The Mystic and the Mystery
“The most beautiful thing that one can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science,” has said Albert Einstein. Many times, I am asked why I use the term mystic and why I say that God is a mystery. In fact, the term God is very misleading and is even a misnomer, thus I prefer the word mystery though I do use the word God occasionally. There is the barrier of language, hence at times I use the word energy and borrow terms like Nirvana, Absolute and so on. That which is beyond human mind is mysterious. Indeed, if God is not mysterious, then what is It?
The Bible says that no man has ever seen the face of God. Then why so much talk of that which has never been seen? The truth is that to know or to see It, the mind must dissolve and when this happens, who will know, who will describe, who will be the witness? Fortunately, many who have merged with the Infinite have retained, by the will of that mystery, a little humanness and it is that which helps to give a faint idea of the unknown to others. They say that it is bliss, consciousness, boundlessness and infinite peace. But how is bliss? How is consciousness, boundlessness or ineffable peace? Can our mind grasp them?
The creation is nothing but a modification of That or Tat, as it is referred to in the Upanishads. However, by ‘creation’ I do not mean the tiny dream-world of ignorant people. It is the true nature of things that is reflected in the placid mind of those who have nearly dissolved into that mystery. Those who have known will definitely say that He is mysterious or a mystery. The mystic is one who has merged into that mystery.
As long as we are filled with bookish knowledge and preconceived ideas, we cannot experience and say, like Einstein, that the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. If it were not mysterious but known as any ordinary thing, then it would cease to be beautiful. In fact, beauty is a mysterious phenomenon that can be only experienced, not described. Description is made of words and feelings. Einstein says that the mysterious is the source of all true art and science, but I say, nay, it is the source of this wonderful universe and innumerable other universes!
The mysterious is such because even after experiencing It, one feels that one does not really know It and one becomes aware of one’s ‘nothingness’. Thus Socrates said, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” Indeed, in front of that mystery, one realises how much one is nothing, ignorant and tiny. It is the mind that thinks it knows a lot. When it dissolves in That, all its knowledge vanishes like a dewdrop in the morning sun. That is what I call Vedanta – the end of knowledge. No wonder knowledgeable people, scholars and pandits fear to approach the enlightened beings. The very presence of the latter renders them ignorant. They realise how much they are stupid and that hurts their ego.
Mystics are not necessarily knowledgeable people. Jesus, Kabir, Ramakrishna and many others were illiterate and not even knew the scriptures. Knowing God does not imply knowing everything. On the contrary, it implies losing all knowledge and what remains is self-knowledge. One sees nothing but oneself and even that remains a mystery by its very nature. All the methods, words, parables, stories, koans and scriptures used by prophets and enlightened gurus are only means to help the seeker to attain a no-mind state or to develop an interest towards that state. The words are not the truth but simply a pointing finger. Alas! In their ignorance, people have caught the finger, moulded it in their own way and according to their own likeness and have given it the name of religion or God.
People are cosmos back from the truth and it seems impossible to enlighten most of them about the real nature of that mystery and the way to it. Perhaps new ways have to be invented, but even these will be later called religion and modified by people of meagre intelligence and vested interest. Should we then lose hope? Definitely not! Those who have known and experienced will always try their best, though that is the most impossible task. Also, such individuals are absolutely rare. The few who exist are persecuted; if it is not physically, it is by subtle means. Of course, the mystics themselves are untouched, however, their endeavour to help others is greatly hampered.
Seekers, devotees, disciples and everyone else should do their best to protect, shelter and help those mystic-gurus. A light is protected so that it can dissipate the darkness of night. Similarly, if the mystic is protected and helped, he can dissipate the horrible darkness of ignorance, which has spread over the whole human society and has its root deep, very deep in the unconscious mind of one and all.
Einstein says that the mysterious is the source of all true art and science, but I say, nay, it is the source of this wonderful universe and innumerable other universes!