Sri Chinmoy speaks on the spiritual significance of poetry in the Music Academy of Stockholm. Filmed by kedarvideo, Switzerland. Here is the full transcript of the talk:
Prose you can write. Prose he can write. Prose even I can write. But God writes poetry through you, through him and even through me. Poetry is the shortcut to reach the subtle and tangible Goal of goals-Delight infinite. A poem starts in streaming tears and ends in soaring smiles. The poet beckons tomorrow’s dream-dawn and then transforms tomorrow’s dream-dawn into today’s reality-day.
It is a deplorable mistake we make when we try to understand poetry. Poetry is not to be understood. Poetry is to be felt. Poetry is to be loved. To try to understand a poem is like touching a rose with innumerable thorns. To try to feel a poem is to lovingly hold a rose without a single thorn. And to love a poem is to grow immediately into the beauty and fragrance of the rose itself.
The soul of the poet creates. The heart of the poet originates. The eyes of the poet initiate.
Inside each human being there is a poet. This poet can bring down the loftiest heights of truth and, at the same time, can powerfully eclipse the darkest falsehood if and when necessity demands. Poetry whispers, “O my friends, O my admirers, adorers and lovers, metres and metrical dance-foot-movements-iambus, trochee, anapaest, spondee and others-are my fondness-children. They can scale the measureless height, fathom the deepest depth and run the farthest length. Let us embark on Eternity’s voyage with my children, my fondness-children.”
When we write a poem or read a poem self-givingly, we spend a quiet moment with God the Beauty, God the Compassion and God the Satisfaction.
I am a poet. I started writing poems right from my infancy. Before I write a soulful, powerful and significant poem, I concentrate with my vision-eye, I meditate with my liberation-heart and I contemplate with my realisation-soul. And then I focus my life-camera on God’s transcendental Divinity and God’s universal Beauty.
After I have written the poem soulfully and devotedly, the Absolute Poet Supreme, to my extreme surprise, tells me that He has prepaid my ticket to reach the highest height of boundless ecstasy. When I read the poem in absolute silence, the soul of the poem tells me, “Come in, come in. Ah, you have come to see the real in me.”
There are poets-ordinary poets, great poets. Again, there are seer-poets. The seer-poets are of supreme heights. A seer is he who envisions the present, the past and the future all at once.
The great difference between music and poetry is this: music is a universal language. I do not have to learn a particular language in order to appreciate the melody, the soulfulness and the fulness of the music. Just because music has a universal appeal, I can appreciate, admire and love the music. But the poetry that has a universal appeal is the creation of a seer-poet. ‘Seer’ in Sanskrit is drashta-he who has a free access to the past, present and future and has the rare capacity to divinely grow and supremely glow.
It is said that poets are born and not made. Unfortunately, I do not and cannot subscribe to this view. There are many, many poets I have seen in my lifetime who were not born as poets but, by virtue of their hearts’ climbing cries and one-pointed, dedicated lives, have become excellent poets. So, as it is true that poets are born, even so, it is equally true that poets can be made. Here in the audience, I am sure there are some who are not poets but, at the same time, have a genuine desire to become poets. To them I wish to offer a few humble and soulful suggestions.
You want to be a poet. You can be a poet. You are bound to be a poet. Do not allow yourself to be ensnared by doubt. Self- criticism-no, no, no; self-enthusiasm-yes, yes, yes. Try to free your mind for a few minutes from the coil of thought. Just for a few minutes try to keep your mind silent. I am not saying for a few hours-far from it. Just for four or five minutes keep your mind silent. And then place your silent mind on the beautiful, illumining and fulfilling throne that your heart has created for you.
When you write a poem, you can read it time and again-as many times as you want. Each time you read it, you can try to increase your heart’s joy with your imagination-power. Imagination is a world of its own. The Creator has created His creation. He is observing His creation and He is enjoying His creation. In exactly the same way, you can create a poem, you can observe it and you can enjoy it. You are the creator, you are the observer and you are the enjoyer.
There are critics here, there and everywhere. You must not heed the chorus of impossible critics. Critics, it is said, are the worst failures. There is considerable truth in this. Our goal is perfection. It is enthusiasm and not criticism that can perfect us. Self-criticism is not the correct way. What we constantly need is an inner cry. It is through self-search and self-illumination that we can arrive at perfection. What we need at every moment is enthusiasm in measureless measure and not criticism by others or even self-criticism.
Poetry is humanity’s aspiration-cry, and poetry is Divinity’s satisfaction-fruit. There are many, many planes of consciousness from which poems can descend. And again, the poet can also climb up like a bird-high, higher, highest-and enter into these planes of consciousness and bring down the loftiest truth, light and delight.
A poet can write a poem from the mind proper. He can write a poem from the intuitive mind. He can write a poem from the higher mind. He can write a poem from the overmind and even from the supermind. But when a poet enters into Sat-Chit-Ananda – Existence-Consciousness-Bliss – which is higher than all the planes that I have mentioned, the poet feels that he has covered the longest possible distance. It is like making a long- distance telephone call. But once he reaches this highest plane of consciousness, the Absolute Lord Poet Supreme tells him, “My poet-child, you are mistaken, completely mistaken. Once you reach the Highest, once you become one with the Highest, your journey’s start and the Highest are not at two different places. They are at one place. So it is not a long-distance telephone conversation. You can say it is a local call. On the strength of your heart’s immense cry, you as a poet have reached the ultimate height. Once you reach the ultimate height, the journey’s start and the journey’s close become inseparably one.