Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Category 16: The Sensitives > Chapter 9: Inspiration and Confusion

Inspiration and Confusion


Conflicting tenets, contradictory ``revelations''

1
Why are there so many different revelations, so many rival sects? There are at least two main causes of this situation. The first, that the divine care blesses all people and not only a single one, flatters the revelator. The second, that the general terms of the message may be true but its particular terms may be false, discredits him.

2
Mystical doctrines have taken different forms with the consequence that some mystical writings may criticize or even contradict others. This situation is familiar enough in purely intellectual circles and to some extent in religious circles, but is less to be expected where direct communion and even union with the Supreme Truth and Reality are claimed. Access to a sufficient number of sources in five continents and a sufficient number of historical periods will uncover that this is an existent situation. One is not writing here of the charlatans, the self-aggrandizers, the mentally disturbed, and others whose claims are false, but of those who are sincere and mostly well regarded.

3
Whether the mystical experience represents a revival of ideas previously acquired or a genuine penetration into a spiritual world is not to be answered by a brief yes or no, for it does in fact involve both these elements. This is of course why so many mystics' reports frequently contradict each other. The visions they see and the intuitions they acquire contain forms or thoughts which have previously been put into their minds by teachers, traditions, environment, or reading. The intellect contributes a personal element whereas the deeper level of mind contributes that which is common to all these experiences. If it were possible for a mystic to free himself of all pre-possessions, both conscious and subconscious, he might gain the pure experience of this deeper level wherein neither intellect nor emotion would interfere. The philosophic discipline seeks to achieve this.

4
All the conflicting tenets of religion, all the contradictory revelations of mysticism point plainly to the fact that delusion must somewhere have got mixed up with inspiration, that the ego has sometimes simulated the voice of the Overself.

5
If the different revelations made by mystics do not agree on several points, here is a warning that first, although a mystic may honestly describe what is revealed to him, this is no guarantee of its perfect truth, no safeguard against its being partly mistaken or even wholly biased, and second, the spiritual authority of no man should be so exaggerated as to deify his statements.

6
Does this mystical phenomenon really defy rational analysis? This is what most mystics assert, but we do not agree.

7
It is quite commonly assumed that the mystic's experience, the prophet's revelation, must be accepted altogether or not at all, since they transcend the need of interpretation.

8
There is no unanimity among the leading mystics on all points. Their revelations should be received with sympathetic yet critical judgement.

9
India's sacred scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, sets the scene of its teaching on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. India's two most renowned modern yogis differ completely in their understanding of the scene. Sri Aurobindo took it literally and historically; Mahatma Gandhi took it allegorically and spiritually. The question arises: why do such opposing interpretations exist for two minds which have touched the same high level of illumination? Philosophy alone supplies a fully rational and satisfactory answer.

10
No informed student of comparative mysticism dare deny that mystics contradict each other. Swami Ramdas, in India, makes joy both an evidence of spiritual fulfilment and an ingredient of spiritual practice. Simone Weil, in Europe, takes an exactly opposite stand and substitutes unhappiness and suffering for joy. What has happened here is that each has laid down a merely personal experience for a broadly universal truth. This is an error into which teachers and followers have fallen.

11
The need of unwrapping particular theological clothes from mystical experience becomes clear when we note that Saint Teresa, brought up in the Roman Church, fit her trance revelations neatly into the Catholic dogmas, whereas a modern Christian mystic, Holden Edward Sampson, brought up in the Protestant Evangelical Church, was led by similar trance experience to regard those dogmas as false.

12
In historical religion and mystical revelation there is often a mingling of truth and myth. A frank admission of this fact can save us from pondering uselessly and deceptively over problems of interpretation.

