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Mystic experiences

Vivekananda (quoted by Swami Saradananda) described a “vision” he had after meditation in his home during his college days:
When I kept my mind still and devoid of all objects, there flowed in it a current of serene bliss. Under its influence, I felt a sort of intoxication for a long time even after the end of the meditation; so I did not feel inclined to leave my seat and get up immediately. One day when I was sitting in that condition at the end of the meditation, I saw the wonderful figure of a monk appear suddenly-from where I did not know-and stand before me at a little distance, filling the room with a divine effulgence. He was in ochre robes with a Kamandalu (water-pot) in his hand. His face bore such a calm and serene expression of inwardness born of indifference to all things, that I was amazed and felt much drawn to him. He walked towards me with a slow step, his eyes steadfastly fixed on me, as if he wanted to say something. But I was seized with fear and could not keep still. I got up from my seat, opened the door, and quickly left the room. The next moment I thought, “Why this foolish fear?” I became bold and went back into the room to listen to the monk, who, alas, was no longer there. I waited long in vain, feeling dejected and repenting that I had been so stupid as to flee without listening to him. I have seen many monks, but never have I seen such an extraordinary expression on any other face. That face has been indelibly printed on my heart. It may have been a hallucination; but very often I think that I had the good Fortune of seeing Lord Buddha that day.


Narenedra’s father went to Raipur in the Central Provinces. Knowing he would have to live there for an extended time, he had his family brought there. Raipur was not connected by railway then; travelers had to go by bullock-carts for more than two weeks along narrow forest paths cut through the tropical forests. Naren, 14, as the eldest son, was responsible for protecting and guarding his family as they journeyed there. He later recalled an experience he had while traveling on the bullock cart:

What I saw and felt when going through the forest has for ever remained firmly imprinted in my memory, particularly a certain event one day. We traveled by the foot of the Vindhya mountains that day.

The peaks of the ranges on both sides of the road rose very high in the sky; various kinds of trees and creepers bending under the weight of fruits and flowers produced wonderful beauty on the mountainsides. Birds of various colors, flying from tree to tree, filled the air with sweet notes. I saw all these and felt an extraordinary peace. The slow-moving bullock-carts came to a place where two mountain peaks, coming forward – as though in love – locked themselves as if in an embrace – over the narrow forest path. Observing below, at the meeting-point, I saw there was a cleft from the crest to the foot of the mountain on one side of the path; and filling that cleft, there was hanging an enormous honeycomb, the result of bees labor for ages. Filled with wonder, I pondered over the  beginning and end of that kingdom of bees, my mind became so much absorbed in the thought of the infinite power of God, the Controller of the three worlds, that I lost consciousness of the external world. I do not remember how long I was lying in the bullock-cart in that condition. But when I regained normal consciousness, I found we had crossed that place and come far away. I was alone in the cart; no one knew anything about it. (source Lilaprasanga)


From my boyhood, whenever I came into contact with a particular object, man or place, it would sometimes seem as if I had been acquainted with it before. But all my efforts to recollect it were unsuccessful. Yet the impression persisted. I’ll give you an instance: One day I was discussing various topics with some friends at a particular place. Suddenly something was said, which reminded me that in some time in the past in this very house I had talked with these same friends on that very subject and that the discussion had even taken the same turn. Later on I thought it might be due to the law of transmigration. But soon afterward I decided that such definite conclusions on the subject were not reasonable. Now I believe that before I was born I must have had visions somehow of those subjects and people with whom I would have to come in contact with in my present birth. Such memories have come to me every now and then throughout my life.