QUOTE (kalki @ Jun 28 2011, 11:55 AM)
QUOTE (Brainiac @ Jun 28 2011, 10:12 AM)
QUOTE (Gerard @ Jun 11 2011, 04:12 PM)
QUOTE (kalki @ Jun 11 2011, 04:59 PM)
I think I have heard this before.
That might have been on this forum: http://www.gaudiya-repercussions.com/index...c=438&st=60
for instance post #68 and #74.
I had been meaning to get back to this. While St John's writings are interesting, are there any records of Christian mystics (or indeed mystics from other religions) exhibiting the similar types of ecstasies as recorded in Caitanya's case? When St John speaks of disjointed bones, how can we be sure that what he means is what we understood as taking place in Caitanya's life? Is there evidence of Christians thinking in that way?
If Dasgupta was right in saying that such descriptions of Caitanya's ecstasies are without parallel in Indic religious literature, it seems to me that rather than believing
the accounts and with the lack (?) of similar such examples occurring in the ecstatic lives of other mystics, a more prudent explanation or interpretation might be that those stories are literary exaggerations, ornaments, confabulations? The "biographies" are
hagiographies, after all.
Interesting things to consider, no doubt. I remain intrigued by the human experience of Caitanya.
Sure so the question is, has there ever been another mystic that had a symptom of disjointed bones, or is that a symptom that only occurs for those attaining Vraja Bhakti in the "authorized" lineage of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the 6 Goswamis?
In the other thread I quoted St John of the Cross to show that 'disjointed bones' were not exclusive to Caitanya. An other example of this is St Teresa of ┴vila. She wrote very conscientiously about her experiences because she was writing to her confessor.
She wrote in her Vida
"... this is the habitual state of my soul, nowadays. Whenever I am not busy with something, it is plunged into these death-like yearnings; and I am afraid when I feel them coming on, because I know that I shall not die. But once I am in them, I long to suffer like this for the rest of my life, although the pain is so extreme as to be nearly unbearable. Sometimes my pulse almost ceases to beat at all, as I have been told by the sisters who sometimes see me in this state, and so understand better now. My bones are all disjointed
and my hands are so rigid that sometimes I cannot clasp them together. Even next day I feel a pain in my wrists and over my whole body, as if my bones were still out of joint."
This kind of autobiography is quite reliable compared to the hagiographies in the Bhaktamala
or the CC. I have not found mention of disjointed bones in the autobiographical writings of for instance Tulsidas Goswami, Mirabai, Tukaram.
Another related point is the differences in the types of ecstasy. Montague Summers in his Physical Phenomena of Mysticism
1950 makes a distinction between several types of ecstasy; diabolic, natural and divine, quoting St. Thomas who says that ecstasy is an abstraction which arises from one of three causes,
from a physical cause, which is natural ecstasy
from the working of Satan, which is diabolic ecstasy
from the supreme power of God, which is Divine Ecstasy
, and, as I understand it, true Ecstasy in the real sense of the word.
I wont go into the diabolic but the learned tell us that a natural ecstasy results from natural causes, whereas Catalepsy (or Catochus, Catoche, as the disease was called) is in some sense a natural ecstasy, since persons seized thereby are deprived of all movement, and there is a total suspension of any sensation or consciousness. Perhaps Caitanya?
It is said that if heaviness of the limbs, torpor, a mental sluggishness, a paleness of the face, which may be drawn and sad, and depression generally, are the after effects of the ecstasy, it is certainly natural. Under the same heading come those distortions of the limbs, the hideous grimacing and writhing features, with foaming and frothing at the mouth, which might correspond to the desciptions of the Antya Lila
Dom Schram lists seven signs which denote that this preternormal state is a natural ecstasy
. It may, then
(1) be the consequence of some disease of debility.
(2) If the natural ecstasy recurs at fixed and regular intervals.
(3) If after the ecstasy, the subject is found to be weak and suffering pain.
(4) If the mind appears confused, and the subject is bewildered and perplexed.
(5) If the ecstasy originates from concentration upon some thing not of the divine order, but of them earth, earthly.
(6) Natural ecstasy may be induced by an extremity of fear.
(7) In certain cases music will produce a form of rapture, which is natural ecstasy.
St. John of the Cross so keenly appreciated the danger of ecstasy, unless it be certainly from God, that he refrained from desiring it, besides he was too busy to be ecstatic.
In contrast there is the Divine Ecstasy
which takes place with the greatest tranquillity of the whole man, who is placid and calm, both exteriorly and interiorly. He who is rapt in a divine ecstasy speaks only of heavenly things, which mightily move the bystanders to the love of God; on returning to himself he appears humble, and even, as it were, daunted and abashed. Overflowing with heavenly delights and consolations, his face is cheerful and glad, whilst in his heart there is ineffable peace and security.
The true receptive attitude towards God brings joy, tranquillity, peace of mind, interior happiness and calm. This seems not to be descibed in the Antya Lila
This is one the major reasons I'm an ex-GV.