An Analytical Study of Cosmic Consciousness


Sri Swami Sivananda

This article is a chapter from the book Spiritual Experiences.

What Is Cosmic Consciousness

The state of Cosmic Consciousness is beyond description. It induces awe, supreme joy and unalloyed felicity. This state of cosmic consciousness is below the absolute consciousness (Nirguna-Brahmic consciousness) wherein the seer, sight, the things seen, or the knower, knowable and knowledge, or the subject and object, become one. In cosmic consciousness there is yet the seer and the seen.

Cosmic consciousness is perfect awareness of the oneness of life. The Yogi feels that the universe is filled with one life, that there is no such thing as blind force or dead matter and that all is alive, vibrating and intelligent. He experiences a sense of universality, a consciousness of Eternal Life. He who has cosmic consciousness feels that the universe is all his. He is one with the Supreme Lord, with the Universal Knowledge and Life. He gets the eye celestial and experiences bliss beyond understanding and description.

A Yogi of cosmic consciousness develops the cosmic sense and has universal understanding. He is conscious of being in the immediate presence of God. During illumination the flood-gate of joy breaks and he realises that the deep, everlasting fountain of joy exists in every heart, that the immortal life underlies all beings, that the eternal, all-embracing, all-inclusive love envelops, supports and guides every particle, every atom of creation. Sin, sorrow, death are now but words for him without meaning. He feels the elixir of life, the nectar of immortality flowing in his veins. His face shines with a radiant light. His eyes are lustrous. They are pools of joy and bliss. He feels that the entire world is bathed in the sea of satisfying love, which is the very essence of life. He feels that the whole world is his body, that all hands and all feet are his. Chair, table, tree–all have a cosmic significance. He could never feel strange or alien to any place.

Cosmic consciousness is an inherent, natural faculty of all men and women. It is inactive or non-functioning in the majority of human beings. Yogic training and discipline are necessary to awaken the exalted blissful state of cosmic consciousness.

The four kinds of Mukti and the Bhava-Samadhi of Bhaktas, the lower Samadhis of a Raja Yogi (viz., Savitarka, Savichara, Nirvichara, Sananda, Sasmita, Ritambhara Prajna, etc.), and the lower Savikalpa Samadhis (viz., Shabdanuvid, Drishyanuvid) of a Vedantin all lead to the experience of cosmic consciousness. The ways of approach may be different but the fruit is the same. The experiences are common. Intuition, revelation, inspiration, ecstasy–are synonymous terms.

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