Question – Is poetry the voice of wonder, or an avoidance of moving closer to the source, a sensuous lingering?
Osho – Samarpan, it all depends on the poet. Poetry is simply a flowering, an outpouring of the heart of the poet. On a rosebush there will be a rose flower; it depends on the rosebush. No other flower will happen to the rosebush, only the rose. It depends on the poet.
In Sanskrit, in the ancient language of India, we have two words for poet. I think there is no other language in the world which has two words for poet. One is rishi and the other is kavi. The English word “poet” only translates the second, kavi. For that first word, rishi, in English there is no equivalent. It has been translated as “the seer”, but that is only approximately right.
These two words will be good to understand. The rishi means one who has seen, one who has arrived, one who has entered into the source, and now a poetry arises out of him. He is not a poet in the ordinary sense; he does not compose poetry. Poetry simply flows out of him. Even if he talks prose, there is poetry in it. And even if he sits silently underneath a tree, there is poetry in his silence. If he walks, his walk has a grace of its own, a poetry. If he looks towards you, you will find poetry pouring through his eyes. If he touches you, you will feel poetry flowing into your body through his touch. One who has arrived becomes poetry. A rishi is a poet who has become poetry itself.
The poet only has glimpses. The poet only once in a while comes to know what reality is, and that is only for a moment, like lightning. One moment the window opens and then it is closed again. But that glimpse stirs his heart Now he tries to express it, to find the right words, right rhythm. If he is a poet he will compose poetry, if he is a painter he will paint, if he is a musician he will try to bring that glimpse back again in his songs or in his music, or if he is a sculptor then he will try to transform a marble rock into his vision. But there is great effort. The vision is gone, only the memory lingers. The taste is still on the tongue, but only a lingering taste, and great effort is needed to express it.
The poet tries to express. The rishi can’t help expressing it. There is no effort involved, because the experience is not just a glimpse. The experience has become his very soul: he is it.
You ask me, “Is poetry the voice of wonder…?” Yes, the RISHI’S poetry is the voice of wonder; it is the voice of God himself. That’s why in the East we say, “The Vedas are not written by man, but by God himself.” It simply means that God has spoken through man and the people he has used were only mediums, vehicles. The words are not their own; the words have come from God. So is the case with the Upanishads and the Geeta, and so is the case with the Koran and the Bible and the Tao Te Ching.
Koran is a descendance from the beyond. Mohammed is only on the receiving end; he has not composed it, he has not written it. It has been written through him, he was only a medium. He has been used by God, just as you write with a pen; the pen is not the writer. The pen is only used, it is an instrument of writing, but the writing comes from beyond — it comes from you. You use your hand to hold the pen, but the hand is not the writer either. That again is an instrument.
When God speaks, then there is no effort involved, then there is no deliberate composition of poetry or painting. Then one is in a kind of drunkenness — one is a drunkard. One is drowned in God and something flows. Then certainly the poetry is the voice of wonder and it has great mystery in it. It has the taste of eternity. It is nectar. And blessed are those who can move and can be moved by such poetry, who can move into this poetry, this kind of poetry, and can be moved by this kind of poetry. Yes, blessed they are.
But the other kind of poetry is also there which is not the voice of God. It is just man’s creation. It is mundane. Howsoever beautiful, it carries man’s signature on it, it carries all the limitations of man. The other kind of poetry may be an avoidance of the real kind. It may be an escape.
Samarpan, you ask, “Is poetry the voice of wonder, or an avoidance of moving closer to the source, a sensuous lingering?” The other kind of poetry can be an avoidance. You may be afraid to take the jump, you may be afraid to lose yourself totally, so you allow only a few glimpses here and there, and then you “drown” yourself — what you call creativity. You paint, you make poetry, you create music — and you get lost in “doings”. That may be an avoidance. Maybe you are afraid: that lightning was too much.
You are afraid that if you don’t get drowned in your so-called creativity, the window may open again. And who knows? You may not be capable of resisting the temptation of jumping out of it. It is so alluring, it is so magnetic, it simply pulls one into the unknown. It is like a vortex, and it is so powerful that nothing can hold you. It is possible, Samarpan. The other kind of poetry, the other kind of painting and creativity, may be just an avoidance of the creator.
Gurdjieff used to divide art into two divisions: one he used to call objective art, and the other subjective art. The objective art is the art that flows out of a man who has arrived, and the subjective art is illusory, dreamlike. It is out of the man who himself is fast asleep, only dreaming that he is awake — only dreaming that he is awake. And certainly when you dream that you are awake, that dream becomes a hindrance to awakening, because you are already thinking that you are awake, so what is the point of thinking of another awakening? You are awake in your mind, so you go on sleeping.
It is very right to have two words for poets. Because Mohammed’s words are poetry, pure poetry, but it is different from Milton. Omar Khayyam’s words are pure poetry, but it is different from Shakespeare. Buddha’s words are pure poetry, but it is different from Kalidas.
And where is the difference? The difference is that Buddha is no more, only God is. Buddha has become a hollow bamboo, a flute. The song is descending from the beyond — Buddha is a flute on the lips of the beyond. He is not a doer; he is not at all. His nothingness is the source of his poetry.
But Kalidas is very much, Shakespeare is very much, Milton is very much. All the poets of the world, they are very much. You can just watch it. You will be surprised, poets are very egoistic people, sometimes more egoistic than the people who have much money and much power. And poets are very quarrelsome and are continuously fighting with each other, condemning each other, taunting each other, or very ironical about each other. They also create poetry, but their poetry is ordinary, subjective, dreamlike. Their poetry reflects only their faces. They are not rishis, they are only kavis. When the poetry starts reflecting the face of God, then you are a rishi, a seer, a real poet.
Kelly comes to Cohen’s office to sell him a dictaphone and after listening to the sales pitch, Cohen, who has a very strong Jewish accent says, “Tell me what for I need a dictaphone? I have a secretary, an office boy, a junior vice-president. What for I need a dictaphone?”
Kelly, being a super-salesman, says: “Tell you what, Mr. Cohen, you take the dictaphone one month free of charge and just try it.”
“Well,” said Cohen, “if it shouldn’t cost a penny, what the hell — I have nothing to lose.”
After one month, Kelly returned and asked Cohen how he enjoyed it. “Well,” Cohen said, “it is pretty okay, but there seems to be one thing wrong with it.”
“What is that?” replied the salesman.
“The damn thing talks too much like a Jew!”
The poetry is going to be your reflection. If you are there too much, then in your poetry your ego will be reflected, then it will be nothing but an ornament for the ego. But if you are not there, then God will be reflected. Then poetry is sacred. That is the beauty of a Zen haiku; it is sacred. That is the beauty of the Upanishads; they are sacred.
Remember it: for the real poetry to be born you have to die. You and real poetry cannot exist together. Real poetry is religion. Religion is the highest form of art, and art is the lowest form of religion. Religion is pure aesthetics.
Source – Osho Book “The Secret”