13
Test all principles and doctrines by nothing lower than universal standards.

14
If he is a genuine see-er and know-er, and something in me or in him testifies to the fact, some inner voice or supernatural faculty, then I gladly welcome and acknowledge his superior status. But here is where the inexperienced or naïve, the fanatic or youthful follower, joiner, or partisan mixes his planes of reference and gets sidetracked. He forgets that the Great Soul is encased in a human mind and an animal body, that the way he lives, speaks, eats, dresses, and conducts himself belongs to this persona he has inherited or formed or received from outside, from others, from family and society, from the geographical, historical, and genetic circumstances of his birth.

15
When will the Christian saint, the Muhammedan Sufi, and the Hindu yogi comprehend that if and when they reach a height of inspiration, what comes through is not different in any of the three experiences? Difference begins with their own personal interpretation or interference.

16
Why is it that there are such differences in the teachings of the seers and mystics? The answer is partly--and only partly--that in each case the human response to the superhuman visitation forms, shapes, or colours the communication or the interpretation of it.

17
Because a man has had some kind of inner revelation it does not follow that everything in life and the universe has become plain to him and that he has become a kind of human encyclopaedia.

18
When men claim to be God's mouthpiece they claim nonsense. If they rise to their best level they see more clearly and sharply than their fellows in the dazzling Light of that level. But they still see as human beings and, in the moment that they try to formulate in thoughts for themselves or in speech for others what they now understand, they are subject to human colouring or error.

19
Visions and messages that confirm or mirror the beliefs of a particular sect may have little value. Suggestion, working on the imagination, may help to produce them, or the disciple may unconsciously wish to oblige his guru, his co-disciples, or his own expectations. They are always to be regarded with caution. In the atmosphere of their own circles, sectarian bias may prevent proper understanding of the need to discriminate between the real and the imaginary in them.

20
What men communicate to others is not the Real which they actually touch, however authentically, but their human reaction to it. This is one reason why the religious world is divided, why religious and mystic revelations are contradictory, why truth-seekers get confused and bewildered, why they move on from one sect to another.

21
It is a pity that the Hindu holy men I met did not know that the Mormons reserve their highest post-mortem heaven for the white race, else their merry laughter would have rung out so loud and so long that its echoes would have reached and mocked the fortunate inhabitants of the heaven itself. The fact that this revelation was based on mystic revelation might, however, have instructed some of them. And the Mormons themselves might find it instructive to note that in a two-thousand-year-old Jewish revelation, the angels in the same heaven are circumcised!

22
Saint Bernard's mystical advancement and enlightenment did not stop him preaching the Crusades or denouncing Islam, although the latter faith has its mystical core, too--in Sufism--with as much holiness and spirituality as Saint Bernard ever found.

23
That these differences of view exist even among illumined mystics is a striking but rarely studied fact. Why did Ramana Maharshi poke gentle fun at Aurobindo's doctrine of spiritual planes? Why did Simone Weil uphold the lofty spirituality of Greek culture whereas René Guénon deprecated and even denied it?

24
His interpretation of the experience cannot help but be personal, cannot help but express the sort of man he is. This is how misunderstandings and contradictions arise in the world of mystical teachings.

25
When we are warned not to inquire into the how and why of a revelation, not to question its intellectual and psychological basis, it is time to look elsewhere.

26
Rudolf Steiner asserted that H.P. Blavatsky was "unable to arrive at fair conclusions because of a certain antipathy to Christ." Annie Besant said that Steiner was similarly prejudiced because of his bias in favour of Christ! All this should act as a red warning signal to the followers of both Steiner and Blavatsky to do some independent thinking, if they can.

27
The truth found by transcendental revelation is not different in America from what it is in India; it is the same in both countries, and in England too. What is different is men's capacity to receive it and their tendency to falsify it.

