B.A. English Hons.
Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with identity, or with conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition or insight. It usually centers on a practice or practices intended to nurture that experience or awareness. Walt Whitman in his writings presents with an unsystematic and intuitive thought of a mystic. Even though influenced by oriental mysticism, Whitman’s beliefs were quite the contrary. A mystic is a person who believes in the existence of soul, in the existence of God or the Divine Spirit, in the immortality of the human soul, and in the capacity of human being to establish an intercourse or communication between his spirit and the Divine Spirit. Walt Whitman is truly a mystic in these respects, as he himself clearly states in this poem- Song of Myself:
“I believe in you my soul”
But while the oriental mystic believes that an intercourse between his spirit and the Divine Spirit is possible only through his mortification or the conquest of the senses and the physical appetites, Whitman believes that the spiritual experience is possible and even desirable without sacrificing the senses in the least. Whitman is a mystic while being at the same time a celebrant of sex and the senses.
Walt Whitman (May 31, 1811 – March 26, 1892) was not just a poet but also an essayist, journalist and humanist. He was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is one among the most influential poets in the American canon. He wrote, “ The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him...