Whitman and Mysticism
What is mysticism: Mysticism is not a coherent philosophy of lifestyle, but more a temper of brain. A mystical experience, in accordance to BERTRAND RUSSEL, entails insight, a sense of unity and the unreality of time and room, and a perception that evil is mere look. A mystic’s eyesight is intuitive he feels the existence of a divine actuality powering and inside the normal globe of feeling perception. He feels that God and the Supreme Soul animating all items are identical. He sees an vital identification of becoming between Man, Character and God. He believes that “all issues in the visible globe are but types and manifestations of the one Divine Life, and that these phenomena are shifting and short-term, while the soul that informs them is eternal”. The human soul, as well, is eternal. Transcendentalism is intently connected to mysticism, for it emphasizes the unintuitive and spiritual previously mentioned the empirical.
Whitman’s poetry is total of mystic and transcendental strains: He was deeply affected 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 evidence, is its possess evidence.
Applies to all phases and objects and attributes, and is articles,
Is the certainty of the actuality and immorality of factors and the excellence of factors.
Something there is in the float of the sight of items that provokes it out of the Soul.
Whitman thought the soul to be immortal. He felt identification with all animate and inanimate factors all around him. What is interesting about Whitman’s mysticism is that, as Schyberg observes, “in his book we can uncover the standard attributes of totally all the a variety of mystic doctrines”.
Whitman is a mystic with a difference: One particular cannot get in touch with him a pure mystic in the perception of oriental mysticism. He is not a praying man. Like all mystics he considered in the existence of the soul, and in the existence of the Divine Spirit, in the immortality of the human soul, and in the capability of a human currently being to build interaction between 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 body as considerably as of the soul. He feels that religious interaction is feasible, certainly desirable, with no sacrificing the flesh. Hence there is a excellent offer of the sexual element in Whitman’ s poetry, specifically in the early poetry-Part five of Track of Myself is a circumstance in level exactly where the sexual connotations are inseparable from the mystical encounter.
The Substance Planet is not denigrated: Whitman does not reject the material globe. He seeks the religious via the content. He does not subscribe to the belief that objects are illusive. There is no inclination on the part of the soul to go away this planet for excellent. In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, we see the soul striving to play a considerable function in the administration of this globe of scenes, sights, sounds, and so on. Whitman does not belittle the achievements of science and materialism. In Part 23 of Song of Myself, he accepts the actuality of materialism and claims:
Human for constructive science!
Extended dwell specific demonstration!
Nature and guy shall be disjoined and diffused no a lot more.
Looking for the divine reality: Whitman recognized the Principle of Evolution but could not think evolution to be a mechanical process. In the slow process of growth, development and modify that science was revealing, Whitman saw God producing Himself apparent and unmistakable to male. The soul of male finds total dissatisfaction only in seeking out the reality behind the manifestations. As he suggests in Passage to India:
Bathe me O God in thee, mounting thee,
I and my soul to selection in selection of thee.
At the stop of the journey the soul meets with God-or the “Great Camerado” as he claims in Track of Myself.
Whitman’s sense of unity of the entire: His cosmic consciousness.: Whitman has all through his poetry proven his faith in the unity of the complete, or “oneness” of all. This perception of the vital divinity of all created factors is an crucial element of mysticism and is also intently related to Whitman’s faith in democracy contacting for equality and fraternity. Song of Myself is replete with lines proclaiming this “oneness”. He is aware
… that all gentlemen ever born are also my brothers… and all the women my sisters and enthusiasts,
And that a keelson of the development is love.
He praises, not basically daily life, but the complete wroth of each particular and person man or woman, every actual present becoming. Whitman equates all opposites, and accepts evil as considerably as element of Truth.
In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, the poet has achieved the unity of all mankind: “The basic, compact, well-joined scheme myself disinterested nevertheless part of the plan”. Time turns into a single in Whitman’s poetry. Past, current and potential are merged into a religious continuum. Thus in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, he says:
It avails not, time nor area-length avails not,
I am with you, you males and girls of a technology,
Or ever so several generations that’s why.
Mysticism governing the photos and symbolism of Whitman’s poetry: The mystic quest for Actuality and communion with the Divine easily lends alone to be represented in phrases of the voyage impression. The Music of the open up Highway is a poem whose topic is a journey symbolic of an exploration of the spiritual as nicely as the bodily universe. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking symbolizes the mystic quest for reality and the ultimate discovery of the meaning of life. When Lilacs last in the dooryard Bloom’d use symbols and photographs developed to affirm the significance of Loss of life. Loss of life is noticed as a deliveress simply because it sales opportunities to new existence, and the poet possessing experienced the mystical encounter of this reality, seeks to be a “uniter of here and hereafter”
As G. W. Allen details out, the “attempt to reveal the path in between fact and the soul extremely almost sums up Whitman’s complete 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 pictures which race by way of his poems symbolize the unity and harmony in himself and all development. The spear of grass assumes mystical significance by way of its symbolic benefit-celebration of individuality and the enmasse, exclusion of none, exception of all. In christian mysticism of Myself, Whitman speaks of God as his beloved and his “bed-fellow” sleeping at his facet all night. The mystical expertise is conveyed in terms of highly charged sexual imagery.
Whitman rarely misplaced touch with the actual physical actuality even in the midst of mystical knowledge. Bodily phenomena for him had been symbols of spiritual truth. He believed that “the unseen is proved by seen” thus he makes use of extremely sensuous and concrete imagery to express his perception of divine actuality. He finds a function behind all-natural objects-grass, sea chicken, bouquets, animals-for,
The smallest sprout displays there is actually no demise…
… al leaf of grass is no much less than the journey-work of the stars…
In fact, a single may well say that mysticism constitutes the very poetic sort of Whitman’s poems, he appeared on 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 provides a scenario for unity and harmony, a fundamental component of composition.
Mystical structure of Song of Myself: Song of Myself is possibly the greatest illustration of Whitman’s mysticism influencing which means, type and symbolism. Suggests James E. Miller: “When viewed in phrases of the phases of the traditional mystical encounter, Song of Myself takes on a thorough structural condition”.
The reader can rediscover what the poet by observing his very own spear of summer time grass and by launching his own mystical journey. Tune of Myself is an “inverted mystical encounter”¬- Even though the conventional mystic tried 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 progress toward union with the Complete.
Conclusion: Whitman is a mystic as much as he is a poet of democracy and science, but a “mystic with no a creed”. He sees the entire body as the manifestation of the spirit which is “delivered” by death into a increased daily life. A spear of grass is not an inert material for him but God’s handkerchief, “the flag of disposition”. Frequently in his sensibility, matter is dissolved, trees become “liquid” and contours “fluid”. The real is transmuted and he has cosmic visions. He gets a comet travelling spherical the universe with the pace of light-weight.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies,
And drift in lacy jags.
If Leaves of Grass has been referred to as a “Bible” of The us, it has a wonderful offer to do with its mystical strain. True, Whitman’s brand name of mysticism is not identifiable with the selflessness of the Christian selection or the passivity of the Oriental. What we may possibly call Whitman’s mysticism is “democratic” mysticism-available to each guy on equivalent conditions and embracing contradictory elements. But it is simple that mysticism is central to the meaning of Leaves of Grass.
Whitman and Mysticism