28
It is something to be noted by the student of comparative religion and comparative mysticism that each faith and each minor sectarian movement sets up its own leader as the supreme personality among holy men, the universal teacher of all mankind. Consequently, he is most often put forward as the last World Teacher, for after him there will come no more--unless, of course, he himself returns as a Messiah. Such claims should be instructive to the student as displaying the egotistic psychological attitude of the claimants and betraying their spiritual limitation. Thus it is a mistake to believe that because the prophet-founders of religion were divinely inspired, they were therefore equally inspired. The divine reality expresses itself through various channels. The prophet who regards himself as the only one to whom divine revelation has come has already lost it. The sect which believes that only to itself has God spoken has never really heard Him. All these inexplicable miracle stories which gather around the life of every renowned saint must not be swallowed uncritically. In the Orient, the simple common people, the devout and the mystical, have usually failed to distinguish legend from history, observation from imagination. Let us not believe that by encouraging superstition we encourage spirituality. We must discard the one in order to find the other. We must differentiate between the noble disinterested efforts of the prophet and the ecclesiastical systems men set up in his name after he has passed away.

29
The belief that a mystic can manage certain kinds of affairs with faultless wisdom, solely by the light of his mystical intuition, depends for its truth upon the purity and quality of his intuition. But it does not mean that he can manage all kinds--engineering and technical affairs, for instance.

30
It is pathetic for the philosophically minded, and especially for the inheritors of the formerly close-guarded hidden teaching, to observe how followers of a mystical or religious guide take all his words without exception quite literally and all his revelations as incontestable truth. When Sri Ramakrishna said that a man must die within twenty-one days of achieving illumination, he said what other mystics are likely to contradict rather than confirm. And when he asserted that hardly one man in a century attains the goal through following the philosophic path, there is no support from the traditions of the hidden teaching for his assertion. All this is written despite my most respectful admiration and warm reverence for Ramakrishna and despite my unhesitating belief that he was a man of genuine spiritual self-realization. I do not select his statements for criticism deliberately but only because they are the first ones which happen to come to mind. There are several other mystics, whom I and most of us honour, whose sayings could equally have been drawn upon as containing examples of this kind of contestable teaching.

31
The longer I live the more I see that there is so much contradiction in the findings of great seers, mystics, occultists, saints, and prophets, that a substantial part of their higher revelations must ultimately consist solely of their merely human opinions. The corollary of this is that the only true opinion is to hold no opinion!

32
There are striking resemblances in the writings of mystics scattered through the different nations but there are also striking divergences. A just appraisal notes both facts. The reason is simple. Divine inspiration explains the first, human opinion the second.

33
Because a mystic is sincere and good, the deliverances of his meditation or trance are not, therefore, guaranteed infallible.

34
In one and the same day I was asked to comment upon two utterly opposed doctrines by two truth-seekers unknown to each other. Yet both doctrines were put forward as tested truths by mystical teachers with considerable public followings. One asserted that the closer a disciple came to spiritual self-realization the more was he provided by the Spirit with material satisfactions. The other claimed that the advancing disciple was provided with so many sufferings as to be utterly crucified. The earnest student whose reading brings him up against them is bewildered by such contradictions. He may end his bewilderment if he will accept the assurance of philosophy that neither assertion is accurate.


Interpreting mystical experience

35
The Overself provides the light but the man provides the thought-form through which it shines. The deficiencies or distortions in this form affect the result.

36
It is one thing to have an authentic mystical experience, another thing to have an authentic explanation of it.

37
They are imperfect earthen vessels for perfect divine offerings.

38
Although he has become the recipient of God's infallible truth he has not ceased to be fallible man. Consequently when the two mingle, each is coloured by the other.

39
The truth comes to every man alike because the presence of his higher self makes every man its recipient. But the conditions within him are so bad, his receptivity is on so low a level, the interference of his ego so strong, the distortion by his emotions so marked, that what he calls truth is really the ugly caricature of it.

