The Doctrine Of Over- Soul
The soul which is above and high from other souls is called, The
Over-Soul. This is Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent. God is the Over-Soul. God is that supreme power who commands the entire
universe. As it is clear in the Bible that in the formation of human being it took long time to make Adam. The theory of God, the creation of human in the form of Adam is still endless. There is always one creator in which the world exists.
Regarding this concept, Emerson was one who read almost all the philosophies of the world and came to form his own religion. Religion no doubt was his ancestral background. He was born with the Bible in his hand. He was a man who strongly appreciated the well-known writer Voltaire, who rightly viewed “If God made us in his image, we have certainly returned the compliment.” His parents were both from the holy field. His Aunt Mary Moody influenced him most. Emerson writes, The kind Aunt whose instruction effected my youth. She told me about the virtues and values of ancestors. They have the clergy for many generations and the piety of all and the eloquence of many is yet praise in the Churches.” (140)
In the year 1832, Emerson gathered some of the prominent members of the second church to expound them some of his new thoughts. He found his thoughts were unreasonable to believe that Jesus has some significance at some extent and should not be admired all the time. On preaching, as a Christian Minister, he viewed “It is the best part of man I sometimes think that revolts most against his being a minister. The difficulty is that we do not make a world of our own but fall in into the institution that has already made.” (48) These events were diversified in which Emerson was capable of altering his faith towards his own field. After this Emerson describes, “This world is but a large turn? How old art thou? How ready are you for death and immortality? The soul escapes to God affrighted by the decays of the universes.” (50) Finally, Emerson decided that he would no longer be a minister of the Lord’s Supper as he was divinely appointed. After 19th century conservatives started considering that Emerson’s ideas on his own religion were diverting, especially his denunciation in the Divinity School Address of Historical Christianity for converting Jesus into demigod. As an Orientals or the Greeks, he would describe Oasis or Apollo and about the miracles of gospel which prove a supernatural mandate in terms of Christianity.
According to Emerson, God is an immanent and an indwelling property of human being and his physical nature is not located in some other worldly realm. In the view of Emerson knowledge of God in scholastic philosophy is maturing cognition, ‘morning knowledge’. A believer, a mind whose faith is unconsciousness is never disturbed because other persons do not yet see the fact he sees. To make his knowledge more wider, Emerson made books his friends and read Plato, Socrates, Montagne, Machiavelli, Cardinal De Ritz and Adam Smith. Emerson believed that he himself was only destroying, ‘Idolatrous propositions’ which stood in the way of complete trust in God. In his Address to the Divinity School, Emerson observed the man on whom the soul descends through whom the soul speaks alone can teach the religious ecstasy. His ideas towards religion had increased to such an extent that the college authorities feared from him and believed that he was insane. He told that Historical Christianity has fallen into the error that corrupts all attempts to communicate religion. As it appears to us and as it has appeared for ages, it is not a doctrine of the soul but an exaggeration of the personal, the positive the rituals. It has dwelt with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus. The eastern monarchy of Christianity that indolence and fear have built the friend of man is made the injurer of man. Emerson accepts at some extent that ‘Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets.’ He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. He saw that God incarnates himself in man and evermore goes forth a new to take the possession of his world. Hudant Robert said in the words of Emerson, “I am divine through me, God acts, through me speaks, would you see, God see me or see thee when thou also thickest as a I now think.” (125)
Emerson modifies religious thought in such a disparate way that as an individual he always had a query in his mind, which he was unable to sort it out against official authority. The overall record of his life and writing suggests that Emerson was always attracted towards true religion and Asian spirituality that he appreciated most throughout his lifetime. During his ministry, his allusions to God’s fatherhood are perfunctory. God is an authority within a life principle. The most pure and elevated conception of which the mind is capable of in knowing the actual essence of God. Later the whole idea of a personal God is oxymoronic. Emerson deplores his ideas in obstinate Orientals that God is a petty Asiatic king. There is the ambiguous relationship to eastern antiquities, a combination of repulsion and fascination was slightly modified. Emerson expressed his views on Asian concept of God and expressed his ideas in his Journal
A Paean To God in 1822:
I know of nothing more fit to conclude the remarks which have been made in the last pages that certain fine paean strains and proceed to quote lines from Sir William Jones translation entitled Narayena parts of which describes God only I perceive, God only I adore! From a Hindu perceptive God could only be Christian interpretations of the part of
But this kind of bridging between the traditions was
precisely which attracted him to the certain fine paean strains.
