Poetry: My Rainbow-Heart-Dreams

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1

O my poem,
You are the lotus of my heart.
You bring into my heart
Nectar-Light from Heaven.
When my life flows
With the river of sorrow
With its countless waves,
May your magic touch
Hide me in the waters of liberation-sea.

— Sri Chinmoy

Part I — Society of Writers honours Sri Chinmoy at the United Nations

[On 30 March 1993 the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Society of Writers honoured Sri Chinmoy for the publication of his 900th book and for receiving the degree of Doctor of Humanities, Honoris Causa, from the University of Southern Philippines the past January.] [Sri Chinmoy, who is an author, philosopher and leader of peace meditations at the U.N., read from and spoke about his poetry. Afterwards, Mr. Hans Janitschek, President of the Society of Writers, presented Sri Chinmoy with the Society's Award of Excellence. Following is Sri Chinmoy's talk during the programme, which was held at the U.N.'s Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium.]

2.

I do not know how I can possibly be worthy of this blessingful honour. I am known as a truth-seeker and a God-lover. But today I have become a poet as well. May I read out to you the very first poem that I wrote in English?

The golden Flute

A sea of peace and joy and light
Beyond my reach I know.
In me the storm-tossed weeping night
Finds room to rage and flow.

I cry aloud, but all in vain —
I helpless, the earth unkind!
What soul of might can share my pain?
Death-dart alone I find.

A raft am I on the sea of Time,
My oars are washed away.
How can I hope to reach the Clime
Of God's eternal Day?

But hark!
I hear Thy golden Flute,
Its notes bring the Summit down.
Now safe am I, O Absolute!
Gone death!
Gone night's stark frown!

So that was my very first attempt — over 40 years ago. And this particular poem that I am going to read out is only three hours old. You will see the difference. You can call it either my most deplorable degradation and say that I have gone "downhill," or you can say that I have made progress in a different way.

There was a time
When the poet in me
Prayerfully desired to roam and roam
Inside my heart-garden.

The poet in me now sleeplessly cries
To clasp the flower-beauty
Of my heart-garden.

And before long, the poet in me
Will meditatively grow into
The nectar-fragrance-delight
Of my heart-garden.

American freedom in my poetry

I have been living in America for the last twenty-nine years, so I am enjoying American freedom in my poetry. When I embarked on my poetic career many, many years ago, I was compelled from within and without to learn English metre well. I had to learn iambic, dactylic, trochee, anapaest — endless English metre — as well as rhyme. But now I enjoy full freedom: I do not need metre; I do not need rhyme — nothing, nothing! It is a flow. When I was writing poems in those days, I felt that I was playing on the flute. Now when I write poems perhaps I am striking gongs or playing on the synthesiser. But I feel that light and power are inseparable. They are the obverse and reverse of the same universal reality.

In my family, almost everybody has written poems. My father wrote about thirty poems; my two older brothers, one to a hundred; and my eldest brother, two or three thousand. I am the youngest and also, it seems, the most greedy. Over 50,000 poems go to my credit. My critics justifiably criticise me for having written so many poems. They say that I believe only in quantity and not in quality. They are perfectly right in their own way or according to their own judgement. But I feel that quantity is necessary as well as quality. I visit the supermarket quite often. The supermarket has many varieties of food, and I am able to choose what I need or want. If the supermarket had only one thing, I would be disappointed along with hundreds of other customers. So quality and quantity must go together.

It is very difficult to be a real judge of quality. I am an artist. Over 140,000 paintings I have completed. Some of my paintings I sincerely feel are not good at all. But to my utter astonishment, some people immensely appreciate those particular paintings, and I feel they are sincere in their appreciation and judgement.

A tree produces beautiful flowers as well as countless leaves. If we only care for the beauty and fragrance of the flowers and pay no attention to the leaves, then we are making a deplorable mistake, a Himalayan blunder, for the leaves also have beauty in their own way. A tree is beautiful and fruitful only when we look at it right from the ground to the highest branch. Only when we look at the tree as a whole and try to appreciate what it has and what it is can we do proper justice to its beauty, its compassion and its perfection.

