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Whitman and Mysticism

What is mysticism: Mysticism is not a coherent philosophy of lifestyle, but far more a mood of head. A mystical expertise, in accordance to BERTRAND RUSSEL, entails insight, a sense of unity and the unreality of time and room, and a belief that evil is mere appearance. A mystic’s vision is intuitive he feels the existence of a divine reality driving and inside the regular entire world of perception perception. He feels that God and the Supreme Soul animating all factors are similar. He sees an vital identity of being amongst Guy, Nature and God. He believes that “all things in the noticeable world are but varieties and manifestations of the one particular Divine Daily life, and that these phenomena are modifying and short-term, while the soul that informs them is everlasting”. The human soul, also, is eternal. Transcendentalism is intently connected to mysticism, for it emphasizes the unintuitive and religious over the empirical.


Whitman’s poetry is entire of mystic and transcendental strains: He was deeply affected by Emerson, the American transcendentalist. His thought was intuitive and not systematic like a logician’s. He wrote like a mystic:

Knowledge is of the soul, is not prone to evidence, is its possess proof.
Applies to all phases and objects and qualities, and is content material,
Is the certainty of the reality and immorality of things and the excellence of issues.
Something there is in the float of the sight of things that provokes it out of the Soul.

Whitman believed the soul to be immortal. He felt identification with all animate and inanimate things around him. What is interesting about Whitman’s mysticism is that, as Schyberg observes, “in his e-book we can find the standard characteristics of totally all the different mystic doctrines”.

Whitman is a mystic with a distinction: 1 can’t call him a pure mystic in the perception of oriental mysticism. He is not a praying man. Like all mystics he believed 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 becoming to establish conversation amongst his spirit and the Divine Spirit. But he differs from the oriental or classic mystics in that he does not subscribe to their belief that communication with the Divine Spirit is achievable only by means of denial of the senses and mortification of the flesh. Whitman declares that he sings of the entire body as a lot as of the soul. He feels that religious conversation is feasible, without a doubt desirable, with no sacrificing the flesh. Hence there is a fantastic deal of the sexual component in Whitman’ s poetry, specially in the early poetry-Area five of Tune of Myself is a scenario in level exactly where the sexual connotations are inseparable from the mystical experience.

The Material Globe is not denigrated: Whitman does not reject the content planet. He seeks the religious via the substance. He does not subscribe to the belief that objects are illusive. There is no tendency on the component of the soul to depart this globe for very good. In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, we see the soul making an attempt to play a important function in the administration of this entire world of scenes, sights, appears, and many others. Whitman does not belittle the achievements of science and materialism. In Segment 23 of Song of Myself, he accepts the fact of materialism and suggests:

Human for constructive science!
Long live exact demonstration!
Nature and male shall be disjoined and diffused no much more.

In search of the divine reality: Whitman accepted the Concept of Evolution but could not think evolution to be a mechanical procedure. In the slow procedure of expansion, improvement and modify that science was revealing, Whitman observed God creating Himself apparent and unmistakable to gentleman. The soul of man finds full dissatisfaction only in seeking out the fact driving the manifestations. As he states in Passage to India:

Bathe me O God in thee, mounting thee,
I and my soul to assortment in assortment of thee.
At the end of the journey the soul fulfills with God-or the “Fantastic Camerado” as he suggests in Music of Myself.

Whitman’s feeling of unity of the entire: His cosmic consciousness.: Whitman has through his poetry revealed his faith in the unity of the entire, or “oneness” of all. This feeling of the important divinity of all created factors is an essential element of mysticism and is also carefully connected to Whitman’s faith in democracy calling for equality and fraternity. Music of Myself is replete with traces proclaiming this “oneness”. He is aware of

… that all men at any time born are also my brothers… and all the girls my sisters and fans,
And that a keelson of the development is really like.