As a Minister, Emerson made the right liberal protestant points about faith. Between 1823, he took notes from The Edinburgh Review on India’s Vast Goddry. In 1830, he found the title evidence of an interest in Hinduism and Buddhism. He did read philosophic system by De Gerando and noted the following, “Idealism a Primitive Theory, The Mahabharata one of the sacred book in India.” (58) In 1837, Emerson lectured on so many topics of religion which honours Confucius, The Vedas, The
Institute of Manu, Jesus and Plotinus as are the voices of pure reason. Emerson’s mature thought began to crystallize when he seized on the ideas of God, when he found himself in the trauma due to his first wife’s death. Agree with the view point of Coleridge’s Theory of Reason and
The Magisterial Overview of the History of Philosophic System by Joseph Marie De Gerando and Victor Cousin who seemed to confirmed himself that the concept of Ancient Greeks and Indians consists that there is a unity of mind and soul in the form of varied individual. The most important quality occurs in Emerson is that being admired with Hinduism, he never learned Sanskrit, never visited a temple perhaps never ever met a practicing Hindu or Buddhist. But he purely managed to orientalized himself well enough. As an American he was the one who fully realized the philosophical significance of Asian thought. As a youth
Emerson mainly imbibed the cartoon images of oriental despotism strange chants, rituals, self-sacrifice at the festival of Jaggannath and Sati importation of widows on their husband’s funeral pyres.
Those were the days in which Emerson read about the Indian superstitions. He was behind the curve even for his own provincial community. The magazine his father edited, The Monthly Anthology and Boston Review had been the first in the United States to publish a piece of
Classic Indian Literature. He was more awakened in the late 1780s by Victor Cousin’s précis, the Oriental Renaissance of the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna from The Bhagvad Gita. Krishna admonishes the warrior that his reluctance to shed the blood of friends and kin is misguided because the material world is illusionary. ‘What is today a man was yesterday a plant and tomorrow may become a plant once more.’ Arjuna must act, as befits a Kshatriya, a member of the warrior caste. But to act with integrity is to act as if, an acted not (Si, on, n agissait pas) that is in a spirit of non-attachment to the fruit of one’s actions. For action too is an illusion nothing exists but the external principle of being in itself.
The scriptures of India long remained a more peripheral influence on
Emerson’s religious thinking than that of Platonism, Coleridge and Swedenborg. Eastern Philosophy especially helped him and fortified his theory of spiritual impersonality and fathom how the material world might be illusionary, without being non-existent. Emerson credits the Hindus with the liveliest feeling both of the essential identity and of that illusion which they conceive variety to be “The notion I am and this is mine, which influence mankind are but delusions of the mother of the world and the beatitude of man, they hold to lie in being freed from fascination.”(Frank, A.Von, 78) This passage Emerson quotes here from the Vishnu Purana recorded during his first intensive immersion in Scriptures of India in the mid of 1840s and later cities in Representative Men as a proof of the antiquity of the doctrine of the oneness of mind. Scepticism about human kind powers of God like perception did not dampen but rather intensified the force of appeals to his sense of moral integrity yet Krishna does much the same in The Gita in order to get Arjuna beyond his impulse.
