Introduction

Many souls came, many souls are coming and many souls will come into the world for the illumination of the mind and the transformation of life founded upon a oneness-world-dream.

In this book I have soulfully ventured to write about my hero-poets and hero-philosophers who are the supremely choice citizens of Immortality.

Part I — The Classics

Homer

O peerless poet, a wild mystery has veiled
Thy deathless life. Too little of Truth of thee
Our mind captures from hystory's drowsy core.
Thy vast adventure tales 'Illiad', 'Odyssey',
Are blazing flames of warrior-suns.
Although stone blind, thou wert the light of Greece.
Ever she breathes in thy sea of enormous pride.

Socrates

Although thy pen was silent, mute,
A sea of knowledge dire
In thee the world of yore had seized.
Thy voice was Spirit's fire.

All wealth and ease of the world sublime
Thy deeds were apt to disdain.
Therefore thy spouse, Xantippe,
Was tortured by a ceaseless pain.

Many a foe of giant cloud
Against thy knowledge stood.
But gloom saw its doom in thee,
With thee thy high manhood.

Plato

Plato, a man of noble birth and deeds —
Socrates conquered his life.
The words of his guide highly ever he preached.
His brain, a naked knife.

Through him his youth revealed an athlete great.
To him utterly owes
Philosophy and the budding minds of today.
Fearless, ever he glows.

The deathless day that brought his soul on earth
Appeared in secret again,
To close his diamond eyes and bind the world
With sombre ceaseless pain.

Aristotle

O Aristotle, O mind's vastness of your day,
Your youth was reckless and wild.
But your brain never exiled
The thought that clasped the myriad knowledge-ray.

Yours was the student Alexander the Great.
The mighty culture Greek
Slowly began to leak
With you, Aristotle; and now reigns a huge regret.

Virgil

Virgil, the giant poet
Of blessed Rome,
His poems pined to see
Perfection's home.

'Aeneid', his great soulful gift,
Declared his name.
With victory's deathless flame
He plays his game.

Part II — The Europeans

Dante

O Dante Alghieri,
O poet of knowledge vast,
In the bosom of ceaseless time
'The Divine Comedy' must last.

Beatrice, the only fount
Of your inspiration-light.
The exile of fourteen years
Had failed to blight your might.

And bold and gold were you;
Politics high and stark,
Poetry matchless, free
In you alone we mark.

Part III — The British

Shakespeare

Alas! certainty dare not come to unveil
His life genuine.
The Man universal abides in mystery's
Stupendous ruin.

But the huge oblivion sadly fails to fell
His action-tree.
The ocean-pride of English souls ever
In him we see.

Milton

Compelled by a dragon-fate,
You failed to see the face of ecstasy.
The want of sight and wives
Had planted in you a venom-tree.

But 'Paradise Lost' of yours
Will never be lost with history's fleeting flow.
Our world treasures your boon,
And yours was the life that suffered a giant blow.

William Blake1

William Blake, English poet. Imagination he had; vision he had. Needless to say, he had these two supernal qualities in abundant measure. To him, imagination was reality's all-illumining beauty and vision was beauty's all-fulfilling reality. To him, imagination was a true man and vision was a true and perfection-inspiring man.

Insane he was — so thought some of his contemporaries, even some of his own friends. But he was not insane. Unfortunately, his reality-worlds most people were not and are not wont to see. Most people have no access to these worlds. An inner cry is needed, a true love of the unknown is needed and a brave heart is needed to go beyond the fact-world, beyond the reality-world already seen and already acquired.

Blake's immortal poem "The Tyger" is humanity's invaluable treasure.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Here we see that ignorance-energy, which threatens to devour the entire world, finally discovers its transformation-salvation in the realisation of the absolute One. This absolute One embodies both ignorance-energy and knowledge-energy and, at the same time, far transcends them both.

The soul's soulful originality was Blake's gift to mankind. Blake the art-painting-lover and the thought-progress-lover was the puissant and incessant flow of originality-creativity.

Blake's friend and disciple, Samuel Palmer, realised him and made it easy for the world to realise him. Blake was a man without a mask: his aim single, his path straightforward, his words few. So he was free, noble and happy. Something more: Blake was humanity's challenge to go beyond the achievements of the earth-bound life and divinity's challenge to grow and glow in the ever-transcending Beyond's reality-existence.

Blake's life-boat sailed between the soul-essence-purity and the body-substance-impurity. Indeed, this experience each human life encounters. Then there comes a time when the unlit and undivine part in us cheerfully and devotedly surrenders to the lit and divine part in us. Here surrender means conscious awareness, inseparable oneness. In the realisation of its inseparable oneness with the divine, the undivine in us receives illumination, satisfaction and perfection.

