Social Gatheka Number 22
But now to tell you what stimulates the gift in the one
who is born with the gift of poetry – is it pleasure or
is it pain? Not pleasure at all, pleasure freezes the gift.
It is the pain that the sensitive poet's soul has to go
through in this life. One may ask, 'then would it be a good
thing to seek pain, if one wants to be good poet?' It would
be just like thinking crying is a virtue, to hurt oneself
a little and cry. Who, with a living heart, can live in
this world as it is and not suffer and not experience pain?
Who with any sincerity in his nature could go from morning
till evening through the insincerity and falsehood and crudity
of human nature? In short, a man with tender feeling, a
man with open heart cannot avoid suffering at every step
he takes suffering meets him.
A poet begins with the admiration of beauty and his gift
matures in shedding tears over the disappointments that
he meets with life. When he has passed that phase then comes
another interesting phase, when he begins to laugh at the
world. He rises beyond the tears after shedding enough.
This does not mean that he becomes critical, that he sneers
at life. No, he sees the funny side of things and he sees
the whole of life, which was once tragedy, in the form of
comedy. This stage is like consolation to him from above
after his moments of great pain and suffering through life.
And there comes another stage, when he rises beyond that
stage, where he sees the divine element working in all forms
in all names, when he begins to see his Beloved in all forms,
in all names. This comes in the life of a poet as a joy
in the life of a young lover, it brings in his life another
period. Whatever his condition in life, rich or poor, in
comfort or without, he is never without his Beloved, his
divine beloved in always in his presence. When he arrives
at this period he pities that lover who has only a limited
beloved to admire, to love. For he has now arrived at a
stage that when alone, when in the crowd, when in the North
or South, in the West or in the East, on earth or in Heaven,
always he is in the presence of his Beloved.
And if he reached one step further, then it becomes difficult
for him to express his emotion, his impulse to poetry, for
then he himself becomes a poetry. What he feels, what he
thinks, what he says, what he does, all is poetry. At this
stage he comes to touch that ideal of unity which unites
all things in one. But in order to enjoy this stage the
soul must become so matured as to enjoy it. An infant soul
would not be able to enjoy the particular consciousness
From this time in the poetry of the poet one will find
glimpses of prophetic expression. It is not only the beauty
of words and meanings, but his words become illuminating
and his verses become life-giving. There are in this world
souls who are pious, who are wise, who are spiritual, but
among them the one who is capable of expressing his realization
of life, of truth is not only a poet but a prophet.