Chapter 12: What Is Mysticism?
When I say “a beautiful roseflower,” yes, there is a little response; and if you close your eyes and meditate a little on the word “rose” you may start seeing a roseflower opening its petals in your being, because you have seen roseflowers. If you are really a sensitive person you may even start smelling the rose and the dewdrops in the early morning on the rose petals. Some memory may be provoked, some experience may become alive, you may start reminiscing; but it is because you have known a rose. What about the person who has never known a rose? Then just the word “rose” will not stir any feeling in him, will not bring any pictures. The word will be heard, but will not be listened to; there will be no meaning behind it.
That is the case when the word “God” is used, that is the case when the word “prayer” is used, that is the case when the word “gratitude” is used, and so on, so forth. You don’t have any understanding, because you don’t have any experience.
Those who have experienced, they become dumb. Not that they stop speaking, but they speak about the methods, they speak about the way. They don’t speak about the truth. They say how to attain it, they say how to avoid the pitfalls on the path, they say how not to go astray, they say, “This is the way, this is the direction,” they give you a few maps, road maps, they make you aware of a few signs that you will come across on the road so that you can be certain that you are moving in the right direction - that’s all they can do - but about the truth, or God, they can’t say a single word.
So that meaning is also beautiful; myein means “to keep one’s mouth shut.” It is from these two words: from myein comes mysterion, from mysterion comes mysticism.
Mysticism is the very soul of religion.
Hence my insistence: drop the mind that thinks in prose; revive another kind of mind that thinks in poetry. Put aside all your expertise in syllogism; let songs be your way of life. Move from intellect to intuition, from the head to the heart, because the heart is closer to the mysteries. The head is anti-mystery; the whole effort of the head is how to demystify existence.
That’s why, wherever science has grown, religion has disappeared. Wherever the mind becomes trained in scientific ways of thinking and doing, religion simply dies; then the flower of religion blooms no more. In the soil of the scientific mind there is some poison that does not allow the seed of religion to grow - it kills it. What is that poison? Science believes in demystifying existence.
Religion says it cannot be demystified. The deeper your understanding goes, the more mystical it becomes, the more mysterious it becomes.
And now there is a possibility that science and religion can be bridged, because the greatest scientists have also felt it, in a very indirect way. For example, Eddington, Albert Einstein, and others have come to a feeling that the more they know about existence, the more they become puzzled, because the more they know, the more there is to know. The more they know, the more their knowledge seems to be superficial. Einstein died almost a mystic; that old pride that “One day we will come to know all” had disappeared. He died in a very meditative mood; he died not as a scientist, but more as a poet.