I am extremely grateful to this distinguished Writers Society for bestowing upon me this signal honour at a time in my life when I am not as well known in the world of poetry as in the world of truth-seekers and peace-servers. People know me as a student of peace, as a truth-seeker, a God-lover and a world-server. But here my friends and colleagues have found an entire sun inside some of the climbing, aspiring poetic flames I have created. And for that I am extremely, extremely grateful to them.

It has happened in many cases that the world is apt to appreciate someone only when he is already known in a particular field. The world waits and waits until he is famous before appreciating him. I wish to tell you a most deplorable incident in the life of India’s greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Laureate. Only two weeks before he received the Nobel Prize, the editor of a significant and popular magazine in Bengal printed one of Tagore’s poems and mercilessly criticised it from the first line to the last line. The Bengali editor found nothing beautiful, nothing soulful, nothing fruitful in the poem. Then after Tagore got the Nobel Prize, the same poem was printed in the same magazine. But this time the editor extolled that particular poem to the skies. Not only each line but each word came down directly from Heaven — that was his proud comment! So we see what the Nobel Prize can do. Because Tagore had been accepted by great literary authorities, immediately the editor changed his mind.

This year is the centenary of the World’s Parliament of Religions. Swami Vivekananda was a great friend of Tagore. As you know, Swami Vivekananda’s most significant utterances were made in Chicago when he addressed the world conference. Before he spoke at the world parliament, he was nobody, absolutely nobody, in India. But after he became famous overnight in America, immediately Bengal and the entire India accepted him.

Unfortunately, only when the outer world or some well-established authority praises someone or justifiably acknowledges his merit is everybody else apt to appreciate that person. Although I am not known as a poet, still you are recognising the poet in me. For that I am deeply grateful to you. Who knows, in the future, with a stroke of good luck, I may be known as a poet. At that time I will feel that you saw something in me long before others were able to see it.

I have already spoken to you about quality and quantity. This particular book happens to be my 900th book — Love, Compassion, Forgiveness. I have dedicated this book to my beloved President Gorbachev. About two weeks ago I received a letter from him appreciating me for dedicating this book to him. Also, he said he wants to congratulate me personally in the near future.

[Sri Chinmoy reads the dedication of the book:] "Lovingly, affectionately and gratefully I am dedicating this book to the President Gorbachev, the Himalayan Peace-Dreamer on earth."

I wish to say a few words about President Gorbachev. To me, he is a universal figure. To me, he is the highest embodiment of world-peace. He is the greatest world-peace-dreamer and world-peace-distributor. If the present-day world has made considerable progress, or any progress, then he deserves the utmost gratitude from the heart of the present-day world. He is the Champion of champions to unmistakably improve the world situation.

In India it is said that a real Brahmin does not have to show his sacred thread to the public in order to prove that he is a real Brahmin. Similarly, I feel that President Gorbachev does not have to show the world his credentials to prove who he really is. He is loved and adored by the aspiration of the length and breadth of the world. He does not need a particular crown or a particular throne in order to prove to the world at large that he is indeed a king. President Gorbachev lives in the aspiring heart of mankind. I feel that Gorbachev is a universal king who lives inside the gratitude-heart of the peace-dreaming world. He definitely does not need an outer crown, an outer throne, to lovingly and compassionately guide the evolution of humanity. His inner achievements are so enormous that they can perfectly lead and guide us to our supreme destination, the Golden Shore. For him, peace is not a mere dictionary word. In him, peace is a living reality, a sleepless and all-illumining reality that lovingly and self-givingly inspires the mind and feeds the heart of humanity.

Part II — Poetry-poem-poet

Poetry and prose1

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 short-cut 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, to see the real 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. Now, 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.

"My poet-child, I want you to sing with Me:
"I barter nothing with time and deeds.
My Cosmic Play is done."
The One Transcendental I was.
The Many Universal I am.
I am the Soul-Flower
Of My Eternity.
I am the Heart-Fragrance
Of My Infinity."


