Posted by Champaklal Dajibhai Mistry on November 5, 2003


Here is what  William James said in his book "The Varieties of Religious Experience" (1902) about what has happened to nishkaami way of life in humanity and how society treats those who have opted for nishkaami way of life in this kli-yug and thus may appear to be poor because they do not accumulate wealth for themselves:   

"We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. We have lost the power even of imagining what the ancient idealization of poverty could have meant: the liberation from material attachments, the unbribed soul."

veD = SCIENCES OF CREATION AND LIFE states that one should live a nishkaami mode of life in order to be happy....

nishkaami means one performs all kARm in life that come to one unsought as per the requirements of the lifestyle of one's community... but in performing such kARm one does not expect any profit, reward or return from kARm performed....

Please keep getting enlightened about this optional nishkaami way of life by clicking on the next line....


And one does not have to worry about how one will sustain oneself and one's family if one does not get reward or return from one's kARm....WHY?...Because in bhgvD giitaa, creator bRH`m in the form of SRii kRUSH`AN says that if one opts for nishkaami way of life then it means that one has taken refuge in creator bRH`m  and the refuge in creator bRH`m  guarantees that all the sNsaarik life needs (worldly daily life needs  including personal, family, communal, etc) will be provided for by the rewards and return that comes to one unsought from the performance of nishkaami kARm....

The above lifestyle philosophy has been with humanity since eternity and will be there for eternity.....And this nishkaami way of life  has been expressed by William James (1842 -1910) who was an American psychologist and philosopher and an original thinker in and between the disciplines of physiology, psychology and philosophy. William did research on "Biological Consciousness and the Experience of the Transcendent" which is the veDik science of aaDH`yaat`maa (see veD Page on this PVAF web site).

William James hints at his religious concerns in his earliest essays and in The Principles, but they become more explicit in The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897), Human Immortality:

Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine (1898), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and A Pluralistic Universe (1909). James oscillated between thinking that a "study in human nature" such as Varieties could contribute to a "Science of Religion" and the belief that religious experience involves an altogether supernatural domain, somehow inaccessible to science but accessible to the individual human subject.

 James made some of his most important philosophical contributions in the last decade of his life. In a burst of writing in 1904-5 (collected in Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912)) he set out the metaphysical view most commonly known as "neutral monism," according to which there is one fundamental "stuff" which is neither material nor mental.  (From web site: William James)

Was William James leading to creator bRH`m ? He should have studies veD = SCIENCES OF CREATION AND LIFE rather than struggling with the above?????!!!!!!!! all that he is enquiring is explained in veD....... please read the review of his bookThe Varieties of Religious Experience (From web site: William James):

Like The Principles of Psychology, Varieties is "A Study in Human Nature," as its subtitle says. But at some five hundred pages it is only half the length of The Principles of Psychology, befitting its more restricted, if still immense, scope. For James studies that part of human nature that is, or is related to, religious experience. His interest is not in religious institutions, ritual, or, even for the most part, religious ideas, but in "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine" (V, 31).

James sets out a central distinction of the book in early chapters on "The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness" and "The Sick Soul." The healthy-minded religious person -- Walt Whitman is one of James's main examples -- has a deep sense of "the goodness of life," (79) and a soul of "sky-blue tint" (80).

Healthy-mindedness can be involuntary, just natural to someone, but often comes in more willful forms. Liberal Christianity, for example, represents the triumph of a resolute devotion to healthy-mindedness over a morbid "old hell-fire theology" (91).

James also cites the "mind-cure movement" of Mary Baker Eddy, for whom "evil is simply a lie, and any one who mentions it is a liar" (107). This remark allows us to draw the contrast with the religion of "The Sick Soul," for whom evil cannot be eliminated. From the perspective of the sick soul, "radical evil gets its innings" (163). No matter how secure one may feel, the sick soul finds that "unsuspectedly from the bottom of every fountain of pleasure, as the old poet said, something bitter rises up: a touch of nausea, a falling dead of the delight, a whiff of melancholy...." These states are not simply unpleasant sensations, for they bring "a feeling of coming from a deeper region and often have an appalling convincingness" (136).

James's main examples here are Leo Tolstoy's "My Confession," John Bunyan's autobiography, and a report of terrifying "dread" -- allegedly from a French correspondent but actually from James himself. Some sick souls never get well, while others recover or even triumph: these are "twice-born." In chapters on "The Divided Self, and the Process of Its Unification" and on "Conversion," James discusses St. Augustine, Henry Alline, Bunyan, Tolstoy, and a range of popular evangelists, focusing on what he calls "the state of assurance" (241) they achieve. Central to this state is "the loss of all the worry, the sense that all is ultimately well with one, the peace, the harmony, the willingness to be, even though the outer conditions should remain the same" (248).

Varieties' classic chapter on "Mysticism" offers "four marks which, when an experience has them, may justify us in calling it mystical..." (380).

The first is ineffability: "it defies expression...its quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be imparted or transferred to others."

Second is a "noetic quality": mystical states present themselves as states of knowledge.

Thirdly, mystical states are transient; and,

fourth, subjects are passive with respect to them: they cannot control their coming and going.

Are these states, James ends the chapter by asking, "windows through which the mind looks out upon a more extensive and inclusive world[?]" (428).

In chapters entitled "Philosophy" -- devoted in large part to pragmatism -- and "Conclusions," James finds that religious experience is on the whole useful, even "amongst the most important biological functions of mankind," but he concedes that this does not make it true. James articulates his own belief -- which he does not claim to prove:

 -- that religious experiences connect us with a greater, or further, reality not accessible in our normal cognitive relations to the world: "The further limits of our being plunge, it seems to me, into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely ‘understandable’ world" (515).


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