Transfiguration of the World and of Life in Mysticism

Transfiguration of the World and of Life in Mysticism 

By Nicholas Arseniev

 From "Mysticism and the Eastern Church". Translated from the German by Arthur Chambers. St, Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, New York, 1979.


Chapter 1: Joy in Mysticism

THE soul which, after much striving and seeking, has touched the abundant fullness is flooded with joy; so the mystics tell us. "Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy!" ("Joie, joie, joie, pleurs de joie! ") cries Pascal at the moment of his decisive mystic experience. The soul feels itself possessed of immeasurable riches, it trembles with silent sighing or is swept away by "inward" jubilant "singing (88). For all that it deemed of worth hitherto is as nothing beside what it now experiences and knows (89), what now permeates it and dominates it with incomparable majesty, with overwhelming might and beauty. "Ο beauty that exceedest all beauty "—"Ο hermosura, que excedeis a todas las hermosuras’’ (90)! Ο pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova” (91)! The soul has touched the "wells of living water," has drunk eagerly of them (92), and received a new, eternal life.

All the preaching of primitive Christianity palpitates with the joy of this realization and possession, exhales this joy, is this joy. "The friend of the bridegroom rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this joy therefore is fulfilled’’ (93) these words are applicable to the whole of primitive Christianity. Eternal life has entered into the world, "and we have seen it, and bear witness and shew unto you that eternal life which was in the Father and was manifested unto us. ..."And of His fullness have all we received and grace for grace “(94). This is that costly pearl of which it is said that the merchant who found it sold all to possess it; this is that treasure in the field of which it is said that the man who found it sold all his possessions and bought that field (95). Paul speaks of the "unsearchable riches of Christ’’ (ανεξιχνίαστος πλούτος του Χριστού) (96), of the "riches of the glory of this mystery which is Christ in you"(97), of the " treasure" which men carry about in " earthen vessels “(98). And in this consciousness the whole inward life of the Christians becomes a joyful song of thanksgiving: " Be filled with the Spirit," cries Paul, "... singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord: giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (99). Like a constantly reiterated, unceasing, triumphant leitmotif it rings through his letters: "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks" "As sorrowful yet always rejoicing." "I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." (πεπλήρωμαι τη παρακλήσει, υπερπερισσεύομαι τη χαρά επί πάση τη θλίψει ημών)(100). Not for nothing are Christians called "children of joy" (in the letter of Barnabas)(101). Filled with this joy they walk boldly to meet death, confessors and martyrs of Christianity (102). So are fulfilled the words of Jesus: "These things have I spoken unto you that My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full"(103).

As a living realization of this spirit of primitive Christianity, as a living commentary to it, appear also the experiences of the great Christian mystics of later times. Concerning the early Christian recluses and ascetics of the Egyptian desert, we are told by an eye-witness of their manner of life -Bishop Palladius (end of the fourth century): "They rejoiced, as could be seen, in their life in the desert. Such gladness and rejoicing in the body as theirs is not to be witnessed anywhere on earth. Not one among them was troubled or downcast ..."(104). Isaac the Syrian speaks of “waves of inward joy "(105); from joy spring the outpourings of prayer of Simeon, the New Theologian; another mystic of the Christian East, Abba Philemon, teaches from the fullness of his spiritual experience: " By constant prayer the eyes of the soul are opened, and it is filled with a great joy and an inexpressible ardour of feeling, and the whole man is spiritualized"(106).