  1. PRH 5. Sri Chinmoy gave this talk on poetry at the Musikaliska Akademien in Stockholm, Sweden, on 16 October 1990.

6. The universe1

The universe is God’s creation
And man’s realisation.
The universe is God’s Compassion
And man’s emancipation.
The universe is God’s Concentration
And man’s transformation.
The universe is God’s Meditation
And man’s revelation.
The universe is God’s Contemplation
And man’s manifestation.

The poet in me tells me
That the universe is beautiful.
The singer in me tells me
That the universe is enchanting.
The philosopher in me tells me
That the universe is meaningful.
The Yogi in me tells me
That the universe is soulful.
The God-lover in me tells me
That the universe is fruitful.

My poet sees the truth.
My singer feels the truth.
My philosopher achieves the truth.
My Yogi realises the truth.
My God-lover becomes the truth.


  1. PRH 6. Excerpt from a talk, Keble College, Oxford, England, 1970.

71

What is poetry? Poetry is the absolutely shortest road to delight. If you take the destination as _ananda_ or delight, then poetry is the shortest road.

I always say that man writes prose, but poetry God writes through man. Each word in a poem carries us into the Unknowable. When we say “Unknowable”, we may think that we will be totally lost. But we are not lost; we are flying, because in the Unknowable there is tremendous joy.

Poetry is intuitive. Please do not try to understand it. In order to derive joy from poetry, it is not the mind we want but the heart. Poetry is not meant to offer us knowledge; it is meant to offer us satisfaction.


  1. PRH 7. 12 June 1990.

81

I have been writing poems since I was a small child. Who knows, perhaps even now I have not surpassed that infancy stage, although I have written hundreds and thousands of poems. Some of my critics criticise me for writing hundreds of poems in the short span of twenty-four hours. They feel that perfection is the utmost need. They say, “How can one write 843 poems in one day and, at the same time, dream of perfection? Is it not absurdity on the face of it?”

To some extent, this is absolutely true. But in my humble defence, I wish to say this: although I write poems, I am not a poet and I do not want to become a poet. Although I have composed hundreds of songs, I am not a composer and I do not want to become a composer. I have completed thousands and thousands of paintings, yet I do not dare to claim to be an artist. Truth to tell, I do not want to become an artist.

Then what do I want to become? I want to become a football. Here in America you call it a soccer ball. When I was in India, I happened to be a good footballer. Still I remember the experiences that I had in those days. While kicking the ball very hard, I was consumed with a strong desire to become a football and be kicked most powerfully by my Beloved Supreme. I felt that the harder He kicked me, the greater would be my joy. Here also, in my life of aspiration and dedication, my only prayer, my only aspiration, is to become a football and be kicked every day, every hour, every minute and every second by my Beloved Supreme. I wish to become a supremely devoted and supremely self-giving instrument of His. While utilising me as an instrument of His, if He wants me to play the role of a poet or singer or musician or artist, then I am always at His behest. To fulfil His Command in His own Way is my only aspiration.

The Sanskrit word for poet is _kavi;_ a kavi is he who envisions. What does he envision? He envisions the truth — the truth in its seed-form, its potentiality. He envisions the seed-truth in its possibilities and in its inevitabilities. What is truth? Truth is happiness in progress. And what is progress? Progress is our constant self-giving. We represent both the finite and the Infinite. The self-giving of the finite to the Infinite is the supreme progress of the finite, and the self-giving of the Infinite to the finite is the supreme progress of the Infinite. When the finite offers its reality-existence to the Infinite, in return it receives a fruitful smile. And when the Infinite offers its reality-existence to the finite, in return it receives a soulful cry. This soulful cry and fruitful smile are the imperishable, incomparable, eternal and immortal treasures of the Absolute Supreme.


  1. PRH 8. 15 January 1978.

91

O lovers of poetry, you are not only lovers of poetry, you are also lovers of spirituality, for poetry and spirituality go hand in hand. They are inseparable. True poetry and true spirituality are always inseparable. It is said that poetry is next to spirituality. To me this is an Understatement. I feel from deep within that poetry, if it is spiritual and divine, without fail houses spirituality, and true spirituality must needs house poetry.

