The Necessity of Spiritual Experience

The Upanishads tell us that one cannot read about it, or talk about it or think about it; one must actually experience the reality. This is why they say “Not this, Not that” and why in the Taittiriya Upanishad they tell us that the bliss of the Eternal is that from which words turn back without attaining. Religion, occultism and philosophy all aid the seeker in approaching the door, but eventually, the seeker must go beyond these aids and attain to the actual experience. “It is only by an inner realisation of what these approaches are seeking after, by an overwhelming experience or by many experiences building up an inner change, by a transmutation of the consciousness, by a liberation of the spirit from its present veil of mind, life and body that there can emerge the spiritual being. That is the final line of the soul’s progress towards which the others are pointing and, when it is ready to disengage itself from the preliminary approaches, then the real work has begun and the turning-point of the change is no longer distant. Till then all that the human mental being has reached is a familiarity with the idea of things beyond him, with the possibility of an other-worldly movement, with the ideal of some ethical perfection; he may have made too some contact with greater Powers or Realities which help his mind or heart or life. A change there may be, but not the transmutation of the mental into the spiritual being. Religion and its thought and ethics and occult mysticism in ancient times produced the priest and the mage, the man of piety, the just man, the man of wisdom, many high points of mental manhood; but it is only after spiritual experience through the heart and mind began that we see arise the saint, the prophet, the Rishi, the Yogi, the seer, the spiritual sage and the mystic, and it is the religions in which these types of spiritual manhood came into being that have endured, covered the globe and given mankind all its spiritual aspiration and culture.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 24, “The Evolution of the Spiritual Man”

Advertisements