In his lifetime Blake was obscure; recognition was a stranger to him. Now, a century after his departure from the world-scene, the world has discovered and recognised in him a world-lover who brought the message of transformation — the transformation of hell-torture into Heaven-rapture and the transformation of the body's ignorance-sea into the soul's wisdom-sky.

On November 28, over two hundred years ago, Blake was born; but his soul is still aspiring, still illumining the world and still trying to manifest the divinity that it embodies for earth-awakening, earth-illumination and earth-fulfilment. The poet has the vision of tomorrow; the artist has the vision of tomorrow; the scientist, the singer and the musician all have the vision of tomorrow. All the human beings who are awakened and who are more than ready to contribute something of their own, their very own, to the world at large are really blessed souls and the invaluable, immortal treasures of Mother Earth.


  1. PTPT 9. United Nations, New York, 28 November 1975

Shelley

O life filled with romance,
O man flooded with poetry-light,
Thy volcano-will devoured
Thy critics' python-night.

Thy "Ode to the Skylark"
And "Prometheus Unbound",
"Adonais", tearful Adonais,
On all brain-fields shall be found.

While sailing thy boat lost thee,
A sad story, indeed.
But thy pen's heights and depths
Remained, the world to feed.

Keats

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever" —
A son of this earth unveiled this lore divine.
O lover of beauty, thy "Endymion"
And "Hyperion" veerless ever shall shine.

Thy wonder-arbour was born from five
Swift years — a recorded gift to mankind.
Although death snatched away thy life so hie,
The world keeps taut the demand of thy mind.

Keats' Endymion is, no doubt, a grand success with its wonderful vividness and splendid felicity. But his Hyperion was, according to many critics, a sad failure. However, one cannot say that Hyperion has no magnificence at all. As ill-luck would have it, when this epic was brought to light, the poet was savagely criticised even by his bosom friends. As a result, his health broke down and the long-threatening consumption grew more formidable. He was ultimately compelled to pay his debt to nature. It will be no exaggeration to say that lack of indomitable zeal was in the main responsible for snatching away one of the wonder-poets of the world. Poor earth could not cherish his presence even for thirty fleeting years.

Thomas Carlyle1

Carlyle. The colossal pride of his country he was. A thinker he was. A philosopher he was. An historian he was. Most of his life-experiences were founded upon his inner awakening and inner illumination. He stirred quite powerfully and significantly not only the Scottish consciousness and the British consciousness, but also the entire European consciousness.

According to his philosophy, materialism and the machine-world cannot and will not illumine and fulfil mankind. It is the message of the spirit that can and will transform the face of mankind. In unmistakable terms he declared that only the life-disciplined and ideal heroes can steer humanity's boat to the shores of satisfaction-fulfilment.

Something more: in Carlyle's philosophy, all human beings are in essence one, because they are of the same Source. But if one individual is more awakened and more illumined than the others, naturally he has to lead and guide the rest. Carlyle maintained that this individual has to play the role of a pioneer. He himself was one of the pioneer world-thinkers and world-transformers. Dauntless he was. Nothing could cow him. He hoisted high his lofty banner of life-awakening and life-illumining reality.

He spoke in clear and emphatic terms with regard to the inner resource, and it was here that he was badly misunderstood. His critics saw in him an unbearable autocrat and not an apostle of a new dawn. To his admirers' sorrow, impatience and irritation plagued his mind. Nevertheless, he made his mighty contribution to the world's life-code. Specially his work for the world of German literature and for the French revolution made him a most significant member of the human family. His enthusiasm for German life in his early years added considerably to the German contribution to the world community. And his book on the French revolution is an immortal book. There he offers a most significant idea: an inner guidance, an unseen hand, guides and shapes the destiny of mankind. In all human actions, in all activities, in all worldly, earthly affairs there is a spirit that moves, guides and shapes the world-destiny; there is an inner purpose for outer action.

His father wanted him to be a priest. But he became something else: a world-teacher. In fact, his father's desire was fulfilled in an infinitely wider and more profound way. Had he become a priest, perhaps only a few Scottish religion-lovers and truth-seekers would have received his light. But by becoming an illumining thinker and writer, an historian and finally a philosopher-saint in the purest sense of the term, he offered to this world of ours his world of light, abundant light. Thus, he has become the property of the world and he belongs to the world-treasure.

Yesterday was Carlyle's birthday. For a moment let us offer to his soul our gratitude-heart for what he has done to create a better world, a better mankind.