A poet is he who envisions the ultimate, absolute Truth. On the physical plane, vital plane, mental plane, even at times on the psychic plane, when we notice a particular poet offering to the world at large his contribution, we appreciate him, we admire him. But if we can see the seeker in the poet, the truth-lover in the poet, the real reality in the poet’s vision, then we shall go one step farther. We shall discover our inseparable oneness with the poet.


  1. PRH 9. 27 August 1975.

101

It is said that a poet has no character of his own. Now I wish to say, why should a poet have a character of his own? A poet identifies with truth. If he has to express anger through his poem, then naturally he will identify himself with the anger-consciousness. If he has to express love, then he will have to identify himself with love-consciousness. On the strength of his identification with the reality that he has envisioned, he reveals to the world his inspiration and aspiration.

A poet sees the truth from various angles. He is not obligated to see the truth always from one angle. A poet can speak of one particular subject in various ways. This moment he may praise and invoke death, and the next moment he may criticise death. That does not mean that the poet is a man of no principles. Far from it! When he stays in a particular plane of consciousness, according to the capacity and receptivity that he has at that time, he sees death in one form. When he stays in another plane of consciousness, he may see death in a different way, with a different aspect. At one time he will see death as something very nice, very kind. When the world is torturing him, when the world is not giving him due attention, he prays to death to come and embrace him. But the same poet is a human being. When name and fame are being showered on him and all worldly achievements are at his feet, when the whole world listens to him and he sees beauty within and without, at that time if death knocks at his door, naturally he sees death as an enemy and begs death not to capture him. He does not need or want death.

There have been some poets who have offered to the world at large some soulful and prophetic utterances. Their poems have attained planes of consciousness that are high, very high, but their outer lives were not in keeping with their prophetic utterances. They lived undivine lives, unaspiring lives; therefore, many, many people do not pay attention to their soulful utterances. They say, “He wrote this, but who cares for him? He lived a worse than ordinary life, an undivine, animal life.”

But I wish to defend the cause of the misunderstood poets. Here we are all seekers. We know that we are supposed to realise God as soon as possible, but during the twenty-four hours of each day, how many minutes do we remain in a divine consciousness and how many hours do we remain in an undivine or an ordinary consciousness? We remain for a few fleeting minutes in a divine consciousness, and the rest of the day we are in an absolutely ordinary or even an undivine consciousness. But in those few divine minutes what do we actually do? We establish a free access to some higher planes of consciousness.

Similarly, when a particular poet enters into high, higher, highest planes of consciousness, he sees and he becomes for a while the reality, the truth-essence of those planes of consciousness. And like the climber, he climbs down the reality-tree and offers the fruits to the world. Then he again enters into the world of pleasure, vital life and so forth, if he wants to. But his achievement on the highest plane was absolutely true. Just because he is now wallowing in the pleasures of ignorance, we cannot discard his achievements on the higher planes of consciousness.

When we pray and meditate, we grow into divinity. When we don’t pray and meditate, we remain undivine. But just because we don’t pray and meditate _all the time,_ we cannot say that we are unspiritual. We are spiritual, but we do not or cannot, at the present stage of our development, practise spirituality all the time.

There are many, many poets who have enjoyed, according to us, emotional life, vital life, but they have offered us something striking nevertheless. They have offered spiritual truths of the highest magnitude to us. I see their achievement. I value their achievement deeply, wholeheartedly. A day will come in the course of time when they will care more for their nature’s transformation. Eventually they will enter deeper into conscious, one-pointed spiritual life. Each individual soul that has taken human incarnation will, without fail, manifest the absolute Truth here on earth, for that is the Vision of the Supreme. For the transformation of the body-consciousness and earth-life, each soul will descend to earth again and again until perfection has dawned in that particular soul. So we should pay utmost attention to the poets’ achievements in the world of reality and divinity which they so soulfully offered to mankind for the elevation and transformation of human life.

A poet is he who envisions the inner reality, who brings to the fore the inner wealth. A poet is the harbinger of God the supreme Musician. A poet sees the Cosmic Game before the rest of the world. He watches the Cosmic Game and participates in it, and he invites the rest of the world to participate in this Cosmic Game, as well. If we can separate the soulful utterances of the poets from their outer lives, we will be able to gain considerable inner wealth from them. Who said the words is not the important question, but what the utterance means. There are many poetic lines and stanzas which, if we soulfully repeat them, will without fail carry us into a higher plane of consciousness. Each individual seeker can identify himself or herself with the poet’s soul-stirring utterances. On the strength of that identification, the seeker can easily achieve for himself something divine, illumining, fulfilling and immortalising.

