Swami Abhayananda (August 14, 1938 – ), born Stanley Ross Trout, is an American mystic who, in 1966, at the age of twenty-eight, was graced by God, and experienced the unitive vision. A few years later, he met a holy man called Swami Muktananda, and he journeyed to India to live with him and to learn from him. After some time, the holy man invited Mr. Trout to join the spiritual Order of sannyasa, and gave him the name “Swami Abhayananda”, which means ‘the bliss of fearlessness.’ Mr. Trout has kept that spiritual name ever since, though he eventually parted with Swami Muktananda and his organization.
Swami Abhayananda does not belong to any church or any religion, but he does belong to that group of souls who have experienced God directly. The Swami writes that he “stand[s] as an unyielding bulwark against the current cultural trend toward an atheistic worldview. God is very certainly real. God is, in fact, the only reality.”
Since his mystical experience, Swami Abhayananda’s focus has been on God and His revelation, and his writings are a means of sharing that revelation. His many books include The History of Mysticism, The Supreme Self, and Mysticism And Science (all of the Swami’s books are generously available for free in PDF format at https://www.themysticsvision.com/read-or-download-books.html). Today, Swami Abhayananda lives “a simple, solitary life, devoted to meditation on God and the sharing of His revelation.”
Swami Abhayananda described his mystical experience on his website, www.themysticsvision.com, in a piece entitled “My Experience of God”. Below is the account of that experience:
“I was twenty-eight when I first pledged my life to God, saying:
Thou art Love, and I shall follow all Thy ways.
I shall have no care, for Love cares only to love.
I shall have no fear, for Love is fearless;
Nor shall I frighten any,
For Love comes sweetly and meek.
I shall keep no violence within me,
Neither in thought nor in deed,
For Love comes peacefully.
I shall bear no shield or sword,
For the defense of Love is love.
I shall seek Thee in the eyes of men,
For love seeks Thee always.
I shall keep silence before Thine enemies,
And lift to them Thy countenance,
For all are powerless before Thee.
I shall keep Thee in my heart with precious care,
Lest Thy light be extinguished by the winds;
For without Thy light, I am in darkness.
I shall go free in the world with Thee—
Free of all bondage to anything but Thee;
For Thou art my God, the sole Father of my being,
The sweet breath of Love that lives in my heart;
And I shall follow Thee, and live with Thee,
And lean on Thee till the end of my days.
Later in that same year, while I was living in an isolated little cabin in California’s Santa Cruz mountains, I prayed to God: “Let me be one with Thee, not that I might glory in Thy love, but that I might speak out in Thy praise and to Thy glory for the benefit of all Thy children.” In that very moment I experienced union with God. And at the same time that this unitive experience was occurring, I was able to set down on paper what I was experiencing. As I became uplifted to union with God, my vision became His vision, my voice became His voice, I and Thou became indistinguishable. Here is the unedited text of what was written at that time:
O my God, even this body is Thine own!
Though I call to Thee and seek Thee amidst chaos,
Even I who seemed an unclean pitcher amidst Thy waters—
Even I am Thine own.
Does a wave cease to be of the ocean?
Do the mountains and the gulfs cease to be of the earth?
Or does a pebble cease to be stone?
How can I escape Thee?
Thou art even That which thinks of escape!
Even now, I speak the word, “Thou,” and create duality,
I love and create hatred.
I am in peace and am fashioning chaos,
Standing on the peak, I necessitate the depths.
But now, weeping and laughing are gone,
Night is become day.
Music and silence are heard as one,
My ears are all the universe.
All motion has ceased; everything continues.
Life and death no longer stand apart.
No I, no Thou; no now, or then.
Unless I move, there is no stillness.
Nothing to lament, nothing to vanquish,
Nothing to pride oneself on.
All is accomplished in an instant.
All may now be told without effort.
Where is there a question?
Where is the temple?
Which the Imperishable, which the abode?
I am the pulse of the turtle,
I am the clanging bells of joy.
I bring the dust of blindness,
I am the fire of song.
I am in the clouds and in the gritty soil.
In pools of clear water my image is found.
I am the dust on the feet of the wretched,
The toothless beggars of every land.
I have given sweets that decay to those that crave them,
I have given my wealth unto the poor and lonely.
My hands are open; nothing is concealed.
All things move together of one accord,
Assent is given throughout the universe to every falling grain.
The Sun stirs the waters of my heart,
And the vapor of my love flies to the four corners of the world.
The moon still me, and the cold darkness is my bed.
I have but breathed, and everything is rearranged
And set in order once again.
A million worlds begin and end in every breath,
And in this breathing, all things are sustained.”
Additional information about the conditions and circumstances of Swami Abhayananda’s mystical experience can be found in his book, The Supreme Self, at https://www.themysticsvision.com/read-or-download-books.html. Swami Abhayananda’s books and articles, which he wrote after his revelation, are his ongoing attempt to explain to others about his mystical experience. The Swami explains that his books are “written in praise of God and to His glory in order to benefit you, His children.” 12 different books, plus articles, are available free of charge in PDF format at the above-referenced link.
Quoted from https://www.themysticsvision.com/biography.html, as written by Swami Abhayananda.
Photo Credit: Swami Abhayananda (2012) from www.themysticsvision.com/biography.html.