40
I honour and revere these saints. It is good for us that such men have been on earth. Nevertheless man cannot perfect himself in this world although he must do so through this world. Hence we must grant the fact that the greatest teachers of the race were human, after all, and therefore subject to human limitations. They did not cease to be human beings merely because they became spiritual geniuses. If their declarations reveal the heights above, they also reflect the plains below. Respectful courteous criticism in my own private notebooks, to clarify my ideas of their theoretical standpoint and practical attitude for the purposes of elucidating the truth, is allowable. This is different from public denunciation in print. Where is the alleged resemblance of doctrine and unity of spirit among the different mystical schools really to be found? The contradictions and even oppositions are as numerous as the similarities and harmonies. If this means anything, it means that mystics do colour their perception with their individual characteristics, however much they may claim to be above the ego. It means, too, that such colouration is most often effected quite unconsciously. The white light of the pure experience is always coloured by prepossessions or emotions, and always suffers from the change.

41
How much has the mystic himself contributed towards this experience? Unless he can answer this question correctly, his understanding of it may be partially unreliable, his expression unsatisfactory. When he tries to reveal his experience or express his perception to others, the personality's interference may begin again. Where the intellectual world-view is primitive and undeveloped, the illumination will be understood in a primitive way. Three men at three different levels of development will express their experience or perception in three different ways. Therefore two different recipients may produce two different "revelations" derived from identically the same level of mystical experience. But, of course, the differences will not be total, as there will be a clearly recognizable common factor running through both interpretations. This situation introduces a varying amount of unreliability in all their interpretations. Only when the aspirant has passed through and finished this philosophic discipline has he provided the requisite conditions for receiving and perceiving truth. It will then be truth in all its purity and finality. If he attempts to make a record of it or to tell others about it, the result will be unaffected by his personal ego.

42
Just as convex and concave mirrors variously distort the images reflected in them, just as dirty, spotted, scratched, or cracked mirrors show a mixed, altered, or imperfect image of the object placed before them, so human minds variously distort or sully the spiritual truth revealed to them by the Overself. Rare is that one which lets the light shine forth unhindered, unchanged, and uncoloured. This is why the philosophic discipline, which exists for precisely such an objective, is so needed by every seeker after truth.

43
The teachings given out by the higher spiritualism are not received by the low-grade séance method, but by what can be described as "inspiration." This is a phenomenon which is found among the mystics, too. But investigation of mysticism shows that although the experience itself was genuine enough, its fruits in revelation and communication were usually coloured by the medium (in the higher and not in the spiritualistic sense) through which it had to manifest on our plane. That is, the personality of the man through whom the teaching was given, the complexes which governed his attitude, often unconsciously, the degree of inner development, and the width of outer experience which he possessed--all these contributed to shaping the message.

44
Whereas Saint Thomas Aquinas stopped writing his books when the inner experience came to him, Shankaracharya started writing his own. Thus one and the same kind of spiritual consciousness illuminating two different kinds of mind brought about two different and opposite decisions! What does this show? That the human mind does colour the revelation's reception or its communication.

45
Some power higher than oneself, over and above the ordinary self, then takes control of the thoughts and actions and expels their baser element.

46
The gems of truth lie buried underneath the earth of personal opinion.

47
It is sometimes quite hard to excavate the foundation of true insight which lies beneath this tall structure built from opinion alone.

48
The influence of the ego upon his reception of the truth is as inevitable as the day after night.

49
It is a fact that most men give the truth, deliberately or unwittingly, a personal colouration, just as when trying to understand it with the intellect or to convey it to others they interpret it.

50
The mystic who is filled with emotions too deep for words has still to bring about a balance whereby he can understand them for himself and explain them for others.

51
His capacity to receive the soul's enlightenment may be quite large but his capacity to formulate it correctly in his own thinking--and consequently for other people's thinking--may be quite small.

52
Many a mystic has been carried by his ego beyond the actual frontier of the illumination granted him, and so led into making statements which embody both error and truth, both opinion and fact.

53
He may only expect to receive such enlightenment as he is inwardly prepared to receive, not what is likely to be above his level of comprehension.