I have been a poet all my life, and I have been a spiritual seeker as well. Inside my heart I feel two eternal players, the poet and the seeker, who can easily exchange their names. I can call the poet the seeker and the seeker the poet. I can easily change and transfer their names, and still I will see the same reality. My poetry and my spirituality are inseparable. They are like the obverse and the reverse of the same coin. They cannot be separated. Each has contributed to or fulfilled the other most soulfully and most fruitfully.


  1. PRH 10. 28 August 1975.

111

My spirituality, my art, my poetry, my music and all my other creative expressions form a spiritual family. The members of the family take me wherever I am needed to be of service to aspiring mankind. Some seekers can get more inspiration and more aspiration from my paintings than from my poetry. Others get abundant inspiration from my poetry or meditation. Each form of spiritual dedication that I offer will be able to serve certain groups of aspiring souls.

## Part III — Twenty-five poems

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Twenty-five poems written in April and May 1993.


  1. PRH 11. May 1975.

12

Beautiful was the poet in me.
Powerful is the poet in me.
Godful will be the poet in me.

13

The poet in me
And the thinker in me
Do not enjoy walking together.

14

The poet in me
Laughs at the sprinter in me.
The sprinter in me
Frowns at the poet in me.

15

The poet in me
And the dreamer in me
Are inseparable friends.

16

The seeker in me
Says to the poet in me:
“How beautiful are your
God-dreaming eyes!


The poet in me
Says to the seeker in me:
“How pure is your
God-crying heart!

17

The poet in me is searching
For God’s Heart-Garden.
The seeker in me is searching
For God’s Heart-Fragrance.

18

There was a time
When the poet in me
Prayerfully desired to roam and roam
Inside my heart-garden.

The poet in me now sleeplessly cries
To clasp the flower-beauty
Of my heart-garden.

And before long, the poet in me
Will meditatively grow into
The nectar-fragrance-delight
Of my heart-garden.

19

The poet in me asks me
To look at the dawn
To invoke its beauty.

The artist in me asks me
To look at the rainbow
To embody its beauty.

20

The poet in me
Says to the weightlifter in me:
“Shame on you!
Instead of lifting inconscient metal weight,
Do you not have anything better to do?


The weightlifter in me
Says to the poet in me:
“I pity you —
As if you have nothing better to do
Than to cry, sigh, sulk and whine!

21

The poet in me
Says to the tennis player in me:
“You do not succeed in tennis
Because your love is mouth-deep,
And your service is arm-long.


The tennis player in me
Says to the poet in me:
“No doubt you have made
Appreciable progress
In your poetry,
But alas,
Your world-acclaim
Is still a far cry.

22

May my poetry be
My flute-melody.
May my prose be
My power-drum.

23

May my poetry be
My flower-heart.
May my prose be
My fruit-life.

24

I live in between
My poetry-heart
And
My philosophy-mind.

I live in between
My soul-illumination
And
My life-transformation.

25

Poetry has proved,
In my case at least,
To be a sunlit and short-cut way
To my destination.

26

The poet is the flutist
In me.
The prose writer is the pianist
In me.
The joke writer is the optimist
In me.

27

The poet cares infinitely more
For the flower-quality
Than for the leaf-quantity.

28

The poet has an unusual capacity
To see tomorrow.
He sees tomorrow not as something
Coming towards him
But as something blossoming
From within him.

29

The poet in me says to God:
“My Lord, imprison me
In Your Heart-Embrace.


The prose writer in me says to God:
“My Lord, liberate me
With Your Heart-Embrace.

30

The seer-poet is at once
His life’s beauty
And his heart’s fragrance.

31

My poems always lovingly
Help me increase
My one-way aspiration-speed.

32

My poems help me carry
My mind’s hesitation,
For its transformation,
To my heart’s ever-accelerating speed.

