Saturday, October 21, 2017

Divine Union through Annihilation

"The secret essence of the soul that knows the truth is calling out to God: Beloved… strip me of the consolations of my complacent spirituality. Plunge me into the darkness where I cannot rely on any of my old tricks for maintaining my separation. Let me give up on trying to convince myself that my own spiritual deeds are bound to be pleasing to you. Take all my juicy spiritual feelings, Beloved, and dry them up, and then please light them on fire. Take my lofty spiritual concepts and plunge them into darkness, and then burn them. Let me only love you, Beloved. Let me quietly and with unutterable simplicity just love you.” …………………Mirabai Starr
Mirabai Starr writes, speaks and leads retreats on the inter-spiritual teachings of the mystics. Known for her revolutionary translations of John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Julian of Norwich, Mirabai renders mystical masterpieces accessible, beautiful, and relevant to a contemporary circle of seekers.
Her language may be lyrical but it has deep layers which needs to be peeled back to reveal the rich meaning at their innermost level. There are parts of the above dialogue, addressed to God, for a special gift for pure love of the Divine.
First of all, we should note that it is the essence of the soul that is making the supplication. It is not the rational mind. The essence of the soul is always in resonance with the frequency of the communication channel between the mortal and the Divine as they both exist in the same domain.
Gift 1: “strip me of the consolations of my complacent spirituality” – Redefining spirituality
In our lives we have a false sense of spirituality. This is the result of the modification of our consciousness through the influence of family, society, religion and culture. We are complacent in our approach to spiritual existence due a dualistic thinking that prayers, mantra, rituals are the goal but not the means for a spirituality oriented living resulting in ultimate union with the Divine. Due to this posture our lives are lead in a perpetuating dichotomy of a meaningless spiritual exercise and worldly living of attachment to the ego dictates. This is what Mirabai calls complacent spirituality. This mental belief system is highly debilitating and hence has to be removed.
Gift 2: “Plunge me into the darkness” – Removal of all separation
The second supplement to the Divine is a process of plunging into utter darkness. We are aware that all of our perception are the result of sensory inputs through sight, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. The darkness which Mirabai talks off is the total absence of all these medium of communication. The allegory to physical darkness is easy to understand because in utter darkness all separations of objects disappear. The world of duality disappears and we are presented with one field of pitch black reality. This is known to many spiritual mystics as the “Unknowing”. Mirabai says: ““It can be terrifying to find ourselves alone with Mystery.  Yet it is necessary to undergo periods of radical unknowing.” In another mystical text it is beautifully said: “When I say "darkness", I mean a privation of knowing, just as whatever you do not know or have forgotten is dark to you, because you do not see it with your spiritual eyes. For this reason, that which is between you and your God is termed, not a cloud of the air, but a cloud of unknowing.” …………..Anonymous – A Christian Mystical Text “The Cloud of Unknowing” Ch. 4, p. 128.
Gift 3: “To give up on trying to convince myself that my own spiritual deeds are bound to please you” – Removal of the Ego
This conviction that we are in the right spiritual path results from our lifelong operating mode in looking for the guidance of the spirit from an external source such as, prayers, rituals such as worship of external iconic representations, periodic fasting to appease an external personal God. Our Ego has been shaped to consume these activities with a false sense of security. In some religious instructions there is also a threat held out if these rituals are not performed as per diktats of the powers that be. The self has to break this straight jacket in which we have been imprisoned. This cannot be done by an individual alone but requires the assistance of Divine grace.
Gift 4: “dry them up, and then please light them on fire” - Total extinction of my current spiritual status
The emphasis on the nature of annihilation by drying and burning stresses the severity of the false mould in which our spirituality is cast. Total eradication of our current concepts of spirituality is a must to begin the process of integrating our soul or Atman to the supreme reality only through complete realization of the interconnectedness of all that we observe through our limited sensory perceptions and feel the mystical power of the Divine consciousness pervading the entire cosmos. This lead us to the final supplication.
Gift 5: “Let me quietly and with unutterable simplicity just love you.” – Union through surrender
“When we become lost in our lover, what is happening is that our souls are merging. This is an experience that is independent of the physical body. It can be compared to two lights moving closer and closer until they occupy the same space." …………….Sant Rajinder Singh
It is this type of merger of the individual soul with the Divine lover that Mirabai speaks of.
Love to you all.


  1. The words of Mirabal should touch the very existence of any seeker. In fact it should be the introductory prayer for any spiritual discussion, discourse, seminar and personal meditation
    The blog is lucid and touching!!

  2. Thank you for your wonderful comment.
    Very encouraged and charged up to share more.