Monday, October 6, 2014

On Mystics and Mysticism - Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Once Pujya Swamiji told me that ‘I am essentially a mystic, though I don’t encourage mysticism’. This gave me a lot to think about. I understood that for Swamiji, mysticism is insight into the fact of identity with God, and yet the teaching methodology may be absent and so this insight cannot be communicated to another. The mystic has only some personal experience not backed by knowledge of the pramana,  the means of knowledge and the traditional methodology of teaching, and so  can’t pass it on.

Swamiji says in a satsang, “we don’t lead you to some kind of experience that is mystical. "When you try to give your mystical experiences to someone you create problems…….. The statements of a person who has seen the truth of himself but who has no means of knowledge for it, are not regular teaching. Since there is no tradition of teaching involved it becomes mystical. All the statements may be true. The person may know. But to assimilate the knowledge, methodology is required. Unless that knowledge is assimilated you cannot pass it on to another person. You know it, but you cannot talk about it. Teaching requires methodology, a tradition. And there is an evolved tradition.”
I have been reading Swamiji’s old writings – from when he was 27 years old. It is very clear in them, that he had mystical experiences that revealed much spiritual insight. However he was anguished till he came across the teachings of Swami Pranavanandaji – who pointed out to him that Vedanta is pramana - a means of knowledge. It is when he understood this and began to study the Shankara bhasya that everything in Vedanta came together. Swamiji’s mystical insight into truth was validated and what was more Swamiji found that he could communicate this great knowledge of Jiva-Ishvara aikyam using the traditional methodology of teaching that is Vedanta. The words of Vedanta, are handled by Swamiji with great mastery over the subject matter and the method of unfolding that is uniquely his own.  Swamiji never looked back after that. And his students testify to his capacity to make them see the truth of the teaching. Wielding Vedanta as a pramana Pujya Swamiji has reached out to countless seekers and made them see the truth of themselves.