Chapter 4: The Highest Flight
The first question:
What is a poet? What is poetry?
There are three ways of looking at existence: feeling it, seeing it, being it. The first is science, the second is art, the third is religion.
Science looks at the universe in an objective way. It looks at the universe as if it is there, outside. Hence science concludes that there is only matter and nothing else. The very method of science limits it; it is a great limitation. If you look in an objective way you can catch hold only of the objectivity of existence. That is matter. Matter is the objectiveness of existence.
The word object is significant. It means that which obstructs, objects you. Anything that obstructs your vision is an object. Hence science becomes antagonistic towards the world. It starts trying to conquer it, because the object is the enemy and has to be conquered.
It is because of the scientific approach that man has become so alienated from nature. And now he feels so isolated and alone that it seems suicide is the only way to get rid of the whole misery that this isolation has created.
The second approach, the second way, is that of art, aesthetics, poetry. It is a subjective approach towards existence. Art is not concerned what is there but what is here, inside you.
It is not concerned with the roseflower itself but how it feels to you. When you see the roseflower, what happens into your inner world? When you see the sunrise, how does it reflect in your being? When the cuckoo starts calling from the distance, how it echoes in your innermost recesses?
Art is concerned with your response: not what is there but what is inside you. Art is closer home than science, although not yet exactly in the home, but on the way. It is a mid-point between science and religion. Art gives you more freedom than science.
The poet has more freedom than the mathematician; the musician has more freedom than the physicist. The scientist is obstructed by his own objects. The scientist cannot go beyond matter and matter defines his world. But the poet can soar, can go beyond, can create one’s own worlds.
Science discovers, art creates. Science can only discover that which is already there. Art creates, hence art brings you closer to the creator.
And whenever I talk about poetry I mean the essence of art. Poetry is the essence of art. The sculptor is creating poetry in stone, the musician is creating poetry in sound, the painter is creating poetry on the canvas with colors. They are all poets. Their mediums differ, their expressions differ, but their basic approach is not of arithmetic but of poetry.