You are continuously eating, drinking. What are you eating? – the universe, that’s what you are eating. What are you breathing? – the universe, that’s what you are breathing. What are you drinking? – the universe, that’s what you are drinking. Continuously, the universe is going in and passing out. You are just a passage. The breath comes in, refreshes you, rejuvenates you, goes out, another breath comes in…. We are in a continuous relationship with existence. In fact, to say it is a relationship is not right: we are one with existence.
If one is really intelligent, then neither love nor meditation – just intelligence is enough. Just to see the point that we are one with existence, hence there is nobody separate, and the ego is gone. And the going of the ego is the coming of godliness. In fact, the divine is always there; just because of the ego you cannot see it. And to see yourself as divine, as part of this immense existence, is the beginning of creativity.
And this is not only the experience of the mystics. Of course this is the experience of all the mystics of the world: you can ask Kabir or Eckhart, you can ask Farid or Mansoor, you can ask Lieh Tzu or Rinzai. You can ask different kinds of mystics, born in different times, to different races, in different countries, unaware of each other’s existence, and they will all say one thing: “The moment I disappeared, godliness came in. Or maybe it was already there; just my presence was not allowing it to express itself, to become manifest. I was obstructing the way.”
But this is not only the experience of the mystics. Even the poets, the musicians, the painters, have a few glimpses of it – of course only glimpses, then they fall back to the ordinary world. They rise to the sacred for a few moments.
Whenever Rabindranath would have the visitation, would have creativity arising in him, he would not eat, he would not drink, he would not sleep for days together. He would lock himself in his room, he would not come out. He would come out only when the glimpse had disappeared.
And those who saw him coming out after three, four days of remaining in some other world all noted one fact: he looked so different, so fragile, so unearthly, so light, as if not made of matter, so subtle, nothing gross in him, his eyes so clear and so deep and his whole being so transparent. But after a few hours he would be back again, settled in the gross body, would be his old self again.
People used to ask him, “What happens when you close yourself in?”
He would say, “I close myself in, I lock myself in, so that nobody disturbs me, because I am no more here. Any disturbance can be a very shattering experience. I am so fragile that I would not like to be disturbed. Even a little sound is enough to bring me back to the earth, and those are the moments when I am flying high, when great poetry arises in me.”
That’s how Gitanjali was born, the book for which he got the Nobel Prize. Many, many people have been given the Nobel Prize, I have seen almost all the books for which a Nobel Prize has been given, but there is no comparison with Rabindranath’s Gitanjali. Gitanjali means “offering of songs.” It has some totally different quality, not of this world. It echoes something of the Upanishads. It has some reflections of Buddha, Jesus, Zarathustra, Lao Tzu. But Rabindranath was not a mystic, he was only a poet.