And in the Christian West of the Middle Ages! Here this spirit is evident in even greater exuberance. For example, Francis of Assisi, after the decisive break with his whole former life, can no longer contain his inward exaltation -it presses outwards (107), he is as though "drunk in spirit." He shouts and sings (108). And we read further (in the Italian text of the noble old «Legenda di tre compagni ") of the «unbounded joy and delight in the Holy Spirit «experienced by him and by his disciples -" smisurata letitia et alegrezza dello Spirito santo." "Tanta era la letitia in loro, quasi havessero trovato un gran tesoro nel’evangelico campo delta madonna povertà"(109). They have found an endless treasure in the field of humility! The Franciscan Jacopone da Todi, poet and mystic, cannot repress his joy -his soul shouts and he feels himself compelled to sing, to declaim, even simply to shout out from excess of feeling (110). German mediaeval mysticism also knows a similar special state of grace, " genade jubilus"(111). And Jacob Boehme felt the very divinity, the inward life in the depths of the divinity, as joy, as a joyful -in and out- pouring of living fullness; the man who is illumined by the Spirit can already taste thereof. "From the Son, who is the heart of the Father," writes Boehme, "rises the eternal heavenly joy, that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath ever risen in the heart of man, as St Paul says. But when a man here on earth is illumined by the Holy Spirit from the spring of Jesus Christ ..., there enters into his heart and into all his veins such joy that the whole body trembles and the animal spirit triumphs, as though it were in the Holy Trinity, which they alone understand who have been its guests"(112).

Two more examples which are chronologically nearer to us. Our contemporary, Sadhu Sundar Singh, a Christian mystic of India, speaks in a way similar to Paul's of the abundance of comfort and joy in the midst of tribulation. "I know not why, but my heart was so filled with joy that I could do nothing but sing and preach"(113). And, in conclusion, the confessions of an anonymous Russian pilgrim of the middle of the nineteenth century, who in the course of his wanderings traversed the whole of European Russia and Siberia (on the way to the Holy Land); a man of great capacity for intense inward prayer. (The notes were written on a manuscript in the possession of an old monk of Athos, which was printed in Kasan in 1883.) This pilgrim is possessed by the sweetness of inward prayer, and thereby his whole life is transfigured. It is a curious little book of exceptional weight of religious experience, which reveals to our eyes the quite unexpected, indeed, astounding depth of the religious life of the Russian people (and that, moreover, in its lowest strata!). "So I set out again on my lonely path," the pilgrim relates," and I felt as I did so much lightness of heart, as though a block of stone had been rolled from my shoulders. Prayer brought me ever-increasing joy, so that many times my heart overflowed with a measureless love for Jesus Christ, and from this sweet spring soothing streams poured through all my bones. The memory of Jesus Christ was so stamped upon my mind ... that I felt a joy that cannot be expressed. It sometimes happened that for three days and three nights I entered no human habitation, and I felt a thrill as though I were alone on earth, alone, an abandoned sinner, before the face of a merciful and benevolent God" (114).

In non-Christian mysticism also, the expression of deep inward joy is frequently to be met with. It occurs even in Buddhist texts: "We live in great joy, which possess nothing. Joy is our food, as it is with the radiant gods" (115), etc. But -to make this clear from the outset- in Buddhism there can be no question of this spirit glorifying the world; for Buddhism there is no absolute, supreme divine reality, its goal being the denial and destruction of every form of world and life. And, therefore, for Buddhism the feeling of joy is merely a transient stage of the way. The highest achievement, the loftiest summit of the Buddhist way is a state in which all joy and every emotion of the heart have long been overcome and cast aside, leaving nothing but emotionless, joyless, frozen "emptiness " of the spirit. " He recognizes neither joy nor sorrow," the Sutta-Nipata says of the man of perfect wisdom, "he has no attachments; therefore he never rejoices" (116).

There is also evidence of inward joy of the soul in the mysticism of the Upanishads. The faces of those who have seen the Atman shine, as in Buddhism the faces of those who have attained the light (117): "They experience supreme, indescribable blessedness, as they say: 'This is that' (i.e., as they identify themselves with the Atman) (118). At times even the very Absolute is felt as abundance and fullness of joy. Brahman is joy (or rapture)," we read in the Taittiriya Upanishad. "For out of joy these creatures spring. By joy they live after their birth, and into joy they return when they depart hence" (119). For the rest the pantheistic mysticism of the Upanishads and the Vedânta (and of the corresponding parts of the Mahabhâratâm) is in general decisively influenced by the ideal of an emotionless and rigid indifferentism. In the depths of the infinite and, at the same time, impersonal and indifferent Absolute, all individual feeling, nay, more, all consciousness and perception, are submerged.

