Chapter 21: Priest and Politicians: From Genesis to Genocide
The subtitle says many things. If you don’t understand the subtitle - -and I don’t think anybody reads subtitles; there is no need. You read the title, you read the book. And in most cases subtitles are useless, but not in this case - -the subtitle has tremendous significance. First, it says these are only fragments. Ouspensky, being a great mathematician, was absolutely unimaginative. You can see the point.
A poet is imaginative, has to be, otherwise he cannot be a poet. Now, all the Vedas of the Hindus, the Upanishads of the Hindus, the Dhammapada of Buddha, the Koran of Mohammed, are all poetic. The Upanishads are pure poetry. Jesus was not even speaking in poetry but prose, yet his prose is very poetic. There are poems which are not poetic and there is prose which is poetic. Just the form is of prose; otherwise it is full of poetry. Hence, the modern poetry has dropped the old form - -now you can write poetry in prose.
That is a great revolution. Up to now, the form was thought to be the poetry, not the substance. For the first time, in the modern age, we have changed the whole idea: the form has nothing to do with poetry, but the substance has. The form may be of prose or poetry, that is irrelevant: it is the substance which makes it poetic.
Jesus’ statements are very poetic - -the “Sermon on the Mount” is pure poetry. But with poetry the danger is that it is imagination. It is beautiful, impressive, appealing, touching to the heart, but it is not rational. It can be absolutely irrational, it can be superstitious, yet it will appeal to you; hence all the old religions have used poetry. The whole Shrimad Bhagavadgita is pure poetry.
It is not a coincidence that all great scriptures are written in poetic form. There is a fundamental reason. What they wanted to say was a very small, fragmentary truth. To say it, as it was, would not have appealed.
It is just as if you bring a leg of a chair, and you say, “This is a chair.” The chair is supposed to be sat upon, but the people are going to ask, “How can one sit on this leg? You must be kidding. Just show us: sit on it, and we can see what happens.” Just the leg of a chair is not going to prove that it is a chair. So you have to substitute with your imagination, and give them an idea of the whole chair on which you can put your real chair leg. But an imaginative chair is needed.
All these people were poetic. There must have been people who had discovered fragments of truth but they were not poetic; hence they remained silent. It is not that only these few people have attained some realization of truth; many more have attained, but they were not poetic people, not imaginative people. And they felt embarrassed to bring out a small piece of something and to brag about it.