Hinduism thus validated the symbolic reading of the material world. Emerson always preferred without initially being able to justify it. He insists that the true doctrine is not immortality but eternity which should be universally shared. Apart from Hinduism, Emerson had a great impact of Buddhism. Emerson might have taken his presentation copy of Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia as conforming evidence. Emerson and
The Light of Asia were soon interlinked. A reading journal of the Transatlantic Theosophy Movement which had strong ties to Buddhism, found identity between Karmic law and Emersonian Over-Soul. Edwin Arnold was a stout defender of British imperial rule though usually not in abuses. Arnold was also a serious student of Sanskrit who tried to learn Marathi as well who researched his poem carefully using his best contemporary scholarship. Mediators like Arnold and Emerson activated western interest in the wisdom of the east and helped set seekers like the Brahmin Bigelow and the more obscure. Emerson and Arnold were
considered to be changing identity during their time.
In 1857, Journal Sequence where Emerson first records in which he read the short stories of Hindu Mythology which reflected one of the great poem Brahma, written in the 1857. It is one of the most popular poems of Emerson. It owes its inspiration to his studies in Hindu Scriptures. According to Hindu thought, there is a supreme power that governs and guides the whole universe. This supreme power is the origin and the creator of all living beings and the objects perceived by them through the senses and also the final destination of the soul. This Hindu Vedantic concept is one of the basic themes of his poems and Brahma is one of them:
If the red slayer think he slays, or if the slain thinks he is slain, They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again (1-4)
If the blood stained murderer thinks that he has murdered his enemy, he is wrong and if his victim thinks he has been murdered by his enemy, he is equally wrong. They do not know the mysterious ways of Brahma, the God, It is he who lives, he who dies and he who is born again. It is he who is both the creator and the destroyer. He is the real doer of all things. The same concept we find in The Gita also in the conversation of lord Krishna and Arjuna, wise man does not bother about his kith and kins, we all just playing our role, who does his best become great in this world:
J h Hkxokuqokp] v’ kksP; kusU’ kkspLRo i zKkoknk Hkk”kl sA xrkl wuukrkl w=` ukuq’ kkspfUr i f.Mr%AA(The Bhagvad Gita ,Chapter
Shri Bhagvan said, “Arjuna, you grieve over those who should not be grieved for and speak like a learned wise man, do not sorrow over the dead or living.” Further he said, both of them are ignorant. He who knows the soul to be capable of killing and he who takes it as killed:
;a ,ua osfUr gUrkja ;JSu eU;rs gÙkeAmHkkS rkS u aaafotkuhrks uk;a
gfUr u gU; rsAA(The Bhagvad Gita,chpter 1-Isloka 20)
According to Emerson, Brahma or soul which is divine or filled with God is higher above everything. All countries are equally near.
Distance does not matter to him. To him shadows and sunlight are the same. To him the dead and vanished appear to be present. To him fame and shame are the same:
For or forgot to me is near; shadow and sunlight are the same.
The Vanquished Gods to me appear. And one to me are shame and fame(5-8)
Thus lord Kishna tells Arjuna , “If you should expose of this soul to be the subject to constant birth and death, even then you should not grieve like this because grieve is ignorance.” The Doctrine of Brahma reflects The Brahma – Sutra, The Upanishads and The Gita. It has high fluid of philosophical thought. This poem been interpreted by the
As Emerson understood the real aspect of life and after writing Brahma, he wrote Maya which means the material world or full of
illusion. He realizes that this world is full of illusion. Nothing is true in it. It is incomplete and false idea in which we move round and round and
there is no end in it.
In this poem Emerson shows us about the opposite concept of Brahma. Maya is a small poem written by Emerson in the year 1904 .The title of the poem is totally clear that it has been taken from the Hindu concepts which mean illusion. Maya is just opposite and different from
Brahma in many ways. The poem is actually in a couplet form. There are three couplets in all. The poem being of controlled length is artistically perfect and flawless.
According to Emerson’s description illusion or Maya works impenetrably. It cannot be understood. It weaves its constant and number less thread. Its showy pictures sure to strike us. It goes on multiplying on itself cover after cover. It is a magician who is sure to betray the faith a man who believes in it. Maya, no doubt, is deceptive and untruthful. This is the true concept of Hindu mythology that this world is full of illusions.