Richer in positive tones -tones of the joy and rapture of love- is the Hindu Bhakti mysticism. "Thinking of me and surrendering their life to me ... they find in me their peace and joy," so speaks Krishna, the highest Being in the Bhagavadgita (120) [for the rest, here, too, cooler tones penetrate from time to time, tones of absolute indifferentism] (121).

 A fiery breath of jubilant abandonment and rapture permeates the outpourings of the Tamil saint and poet, Mânikka - Vâšâgar (A.D. 7th-8th centuries). "Ο thou, our great possession," he prays to Siva, "thou hast held as a sacred shrine my empty, worthless mind, thou hast given me rapturous joy that knows no bounds ..."(122). And Kabir, the great Indian mystic, describes his transcendent experience as follows: "Joy for ever, no sorrow, no struggle! There have I seen joy, filled to the brim, perfection of joy" (123).

Chapter 2: Examples of the Transfiguration of the World as experienced by Mystics

WHEN the soul is lifted by this joy, in the consciousness that the infinite is present in closest proximity ; nay, more, that it has grasped the infinite, it sees everything with new eyes, it feels within itself and all around a new standard of life: "Old things are passed away ; behold all things are become new ! "(τά αρχαία 'παρήλθεν, ιδού γεγονε καινά)[124].

"... cuando salia,

Per toda aquesta vega

Yam cosa non sabia

Υ el ganado perdì que antes seguia."

“When I came out, I knew nothing any more in the whole extent of this meadow, and I had lost the flocks which I used to tend,” says the soul in the mystical poem of the Spaniard, John of the Cross (125).

This state of mind produces not merely an estrangement from the world, but also a glorification of the world and of life (126). A new world appeared after the spiritual awakening to the eyes of the great Puritan mystic, George Fox. Passing through the sword of flame, he came "in spirit" into the "Paradise of God. ... All things were new and all the creation gave another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter... “(127). And the experience of Jacob Boehme was similar; after much wrestling and "severe storms," his spirit forced a way, "not without God's help," through the gates of hell into the very heart of the Deity." But the triumph that was in my spirit I cannot write or speak, nor can it be compared with anything save with the birth of life in the midst of death, with the resurrection of the dead. In this light my spirit straightway looked through all things and saw God in all created things, even in the herbs and the grass" (128).

Symeon, the New Theologian, also tells of new eyes, of a new power, of perception in the glorified man. ... "He is made worthy to look upon the revelation of great mysteries. ...; I speak of mysteries because, whereas all can see them clearly, they cannot understand. He who is glorified by the newly-creating spirit receives new eyes and new hearing ... "(129). Sister Adelheid of the Unter-linden Convent in Alsace (thirteenth century), leaving the choir after an ecstasy of prayer, believes that she has entered into a new world; the grass, the trees, and even the structure of the convent appear new to her, as though they had just come into existence (130). The Italian mystic, Angela of Foligno, in the thirteenth century passed through an experience as soul-shaking as those of George Fox and Jacob Boehme. She felt herself immersed in inward communion with the Holy Spirit, "and wherever I turned my eyes He said to me, 'Behold, that have I created,' and I felt an inexpressible sweetness "(131). Another time, " The eyes of my soul were opened for a moment and I saw the fullness of God, in which I saw the whole world ... the sea also and the abyss and all things, but in all this I could see nothing save the divine power in a manner completely beyond expression. And in measureless astonishment my soul cried out and said: 'Truly this world is full of God!' And I felt the whole world as something small. And I saw that the power of God surpasseth all things and filleth all things "(132).

We find corresponding experiences in the non-Christian mystics also. For example, Kabir cries: "Open the eyes of love and behold Him that pervadeth the whole world! Consider it well, and know that this is your own country! ... I see with eyes open and smile, and behold His beauty everywhere. I utter His name, and whatever I see, it reminds me of Him; whatever I do, it becomes His worship. ..." Kabir says: "Ο Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath "(133).