54
No matter how he try, the mystic will not be able to express his inspiration on a higher intellectual level than the one on which he habitually finds himself. This has been plain enough in the past when over-ambitious attempts have brought ridicule to an otherwise inspired message. This is why the best prophet to reach the educated classes is an educated man who possesses the proper mental equipment to do it, and why uneducated masses are best reached by one of themselves. What is communicated--and even the very language in which this is done--always indicates on what levels of human intellect, character, and experience the mystic dwells, as it also indicates what level of mystical consciousness he has succeeded in touching.

55
What so few understand is that a mystical experience may be quite overwhelming and quite genuine in character and yet leave a large number of the mystic's inherited beliefs quite untouched.

56
It needs again and again to be explained that after the Overself takes possession of a man's consciousness and begins to rule his will, it can take possession only of what it finds in his whole personality. If, for example, it finds an undeveloped reasoning power it cannot and does not suddenly develop it for him. Its communications to and through him will be perfect but their interpretation in his own mind and expression to others may, because of this imperfect reasoning capacity, be partly right and partly wrong.

57
What he sees, and is, in that deeply withdrawn state, is not the same as what he experiences later when he is back in the outer world again. The transformation is not steadfast and abiding. There, he was superhuman; here, he is all too human. Even his remembrance of it will necessarily be in terms of what he himself once again is.

58
The mystical experience is at the mercy of his meagre development when it comes to being intellectually interpreted or communicated, or when his feelings about it are to be transmitted or conveyed.

59
How much truth or falsity there is in his interpretation, how much of his own human devising there is in his revelation can be ascertained only by a judge who is ruthlessly impartial and one who is possessed of the keenest philosophic insight. He himself is safe, however, in making universality a fair test of validity.

60
When the psychological derivation of a mystical pronouncement is thus known, it is easy to grasp why such pronouncements are seldom much higher than the intellectual reach and moral capacity of the mystic himself.

61
It takes all of a man to find all of the truth: part of a man will find only part of the truth.

62
Most mystics who claim to know God really know a mixture of their own reactions to the divine experience together with the experience itself, a blend of their own opinions and beliefs with what they have learned from the experience. This is because they are conditioned by their past history and present social surroundings as well as several other factors, and this conditioning shapes the understanding of the experience. Each person brings his individuality into it more or less according to the person. All religious mysticism of a sectarian kind, all sectarian revelations which have not been preceded by thorough discipline and training in philosophy belong to this order of experience.

63
Without sufficient skill in the technique of presenting his message, the prophet or mystic may be unable to present it clearly. His inspiration is not miraculously able to overcome this deficiency, although it will certainly help.

64
The experience enlightens him only to the extent that he lets it do so. For if the trend of his belief and thought is based on a wide knowledge of comparative religion and philosophy, thus opening his outlook and explaining the experience, he will meet it with acceptance and without fear. Otherwise his dominant belief, expectancy, and bias get entangled with the experience--either at its onset or later--and are confirmed in part or wholly.

65
The pure truth becomes too easily mixed with caricatures of it brought in by the ego's ignorance. Too often the man cannot keep them separate, too often he possesses neither the training nor the humility to know what is happening, which spoils this beautiful experience.

66
He may or may not understand the mystical experience which has come to him. If he does not, the chances are that some misinterpretation will creep in and distort its meaning or message. Such chances are greatly reduced if he is able to turn to a master for correction or to a teaching for knowledge.

67
Every logical chain of thoughts, every group of imaginations, every set of remembered opinions, beliefs, and teachings acts upon the pure truth to bring about an interpretation of it. Its purity is thereby lost. What the man receives from his contact and what he gives out is then a mixture of divine communication and human formulation.

68
It is inevitable that the man's interpretation of this inner event should be limited to the arc of his own knowledge and experience.

