Whitman and Mysticism
What is mysticism: Mysticism is not a coherent philosophy of life, but far more a temper of mind. A mystical experience, in accordance to BERTRAND RUSSEL, entails perception, a sense of unity and the unreality of time and space, and a perception that evil is mere physical appearance. A mystic’s vision is intuitive he feels the existence of a divine fact driving and within the ordinary world of feeling perception. He feels that God and the Supreme Soul animating all factors are equivalent. He sees an essential identification of currently being amongst Man, Character and God. He thinks that “all items in the noticeable entire world are but forms and manifestations of the one Divine Lifestyle, and that these phenomena are shifting and temporary, even though the soul that informs them is eternal”. The human soul, as well, is everlasting. Transcendentalism is carefully connected to mysticism, for it emphasizes the unintuitive and non secular above the empirical.
Whitman’s poetry is total of mystic and transcendental strains: He was deeply affected by Emerson, the American transcendentalist. His imagined was intuitive and not systematic like a logician’s. He wrote like a mystic:
Knowledge is of the soul, is not inclined to evidence, is its personal evidence.
Applies to all phases and objects and traits, and is articles,
Is the certainty of the actuality and immorality of items and the excellence of issues.
Something there is in the float of the sight of issues that provokes it out of the Soul.
Whitman thought the soul to be immortal. He felt identification with all animate and inanimate items close to him. What is fascinating about Whitman’s mysticism is that, as Schyberg observes, “in his e-book we can discover the common qualities of totally all the various mystic doctrines”.
christian mysticism is a mystic with a difference: One particular can not call him a pure mystic in the sense of oriental mysticism. He is not a praying gentleman. Like all mystics he thought in the existence of the soul, and in the existence of the Divine Spirit, in the immortality of the human soul, and in the potential of a human getting to create interaction among his spirit and the Divine Spirit. But he differs from the oriental or traditional mystics in that he does not subscribe to their belief that communication with the Divine Spirit is attainable only through denial of the senses and mortification of the flesh. Whitman declares that he sings of the entire body as significantly as of the soul. He feels that non secular communication is possible, indeed fascinating, without having sacrificing the flesh. Thus there is a excellent offer of the sexual aspect in Whitman’ s poetry, specially in the early poetry-Segment 5 of Tune of Myself is a case in level where the sexual connotations are inseparable from the mystical encounter.
The Materials Entire world is not denigrated: Whitman does not reject the material entire world. He seeks the religious by means of the content. He does not subscribe to the belief that objects are illusive. There is no inclination on the portion of the soul to depart this world for very good. In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, we see the soul attempting to enjoy a important function in the administration of this globe of scenes, sights, seems, and so forth. Whitman does not belittle the achievements of science and materialism. In Segment 23 of Tune of Myself, he accepts the fact of materialism and claims:
Human for constructive science!
Prolonged live actual demonstration!
Mother nature and guy shall be disjoined and diffused no much more.
Seeking the divine actuality: Whitman accepted the Idea of Evolution but could not imagine evolution to be a mechanical approach. In the gradual process of expansion, improvement and alter that science was revealing, Whitman saw God making Himself apparent and unmistakable to gentleman. The soul of man finds entire dissatisfaction only in seeking out the fact behind the manifestations. As he states in Passage to India:
Bathe me O God in thee, mounting thee,
I and my soul to range in selection of thee.
At the conclude of the journey the soul meets with God-or the “Great Camerado” as he states in Tune of Myself.
Whitman’s sense of unity of the whole: His cosmic consciousness.: Whitman has during his poetry proven his religion in the unity of the complete, or “oneness” of all. This perception of the important divinity of all developed issues is an essential aspect of mysticism and is also intently related to Whitman’s faith in democracy calling for equality and fraternity. Music of Myself is replete with lines proclaiming this “oneness”. He is aware
… that all males at any time born are also my brothers… and all the girls my sisters and enthusiasts,
And that a keelson of the development is love.
He praises, not merely life, but the absolute wroth of every certain and person particular person, every single true current getting. Whitman equates all opposites, and accepts evil as significantly as element of Fact.
