Aemelie
Hello Everyone,

I'm a student, and I'm studying the types of religious experience. My textbook divides religious experience into two categories

a) numinous: a spiritual experience of something wholly other than yourself, and wholly other than the things of this world in quality

b) mystical: a non-dual spiritual experience marked by the feeling of all-in-one-ness

The textbook author says that Hinduism is a blend of the two because, for example, in the Baghavad Gita Arjuna "meets" God (numinous) and it is something different than himself, while on the other hand, the Upanishads teach "That art Thou", that "That divine Being which lies behind the whole cosmos, which creates it and sustains it and constitutes its inner nature, is the same as wha tyou will discover in the depths of your own Self, if you will voyage inward through self-control and the methods of meditation and purification of your consciousness." (Ninian Smart's Worldviews p. 60)

Do you agree that Hinduism is a blend of the two types of religious experience?

Would it be more accurate to say that different branches of Hinduism lead to different types of religious experience?

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

Aemelie
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JayaramV
You are almost there. But I suggest you to read a good translation of the Yogasutra of Patanjali to undersand the different types of self-absorption (samadhi) or the feeling of oneness and the subtle differences associated with them. While what you have pointed are the two basic types of spiritual experiences (dualisitc and non-dualistic), there are many shades of transcendental experiences which are described in the scriptures of both Buddhism and Jainism such as samprajnata samadhi, asamprajnata samadhi, savitarka samapattih, nirvitarka samapattih and so on. The Yogasara Sangraha of Vijnana Bhishu is another good representative work on this subject from a Buddhist perspective.
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Aalok
It seems, we cannot categorize the experiences of practitioners into some numbers only. Further, these are more spiritual than religious. A Jnaana-Yogi seeks guidance from scriptures, a Karma-Yogi from the daily deeds and circumstances of life, and a Bhakti-Yogi from devotion to a Guru or God. Ultimately, for reaching the reality of oneness with the Universe, the seeker may have to pass through a variety of lot many shades of experiences! Can we count them?
Aalok
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