Ο Father! «sings Mânikka Vâšâgar, "Worlds upon worlds are filled with Thy presence "(134). And Tukaram (seventeenth century A.D.) turns to God with the ecstatic words: "The whole world proclaimeth to me that in it is no place, small even as a grain of mustard seed, which is not full of Thee"(135)! Sο also for the Persian mystic, the Sufi and Dervish, Baba Kuchi, the whole world is transfigured by his overpowering experience of God! "I opened my eyes and through the radiance of His countenance around me, in everything that my eye perceived -I saw only God"(136)! Ibna'l Farid (an Arabian Sufi of the thirteenth century) also beholds in all things the radiance of the divine beloved and feels himself " drunk, but not with wine "; he is "penetrated by joy to the depths of his being." "My heart," he says, "danceth, and the twitching of my limbs is like the hand-clapping of a singer, and my spirit is the musician"(137). Another Sufi, Jelal eddin Rumi, feels how the whole world is flooded with waves of love: "Every moment," he says, "from the right hand and from the left soundeth the voice of love"(138).

Chapter 3: Antinomy in Christianity: Suffering and its Overcoming

THE soul is drenched with joy, the world transfigured by love - these are the tones we hear ringing through Christian, and to some extent also through non-Christian, mysticism. But behind this external similarity of spirit there lies a radically different apprehension of the world and of life. Non-Christian mysticism shows a frequent tendency -e.g., in Kabir and in the Persian Sufis-in its spirit of tumultuous jubilation, to shut its eyes optimistically to the evil prevailing in the world. The world becomes entirely, or at any rate chiefly, an "aspect» of the divine, it becomes pantheistically illumined, affirmed and glorified (139). The problem of evil, suffering, death and sin is either entirely left out of sight, or its whole vast significance is completely underrated(140): thus these things are looked upon as necessary having regard to the general development(141), nay more -want and suffering are actually only illusory, deception and sham: nothing is real save joy, the stream of joy!

The Christian idea is quite otherwise. It has its roots in a deeply felt antithesis. It does not in any way close its eyes to the whole power, the whole bitterness of evil, to the painful reality of suffering and sin. "The whole world lieth in wickedness'; "in the world ye shall have tribulation!" "Ο wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death” (142) ?But in the midst of this pain, so really felt, in this world full of evil, death and imperfection, there is revealed to the Christian consciousness, the Christian mysticism -as indeed we know- infinite value. "The Word was made flesh ... and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (143). "Surely He hath borne our grieves"(144). He descended to the deepest depths of our desolation, till there came the heart-rending cry of actual experience: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Through Him suffering has been transfigured, sanctified; though not abolished, it has become participation in His suffering and His struggle. And further still: voluntarily to take up His Crοss, and to follow Him unflinchingly along the "narrow way of the Cross" is the indispensable and enduring condition of participation in His glorified life. For this we are buried with Him, crucified with Him and suffer with Him. And this nearness to Him -though it be also in suffering- is the greatest gain, the richest treasure, the highest joy. With Him even death is life, life eternal! "I am crucified with Christ: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." "For, as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." "I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh"(145). Here we have those floods of joy which we have seen to be so characteristic of primitive Christianity, so inseparable from it, which constitute in a word the inmost being of this Christianity, the elemental, basic power in which it lives and works, the "Gospel," the "message of joy"! For it is a message of joy. Through His death victory over death; through His resurrection -eternal life! This is not a mere mood of boundless joy, a purely emotional riot of feeling, blurred by sentiment, sensuous or merely aesthetic, as is so often the case with the Sufis, Indian poets, or other Pantheists; it is a faith, a firm conviction, having reference to a concrete fact. The seed of immortality is already, now, sown in the world, in a world still imperfect, still full of sin and death. But potentially, in principle, this sin and death are already overcome. He in whom this seed is sown possesses already a "treasure," the treasure of eternal life, "the kingdom of God is within you"(146). Already are fulfilled the words: "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"(147). He is the "vine" and we the "branches"(148). or in the words of Paul: "Christ in you, the hope of glory"; "Christ who is our life"; "for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain"(149).

Eternal life has already appeared in the midst of the world, in the midst of our lives, and through communion with Him life and the world have assumed a new value. "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's."—" Therefore we are buried with Him ... that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life"(150). Fοr "the old is passed—behold all is become new." This is a new perception of the world, a new valuation of life, a new appreciation of ourselves also, even of our physical nature. "Know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? fοr ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. ... "(151)

And the time will come; the kingdom of corruption, death and sin will end, and then will come the complete revelation of glory, the fullness of eternal life: death will be "swallowed up in victory"(152).

