Whitman and Mysticism
What is mysticism: Mysticism is not a coherent philosophy of daily life, but far more a temper of head. A mystical knowledge, according to BERTRAND RUSSEL, includes insight, a feeling of unity and the unreality of time and room, and a belief that evil is mere appearance. A mystic’s eyesight is intuitive he feels the presence of a divine actuality powering and inside the common planet of sense notion. He feels that God and the Supreme Soul animating all items are equivalent. He sees an crucial identity of being between Gentleman, Character and God. He thinks that “all items in the obvious planet are but types and manifestations of the one particular Divine Life, and that these phenomena are altering and short term, whilst the soul that informs them is eternal”. The human soul, also, is eternal. Transcendentalism is closely related to mysticism, for it emphasizes the unintuitive and religious above the empirical.
Whitman’s poetry is entire of mystic and transcendental strains: He was deeply motivated 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 susceptible to evidence, is its very own proof.
Applies to all levels and objects and attributes, and is articles,
Is the certainty of the fact and immorality of factors and the excellence of items.
Anything there is in the float of the sight of factors that provokes it out of the Soul.
Whitman thought the soul to be immortal. He felt identification with all animate and inanimate items all around him. What is interesting about Whitman’s mysticism is that, as Schyberg observes, “in his e-book we can uncover the common qualities of totally all the various mystic doctrines”.
Whitman is a mystic with a variation: 1 are not able to contact him a pure mystic in the sense 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 ability of a human being to establish conversation in between his spirit and the Divine Spirit. But he differs from the oriental or standard mystics in that he does not subscribe to their perception that interaction with the Divine Spirit is attainable only through denial of the senses and mortification of the flesh. Whitman declares that he sings of the human body as a lot as of the soul. He feels that spiritual conversation is achievable, certainly fascinating, with out sacrificing the flesh. Therefore there is a fantastic deal of the sexual factor in Whitman’ s poetry, especially in the early poetry-Part five of Song of Myself is a situation in stage in which the sexual connotations are inseparable from the mystical expertise.
The Material Globe is not denigrated: Whitman does not reject the content world. He seeks the religious through the substance. He does not subscribe to the perception that objects are illusive. There is no inclination on the component of the soul to leave this globe for very good. In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, we see the soul striving to play a considerable position in the administration of this entire world of scenes, sights, sounds, etc. Whitman does not belittle the achievements of science and materialism. In Area 23 of Track of Myself, he accepts the reality of materialism and suggests:
Human for optimistic science!
Long live specific demonstration!
Mother nature and gentleman shall be disjoined and subtle no a lot more.
In search of the divine actuality: Whitman accepted the Idea of Evolution but could not imagine evolution to be a mechanical approach. In the gradual procedure of growth, improvement and change that science was revealing, Whitman noticed God generating Himself apparent and unmistakable to gentleman. The soul of man finds entire dissatisfaction only in looking for out the reality driving the manifestations. As he says in Passage to India:
Bathe me O God in thee, mounting thee,
I and my soul to selection in variety of thee.
At the conclude of the journey the soul meets with God-or the “Wonderful Camerado” as he says in Music of Myself.
Whitman’s sense of unity of the entire: His cosmic consciousness.: Whitman has all through his poetry revealed his religion in the unity of the complete, or “oneness” of all. This perception of the important divinity of all developed factors is an critical facet of mysticism and is also closely connected to Whitman’s religion in democracy contacting for equality and fraternity. Song of Myself is replete with strains proclaiming this “oneness”. He is aware of
… that all guys at any time born are also my brothers… and all the women my sisters and enthusiasts,
And that a keelson of the generation is love.
He praises, not merely existence, but the absolute wroth of every single specific and individual particular person, every single genuine existing getting. Whitman equates all opposites, and accepts evil as much as part of Actuality.
In Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, the poet has accomplished the unity of all mankind: “The basic, compact, well-joined plan myself disinterested nevertheless element of the plan”. Time gets to be one in Whitman’s poetry. Past, existing and potential are merged into a spiritual continuum. Hence in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, he states:
It avails not, time nor location-length avails not,
I am with you, you males and ladies of a generation,
Or ever so many generations consequently.
Mysticism governing the photos and symbolism of Whitman’s poetry: The mystic quest for Fact and communion with the Divine effortlessly lends alone to be represented in terms of the voyage graphic. The Tune of the open Road is a poem whose concept is a journey symbolic of an exploration of the non secular as well as the bodily universe. Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking symbolizes the mystic quest for actuality and the greatest discovery of the indicating of life. When christian mysticism in the dooryard Bloom’d use symbols and pictures designed to affirm the importance of Demise. Demise is seen as a deliveress since it prospects to new daily life, and the poet having experienced the mystical experience of this real truth, seeks to be a “uniter of here and hereafter”
As G. W. Allen points out, the “endeavor to indicate the route between fact and the soul quite practically sums up Whitman’s complete intention in Leaves of Grass”. The mysticism here is evident. The cosmic “I” of Whitman’s poems is on a perpetual journey. His soul is but a fragment of the globe soul. The mass of pictures which race through his poems symbolize the unity and harmony in himself and all creation. The spear of grass assumes mystical importance through its symbolic value-celebration of individuality and the enmasse, exclusion of none, exception of all. In Song of Myself, Whitman speaks of God as his beloved and his “mattress-fellow” sleeping at his facet all night. The mystical knowledge is conveyed in terms of highly charged sexual imagery.
Whitman seldom lost contact with the bodily reality even in the midst of mystical knowledge. Actual physical phenomena for him ended up symbols of spiritual actuality. He believed that “the unseen is proved by observed” thus he tends to make use of hugely sensuous and concrete imagery to convey his notion of divine reality. He finds a purpose behind all-natural objects-grass, sea fowl, bouquets, animals-for,
The smallest sprout demonstrates there is genuinely no dying…
… al leaf of grass is no much less than the journey-operate of the stars…
Without a doubt, one particular may well say that mysticism constitutes the extremely poetic form of Whitman’s poems, he looked on the universe as constituting a unity of disparate objects, unified the Divine Spirit as a result his poems are “Leaves of Grass” signifying at when separateness and unity. Whitman’s dominant metaphor of grass provides a circumstance for unity and harmony, a standard ingredient of composition.
Mystical construction of Music of Myself: Song of Myself is maybe the very best illustration of Whitman’s mysticism influencing meaning, form and symbolism. Suggests James E. Miller: “When viewed in conditions of the phases of the classic mystical encounter, Track of Myself will take on a thorough structural condition”.
The reader can rediscover what the poet by observing his personal spear of summer time grass and by launching his personal mystical journey. Tune of Myself is an “inverted mystical expertise”¬- Although the traditional mystic tried 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 toward union with the Complete.
Conclusion: Whitman is a mystic as a lot as he is a poet of democracy and science, but a “mystic with no a creed”. He sees the physique as the manifestation of the spirit which is “sent” by demise into a increased existence. A spear of grass is not an inert material for him but God’s handkerchief, “the flag of disposition”. Often in his sensibility, issue is dissolved, trees turn into “liquid” and contours “fluid”. The genuine is transmuted and he has cosmic visions. He turns into a comet travelling spherical the universe with the velocity of light.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runway sunlight,
I effuse my flesh in eddies,
And drift in lacy jags.
If Leaves of Grass has been referred to as a “Bible” of The usa, it has a great deal to do with its mystical strain. Accurate, Whitman’s brand name of mysticism is not identifiable with the selflessness of the Christian assortment or the passivity of the Oriental. What we might get in touch with Whitman’s mysticism is “democratic” mysticism-obtainable to every gentleman on equal terms and embracing contradictory components. But it is plain that mysticism is central to the indicating of Leaves of Grass.
Whitman and Mysticism