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Mysticism, Enlightenment, and Morality
  • Philip Novak, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Dominican University of California
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Publication Date
Religion and Philosophy

"Our outspoken anthropologist friend, Dr. A. Bharati, once remarked that if someone is a stinker before a mystical experience, he'll be a stinker afterwards .1 The swami's observation stemmed from years spent among the holy men of India and , no doubt, from considerable personal experience. It is an exaggeration , of course, but we cannot dismiss his crucial point: it is quite possible to be a mystic and a stinker. If we refuse to take Bharati's word for it, we need only to examine the numerous recent accounts of the oafish behavior displayed by acclaimed mystic-teachers. Or we can scan our friends -- lots of them have had mystical experiences (A. Greeley puts the figure of mystically experienced Americans at about 40 percent), and some remain incorrigible. Mystical experiences can come and go, it seems, without altering the fundamental habit patterns and tendencies that vector our behavior." ~ from the article


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Citation Information
Philip Novak. "Mysticism, Enlightenment, and Morality" ReVision Vol. 12 Iss. 1 (1989) p. 45 - 49
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