Here we have a unique blending of a certain dualism, a recognition of what is merely the transient power of evil and suffering -in all its painful reality- with the consciousness of the presence of eternal life, with the overwhelming consciousness of victory and of the all-prevailing power of this eternal life, which is now already revealed to us, as the fullness of the divine, in the Son, in the person of Jesus. And therein lies the irrationality, the paradox and at the same time the soul-conquering, unageing power of Christianity.This message of the necessity to suffer with Christ and of the saving power of His suffering is in fact "the stumbling-block and foolishness of the Cross" and at the same time the message of eternal life! 

Out of this belief that eternal life has entered the world, that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us"(153). and passed through the abyss of death -out of this conviction arises the profound uniqueness of the Christian glorification of the world and of life. It is no flippant or obtuse ignoring of pain, no superficial optimism. Rather is it a joyful conviction conquering pain: " In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world"(154).


88. Cf. my essay: Archiv f. Religionswissenschaft, « 1923, H. 3-4.

89. Cf., e.g., Plot. Ennead., vi, 7, 39.

90. Santa Teresa, Escritos, tomo primero (Biblioteca de autores espanoles, 53), Madrid, 1861, p. 511 (Poesia, v).

91.Cf. Augustine Confessions, x, 27.

92. John iii, 29.

93. Cf., for instance, this cry of a contemporary mystic : " Je me suis penchée sur la source vive et j'ai été désaltérée " (Th. Flournoy, " Une mystique moderne " in " Archives de Psychologie," xv, 1915, p.103)•

94. I John i, 2 ; John i, 16.

95. Matt, xiii, 44-46, 49.

96. Ephesians iii, 8.

97. Colossians i, 27.

98. 2 Cor. iv, 6-7, etc.

99. Ephesians v, 19-20.

100. I Thess. ν, 16-18 ; 2 Cor. vi, 10 ; vii, 4 ; cf. Phil, iv, 7 ; iii, I; 2 Cor. iii, II et seq., etc.

101. Epistle of Barnabas, vii, ι ; cf. Hermae Pastor Mandat, xi, 2.”The Odes of Solomon“ , 7, 8, 15, 40, 41, etc.

102. Cf. Martyrium Polycarpi : " θάρσους και χαράς ενεπίμπλατο και το πρώσοπον αυτού χάριτος επληρούτο " (c. xii, cf. c. xiv), Acts of Carpus, 38-39 (" ... είδov την δόξαν κυρίου και εχάρην " ... ), 41; of the Lugdunian Martyrs we read: "εκείνους μεν επεκούφιζεν η χαρά της μαρτυρίας" ... "oι μεν γαρ ιλαροί ττροήεσαν•, δόξης και χάριτος πολλής ταις ύψεσιv αυτών συγκεκραμένης" (34. 35)• Cf. Martyrium der Perpetua und Felicitas, c. xviii, etc.

103. John xv, II; cf. xvi, 20, 22, 24.

104. Palladius Historia Lausaica, c. 97.

105. Philokalia (the great mystico-ascetic chrestomathy of the Christian East), vol. ii (Russian edition, 1889), p. 722.

106. Ibid,, vol. iii, p. 401.

107. "Tanto repletus est gaudio, quod non capiens se pro laetitia, etiam nolens de hujus modi secretis in aures aliquid hominum eructabat ". La Leggenda di San Francesco scritta da tre suoi compagni (legenda trium sociorum), Rome, 1899, c. 5.

108. "... coepit per plateas et vicos civitatis, tamquam ebrius spiritu, dominum collaudare," ibid., c. 7.