In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, the poet has attained the unity of all mankind: “The easy, compact, well-joined scheme myself disinterested nevertheless element of the plan”. Time gets one particular in Whitman’s poetry. Previous, existing and foreseeable future are merged into a spiritual continuum. Hence in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, he states:
It avails not, time nor location-length avails not,
I am with you, you guys and females of a technology,
Or at any time so many generations therefore.
Mysticism governing the photos and symbolism of Whitman’s poetry: The mystic quest for Actuality and communion with the Divine very easily lends by itself to be represented in terms of the voyage impression. The Song of the open Street is a poem whose theme is a journey symbolic of an exploration of the non secular as effectively as the bodily universe. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking symbolizes the mystic quest for fact and the final discovery of the indicating of existence. When Lilacs previous in the dooryard Bloom’d use symbols and images made to affirm the relevance of Dying. Loss of life is observed as a deliveress simply because it qualified prospects to new daily life, and the poet possessing had the mystical expertise of this reality, seeks to be a “uniter of here and hereafter”
As G. W. Allen factors out, the “endeavor to show the route amongst truth and the soul really practically sums up Whitman’s total intention in Leaves of Grass”. The mysticism below is clear. The cosmic “I” of Whitman’s poems is on a perpetual journey. His soul is but a fragment of the world soul. The mass of images which race by means of his poems symbolize the unity and harmony in himself and all generation. The spear of grass assumes mystical importance by means of its symbolic value-celebration of individuality and the enmasse, exclusion of none, exception of all. In Tune of Myself, Whitman speaks of God as his beloved and his “bed-fellow” sleeping at his facet all night time. The mystical encounter is conveyed in conditions of hugely charged sexual imagery.
Whitman rarely lost contact with the physical actuality even in the midst of mystical expertise. Physical phenomena for him were symbols of spiritual fact. He considered that “the unseen is proved by noticed” hence he makes use of hugely sensuous and concrete imagery to convey his notion of divine truth. He finds a goal guiding organic objects-grass, sea fowl, bouquets, animals-for,
The smallest sprout shows there is genuinely no loss of life…
… al leaf of grass is no less than the journey-perform of the stars…
In fact, one particular might say that mysticism constitutes the very poetic kind of Whitman’s poems, he appeared on the universe as constituting a unity of disparate objects, unified the Divine Spirit thus his poems are “Leaves of Grass” signifying at when separateness and unity. Whitman’s dominant metaphor of grass presents a situation for unity and harmony, a basic part of structure.
Mystical construction of Music of Myself: Track of Myself is perhaps the greatest illustration of Whitman’s mysticism influencing indicating, type and symbolism. States James E. Miller: “When seen in terms of the phases of the conventional mystical expertise, Tune of Myself takes on a comprehensive structural condition”.
The reader can rediscover what the poet by observing his personal spear of summer time grass and by launching his personal mystical journey. Tune of Myself is an “inverted mystical expertise”¬- Whilst the traditional mystic attempted to annihilate himself and mortify his senses in planning for his union with the divine, Whitman magnifies the self and glorifies the senses in his development toward union with the Complete.
Conclusion: Whitman is a mystic as considerably as he is a poet of democracy and science, but a “mystic without a creed”. He sees the physique as the manifestation of the spirit which is “shipped” by death into a larger existence. A spear of grass is not an inert compound for him but God’s handkerchief, “the flag of disposition”. Often in his sensibility, issue is dissolved, trees become “liquid” and contours “fluid”. The genuine is transmuted and he has cosmic visions. He becomes a comet travelling round the universe with the speed of mild.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runway sunlight,
I effuse my flesh in eddies,
And drift in lacy jags.
If Leaves of Grass has been known as a “Bible” of The us, it has a fantastic deal to do with its mystical pressure. Correct, Whitman’s model of mysticism is not identifiable with the selflessness of the Christian variety or the passivity of the Oriental. What we might get in touch with Whitman’s mysticism is “democratic” mysticism-available to every man on equal phrases and embracing contradictory factors. But it is plain that mysticism is central to the indicating of Leaves of Grass.
Whitman and Mysticism