33

To me, poetry is neither
An obligation nor a compulsion,
But my heart-expansion
And my life-exploration.

34

With their glowing smiles,
My poems help me
Tirelessly to succeed
In my outer life.

With their streaming tears,
My poems help me
Breathlessly to proceed
In my inner life.

35

The absence of power in poetry
Makes the poetry extremely weak.
The absence of beauty in poetry
Compels the poetry to die.

36

Crawling,
The poet of the mind
Comes to his destination.

Sprinting,
The poet of the spiritual heart
Comes to his destination.

## Part IV — Aphorisms and poems about poetry

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37

My soul is the poet in me.
My heart is the poetry in me.
My Beloved Inner Pilot
Is the Reader in me.

38. What I have discovered

The poet in me has discovered
The gracefulness of aeons.

The singer in me has discovered
The sweetness of aeons.

The philosopher in me has discovered
The emptiness of aeons.

The seeker in me has discovered
The fruitfulness of aeons.

39. The dance of life

Doubt
Is the prose of the mind.

Faith
Is the poetry of the heart.

Aspiration
Is the song of the soul.

Realisation
Is the dance of life.

40. The song of beauty

The future poets
Shall sing only one song:
The song of beauty
Inside the simplicity-heart
Of a profundity-soul.

41. Because you save me

My dedication-verses,
I am all gratitude to you.
Do you know why?
Because you save me
From my aspiration-reverses.

42. Imagination and reason

Imagination does not
Care for reason.

Reason does not
Care for imagination.

The poet in me cries
For imagination-wings.

The philosopher in me cries
For reason-sword.

43. A dream-poet

A dream-poet
Sows gold for others
And collects silver for himself.

A reality-poet
Sows lead for others
And collects diamonds for himself.

A God-poet
Sows fulfilment-smiles for others
And collects futility-cries for himself.

44

Let my vision dive
Deep within
So that I can see the world
With the beauty
Of a poet’s heart.

45

A poet is not a grammarian.
His poetic ear
And his soulful heart
Take him to a realm
Far beyond human logic.

46

I shall collect flower-poems
From the garden of Light;
Therefore, I am flying in the sky
With the southern wind.
I have no one with me.
All alone, endlessly I am flying,
And I am all lost in the beauty
Of teeming clouds.

471

When the sun appears in the East,
I make friends with my poetry.
I see a golden disc
Right above the blue sea.
A red hibiscus is smiling at me.
Is there anybody on earth, O Sun,
Who does not long for your smile?
No, nobody.
Everybody wants your smile.
I too want your smile
And something more:
I want to bow to you
With my heart’s adoration.


  1. PRH 47. Sri Chinmoy's first Bengali poem. Translation by the Author.

48. Arise! Awake!

Arise, awake, O friend of my dream.
Arise, awake, O breath of my life.
Arise, awake, O light of my eyes.
O seer-poet in me,
Do manifest yourself in me
And through me.

49

An endless series of skies
Where there is no air.
An inner urge compels me to bring down
A garland of poems
To worship You.
The shrine is now all empty.
I wish to fill it;
I wish to cover it with poems,
A garland of poems.
I know that it is only this way
That I can forget my life’s sufferings
And joys that have to be forgotten.

50

My prose is my mind.
My poetry is my heart.
Without my mind I am lame.
Without my heart I am blind.

51

God the Poet sings and dreams. God the Philosopher thinks and drinks. God the Lover loves and liberates.

The Poet-God sings the Song of Beauty. He dreams the Dream of Duty.

The Philosopher-God thinks the Thought of Height. He drinks the Vastness of Light.

The Lover-God loves the world as it is. He liberates the world from what it is.

52

Poetry is the embodiment of the highest Truth in its most subtle, most delicate, most illumining form. Poetry is the inspiration of Heaven that reveals itself through the aspiration of earth.

53

As the real test of a truly great man is his humility, so the first test of a great poet is the power of receiving inspiration, if not intuition.