69
When he enters into this tremendous experience with only a part of his psyche--with the emotional feeling, for instance, but not with the practical will--he emerges with only that same part cultivated and stimulated by the divine inspiration. But the parts which did not enter remain untouched and uninspired. Nor is this all. The unbalance of the psyche will necessarily affect harmfully the character of the realization, or rather the way in which it is received and experienced. Thus it is plain that only an integral approach will yield both a full and perfect result. Whether the light enters his intellect or heart or will or all three, depends on whether a part only or every corner of the whole man has engaged in the quest.

70
If even mystics and seers disagree about certain truths, this is because their natures are not equally purified and their intelligence not equally developed.

71
A muddled understanding based on a fleeting glimpse by an unpurified character, a biased, disturbed, prejudiced, and ill-informed mind, can produce only a vague, unclear, and partly mistaken communication.

72
Stupidity can and quite often does coexist in another area with fully rational behaviour.

73
So long as the human will, ego, imagination, or belief plays a part in the experience, so long will the possibility of error be present.

74
The truth or falsity of the mental concepts which get involved in the intuitional processes or mixed in with the mystical communions will affect the results.

75
To touch the truth is one thing; to be able to accept it in all its purity is another. For the sympathies or antipathies, wishes or dislikes, preferences or repulsions may easily enter into a man's relation with the truth.


Admixture of ego

76
It is not the original revelation of the Overself which they communicate or transmit but the impact of the revelation upon their own mentality. A prism does not transmit the pure white light which strikes against it but only the several colours of the spectrum into which it breaks that light. The mystic's mentality is like a prism and breaks the pure being of the Overself into the egoistic colours of ideas and beliefs.

77
The original revelation itself may be truly cosmic, but the finished product will be so only in patches.

78
The ego personalizes all its experiences, even those concerning the truth. But it does so only partially, so the resultant is a blend of its opinion, wish, vanity, or ignorance with the pure verity.

79
To the degree that his own opinion is contributed unconsciously by his own ego, to that degree he fails to communicate the message. Or, put in another way, to that degree he obstructs the influx of truth's light.

80
Just as a stained-glass window colours every ray of light which enters a church through it, so an egoistic mentality imposes its own conceptions on the spiritual truths which enter a man through it.

81
His ego builds an entire intellectual and emotional superstructure on the original foundational mystic experience.

82
We must separate the universally true message from its locally made wrapping, discriminate authentic divine insight from its fallible human counterpart.

83
So long as he lacks philosophic training, the interests and desires of his ego shape the pattern of his experience of his spiritual experience. Religious fervour is admirable but it is not impersonal enough to let the pattern shape itself.

84
While his mind is closed behind the doors of ideas and beliefs previously put into it and then held there firmly, he may shape his interpretations of experience accordingly. The result may be self-deception.

85
It is quite possible for personal opinions to mix with, or even masquerade as, universal.

86
If a man has not sufficiently purified his nature and correctly prepared his faculties, all his mystical experiences of God or the Soul will not be truly mystical at all but emotional counterfeits or psychical self-deceptions. That is to say, he will have them within the circle of his personal ego, however thrilling or delightful or revelatory they may be. He will merely escape from one kind of illusion (the world's materiality) into another kind (his own spirituality).

87
The mystic whose revelations can fit only into the framework of a narrow sect, whose inspirations are hostile to all other religions except the one in which he was born, may be getting a genuine inspiration, but he is also drawing on his own ego for the unconscious interpretation of what is being revealed to him. Consequently, he does not give us the pure truth, but rather the distorted truth. If he brings light into the world, he also brings back some of the old darkness in another guise; thus the result is a mixed one--partly good, but partly bad.

88
During his mystical childhood and adolescence he is to some extent an easy victim for perversions, deviations, and deformations of truth. The suggestions which he receives from his environment may be false; the impressions which he receives from his emotions may be wrong. It is needful to bring in reason and intuition, impartial authority and factual results to check him.

