In all the paintings of one of the most important Dutch painters, Vincent van Gogh – perhaps the most important as far as insight, understanding is concerned – the trees always go beyond the stars; the stars are left behind. He was thought mad by his contemporaries. He was asked again and again: “Where have you seen trees growing above the faraway stars?”
Vincent van Gogh said, “I have not seen them, but sitting by the side of the trees I have heard their longings. And I paint the flower even before the seed has been sown.”
All his stars are strange: he has painted them as spirals. Even the painters laughed at him: “You must be insane. Stars are not spirals.”
He said, “What can I do? Not only in my dreams, but even in my wakefulness my heart always feels that they are spirals.” He could not sell a single painting in his whole life – who would purchase such paintings? And he painted them with his blood, with his very life.
From his younger brother, he used to get just enough money every week so that he could eat two meals a day for seven days. He used to fast three days of the week so he could purchase paints, canvasses. No other painter has painted with such longing, with such deep love.
He lived just to paint; he died when he was thirty-three. And just a few months ago, physicists have come to the conclusion that stars are spirals – one hundred years afterward.
The poet has certainly some unknown short-cut to knowing things. He cannot prove it. He is not a scientist, he is not a logician. But the contemporaries are thousands of years behind. It is very rare to find an individual who is authentically contemporary. Rajiv Gandhi, the prime minister of India, won the election on a single slogan: “I want India to enter the twenty-first century.” And not a single man in this vast country of nine hundred million people asked him whether the country has yet reached the twentieth century! People are living in thousands-of-years-old superstitions, in ideologies which have no relevance to truth. And they are not willing to come out of their darkness.
I would like my people to be not only of this century or of the twenty-first century; I would like my people to be the people of the whole future. When you can be masters of the whole future, why unnecessarily remain beggars?
Listen to these words, because these are not words, these are living flames. It is pure fire. If it cannot consume you, you have not heard it:
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Such a tremendous statement, which will always remain fresh; I cannot conceive of any time in the future when this statement will become out of date. If you can understand it, if you can live it, the whole future also becomes yours. It can open the doors of the unknown reality that awaits you.