Mysticism has yet another facet. This is of course integral to the materialistic and personalistic mysticisms. We are conscious of Nature and of ourselves in a mystic apprehension. We are also aware of the Godhead who alone confers on us the mystic transcendent perception, which is unmediated by sense or reason or buddhi (intellect). It is kind of soul-sight (atmadrsti). We become aware of the existence of other kindred souls in Nature, companions and competitors in the travail, heirs to sorrow and suffering and struggle. Naturally we aggregate, group ourselves according to passing interests, and form conflicting associations, developing peculiar kinds of fanaticism and coherence which oppose equally developed fanaticisms. Institutions with rival interests get formed. But brotherhood in institutions is sustained by the commonalty of purposes and interests rather than by any intimate reverence for persons. Our social patterns are purposive being either self-defensive and co-operative and security-grating or competitive. Mysticism in regard to our social associations and institutions almost seems to reverse these purposive combinations. Institutions are for man and not man for the institutions. A State exists for the promotion of freedom in man and for man and not for the sake of the security and sovereignty of the State. This pluralism is at bottom realistic but it is also mystically hugged. An institution is a rigid pattern of association, confining man and restricting his freedom to a particular defined field, even when it is organized for the liberation of all. The realization that each individual is an end in himself and not merely a means, which Immanuel Kant emphasized, is a very vital institution. It is something that a mystic discovers even amidst his preoccupations with the world of Nature and reason. A mystic discovers in difference a need to explain its very existence and persistence, to show its reality. An individual enfolds a secret substance of real being which despite its indivisibility is within him. An institution is a mere collection of individuals, though it subordinates them by means of a feeling of their unity within it and develops in them a fear or despair that if the institution fails, their unity and themselves would be lost. It is fear that breeds the unity rather than freedom. In fact it is fear that continues to exercise restraint on individuals. This is true of all institutions whether they are like States, unique, absolute and super arrogating, or like religions, wide, universal and demanding obedience to faith and doctrine or any lesser co-operative principle. There is an undeniable tendency for institutions to deny loyalty to any other than themselves and lay claim for exclusive allegiance. Institutions are such that only in their collectivity or unity there is strength.
Mystic individualism or personalism tends to emphasize the freedom of individuals or persons, as if they are part from others or the whole or the Divine Godhead. Whilst there is supreme truth in the individuals, since each will have to realize his freedom, each individual becomes aware of the divine or moral responsibility within-an imperative inalienable and unsurrenderable-to reveal and express absolute loyalty to the Indwelling Creator-principle. The institutions almost tend to usurp the function of this principle from the very beginning and translate the imperative into one of custom, ethos, general will and etc. Associations which exist for a common economic and hedonistic purpose (artha kama) are not guilty of this usurpation. Mystic personalism claims a sanctity for the individual which it cannot sustain except abstractly. And when it takes the help of theism then it transfers the personalism to God rather than retain it to the individual.
A mystic seeks a loneliness in the heart, a rapture within rather than his abolition by renouncing the world and the ends of the ordinary man and indeed by accepting the opposite ends of dharma and moksa, freedom from body, wealth, law and love, from birth and death. The world of mystics comprises men who have accepted the gospel of freedom, the negation of all the world-values and associations. They live within themselves. This is one important aspect of the mystic realization in life, to live in the forest apart and away and afar from the madding crowd.
Yet the social aspect is not neglected. Men having been perceived by the mystic to be centres of universal consciousness, though they may be unaware of it, are realized to be co-sharers in that Consciousness or God. In that consciousness of God the mystic finds all to be related uniquely. It is a dharma-sangha wherein one meets another in God and each praises the Divine who had conferred such unity to which there is no parallel or comparison in the sanghas of the world-desires and possessions and powers. The Society of such souls, mystically seized with the love of God and His Nature in all its expressions, holds all as belonging to God and shares communion with all. The traditions of such love of god are preserved in such a society and these keep the flame of love and faith bright and continuous. To share the life of such a community, for that truly is a community where there is communion between all its members, is to maintain and continue it for an endless future.
The members of such a mystic society recognize diversity of functions but emphasize the equality of sharing. All work is known as the worship of the One Divine, as establishing a continuous unity with Him and increasing the enjoyment of unity and knowledge between them. All are members of the Divine, not as constituting Him but as enjoying measures of His Love. To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability is a modern slogan and ideal; but it is the essence of the Divine Love. The Utopia or Republic or Paradise as well as the Hierarchy of caste and Sangha, Western or Eastern, mystically emphasize the equality in God whilst maintaining the diversity and hierarchy in functions. Maintaining the commonness of all things of the world it emphasizes that each has to discover his or her function. Mystic life reveals to each his or her function in the body politic, which is the Divine Polity so far as the mystic is concerned. The mystic refuses to compromise on this inner meaning of function with the outer enforced or regulated direction as to function or status. What is necessary is the inner reconciliation with the ‘Divine works’ which alone can grant satisfaction.