109. Ibid., c. ii.

110. Jacopone da Todi, Laude, xxvi, xxxi (edition of his " Laude in the series " Scritori d'ltalia," 1915).

111. Cf., for instance, " Aufzeichnungen über das mystische Leben der Nonnen von Kirchberg " (Alemania, xxi, 1893), pp. 105, 107, 110, 111, 113; also H. Wilms : "Das Beten der Mystikerinnen, published from the Chronicles of the Dominican Convents, 1916, p. 173•

112. Also : " But this is only an example, or glimpse of the Son of God in men, whereby the faith is strengthened and maintained; for joy cannot be as great in an earthly vessel as in a heavenly where the power of God is complete " (Aurora, iii, 15-17). For the joy of the soul penetrated by the Holy Spirit, vide also, e.g., i, 102. For joy in the Divinity Himself, vide also, e.g., iii, ii, 20-24 ; xii, 23 et seq.: "De signatura rerum," xvi, 2 passim.

113. Streeter and Appasamy, "The Sadhu : A Study in Mysticism and Practical Religion," London, 1921. Cf. Heiler, Sadhu Sundar Singh, 1924, 83 et seq.

114. " Otkrovennye raskazy strannika duchovnomu otzu swoemu, Kazan, 3rd edition, 1884, p. 59 ; cf. pp. 19-20, 36, 40.

115. Dhammapadam, 200.

116. Suttai Nipáta, 813, 33.

117. Chándogya-Up., 4, 9, 2; cf. Mahávagga, i, 23, 6, 23, 4 (Sacred books of the East, xiii, pp. 147, 145) ; Majjh-Nik., 185.

118. Kath-Up., 5, 14; cf. 5, 12. Also cf. Svetásvat. Up., 4, 18; Kath-Up., 2, 12-13öI Maitr. Up., vi, 30; vi, 34, 4 ; vi, 34, 9.

119. Taittiriya-Up., 3, 6 ; cf. Maitr. Up., 4, 4.

120. Bhagavadgitâ, x, 9 ; cf. vi, 21, 27, 28.

121. E.g., vii, 18, 19.

122. G.U. Pope, Tiruváçagam or the Sacred Utterances of Mânikka Vâcagar, 1900, hymn xxxvii, 6, 9.

1. One hundred poerns of Kabir, translated by Rabindranath Tagore, hymn xvii (cf. also the state of spiritual joy as it is described in the "Psalms of Maratha Saints," translated by Nic. Macnicol, 1919). Cf. also similar accounts by the Indian poet and mystic Tukaram (seventeenth century A.D., quoted in Sydney Cave, Redemption, Hindu and Christian, 1919, p. 118). In Julal eddin Rumi God says: " Except My service, which is joy's sunrise, Man has never felt and never will feel an impression of joy ! " Selected poems from the Divini Shamsi Tabriz, trans, by Reynolds A. Nicholson, 1898, p. 179.

124. Cor. v, 17.

125. Juan de la Cruz, Cantico espiritual.

126. Cf., e.g.. Underhill, "Mysticism," 1911, pp. 304-313.

127. George Fox, "Journal," p. 17, London, J. M. Dent & Sons, Ltd.

128. Jacob Boehme, " Aurora," xix, 11-13.

129. Or. 26 quoted in Holl, Enthusiasmus u. Bussgewalt beim griech Mönchtum, 1898, p. 81 (cf. Migne, Patr. Gr., t. 120, col. 449CD). The nature of things changes according to the inward state of " the soul " (first hundred chapters on the "Active Life," " Philokalia," Russian edition, second ed., Moscow, 1900, vol. v, p. 95).

130. Ven. Catharinae de Geweswiler, " De vitis primarum sororum monasterii (in J. Pez, Bibliotheca ascetia, viii, Ratisbona, 1725, p. 124).

131. Beatae Angelae de Fulginio, Visionum et instructionum liber, Colonia, 1851 (Bibliotheca mystica et ascetica), c. xx, p. 66.

132. Ibid., c. xxii: "et statim fuerunt aperti oculi animae meae et videbam unam plenitudinem Dei, in qua comprehendebam totum mundum et mare et abyssum et omnia, in quibus non videbam nisi tantum potentiam divinam, modo omnino inenarrabili. Et anima admirando exclamavit dicens: Est iste mundus plenus de Deo! Et comprehendebam totum mundum quasi quid parum. Et videbam potentiam Dei excedere omnia et implere omnia." Cf. also c. xxix -God speaks to the soul: "... Scias, quod totus mundus est plenus de me. Et tunc videbam, quod omnis creatura erat plena ipso."

