chapter  10
18 Pages

THREE CONTEMPORARY INDIAN MYSTICS: ĀNANDAMAYĪ, KRISHNABAI AND RAJNEESH

WithJOHN E. MITCHINER

In this paper I shall attempt to give a general and reasonably representative view of the several paths followed by contemporary Indian mystics. Any selection of a single or a few present-day mystical thinkers of India will inevitably contain a considerable degree of subjective preference: and the present selection is no exception. My choice of these three individuals rests partly with the fact that they each exemplify a different mystical path: Ānandamayī is predominantly an Advaitin, who emphasizes above all the pursuit of jňāna or spiritual knowledge for the realization of brahman; Krishnabai tends more towards the pursuit of bhakti or loving devotion, directed in her case towards her guru Rāmdās as the personification of brahman; while Rajneesh adopts a highly syncretic approach-relying strongly upon active forms of meditation-which does not easily fit into any one of the traditional categories of Indian mysticism. My choice was also influenced by my having met each of these individuals, and having been able to hear and observe them at first hand: primarily between April and July 1978, and in the case of Rajneesh on several further occasions.