Socialism in mystic life is a real sharing; it becomes a communism and a real exercise of common disinterestedness, Ethical conduct gets greatest free expression for the realization of the Highest Good. It is a good which even in the language of the utilitarian is that of the greatest number. Mystic Socialism however worships society or social institutions with an ignorant faith as an end in itself for which the individuals have to live. It is Procrustean in its attempts to level down and level up all to an economic stature of equality, and this is its one goal. The equality conferred in this manner is not capable of being retained. Subsidizing for equality in every matter can only lead to degeneration or denial of equality. It has really no roots in personal being of worthiness of its members. Forced socialism or revolutionary communism like forced freedom, has its nemesis in the disruption of the society. It is unclear, bigoted and self defeating. It engenders fascism and fanaticism and fury-the most disruptive forces in society. Absolutism results as a consequence.10
Religion is (said to be) a social institution as important as the State. Religious institutions are repositories of mystic tradition and literature, even as the State is the repository of the laws, customs and usages. Spiritual institutions answer to the soul’s needs; and social arrangements for the ‘saving’, and ‘healing’ of the mind and body are the special province of religion.
10 A mystic can never be an absolutist except when forgetting the meaning of the individual, and the never can afford to do. Hegelian Absolutism is a lopsided mysticism and wrong. Theistic Mysticism deifies God, but it is not the Absolute of the State or the Deification of the State or the concentration of Power in any individual or system or Group. Racial Mysticism is impossible but it is easy and natural to grant a fictitious sanctity or personality to the Race or Culture. Mystic Racialism is a vague hypostasis of Racial Value.
Rites and rituals are intended to answer to individual needs, like hospitals for patients. Social rites are indeed equally necessary for welfare of the society or community even like the activities of health departments. They are necessary, but mystic religions, mystify, and make obscure the forces active in the spiritual life of the people as well as the individuals. Ancient mysteries are known to have been every different from the animistic rites with which they are confused. Modern research has tried to interpret all advanced ways of symbolism in terms of the primitive practices. Evolution is said to be this manner of ascent. What such explanations do not however explain is the fact that progress cannot be explained purely in terms of the Toynbee conception of adjustment to environment, by mutation, retardation & etc. Rightly conceived, there is a breaking in of a higher consciousness an insight, a mystic transcendence of the perceived which might have modified these primitive rites into real symbolisms of a universal process or God-consciousness. Is the primitive not the inversed one, whose rites are the reverse of the liberating? None the less the retarded symbol has congealed into a meaningless pantomime or performance. The sophistication of the higher cultural patterns is the measure of its advance. This view is held by mystics who have observed the peculiar inversion of the rites. Black magic is the reverse of the white, which seeks power rather than love, control of Nature and other spirits rather than association and comradeship. That these two types of magic persist side by side is another fact which throws a flood of light on the mystic conception that this polarity is an eternal compresence of opposites as Zoroaster shewed. Society itself is rifted in this manner and the mystic aims at the transcendence of these opposites by reversing the process itself or arresting the entire structure of existence. There is a truth which the communistic philosophy has shown, namely, that the inversion of the Hegelian pyramid restores the socialistic democratic ideal to a stability since the stable is not the apex but the base of the pyramid. But coupled with the concept of a procrustean equality, this socialism tends to become romantic and truly utopian.
A mystic view of social life undoubtedly recognizes the equidistant possibility for all to realize themselves and perfect them selves, within and without, for a cosmic or transcosmic, immortal sense of being.
Religious mysticism, like state mysticism then is a real mystic experience of the Divine within and above the institutions of men; and the realization of God in society or community is rendered possible through inward personal peace. Thus when an illumined soul says that non-violence is the essence of communion with all, it is because the Divine is experienced in each and every creature, as the core of all. A rich and creative society where peace and communion with God is had in and through the other members of God’s Being, or Personality, is a real and ever present possibility, whatever may be the stage of every other member. But the hope of the mystic is a hope in the transformation of an ignorant communion, gashed by conflict and opposition into a cosmic union, interiorized fully.
Buddha’s Sangha, the Vaisnava Bhagavata gosti, and other churches have communism in life, seeking welfare for all along with an uncompromising undivided and indivisible allegiance to the inner light. Pan-socialism is a mystic version which equates God with Society. But it is only a variation of Pantheism. God is more than soul, more than Nature, more than society of men or the world. A true society is built in the life of the one supreme secret Divinity and manifesting in and through every individual who more and more becomes an embodiment of Universal spirituality, a universal man, a mahatma.