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Chapter 5: The Odyssey of Aloneness

But it is good not to meet the poet. Take it as a basic policy never to meet the poet because that will be a disappointment. His poetry is so beautiful but the poet so extra-ordinary. I don’t mean extraordinary as one word. I am using the word extra to emphasize the word ordinary: extra ordinary.

I don’t know who coined this word extraordinary, because it simply means the last, the very last - not simply ordinary, but extra ordinary. The people who must have used this word first were thinking of “extraordinary” in the sense of being above the ordinary; but extraordinary can mean both. One thing is certain, the poet is not ordinary: he can be above the ordinary, he can be below the ordinary.

There are many words which have this same ambivalence. For example, psychologists use the word abnormal. Now, abnormal can mean insane, crackpot, nuts and bolts - anything. But abnormal can also mean one who is above normal: a Buddha, a Jesus, a Moses, a Zarathustra. Both are abnormal in the sense that both are not normal, but there are two sides of not being normal. In the same way the word extraordinary has always been used for those who are above the ordinary. I don’t know, I have tried to find out why, why it has not been used for those idiots who are below the ordinary. They are also extraordinary. Why this unfairness?

The original ashram, the very word ashram, means time to relax, a place to relax. Shram means labor, work. Ashram means you have done what was to be done, now it is time to be in a state of nondoing. You have acted your whole life. When are you going to know the strange and extraordinary world of inaction? - so totally silent that nothing moves there. It was a beautiful word and the people who invented it were really doing just that. But it is a five-thousand year old story which these five thousand years have been destroying continuously.

You will be shocked to hear that the rishi - which can be translated as the seer.. The ordinary poet is blind, he is groping in darkness; the rishi is one who has eyes. The blind man can also sing songs of beautiful sunrises, sunsets, flowers, colors, rainbows - yes, the blind man can sing..

In fact blind people are good singers for the simple reason that eighty percent of our body’s energy is used by our eyes, and when a man is blind, that eighty percent of his energy starts being distributed to the ears, to the nose, to the mouth - into the other four senses which ordinarily have to share only twenty percent of the energy. With eyes non-existent they enjoy one hundred percent of the energy amongst themselves. Hence the blind man has a very subtle way of hearing. You cannot hear what he hears. He remembers through hearing.

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