Nothing is true in it. It attracts temporarily and takes to the big darkness:
Illusion works impenetrable, weaving webs innumerable,
Her gay picture never fail crowds each on other,
Veil on Veil, Charmer who will be believed
By man who thirsts to be deceived . (2-5)
Emerson was a man who was impressed with ideas and concepts of Hindu theory. His soul is quenched with their theories. In this regard Arthur Christy, The Orient in American transcendentalist views, “Maya assumes a various forms, Brahma is beyond all. Maya is manifold,
Brahma is one and eternal. Maya is spread everywhere enveloping the Brahma the sage alone can pierce through the mist. “(148)
In Terminus (1880), Emerson describes the theory of over-soul. Terminus is a Latin word that literally means boundary stone. It may also be used to describe the end of the road. In Roman religion Terminus was the God who protected boundary markers. His name belonged to the Latin word. For such a mark, sacrifices were performed to sanctify each boundary stone and land owners celebrated a festival called the Terminalia.
Terminus was written at that time when Emerson was suffering from the disease of tuberculosis at the age of sixty. Terminus is considered to be the Roman God of boundaries and limits, who can curb the limits even of sea and the earth. It was his mature age. This simplifies here that when a person has come closer to his last phase of life, he automatically realizes that his soul will meet with the Over-Soul. It was his mature age when the Roman God come to his unusual round and said to him no more ambitions now, this is the time to stop all this. The imagination which is high and wide like a key should be confined to the small area of tent or grave:
It is time to be old, To take in sail:- The god of bounds, who sets to seas of a shore came to me in his fatal rounds
And said: No more! (1-4)
Roman God further says that, it is the time for one to choose one thing either death or life. As one cannot live longer, so make full use of time as much as one can. One should be grateful to God. The giver of life at the same time. Be wise and in time accept the terms and conditions prescribed by the Over-Soul in a spirit of gratefulness. One should be wise to accept the facts of death. Mental preparation is necessary for one and easy for one to enter one’s gravely environment, only a little time is now left and so live cheerfully and smile. Emerson was satisfied with his disease of tuberculosis because he was weak and sick and this was his ancestral problem:
There’s not enough for this and that, Make thy option which of two; Economize the failing river, Not the less revere the giver. leave the many and hold the few. (12-16)
The poet listened to the advice of the God Terminus and acted accordingly just as the bird makes itself fit and ready to face the strong gale of a wind, so he prepared himself to hold the rudder and control the sail of the ship of life. He decided to banish all fears from his heart and go forward in the sea of eternity. The part (The abode of God) is well worth seeking and soon it seemed to the poet that he was very close to it. All the wave of the sea of eternity seems to be charmed with the divine grandeur:
As the bird trims her to the gale. I trim myself to the storm of time, I man the rudder, reef the sail.
Obey the voice at ewe obeyed at prime.(34-36)
The poem is touched with an autobiographical note and written at the close years of his life, when he understands the meaning of death. He describes man is not immortal and his life is limited, is sure to be terminated one day by death. He can understand the meaning of life and death easily. The language of the poem is simple and mythological.
Different writer gives different views about Emerson’s poem ‘Terminus’. Richardson’s writes, “Whether scholars and anthologists have assigned a precise date of composition to Terminus or not the general impression has been that Emerson wrote the poem upon approaching old age.” (204 ) Dr. Edward Waldo implied that it was written in the Sixties in another passage, Dr. Emerson confirmed his own implication. God or over soul has placed everything in its proper place and background, nothing should be separated from its background other wise its natural beauty or charm is lost. This is proved by the poem Fable written in the year 1890.
