion. As Leibniz would say each monad attains perfect knowledge of all from within, and God is the sum-total of all perspectives which the monads are. This mathematical mysticism of perspectives which are diverse and cannot be identified (dissimilarity of the diverse) gives the supreme appetition within, a nisus towards total apprehension from a single perspective rendered possible by the Grace of the All or Godhead.
A variation of the organic existence is found in another mystic experience when the soul itself is beheld not as a body or part or ray but as the supreme Divinity in his eternal Multiplicity while remaining the One Eternal in all. But this experience of the Divine Multiplicity or personalities or Names, when experientially explained and not intellectually interpreted is a reiteration of the Upanishad “Purnamadah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate”.
Various interpretations of the above santipatha of the Isopanisad have been made. The reference could be between the Divine in His immanence and descent and in His Transcendence. In whatever form He is, He is integral and full. As inner ruler immortal the Divine is wholly herein the soul of each and the devoted mystic finds Him within wholly and not a part of Him alone. In Nature too the Divine is fully present in all His plenitude of being. The Transcendent of whom the immanent is a descent or ray is again perfect and full. Whatever is taken away from Him is full and whatever remains of Him above is full. This fullness experience of God is indeed the real experience of Godhead as establishing all things in their real nature (yathatathyato arthan vyadadhat sasvatibhyah samabhyah).
The fully mystic experience of God is apprehended when He is simultaneously beheld in this five forms (1) as the Eternal Transcendent, (2) as the Cosmic Creator sustainer and transformer or changer or destroyer, as the Time Spirit in Nature and souls, (3) as the antaryami, in each soul immanently inspiring each, instigating and leading each, (4) as historical descents in the forms of saviour, teacher, leader and ruler, here on this terrestrial planet of ours, and also as the (5) Sacred form for worship and surrender the arcavatar. Here the manyness of the Divine Presence and projection or descent is reconciled and experienced as the One in all the infinite five forms. Through whatever form one approaches Him he begins to know the others. Each form enfolds the rest. This is the mystic meaning of the Upanishad when it says that the Lord pervades or can pervade all that is moving (souls) and unmoving (Nature). This mystic experience is a unitive experience of the Divine quintupleness as eternally available to one who has surrendered oneself wholly without any reserve to the Divine. He must abandon ahamkara, renounce all fruits of actions, and open himself to the manifestation of the Divine to him. Then he begins to experience the incoming Divine, and enjoys and revels in the expansion of his consciousness or rather awareness of the universe in its depths with beauty, and holiness and awe. One loses nothing in this close union with the Divine but death, defeat, poverty of being, imperfection, bondage, sin and the dualism of suffering and pleasure, gain and loss. One experiences fullness, the overflowing-ness of God within.
This transfiguration of experience by the Divine indwelling touch grants the real or eternal point of view sub specie eternitatis, called divine vision.
God reveals the extension of terrestrial life beyond the confines of the terrestrial. It is not only as a mere extension of the limits of finitude but as a liberation from them. God becomes nearer than anything or soul in this world and hereafter. God is all not only in the natural sense but also in a valuational sense. One realizes God as the supreme beloved power of good and for good, engaged in a splendid salvaging and evolutionary effort of all beings. In him one finds the wisdom and the truth and the love and power that is ultimate and the source. All else are seen to derive their truth (satya), existence (sat) and being (satta) from Him.