The range of spiritual experiences is vast. We tend, in our mental framework, to associate our own practice or religious background or philosophy as the only, or at least, the best, way to attain spiritual realisation; yet, this is actually just a limitation of our ego-consciousness. People following all different practices and religious beliefs will experience what may be known as a spiritual moment, or a revelation, or an illumination. These experiences are remarkably similar in terms of the way they are described around the world, even though they developed through entirely different means or paths.

Some experience a vast sense of pure existence, without differentiation, without any involvement of personality or any mental thought process. There is a sense of “being” and a sense of “light” and a sense of a deep peace of bliss. Others may experience a relation to a personal Deity, to whom one worships and who responds. This experience tends to take on the form of the mental and emotional framework from which one comes. A Christian might experience a relation with Jesus or with Mother Mary. A Hindu might see Lord Rama or Lord Krishna or Lord Shiva or the Divine Mother in her various forms. Sometimes this experience comes with a sense of a personal compassionate relation, but without a specific form of deity attached to it. Indigenous peoples who have gone on vision quests of various sorts report an experience of a living Nature and in some cases, a specific “totem animal” who acts as the guide and directs the seeker, who identifies with and “becomes” the totem being during the course of the experience at hand.

Whether the experience is Impersonal or Personal, whether it involves a generalised Presence or a specific form or Being to whom one relates, this is all part of the One Reality and cannot be separated into “right or wrong” or “good or bad” experiences of the ultimate divine nature of existence.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The Impersonal is Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, not a Person, but a state. The Person is the Existent, the Conscious, the Blissful; consciousness, existence, bliss taken as separate things are only states of his being. But in fact the two (personal being and eternal state) are inseparable and are one reality.”

“The personal realisation of the Divine may be sometimes with Form, sometimes without Form. Without Form, it is the Presence of the living Divine Person, felt in everything. With Form, it comes with the image of the One to whom worship is offered. The Divine can always manifest himself in a form to the bhakta or seeker. One sees him in the form in which one worships or seeks him or in a form suitable to the Divine Personality who is the object of the adoration. How it manifests depends on many things and it is too various to be reduced to a single rule.” Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 4 The Divine, the Gods and the Divine Force, The Divine pp. 77-82

Author's Bio: 

Santosh has been studying Sri Aurobindo's writings since 1971 and has a daily blog at He is author of 16 books and is editor-in-chief at Lotus Press. He is president of Institute for Wholistic Education, a non-profit focused on integrating spirituality into daily life.