The poet Edward Carpenter travelled in the Orient, visiting India and Ceylon. On his travels he found men, yogis and ascetics, striving to achieve cosmic consciousness.
In his book “From Adam’s Peak to Elephanta”, Edward Carpenter wrote:
“The West seeks the individual consciousness – the enriched mind, ready perceptions and memories, individual hopes and fears, ambitions, loves, conquests – the self, the local self, in all its phases and forms – and sorely doubts whether such a thing as a universal consciousness exists.
The East seeks the universal consciousness, and in these cases where its quest succeeds, individual self and life thin away to a mere film, and are only the shadows cast by the glory revealed beyond.
The individual consciousness takes the form of Thought which is fluid and mobile like quicksilver, perpetually in a state of change and unrest, fraught with pain and effort; the other consciousness is not in the form of thought.
It touches, sees, hears, and is those things which it perceives, without motion, without change, without effort, without distinction of subject and object, but with a vast and incredible joy.
The individual consciousness is specially related to the body. The organs of the body are in some degree its organs. But the whole body is only as one organ of the cosmic consciousness.
To attain this latter one must have the power of knowing one’s self separate from the body – of passing into a state of ecstasy>, in fact. Without this, the cosmic consciousness cannot be experienced.