133. One hundred poems of Kabir ..., Ixxvi. xli, i; cf. vii, xvi, xiv, xviii, xcvii.

134. G. M. Pope, The Tiruvéçagam, hymn xxxvii, 8 ; cf. v, 48, 70; cf., e.g., also "Psalms of Maratha Saints," translated by Nicol Macnicol, 1919, No. xii (a hymn of Tukaram).

135. Quoted in Sir R. J. Bhandarkar, Vaisnavism, Saivism ... , 1913, p. 95. Cf. also the following words in Saint Theresa: "I understood how God is present in all things and the image of a sponge filled with water appeared to my soul" (Relacion, ix, 10, quoted in Underhill, I.c.). I should like to quote here just one more example from Persian mysticism, the passage from Farid-eddin-Attar's "Talk of the Birds," in which the glorification of the world is described with all the glow of Oriental colouring. For whosoever has reached the stage of knowledge, "the glowing oven of the world is transformed into a garden of delight. He then beholds the almond in its shell " (i.e., God in all things), "or rather sees nothing except the object of his love. In everything on which his eye falls, he sees His face. ... Through this veil, shining like the sun, countless mysteries are revealed to his sight " (Third Valley, translated in Silvestre de Sacy's Pend-Nameh ou le livre des conseils de Ferideddin-Attar, 1819, p. 177).

136. Quoted in Reynolds A. Nicholson's "The Mystics of Islam," 1914, p. 59. Cf. the mystic experience of Sister Anna von Selen of the Convent of Adelhausen (in Southern Baden) at the end of the thirteenth century: "Zu einemmale da kam si in söliche einberunge mit Gotte an irme gebette, das ir Gotte als luterlich erschien, da si darnach wz fünff wochen, was si sach das wand si, es were Gott "... (Die Chronik der Anna von Munzingen, herausg. von Prof. J. König, Freiburg Diöcesan-Archiv, Bd. xiii, 1880, p. 154).

137. in Reynolds A. Nicholson's " Studies in Islamic Mysticism," 1921, p. 235".

1. Selected poems from the Divini Shamsi Tabriz, edited and translated by Reynolds A. Nicholson, 1898, No. ix (p. 33). A similar feeling of the overwhelming power of the love which inundates the whole world, embracing us from every side and penetrating the soul through the medium of all our senses, nay, "besieging" it and driving it into a corner, appears also in the Renaissance philosopher, Giordano Bruno ("Degli eroici furori," Son., No. 51), and in the work of Francis's ardent disciple, the poet and mystic, Jacopone da Todi (Lauda, Ixxxii).

139. The pantheistic note is very marked and definite in the Sufis, and appears with special force, for instance, in the poem of Ibnu'l Farid (vide R. A. Nicholson's "Studies in Islamic Mysticism," 1921). Religious experience also bears a definitely pantheistic colouring in Manikka Vasagar (vide G. M. Pope's "The Tiruvàçagam," e.g., hymn v, 70, p. 72) and in Tukaram (vide, e.g., Sir R.G. Bhandarkar, I.c., 97; cf. also "Psalms of Maratha Saints, “translated by N. Macnicol, p. 21). Vide also Hymn xiv in "One Hundred Poems of Kabir."

140. Cf., e.g., N. Macnicol, I.c., p. 28.

141. Vide, e.g., R.A. Nicholson's " Studies in Islamic Mysticism," p. 131; also the same author's "The Idea of Personality in Sufism," 1923, p. 51 (passages from Jili and Jalâleddîn Rumî).

142. I John v, 19 ; John xvi, 33 ; Romans vii, 24.

143. John i, 14.

144. Isaiah liii, 4.

145. Gal. ii, 20; 2 Cor. i, 5; vii, 4; Col. i, 24.

146. Luke xvii, 21.

147. Matt, xxviii, 20.

148. John xv, 4.

149. Col. i, 27 ; iii, 4; Phil, i, 21.

150. Rom. xiv, 7-9 ; vi, 4.

151. I Cor. vi, 19-20 ; cf. iii, 16.

152 I Cor. xv, 54.

153. John i, 14.

154.f John XVI, 33.