The first question:
How blind I have been! There are so many signposts I have missed, and now I am wondering about those who wrote the signs. These days I'm discovering so many traces of how reality truly is through words of others and ask, "Where were they?" Especially some of the English poets, Shakespeare and Bob Dylan. Did they realize what they were saying? Are they consciously sharing their glimpses? (T.S. Eliot, Lewis Carroll)
Pradeepa, this is a complex question. A few things will have to be understood before you can have an understanding of it.
The mystic lives in the other reality, the separate reality. His abode is there. The poet only has glimpses. Only sometimes the door opens and he sees something, and the door closes. He has no understanding of what is happening, he can’t figure it out himself. It remains mysterious. He has no explanation about it, from where it comes, why it comes; it is all from the blue. He’s possessed by it. In some moments he’s utterly possessed; in those moments he starts saying things which he will not be able to explain later on.
It is said about a great poet that once a man came to ask him the meaning of a certain poem that he had written twenty years before. The poet said, “It is too late. When I had written it, two persons knew the meaning. Now, only one knows.” The man said, “Then that one must be you.” And the poet said, “I am not that one. When I wrote this poetry, or, to be more true, when this poetry was written by me or this poetry wrote itself through me, God knew the meaning and I knew the meaning. Now I don’t know, only God knows.”
The poet is not in a state of meditation, he’s not in awareness. He’s vulnerable to the unknown. He has certain openings towards the unknown, and the unknown penetrates him, stirs his heart, resounds in his being, sometimes becomes a song or a painting or a dance, but the poet is utterly unaware of what is happening from where it all comes. And it comes like lightening, and then disappears. He has to write it, he has an obligation to write it. Unless he writes it, it persists inside. It goes on hammering him. A poet writes it because it becomes too heavy if he doesn’t write. He unburdens himself by writing. The poetry is a catharsis. The poet feels good once he has written something that was persistently there asking for attention.
The mystic is enlightened – not that he has lightning experiences. The other world, the unknown – call it God, nirvana, or anything you like – has become his abode. It is his reality; he lives there. It is not something from the blue: he’s part of it, he vibrates with it. The separation is dropped. He knows what he is saying.