“If I cannot carry forests at my back/ neither can you crack a
The same concept, Emerson tries to clarify in the poem Each and
All written in 1839. Each is necessary for all (Over-Soul) and all (Over- Soul) for each over soul and soul for each. The Over soul unites all of them in single whole. Emerson signifies beautifully that every creature whether it is small or big has some existence. Without them, no body is having any importance.
Emerson has given many examples about this poem. The
relationship of Bride and Bridegroom is one of them. During the time of wedding, the bridegroom watched his beautiful bride who looked at her as an enchantress or a fairy. Her bride maids were also wearing a beautiful dress and going to the procession of the church. The bridegroom does not know this fact that the beauty of a bride is enhanced by the snow white dress of bride maids who were going to the procession. As soon as the bride came to the house, she was separated from her beautiful environment and lost her fairy charm. The bride may be gentle wife but she was no longer a fairy. So beauty looks beautiful at its perfect place.
“A gay enchantment was undone/A gentle wife but fairy
In another poem Give all to Love written in 1847, God is love and love is God. This poem is full of emotions. Without the feeling of love man cannot understand the true love. In every relationship like friend, relatives all will maintain the theory of love in which the Over-Soul lies. The excitement of love we can see in the affair of Ellen. Their love is so much high that it becomes pious. Emerson once wrote to his brother Charles, “We botanize and criticize and poetize and memorize and prize and grow wise we hope.”(Rusk, 326) He forgot his self conscious dignity and giggled and sings with Ellen. They were like the couple of children suddenly released from school. After that they would never get a chance to live happily that is why its title is similar to their love Give all to love. It envelopes the entire reality of an individual who experiences his own relationship with friends and relatives.
Here Emerson says that in front of love these materialistic things do not exist. Love is higher from all the worldly things which we hoard. If love is there all relationship exists. Emerson further says that in front of love, all things look fade and cheap. Even divinely powers are also entrapped in the theory of love. These powers look faded in front of love because this is that universal truth which binds the blessings of all human in one rope. In another paragraph Emerson describes that love is stronger than the powerful things. The power of love is higher from our expectations. Hopeful person is always confident and tries to generate his own path in the field of love and tenderness. Love is that powerful feeling which always allows one to be a self-confident and self-bearing person and a person become self bearing only when he has love for himself:
“Hope beyond Hope High and more high/ It dives into noon
with wing unspent untold intent.” (10-13)
In the last line of the poem, Emerson describes the importance of loss of love. The love is so powerful and effective that no pleasure, no pain nothing left. The thing which left is sorrow and grief. This poem also suggests that at last when we love someone who is very close to us is really painful to let him or her go in front of our eyes:
Stealing Grace from all alive Heartily know when half Gods go
The Gods arrive.(46-49)
On the poetic aspect we can say that Emerson emphasises on Hindu myths and their God in general. Emerson’s appreciation for India depends, when he explored rich ideas of Indian culture. In the Asian Miscellany by Sir William Jones, read by Emerson made a life long impression on him. He included it in Parnassus (The Collection of his poems), in 1875. Completion of his favourite poems and poets it would prove important to his early, philosophical development, providing the seed idea for his first book Nature also in Sapling 1819. Emerson read Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh, A Colourful Romans that presented Ancient India’s life in beguiling fashion. While it contain no genes of philosophical wisdom. Lalla Rookh, enforced Emerson’s images of India’s early History as rich and idyllic and is the probable inspiration for a journal reverie in which Emerson imagines himself:
“The pampered child of the east born where the soft western gale breathed upon me.”(Baba Meher, 90)
During his later years, Emerson read Douglas Stewarts, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind. In this work, Stewart discusses the similarities and contrast between the philosophies of George Berkeley, a well-known English Idealist and the Idealism of the Hindus. Stewart included in this analysis a trenchant summary of the tents of the Vedanti School sent him by a friend posted to India. Swami Chidananda has rightly viewed about the concept of Over-Soul:
