Whitman and Mysticism
What is mysticism: Mysticism is not a coherent philosophy of existence, but a lot more a temper of mind. A mystical knowledge, according to BERTRAND RUSSEL, entails insight, a perception of unity and the unreality of time and area, and a belief that evil is mere visual appeal. A mystic’s vision is intuitive he feels the presence of a divine fact driving and inside of the normal entire world of sense perception. He feels that God and the Supreme Soul animating all factors are similar. He sees an essential identification of currently being amongst Man, Character and God. He thinks that “all things in the noticeable globe are but types and manifestations of the 1 Divine Daily life, and that these phenomena are altering and short term, even though the soul that informs them is eternal”. The human soul, also, is everlasting. Transcendentalism is closely connected to mysticism, for it emphasizes the unintuitive and non secular previously mentioned the empirical.
Whitman’s poetry is total of mystic and transcendental strains: He was deeply influenced by Emerson, the American transcendentalist. His believed was intuitive and not systematic like a logician’s. He wrote like a mystic:
Knowledge is of the soul, is not vulnerable to proof, is its personal evidence.
Applies to all stages and objects and qualities, and is articles,
Is the certainty of the truth and immorality of issues and the excellence of items.
One thing there is in the float of the sight of factors that provokes it out of the Soul.
Whitman believed the soul to be immortal. He felt identification with all animate and inanimate items close to him. What is exciting about Whitman’s mysticism is that, as Schyberg observes, “in his guide we can discover the common traits of absolutely all the numerous mystic doctrines”.
Whitman is a mystic with a difference: One can’t call him a pure mystic in the perception of oriental mysticism. He is not a praying guy. 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 ability of a human becoming to build conversation among his spirit and the Divine Spirit. But he differs from the oriental or conventional mystics in that he does not subscribe to their belief that conversation with the Divine Spirit is feasible only through denial of the senses and mortification of the flesh. Whitman declares that he sings of the physique as considerably as of the soul. He feels that non secular interaction is possible, without a doubt desirable, with out sacrificing the flesh. As a result there is a excellent deal of the sexual element in Whitman’ s poetry, especially in the early poetry-Segment 5 of Music of Myself is a circumstance in stage exactly where the sexual connotations are inseparable from the mystical encounter.
The Material World is not denigrated: Whitman does not reject the material globe. He seeks the spiritual by way of the material. He does not subscribe to the perception that objects are illusive. There is no tendency on the portion of the soul to depart this world for excellent. In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, we see the soul trying to perform a substantial position in the administration of this planet of scenes, sights, appears, and so forth. Whitman does not belittle the achievements of science and materialism. In Area 23 of Song of Myself, he accepts the reality of materialism and claims:
Human for good science!
Extended reside actual demonstration!
Character and male shall be disjoined and diffused no a lot more.
Searching for the divine truth: Whitman recognized the Concept of Evolution but could not feel evolution to be a mechanical approach. In the slow method of progress, development and change that science was revealing, Whitman noticed God creating Himself apparent and unmistakable to gentleman. The soul of man finds entire dissatisfaction only in seeking out the reality guiding the manifestations. As he states in Passage to India:
Bathe me O God in thee, mounting thee,
I and my soul to range in assortment of thee.
At the stop of the journey the soul satisfies with God-or the “Great Camerado” as he suggests in Track of Myself.
Whitman’s feeling of unity of the complete: His cosmic consciousness.: Whitman has all through his poetry shown his faith in the unity of the total, or “oneness” of all. This perception of the essential divinity of all developed factors is an critical factor of mysticism and is also intently connected to Whitman’s religion in democracy contacting for equality and fraternity. Tune of Myself is replete with strains proclaiming this “oneness”. He understands
… that all men ever born are also my brothers… and all the women my sisters and enthusiasts,
And that a keelson of the generation is adore.
He praises, not just existence, but the complete wroth of each and every specific and specific person, each real present being. Whitman equates all opposites, and accepts evil as considerably as element of Actuality.
In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, the poet has accomplished the unity of all mankind: “The simple, compact, nicely-joined scheme myself disinterested nevertheless portion of the scheme”. christian mysticism turns into a single in Whitman’s poetry. Earlier, existing and foreseeable future are merged into a non secular continuum. Therefore in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, he says:
It avails not, time nor area-distance avails not,
I am with you, you males and girls of a technology,
Or ever so many generations that’s why.
Mysticism governing the pictures and symbolism of Whitman’s poetry: The mystic quest for Truth and communion with the Divine easily lends alone to be represented in terms of the voyage impression. The Track of the open up Highway is a poem whose topic is a journey symbolic of an exploration of the religious as effectively as the physical universe. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking symbolizes the mystic quest for reality and the supreme discovery of the indicating of life. When Lilacs last in the dooryard Bloom’d use symbols and photographs developed to affirm the value of Loss of life. Dying is observed as a deliveress since it leads to new existence, and the poet obtaining had the mystical knowledge of this reality, seeks to be a “uniter of right here and hereafter”
As G. W. Allen points out, the “try to show the route among truth and the soul really virtually sums up Whitman’s entire intention in Leaves of Grass”. The mysticism here is obvious. 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 through his poems symbolize the unity and harmony in himself and all creation. The spear of grass assumes mystical significance 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 “mattress-fellow” sleeping at his facet all evening. The mystical expertise is conveyed in terms of extremely charged sexual imagery.
Whitman rarely lost touch with the physical truth even in the midst of mystical knowledge. Bodily phenomena for him ended up symbols of religious reality. He considered that “the unseen is proved by seen” as a result he makes use of hugely sensuous and concrete imagery to express his perception of divine truth. He finds a purpose behind all-natural objects-grass, sea hen, flowers, animals-for,
The smallest sprout displays there is truly no dying…
… al leaf of grass is no considerably less than the journey-operate of the stars…
Certainly, a single may well say that mysticism constitutes the quite poetic type of Whitman’s poems, he looked upon the universe as constituting a unity of disparate objects, unified the Divine Spirit therefore his poems are “Leaves of Grass” signifying at when separateness and unity. Whitman’s dominant metaphor of grass presents a scenario for unity and harmony, a simple part of construction.
Mystical structure of Track of Myself: Song of Myself is perhaps the best illustration of Whitman’s mysticism influencing which means, kind and symbolism. Claims James E. Miller: “When seen in terms of the phases of the classic mystical expertise, Song of Myself will take on a thorough structural shape”.
The reader can rediscover what the poet by observing his very own spear of summer grass and by launching his own mystical journey. Track of Myself is an “inverted mystical encounter”¬- Even though the standard 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 Complete.
Summary: Whitman is a mystic as significantly as he is a poet of democracy and science, but a “mystic without a creed”. He sees the body as the manifestation of the spirit which is “sent” by demise into a greater life. A spear of grass is not an inert compound for him but God’s handkerchief, “the flag of disposition”. Frequently in his sensibility, make a difference is dissolved, trees turn into “liquid” and contours “fluid”. The true is transmuted and he has cosmic visions. He gets to be a comet travelling round the universe with the velocity of gentle.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runway solar,
I effuse my flesh in eddies,
And drift in lacy jags.
If Leaves of Grass has been referred to as a “Bible” of America, it has a wonderful offer to do with its mystical strain. Real, Whitman’s model of mysticism is not identifiable with the selflessness of the Christian assortment or the passivity of the Oriental. What we could phone Whitman’s mysticism is “democratic” mysticism-available to each gentleman on equivalent terms and embracing contradictory components. But it is simple that mysticism is central to the which means of Leaves of Grass.
Whitman and Mysticism