Different saints and sages have described their experience of the atman, spirit, in different ways. Sri Aurobindo wrote of his experience in the Alipore Jail. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa experienced Mother Kali. All these sages had reached a very high state. Their mind had become pure,
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's mind had become so pure that he saw the Mother in his own wife. It is hard to see the mother principle in your wife. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa reached this state because his mental state had become pure, it was without modifications. In this state he had the vision of Kali; he saw Kali just as you would see another person. It was no illusion for him, it was no experience; it was darshan. If you come to my house or I go to your house, will you call it an internal experience or an actual meeting? He actually met her. Many similar incidents are related from the lives of Adi Shankaracharya, Surdas and Mirabai.
What an innocent life Mirabai had! She was not a mad woman. How did a girl of six or fourteen accept a statue of Krishna as her husband? Do you ever think about this? I think about it. A girl of six is very innocent and if you tell her, "This is your husband," she will accept it, but when she grows up and it is time for her to get married, will she still accept that a statue is her husband? Mira did. There can be only two meanings of this: either she was mad or she had reached such a high spiritual state that she could realize the vision, the reality and the depth of Krishna within that statue.
If you give a piece of gold to an ordinary person, he will think it is brass, but if you give it to a goldsmith, he will say that it is gold for he has realized the gold in it. In the same way, Mirabai realized that it was not a wooden statue, but Krishna, Giridhara, Kanhaiya himself. She experienced this. When her heart became so pure she experienced God, she had darshan of God. Mirabai did not die; she became one with light. Light became one with light; she did not leave her body behind anywhere. In the same way, Kabir did not leave behind a body when he died. When they lifted his shroud, they only found flowers. He too dissolved his body into light. All these things point to a high state and purity of mind.
There is a state where the mind is not pure and there is a state where the mind is pure. Pure and impure minds are two states of existence. We all know which of the two states we are in. If our mind is restless, we will perceive everything as broken, misshapen, untidy and dilapidated. If our mind is pure, we will perceive everything as whole. So to experience God within yourself, the first requirement is to make your mind pure.
2001, Rikhiapeeth, India