“Truth alone can liberate us, Falsehood cannot liberate us. Deluded thinking is a trap. Mind is the seat of delusion. Mind is the seat of thinking, we do not realize it but is so. Mind is therefore the main barrier between you and he, who is nearer to you than your nearest, the indwelling reality God. Therefore with humility and simplicity, we must approach God in turtle sense and faith in absolute trust, seating aside contrary notion that are created by the mind which is Maya.” (98)
As an essayist, Emerson was a master of style, ‘Emerson is God’ declared the literary theorists. Many of his phrases have long since passed into common English pattern. “A minority of one, The devils attorney, A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (119) His essays have speech like characteristics and prophetic tone, a sermon like quality, often linked to his practice as a Unitarian Minister. Emerson’s aim was not merely to charm his readers but encourage them to cultivate self-trust, to become what they ought to be and to be opened to the intuitive world of experience. Emerson developed metaphysics of process, an epistemology of moods of self-improvement. He influenced generations of Americans from his friend Henry David Thoreau of John Dewey and in Europe, Nietzsche Nickche, who takes up such Emersonian themes as power of fate, used of poetry and history and critique of Christianity. In 1845, Emerson’s journals show that he was reading the Bhagwad Gita and Henry Thomas, Cole-Bookies, Essay or the Vedas. Emerson was strongly influenced by the Vedas and much of his writing has strong shades of non-dualism. Emerson was much inspired by the theory of Hindu concept and its eastern sources comes from the cross-cultural percolation. Pratap
Chander Majumdar was the one with whom Emerson was influenced.
Even according to Majumdar, Emerson was the most satisfied among Americans. The impact of Gandhi, Nehru, Sen, and Majumbdar were the most influential characters in the eyes of Emerson. Ram Mohan Roy who was known as the early 19th century Bengali impressed by the Unitarians, including the young Emerson. Brahamo Samaj was the most westernised and the most intellectualised of several 19th century Indian movements that sought to reform Hinduism and strengthen Indian cultural and selfdetermination by selective importation of western elements. Majumdar’s
mentor, Keshub Chandra Sen had also been a student of transcendentalism. Emerson and especially Theodore Parker also understood the concept of religion at their own time. Emersonian religious radicalism and Brahmo Samaj sought to develop cosmopolitan vision of the religion in order to Combat tribalism but whereas Emerson desires to identify a universal spirituality whose cultural work will enlighten people one by one. The Indian reformers were bent on renewing thought to the end of cultural self-determination on the one hand, while on the other Emerson does not altogether fit the stereotype of the Orientals for he wished to be influenced by Asian thought and supports his theory of a universal religion. He viewed on the facts of spiritual privatisation of whatever sort was not his sole legacy as a religious thinker. His writings were also important in prodding Anglo-American Protestantism to re-imagine religion on a global scale to think, world religion. By the end of his life, Emerson had helped to create at least for once a more hospitable climate among the U.S. Protestant and PostProtestant Elite. Overwhelming towards faith traditions that the majority of early 19th century Americans including Emerson himself had once written off as rank superstition. Transcendentalism was in fact the first significant intellectual movement in the United States actively to promote interest in eastern religion there. In retrospect, one is tempted to look back on the intellectual receptivity to Hinduism. Buddhism, Confucianism and Islam that Emerson stimulated among younger transcendentalist as an Augury to the late twentieth-century burgeoning of non-western religious in the United State with the rise immigration from East and South Asia. Whitman views about his concept of OverSoul:
He shows us all the powers of heaven and earth based in supporting the threshold where two neighbours speak of the failing rain or the arising wood and above these two way farers accosting each other he makes as see the face of one God smiling upon another. He is nearer to us than anyone in our every day life the most watchful and persistent of