54

Each Vedic seer was a poet and a prophet. In the case of an ordinary poet, his poems are quite often based upon imagination. Imagination gives birth to his poetry. In the case of the Vedic poets, it was intuition that gave birth to their poems. This intuition is the direct knowledge of Truth. As regards the prophet, very often we see that an ordinary prophet’s prophecy is based on a kind of unknown mystery. But in the case of the Vedic prophets, it was not so. Their prophecies were based on their full and conscious awareness of direct and immediate Truth. They just brought to the fore this dynamic Truth to operate in the cosmic manifestation.

55

The Vedas house the earliest poetry and prose literature of the searching, striving and aspiring human soul. He who thinks that the Vedic poetry is primitive and the Vedic literature insignificant is unmistakably wanting in mental illumination. How can primitive poetry offer such sublime and enduring wisdom to the world at large?

The body of the Vedic poetry is simplicity.
The vital of the Vedic poetry is sincerity.
The mind of the Vedic poetry is clarity.
The heart of the Vedic poetry is purity.
The soul of the Vedic poetry is luminosity.

56

Poetry and philosophy run abreast in the Vedas. Philosophy illumined the minds of the Vedic seers. Poetry immortalised their hearts. The philosopher is a poet in the mind. The poet is a philosopher in the heart. The philosopher likes outer religion and inner science. The poet likes outer art and inner literature. The philosopher says to the poet, “I give to you my precious wealth: wisdom, which is the constant and conscious instrument of intuition. ” The poet says to the philosopher, “I give to you my precious wealth: my devoted oneness with the life of Light. ”

## Part V — Answers to questions on poetry

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57. Question: Is there an inner world where poetry originates?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ Yes, there is an inner world where everything is already written. An expression comes to a poet, and he writes it down. But you have to know that there is a place where these thoughts and ideas are all coming from. This is true for both poems and songs. The poet can just go to that particular world with his inner vision and take them. Sometimes the poet may also go to the dream world and get a poem from there. It is like plucking a mango. Or he may wait until the mango falls right in his lap. I have at times composed poems while lying on my bed, just reading the words off the wall. The lines were all written there; I could see them with my inner vision. In India I wrote a few Bengali poems like that. Tagore and others have also done it.

58. Question: How can one determine whether his poetry comes from the soul's inspiration rather than from the workings of the ordinary mind?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ If anything comes from the soul’s inspiration, you will get such a thrill that every nerve, every part of your being, inner and outer, will dance with joy. Your little finger, your nose, your eyes, your consciousness, will all dance with joy. If something has come as an expression of the soul, then there will not be any part of your body which will not respond with delight and become delight itself. You will swim in joy from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet. But if your creation comes from the searching mind or from the brilliant mind through much labour and hard work, then you will feel only a certain amount of joy. You will not feel joy like a wave sweeping you from head to foot. Anything that comes through the mind, any mental creation, will never give you satisfaction in your entire being. But if it is the soul’s creation, then there will be no portion of your body, your vital or your mind which is not touched and illumined, which does not respond to the inner thrill that you will have.

59. Question: What is the difference between a poem that comes from the higher vital world and a poem that comes from the illumined mental world?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ When you get a poem from the higher vital world, you will get the feeling of what you call a surge. It is like a very, very big wave, a huge wave, that washes ashore from the ocean. It covers the length and breadth of everything and washes away all impurity and everything else it touches.

But when you get a poem from the illumined mental world, even if it just touches you, immediately you feel a sense of illumination in your entire being.

The one is like a big, surging wave that spreads all around and inundates everything, washing away all impurity. The other totally illumines your whole being. Your whole existence may have been in darkness, but as soon as you compose a poem from the illumined mind, immediately your outer being becomes radiant, illumined and totally transformed.

60. Question: Does a spiritual Master get his creative inspiration in a different way from that of an ordinary person?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ An ordinary person is at the mercy of inspiration. For a fleeting second he will get inspiration, and then for two days he may not get any inspiration at all. When an ordinary seeker, poet or artist cries for inspiration, he must beg the inspiration-bird flying by, “Please, please descend and stay in front of me, or stay within me so that I can compose a wonderful poem or a beautiful tune or paint a masterpiece. ” The ordinary artist must pray to the bird to come down and stay in front of him. But a spiritual Master does not have to do that. He just grabs the bird while it is still in flight, not mercilessly but with love and affection, and says, “Where are you going? ” It is just like a grown-up grabbing a child who is running by. When we have the child, we do not hurt him but only caress him and show him our fondness, affection, love and concern.