89
The intrusion of the thinking intellect or the egoistic emotion into the intuitive experience presents a danger for all mystics. And it is a danger that constantly remains for the more advanced as for the mere neophyte, although in a different way. It is the source of flattering illusions which offer themselves as authentic infallible intuitions. It crowns commonplace ideas which happen to enter the mind with a regality that does not belong to them. The prudent mystic must be on his guard against and watch out for this peril. He must resist its appeals to vanity, its destruction of truth.

90
Consider the fact that few even have the wish to evaluate objectively the truth of their revelation or message. Few ask themselves whether they were merely reflecting human opinion or really getting a divine illumination. Most are too swept away by the emotional impact or vanity-flattering thought of the event to make such enquiry. This is why personal fancies, hopes, or fears are perpetuated as sacred truths.

91
The revelation gets entangled with the contributions of desires and fears, race and religion, yearnings and hates, community and heredity--that is, the ego. If the soul's voice is brought through faintly but the ego's echo strongly, the revealed message will be poor in quality. Seldom does the developing mystic align his consciousness with his essence and bring back the result unaffected by his individuality. Seldom is the revelation faithfully, completely, and perfectly brought down intact in every particular. On the contrary, it is usually and unconsciously adjusted to the human channel through which it passes.

92
It is easy to be carried away by both the dramatic and the ego-flattering associations of this experience into an exaggerated falsified interpretation of it.

93
Into the revelation goes not only the mystic's inner experience itself, but also the suggestions of his upbringing, his surroundings, his wishes and fears, his tendencies and illusions; more, his ego inserts new meanings into it or changes those that belong to it. In short, part of or even the whole revelation is made to serve the ego, or fit its limitations.

94
We must go through the revelation with a farm-rake and remove the prejudices, the preconceptions, the whims, and the self-interest which have been inserted by the revealer's personality rather than by his soul.

95
Even where sensitivity of telepathic reception has been developed, the ego still cunningly interferes with accurate reception. It will take the current of inspiration from the master and, by adding what was never contained in it, give a highly personal, vanity-flattering colour to it. It will take the message of guidance from the higher self and, by twisting it to conform to the shape of personal desire, render it misleading. It will take a psychical or intuitive reading of a situation and, in its eager seeking of wish-fulfilment, confuse the reading and delude itself. It may even, by introducing very strong emotional complexes, create absolutely false suggestions and suppose them to be emanating from the master or the higher self.

96
If the intellect tries to make the experience conform to its preconceived ideas, as it will, the mystic's deliverance may no longer represent the truth but partially misrepresent it.

97
When a man puts forward his own scriptural interpretation as true and all others as false, he puts forward the claim that spiritual insight belongs to him alone and no one else. This is a vast claim and all history contradicts it.

98
The mystic's account of his inner experience contains an interpretation and communication of his own beliefs, opinions, and expectations. He is entitled to them, but he is not entitled to use them in order to alter, distort, exaggerate, minimize, or otherwise change the basic facts of the experience itself.

99
These mental aberrations are purely personal and have nothing to do with the truth. It is really the particular person, and not truth, which is thus exposed to ridicule or criticism. But this is not sufficiently understood. There is much confusion here.

100
How much of this intuition comes from the Overself and how much from inferior, from mistaken, or even from evil sources is something he does not usually seek to know.

101
Evil and absurd notions may mingle with the good and wise ones that come from a genuinely intuitive source. Fanatical and foolish messages may find expression among exalted and luminous ones.

102
Intuition itself is always infallible, but the man receiving or expressing it is often inferior in receptive quality or poor in expressiveness or egocentric in handling it or obstructive in understanding it.

103
Those who doubt that mystics can be so blind or so narrow need to read their Dante and note that he allotted hell to Muhammed.

104
The extravagance and distortion, the fantasy and bias of these revelations unfortunately destroys the credibility of what is truly authentic and definitely factual in them.

105
Men bring their little bigotries into this limitless illumination, mix the two together, and present the adulterated product as the latest revelation from God.



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