He praises, not simply life, but the complete wroth of every certain and personal individual, every single actual present getting. Whitman equates all opposites, and accepts evil as much as element of Actuality.

In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, the poet has accomplished the unity of all mankind: “The basic, compact, nicely-joined plan myself disinterested yet portion of the plan”. Time becomes one particular in Whitman’s poetry. Past, current and future are merged into a religious continuum. Therefore in christian mysticism , he suggests:

It avails not, time nor place-distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and females of a era,
Or at any time so many generations consequently.

Mysticism governing the photos and symbolism of Whitman’s poetry: The mystic quest for Fact and communion with the Divine simply lends alone to be represented in phrases of the voyage graphic. The Music of the open up Highway is a poem whose theme is a journey symbolic of an exploration of the religious as effectively as the bodily universe. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking symbolizes the mystic quest for actuality and the greatest discovery of the that means of life. When Lilacs last in the dooryard Bloom’d use symbols and images made to affirm the value of Death. Demise is noticed as a deliveress due to the fact it prospects to new daily life, and the poet possessing experienced the mystical experience of this real truth, seeks to be a “uniter of listed here and hereafter”

As G. W. Allen details out, the “attempt to point out the route amongst reality and the soul quite nearly sums up Whitman’s total intention in Leaves of Grass”. The mysticism right here is apparent. 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 photographs which race via his poems symbolize the unity and harmony in himself and all development. The spear of grass assumes mystical importance by way of its symbolic benefit-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 expertise is conveyed in terms of very billed sexual imagery.

Whitman rarely dropped contact with the physical fact even in the midst of mystical expertise. Physical phenomena for him ended up symbols of non secular actuality. He considered that “the unseen is proved by seen” thus he makes use of highly sensuous and concrete imagery to express his notion of divine reality. He finds a goal powering normal objects-grass, sea hen, flowers, animals-for,

The smallest sprout shows there is really no demise…
and
… al leaf of grass is no much less than the journey-perform of the stars…

Without a doubt, one may say that mysticism constitutes the very poetic sort of Whitman’s poems, he seemed on the universe as constituting a unity of disparate objects, unified the Divine Spirit therefore his poems are “Leaves of Grass” signifying at as soon as separateness and unity. Whitman’s dominant metaphor of grass presents a circumstance for unity and harmony, a fundamental ingredient of framework.

Mystical construction of Track of Myself: Tune of Myself is probably the very best illustration of Whitman’s mysticism influencing indicating, type and symbolism. States James E. Miller: “When viewed in conditions of the phases of the standard mystical knowledge, Music of Myself requires on a extensive structural condition”.

The reader can rediscover what the poet by observing his personal spear of summer time grass and by launching his possess mystical journey. Track of Myself is an “inverted mystical experience”¬- Whilst the classic mystic attempted to annihilate himself and mortify his senses in preparation for his union with the divine, Whitman magnifies the self and glorifies the senses in his development in the direction of union with the Absolute.

Summary: Whitman is a mystic as significantly as he is a poet of democracy and science, but a “mystic with out a creed”. He sees the physique as the manifestation of the spirit which is “sent” by loss of life into a larger daily life. A spear of grass is not an inert substance for him but God’s handkerchief, “the flag of disposition”. Frequently in his sensibility, make a difference is dissolved, trees become “liquid” and contours “fluid”. The true is transmuted and he has cosmic visions. He gets a comet travelling spherical the universe with the velocity of light-weight.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runway sunshine,
I effuse my flesh in eddies,
And drift in lacy jags.

If Leaves of Grass has been named a “Bible” of America, it has a excellent offer to do with its mystical pressure. Real, Whitman’s model of mysticism is not identifiable with the selflessness of the Christian range or the passivity of the Oriental. What we may possibly contact Whitman’s mysticism is “democratic” mysticism-offered to every single man on equal conditions and embracing contradictory aspects. But it is simple that mysticism is central to the that means of Leaves of Grass.

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