So a real spiritual Master is not subject to the compassion of inspiration. Inspiration he creates. Time itself he creates. When we don’t aspire, time regulates and controls our life. But when we go deep within and follow the spiritual life, at that time we can regulate and control time. At that time we are able to stretch time and expand time in order to complete the multifarious tasks that God, our Inner Pilot, has commanded us to do.

61. Question: I understand you wrote 843 poems in one day. Why do you write so many poems?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ It is not I who write; I get inspiration from Somebody within me, my Inner Pilot. He inspires me according to my capacity and receptivity. I just execute His Will.

62. Question: Do you feel that if you wrote perhaps a few less, you might reach an even higher standard of poetic quality?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ That is a human way of judging the truth. If I were asked to write one poem now, I would not be able to do it. But there was a time when I was highly surcharged with inspiration; therefore, because of God’s Grace, it was possible for me to write 843 poems in one day. So it was all a matter of God’s Grace.

63. Question: Can an advanced soul who tries to reveal the higher truths be compared in some ways to a poet who tries to express and reveal artistic truths?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ An ordinary poet may get a glimpse of the truth, but some advanced souls get the ocean of Truth itself. Advanced souls see a much higher truth than ordinary poets see. Also, in the case of ordinary poets, poetry is everything to them. But in the case of advanced souls, poetry is not everything; God is everything.

The poet who brings down higher messages feels that these are everything he has to give. But advanced souls feel that their writings represent absolutely nothing when compared with what they know and what they truly are. They say, “In comparison to my realisation, my manifestation is absolutely nothing. The light that I have offered, when compared with the light that is still unmanifested, is nothing. If for my realisation I get one hundred out of one hundred, for my manifestation I will not get more than one out of one hundred. I know how much inner wealth will never have a chance to manifest through me. ” All real spiritual Masters have been frustrated this way in their expression, in their revelation and in their manifestation.

64. Question: How do we know which talent to develop if we have more than one artistic tendency?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ If a seeker has more than one artistic tendency, he has to decide which one gives him the greatest satisfaction. If I have to say which literary art I prefer, I will naturally say poetry; I will definitely give much more importance to my poetry than to plays or stories or other things. That is because in the literary field, poetry is much closer to spirituality than plays or stories or essays and articles.

In your case, if you have two or three artistic capacities, you should try to develop whichever one gives you most joy and whichever comes to you spontaneously. Again, there is nothing wrong if you try to develop or increase your capacities in various art forms. Why do you have to restrict yourself only to poetry or to music if you have other talents as well? In sports we have the decathlon for those athletes who are all-round athletes. Similarly, if you have the capacity to do well in ten items, why be satisfied with only one? Again, it is not good to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. If that saying applies to you, then the best thing is to find out which form of creative activity gives you most spontaneous joy. That will be the right one for you to concentrate on developing.

65. Question: If we would like to write poetry but we lose our inspiration, how can we regain that inspiration? Should we just force it?

_Sri Chinmoy:_ If you try to force it, there will be a yawning gulf between your first line and your second line. The first line will be filled with light and the second line will be as prosaic as possible. If you try to force inspiration to come to you, it will bring you nothing. Just wait for inspiration. Some people write one line, and then they have to wait for ten days or even two years for the next line.

In your case, since you are a seeker, you don’t have to wait for two years. Vivekananda used to say that if you cannot drink the purest distilled water or Ganges water, that does not mean that you have to drink water from the street. No, you know that it would make you ill. Here also, if you cannot get the highest inspiration or cannot maintain it after one line, the best thing is not to write any more. If you aspire the next day or the day after, in a few days you will get more inspiration. Do not try to finish the poem right then and there. Otherwise, you will end up with one diamond and the rest will just be pieces of an earthen pot. That will be most deplorable. If you want to offer something to the world, you have to try to keep the same standard.

66. The song of beauty

The future poets
Shall sing only one song:
The song of beauty
Inside the simplicity-heart
Of a profundity-soul.