Comparative Religious Studies/Mystics in Religion
QUESTION: Dear Reverend Eslam,
I have no specific religion but I am interested in religious philosophy. I am particularly interested in the mystical aspects of religious experience. Christianity specifically Catholicism has many, St John of the Cross, Thomas a Kempis, St Frances of Assisi, Teresa of Avila to name just a few. In Islam there are also many especially in Sufism, Rumi, Attar of Nishapur, Baha'u'llah. Of course Hinduism and Buddhism have many too.
Is the belief that union with the Divine can inspire direct or escoteric absorption in God? Or do you think mystism is delusional without credibility?
Your opinion on this would be much appreciated.
ANSWER: Dear Sir,
Firstly, Baha'u'llah was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, rather than a Sufi. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and other major religions.
Union with the Divine IS in fact "esoteric" absorption, depending on what exactly you mean by those terms. I know for a fact that mysticism (which I believe is what you meant when you typed "mystism") is perfectly credible as I myself am a mystic, that is, a person who has had direct experience of the Absolute Truth, with the Supreme Divine Person (as one would expect of a person in my position).
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Reverend Eslam,Salutations and blessings be upon you.Thank you for taking the trouble to write a reply to my question on mysticism.Re Baha'u'llah. I had the good fortune some years ago discovering his Kitabiiqan The book of Certitude (paragraphs 216 on)http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/KI/ki-6.htm and
The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys. I am not Baha'i but did enquire of them an interpretation of certain aspects from these books. I was disappointed by their response in that it was more relating to World Government and the United Nations. In short my impression was that the mystical dimension of Baha'u'llah's writings was unclear to them and thus were unable to enter therein! They did tell me that Baha'u'llah was associated with the Sufi tradition in that he does make reference to it! My impression with Baha'i is it appears to be mainly concerned with its political and institutional aspirations and not the spiritual revelations of its founder.I am not surprised Reverend that you are a mystic in that I personally am persuaded that to have an intimate relationship with The Divine by its very nature would have to be mystical. There appears to be two sides to religion (for want of a better word) and that is the traditional believer those of faith and the mystical the esciterical, the gnostics in the sense of an inner knowing. Baba Kuhi of Shiraz penned it beautifully in this poem below.Finally and with respect I perceive that all those who have transcended faith and believing and have entered into the inner sanctum of Oneness in God (excuse the impersonal reference to the divine of course God has intimate names, if they were to be penned in words the page would fall in love with the pen!) In the market, in the cloister–only God I saw.In the valley and on the mountain–only God I saw.Him I have seen beside me oft in tribulation;In favour and in fortune–only God I saw.In prayer and fasting, in praise and contemplation,In the religion of the Prophet–only God I saw.Neither soul nor body, accident nor substance,Qualities nor causes–only God I saw.I oped mine eyes and by the light of His face around meIn all the eye discovered–only God I saw.Like a candle I was melting in His fire:Amidst the flames outflashing–only God I saw.Myself with mine own eyes I saw most clearly,But when I looked with God’s eyes–only God I saw.I passed away into nothingness, I vanished,And lo, I was the All-living–only God I saw.
Peace and Many Blessings to You also Steve!
Thank you for your follow-up question and for your favourable ratings. The reason my initial response was tardy was due to the fact that I did not receive your question in my email account's inbox. It must have become lost in "cyberspace". So I appreciate the fact that you did not rate me on promptness of response (assuming that there is still such a category). I was going to apologize for my late response in my last reply but hit the "send" button before I remembered to do so
Even though I am Iranian by race, I was born in Australia to atheistic parents so I am not an expert in Islam, Sufism and the Baha'i Faith.
Anyway, I'm not sure if there was a question in your second post but I don't mind delving into the concepts you mentioned. You are correct in asserting that there are two spheres in religion. Lord Jesus Himself referred to the "wide road" and the "narrow path". Avatar Adi Da Samraj (a recent incarnation of the Supreme Divine Person) referred to the wide path as the "Great Tradition" and very perceptively noticed that that road was practically bereft of what He termed "Real God" (as opposed to misconceptions about the Supreme Soul).
Therefore, all the "Great Traditions" mentioned in our correspondence deal with things "about God" but do not deal with God Him/Herself - that is the domain of mysticism.
Om Shanti Te!
(AKA Swami Mahaprabhu)
F.I.S.H Paragraph 9. The goal of life is self-realization, that is, to remember who we really are. We have lived for so long in this material universe in ignorance of our true nature that the process of realizing who we are will most likely take many incarnations. This quest for perfection is the most noble endeavour possible.
One who is aware of his/her true nature overcomes all perceived suffering by constant remembrance of him/herself as an eternal spiritual being - beyond the mundane relativism of this phenomenal sphere. This is what it means to be "enlightened". Such a saintly person is extremely rare indeed.
To read the remaining thirty-nine paragraphs of “A Final Instruction Sheet for Humanity”, which the God of all gods has graciously given to His Prophet on Earth, click: