Nature of spiritual experience

Nature of spiritual experience

By SWAMI SHANTATMANANDA | 26 November, 2017

Devotees who used to gather in the room of Sri Ramakrishna at Dakshineswar (Kolkata), West Bengal would often be amazed by his ecstatcy inf spiritual experience. They would often request him to describe the nature of such experiences. But, how could the inexpressible be expressed? So, Sri Ramakrishna would explain the nature of spiritual ecstasy using a beautiful analogy. 

In Bengal, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had established a tradition of singing the Lord’s name in a particular fashion called Kirtan. Large number of devotees would gather to sing such Kirtans. Initially, they would begin by signing “My Hari dances like a mad elephant”. As they derive more and more joy in singing, the chanting is done fast and the devotees could not pronounce all the words and they just would manage to say “Hari, Hari”. When the whole atmosphere becomes intensely spiritual and the devotees become ecstatic with joy, they could only chant “Ha, Ha”. Finally, when they are overwhelmed with emotion, they could not sing even that and become completely breathless and silent. So, as the aspirant goes deeper and deeper into Sadhana, he starts enjoying various stages of spiritual experiences. 

When he attains the highest state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi, he becomes completely silent because of the supremely transcendental nature of such an experience where there is absolutely no link with the senses. The Sadhaka is immersed in his own world of immeasurable and ecstatic joy and cannot express it. He becomes completely silent. Sri Ramakrishna was deeply desirous of sharing his wealth of spiritual experiences with his intimate disciples, the future monastics.  He would begin in right earnestness. When he tried to describe the highest states of transcendental experiences, he would stop. He would lament that although he wished to reveal everything, someone seems to press his throat and prevent him from doing so.  That is why the Absolute is stated to be beyond speech and mind.

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