The concept of Over-Soul by Emerson, has recently be used by eastern philosophy such as Meher Baba and other as the closest English language equivalents of Vedic concept of Param Atman. In Sanskrit the word the Param means supreme and Atama means Soul which literally means supreme soul. The term is frequently in discussion of eastern metaphysical and has also entered western vernacular. In this context the term Over-Soul is understood as collective indivisible soul of which all individual souls or identities are included. Meher Baba’s most significant book God Speaks written in 1955, which Emerson read deeply influenced him. Kenneth Lux writes after reading Meher Baba’s book “God speaks in Meher Baba major book and it is famously difficult.” (257)
The essay The Over-Soul was Emerson’s first essay. This essay belongs to the first series in 1841. It has a touch of transcendentalism. It reflects the influence of Indian philosophy and mysticism. This includes the highest expression in the religious writings of the east and chiefly in the Indian scripture. He believes that soul is like a steam whose source is hidden and unknown. Emerson suggests in this essay that the Over-Soul is high and above from everything. Through these ideas Emerson elaborates his doctrine of Over-Soul. Emerson appears to have arrived at an awareness of this through his own experience of spiritual illumination. The Over–Soul is beauty, love, wisdom, and power. It is immense throughout nature. Emerson believes that man can achieve this immense intelligence, with his own particular tricks and talents. This intelligence Emerson identify with the metaphysical ‘Divine Light’. It is vast spiritual existence. It is omnipresent , immanent and benevolent. The mind has an intuitive apprehension of this Over-Soul. The foremost important quality Emerson distinguishes between the sacred teachers and literary teachers between poets like George Herbert and poets like Pope, between philosophers like Kant and Coleridge. The distinction arises from the fact one class of teachers, poets and philosophers speak. While other class of poets, speak from without like a mere spectator. To speak to the people or try to teach them from the rational plain is of no use. According to Emerson, the person who speaks without is just only an accomplished orator but he who speaks from within is a fervent mystic. He always speaks with the fury of divine inspiration. His words have power to move, for they come out of his soul. “That one class speak from within, or from experience as parties and possessors of the fact; and the other class from
without as spectators merely.” (Norsberg Peter, 259) The influence of the OverSoul flows into intellect and makes man genius. True genius is religious.
According to Emerson humanity shines in such poets as Homer, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton. They are great for what they inspire. Truths come from out of their pen. There is oneness of all means there is a close relationship between God, man and nature. These things are possible only a man when know his worth and realize the divine impulse of God. According to Emerson soul is like a stream whose source is hidden and unknown. If in case, a man cannot visualize God, then in order to know God or to established contact with God, a man must rely upon himself alone and not on others views or thoughts. It is only through his own meditation, his own contemplation and his own concentration that a man can come into the union with God and this union is the highest bliss. Every man should be the law to himself in all spiritual matters and rely fully on his own intuitions. He must seek God by all himself. In the essay Over-Soul he writes, “He will calmly front the morrow in the negligence of that trust which carries god with it and so hath already the whole future in the bottom of the heart.” (104)
Emerson signifies the value and the importance of the Poet. He writes in
The Poet (1841), “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion. It is easy in the solitude to live after our own but the Great man is he who in the midst of the crows keeps with perfect sweetness the independence
of solitude.” (213)
Here he says that the poet sees the truth and communicates it through his poetry because Poets are the liberating Gods. This is that kind of frenzy which does not come by study but by the intellect being where and what it sees. The poet sees the truth and communicates it through his poetry. The condition of true naming on the poet’s part is his resigning himself to the divine aura which breathes through forms. That’s why the poet has new thoughts, he has a whole new experience to reveal. Emerson suggests further that good poet can have that divine frenzy to revel and he can write his experience through words but he can be more reflective in his ideas when he attaches himself with nature.