  1. PTPT 12. United Nations, New York, 5 December 1975

Part IV — The Americans

Ralph Waldo Emerson1

A thinker in the sublimest sense of the term is Emerson. His philosophy touches the core of all earthly problems. "Ends," said he, "pre-exist in the means." Hence what matters is to cherish our highest aspirations in all sincerity and determination and rest assured in the faith that these will realise themselves.

He came of poor parents, but had an indomitable will and an utter self-reliance. Strangely enough, he was taught from within to be cheerful in the face of poverty. His father, William Emerson, a clergyman, passed away when Waldo was a boy of eight. Soon afterwards, the family was thrown into extreme poverty. It came to such a pass that Emerson and his elder brother had to share a single overcoat to help them through the terrible winter. Obviously one of them had to stay indoors while the other was out — and who but the younger of the two was the unfortunate one? Waldo missed the attractions, affections and amusements of the outside world; but at the same time this isolation gave him an opportunity to plunge into the sea of knowledge. Voraciously he studied. Plato's Dialogues and Pascal's Thoughts inspired all his moments. Later, impelled from within, he welcomed Spinoza and Montaigne along with his previous masters.

He had many antagonists. Hypocrisy and superstition were the worst of them. He fought and fought them, but success remained a far cry. He had also numerous friends. Truth and sincerity topped their ranks.

America, the fairest land of freedom, opportunity and progress, inspired in Emerson the thought that his countrymen should utilise all her divine gifts to strive for the most divine aims of life. Indeed, America will gain her true stature when she lives up to her philosopher-son's towering aspirations.

Emerson's love for the American student stemmed from his topmost aspiration:

Our student must have a style and determination, and be a master in his own speciality. But having this, he must put it behind him. He must have a catholicity, a power to see with a free and disengaged look every object.

In other words, he expected the American student to be a useful unit not only of the American nation but of the world-family in the making.

"The things taught in the schools and colleges," Emerson strongly felt, "are not an education, but the means of education." For a student to be furnished with "the means" is to have thrown upon him the responsibility for continuing to educate himself until at last the finite and the Infinite within and without him are unified into an expanded personality.

No doubt philanthropy and charity have much to their credit. But most people are unconscious of the great limitations of these two virtues. Being a genuine lover of Truth, Emerson made bold to say: "Philanthropies and charities have a certain air of quackery." Truly few, perhaps none, have imprinted on the tablets of their hearts the great teaching of the Bible:

When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right doeth.

For Emerson, poetry and philosophy were no mere intellectual embellishments. Philosophy was a dynamic factor in the shaping of his life. He was a true man of vision, and he used philosophy to sustain his vision and poetry to express it. His life was a happy blend of sublime dreams and creative gestures. He knew no compromise with his ingrained truth: "When he [the poet] sings, the world listens with the assurance that now a secret of God is to be spoken." Does this not conform to the Indian definition of the poet as seer? Needless to say, Emerson's high idealism lifted him far above his age.

On March 11, 1829, Emerson was awarded the post of Minister of the Second (Unitarian) Church in Boston. Even his worst enemy could not deny his remarkable gift of speech-making. But he later had to sever himself from the church as he failed to be at one with his congregation regarding his method of teaching. He simply left the church without attacking anyone. It was advisable, he thought, that his congregation should have another pastor according to their choice. But one of the reactionaries could not help saying, "We are sorry for Mr. Emerson, but it certainly seems as if he is going to hell." Neither are we to forget the immediate retort made by a true seeker: "It does indeed look so. But I am sure of one thing — if Emerson goes to hell, he will so change its climate that it will become a popular resort for all the good souls of Heaven."

Emerson's love of God was too deep for form and convention. That was perhaps why he left his ministry in the Unitarian Church of Boston. People below his level of culture must be pitied. It is quite natural that they should have taken him amiss. Emerson seems to have sailed "strange seas of thought, alone," with deep self-knowledge. Emerson's truth, "To be great is to be misunderstood," finds its exquisite parallel in Sri Aurobindo, the greatest Seer of India:

Whoever is too great must lonely live,
Adored he walks in mighty solitude;
Vain is his labour to create his kins,
His only comrade is the Strength within.

Happily, two great contemporaries, Lincoln and Emerson, offer an historic example of mutual appreciation. During the ever-memorable Civil War in America, it was Emerson's inspiration that offered "the best and the bravest words." He fully supported President Lincoln in his mighty undertaking, and addressed him as "the Protector of American Freedom." Neither could the President remain silent. He honoured the seer in Emerson with his warm appreciation: "The Prophet of American Faith."

"The Prophet of American Faith." Yes, but more truly a Prophet of Universal Faith, a seer visualising the future in the living present:

One day all men will be lovers, and every calamity will be dissolved in the universal sunshine.


  1. PTPT 13. Written in Pondicherry, India and published in Mother India, 1963