Social Gatheka Number 21
In poetry it is the rhythm of the poet's soul which is
expressed. There are moments in the life of every soul,
when the soul feels itself rhythmical, and the children,
who are beyond the conventionalities of life, begin to dance
at these moments or begin to speak to themselves words which
rhyme or to repeat phrases which are alike and harmonize
together. It is a moment of the soul's awakening and the
soul of some persons awake oftener than the souls of others,
but in the life of every soul there are times when such
awakening comes. And the soul who has the gift of the expression
of thought and ideas shows his gift in poetry.
Among all things in this world that are valuable the
word is most precious, for in the word you can find light
that gems and jewels do not possess, in a word you can find
an intoxication which no wine can give, in a word you can
find a life that could heal the wounds of the heart. Therefore
poetry in which the soul is expressed is as living as a
human being. If I were to say that the greatest beauty that
God bestows on man is eloquence, poetry, it would not be
an exaggeration. For, as I have said, it is the gift of
the poet which culminates in time in the gift of prophecy.
There is a Hindu idea which explains this very well, and
this idea is that the vehicle of the goddess of learning
Many live and few think; and among the few who think,
there are fewer still who can express. In those who think
and cannot express the soul's impulse is repressed. And
it is in the expression of the soul that the divine purpose
is fulfilled; and in poetry it is the divine impulse to
express something which is fulfilled. Yes, there is a true
poetry and there is a false poetry just as there is a true
music and a false music. A person knowing many words many
syllables, can fit them together and arrange something mechanically,
but that is not poetry. Whether it be poetry, art, or music;
it must suggest life, and it can only suggest life if it
comes from the deepest impulse of the soul.
But if it does
not, then it is dead. There exist verses of great masters,
of whatever period that have resisted the sweeping wind
of destruction, which blows at every moment, always. And
what is in their verse that has resisted the ever-destroying
influence of time? That resisting power in their words was
the life that was put into them. The trees that live long
have their roots deepest. And so it is with the living verses.
We only read them as we see the trees; if we only saw where
the root of these verses is, we should find it in the soul,
in the spirit.
Now coming to the question, what wakens the soul to this
rhythm which brings about poetry? It is something that touches
in the poet that predisposition of the soul which is called
love. For with love, harmony comes, beauty comes, rhythm,
light and life come. It seems that all that is good and
beautiful and worth attaining is centered in that one spark
that is hidden in the heart of man. When the heart speaks
of its joy, of its sorrow, it is all interesting, it is
all appealing. The heart does not tell a lie, it always
tells the truth, for by love it becomes sincere and it is
through the sincere heart that true love manifests.
may live in a company where there is always amusements,
pastimes, mirth and merriment, and one may live that life
for twenty years, but the moment one realizes the movement
in the depth of one's heart one feels that the whole twenty
years of life was nothing. One moment of life with a living
heart is better worthwhile that a hundred years of life
with a heart that is dead. Many do we see in this world
with fortune and every comfort and all that they need in
life yet living a shallow life, with nothing in their lives
more unhappy perhaps than one who is starving for days together.
He is more to be pitied whose soul is starving than one
whose body only is starving. For the one whose body is starving
is yet alive, but he whose soul is starved is dead.
Those who have shown great inspiration and who have given
to the world precious words of wisdom, they were the
farmers who plowed furrows in the soil of the heart. That
is the reason why there are few poets in this world, for
the path of the poet is contrary to the path of the worldly
man. The real poet, although he exists on this earth, yet
dreams of a different world from where he gets his ideas.
The true poet is seer at the same time, or else he could
not bring the subtle ideas which touch the heart of the
reader. The true poet is a lover and admirer of beauty.
If his soul was not impressed by beauty he could not bring
out beauty in his poetry.