Emerson begins the essay Nature, which he published in 1836 with lowing lyrical account of the beauties of nature which at every step reminds us of Wordsworth. In the spring days which are nature’s greatest glory, all nature is decked out in her very best and there is joy and delight in widest commonality for the free enjoyment of all who care to leave their cities and go out into woods and dales which Emerson calls the cities of nature. Man is thus free to enjoy nature in their grandeur and glory. Emerson further satisfies himself with view point of words that there is a close relationship between man, God and nature. “Nature is loved by what is best in us. “It is loved as the city of God, although or rather because there is no citizen.” (7) In this regard Woolsey Theodore Dwight writes:
The noblest writing in (Emerson’s) writings are those in which he celebrates this august and gracious communication of the spirit of God with the soul of man; and they are the most serious, solemn, and uplifting passages which can perhaps be found in our literature. Here was a man who had earned the right to utter these nobles truths by patient meditation and clear insight. (309)
Self-Reliance is one of the most revolutionary as well as one of the most controversial essays of Emerson. Every man for himself but here Emerson was truly towards himself. He simply identifies his theory of self with the theory of Over-Soul which normal intellectual cannot define. Emerson further believes that in order to know God or to establish contact with God, a man must rely on himself alone not what others have said or done. It is through his own meditation and own contemplation a man can come in the union with God. There should be no relying on the authority of others. The highest thought with every man is that man should have faith in his own mind. Only exceptional individuals have spiritual insight as to be able to identify God within. “Let man know his worth and keep things under his feet.” (122) Experience belongs to the personal pains and sufferings of the essayist. Emerson has expressed the feelings of complete sorrows at the time when he lost his son, Waldo with the scarlet fever. He expressed the activities and the actions of his child in this essay. His child’s activities memorize him and it was not easy for him to forget all. He speaks against the effort to over intellectualised life and particularly against experiments also. He believes that a wise and happy life requires a positive attitude. Illusion, Temperament, Succession, Surface, Surprise, Reality, Subjectivity are the seven parts which are needed for the existence of all human beings to survive. He viewed, “Life wears to me visionary face hardest, roughest action is visionary also.” (253) Everyone is too focused on the opinions and actions of others and take personal stance for only once. He further says that people are multiform and hesitate forming the society as one whole. This is one reason why people imitate others. If a man feels that he is one with society, he won’t feel any sadness and loneliness inside him. Instead of hiding himself from horrible experience one should try to learn from them and cooperate the morals from daily life.
Emerson defines The Over- Soul in three principles. The principle of life, matter and intelligence. This matter exists in three forms; solid, liquid and gas. Matter is the external aspect of the over-soul. The universe springs from and goes back into. It circumscribes all material things that the first element of over-soul is principle of matter. “We see the world piece by piece as the sun, the moon, the animal the trees but he whole of which these are the shining parts is the soul.” (187)
In the first principle of life, Emerson describes the importance of life in human beings. A living being is animate and alive only. When the spark of life-principle is present in body, It reflects as the appearance, seen or brightness without life man cannot exists, so the reflection of over- soul is shown in every being through life. “It is if no use to preach to me from without I can do that too easily myself Jesus speaks always from within.” (196)
The third element and essential of the over-soul is the principle of intelligence in man. In lower living creatures it reflects itself as the Impulses Intelligence is the prerogative of man only. “The same omniscience flows into the intellect and makes what we call genius much of the wisdom of the world it hot wisdom.” (196)
After disabling three principles Emerson describes the whole essence of his doctrine so he believes with strong faith that soul is immeasurable and indefinable means there is no language of a soul. The theory of Over-Soul is not based on any religious books, rather it is based on complete illumination. It can not be measure. It has no certain limits. The over soul is above time and space. The supremacy of the soul is known to us by its independence of those limitations which restrain and confine man from every side. The soul transcends all such limitations. All things are circumscribed by the over-soul. The soul goes beyond all expectations. Time and space are considered to be solid but nothing to this over-soul. The over-soul is the perceiver and revealer of truth. This truth is not outer part which one sees, it is a feeling that one feels.
Herambachandra Maitra in Harvard Theological review (1911) writes, “The Over-Soul is really the Translation of a Sanskrit word and commended certain western writers especially Emerson and Wordsworth translating into the language of modern culture what was uttered by the sages of ancient India. In the loftiest strains breathing new life into our
old faith.” (403)
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