The Nature & Genesis of Religious Experience (An Old & Rare Book)
|8.80 X 5.80 inch
The focus is on religious experiences in general. While it emphasizes on the explicit forms of religious experiences like mysticism and revelation they are treated as phenomenon and not as occurrences specific to any religion or creed. Essentially, this book provides a broad perspective and penetrating understanding of the nature of religious experiences which shows how these experiences are not always spontaneously received but may also be cultivated. It brings to the fore the interaction between mystical experience, on the one hand, and 'set' and 'setting' on the other; 'set' meaning personal predilections and 'setting' the other than personal, l.e., physical, social, hereditary and cultural surroundings. The place of psychological bases and extra-mental agents like psychedelic drugs and music (Hindustani Classical Music) that may instigate religious experiences have been explored as both of them have occupied a significant position in most religions. The question of expression of religious experiences comprises the concluding part of the enquiry.
Alongside any intimacy shared with religion, many human achievements have often propagated an attitude of disaffection towards, and estrangement from, religion and religious life. The method, approach and practice of religion is apparently at variance with the scientific temper. And the difficulty in reconciling them is founded on the perpetual conflict between scientific naturalism and religious super-naturalism. The progressive attitude of mind is frankly empirical, while the religious temper is persistently traditional and often dogmatic, bound by myths, rituals and superstitions. Empiricism which is at war with our religious traditionalism is bound up with science, and upon science the progress of civilization is greatly dependent. Science is simply the specialized effort of scientists who concentrate upon achieving knowledge of things around us, in order to ensure their proper use and manipulation.
Approached in various ways, religion can be treated in the most diverse manners. Mystics, moralists, agnostics, humanists, etc., represent some of the different approaches to religion. This, however, should not lead to the conclusion that they are individually absolute as it is possible for the same person to adhere to views expressed by more than one approach. The diversity of opinions and reactions to religion are best explained by the fact that religion is variously approached by humankind in accordance with environmental conditions, mental make-up and individual inclinations.
From each perspective, the place, validity and meaning of religion, and its relevance to life, varies. Mystics, for instance, abandon any attempt at comprehending the problem and rather indulge in pure intuitional contemplation, assuming the forms of vision and ecstasy. Mystics prefer to see religion in the context of human communion with the supernatural. The mora lists try to point out the close relation between God and duty, preaching the sermon of the categorical imperative. Unlike these, the scientist is in search of the ultimate cause of creation and in one's endeavor to explain facts and phenomena of existence, reduces everything to a cause-effect series. The atheist's standpoint dismantles the structure constructed by the mystics, and calls their visions and ecstasies nothing but amber rations of the human mind. The agnostics' pet argument is that the finite cannot know the infinite', thereby doing away with the problem, or, shirking the responsibility of solving it.
Pratt has identified four typical aspects of religion in his The Religious Consciousness: A Psychological Study. He makes out the four aspects to be: (1) the traditional, which imbibes its attitudes from the authority of the past-from parents, teachers, tradition, the Church, etc.; (ii) the rational, which seeks to free itself altogether from authority and to base itself purely on reason and the facts of verifiable experience; (iii) the mystical. which appeals to a particular kind of experience and a kind that is peculiarly subjective and hence not scientifically verifiable; (iv) the practical which lays emphasis upon the thing that must be done rather than upon the thing that must be believed or felt.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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