If you meditate on a buddha-statue, you will suddenly feel yourself becoming cool, silent, tranquil. You will suddenly feel a kind of balancing happening – just by meditating on the buddha-statue. Or, if you meditate on the Taj Mahal on a full-moon night – it is a Sufi work of art, it was created by Sufis; it is a message of love – if you go on a full-moon night and simply sit there, not thinking about the Taj Mahal, not saying stupid things like “How beautiful!” just meditating, absorbing, you will feel a great insight happening to you. As the night deepens, something will deepen in you. As the moon starts rising, something will start rising in you too. As the noises of the city disappear, your noisy mind will start disappearing. You can have a great meditative experience through the Taj Mahal. And it will not be only meditative – that is the difference between the Taj Mahal and Ajanta. When meditation happens you will feel overflowing with love. In Ajanta, love will not happen, only meditation will happen. That was created by Buddhist mystics who believe in awareness and in nothing else. Sufis believe in love; meditation is part of it.
Objective art means it has been created deliberately by one who knows what he is doing, who brings something from the other dimension into this world, some form. Just watching that form, a form will arise in you, a song. Just singing that song, you will become something else, a mantra. But if you start meditating you will be surprised: many times you will find beautiful lines from the poets.
What I would like to remind you of is that sometimes you can find something in Eliot which he himself was not aware of. If you meditate, if you go deep in meditation, then even from subjective art you can find a thousand and one beautiful experiences. That may not have been so for the creator himself, because the creator was in a kind of dream-state when he created it. That’s why it is always wise never to go and see the painter if you love the painting, never to go and see the poet if you love his poetry, because that may be a kind of disillusionment. You will find the poet very ordinary, because the poet is not a poet for twenty-four hours. Once in a while he is a poet, when the door opens. And he does not know how it opens and how it closes; he has no keys in his hand. He cannot open it on demand. He’s utterly helpless and impotent; it happens when it happens. When it happens he shares the being of a mystic, for a moment. For a split second a drop of the unknown falls into his being, a seed sinks into his heart, then he is ordinary. Then for the remaining time he is just as ordinary, as ignorant as you – sometimes even more so. Because that glimpse gives him a very, very egoistic idea about himself, he starts thinking about himself that he’s superb, something great. That’s why you will find poets, painters, very vain, egoistic people. You will not find ordinary people so egoistic as you will find the artists to be. They are creators, and they have some reason to be egoistic: look what great poetry they have done, what great paintings they have done. Those paintings are not done by them, those poems are not done by them. Something mysterious has been happening to them. They have become instrumental, they have been mediums. But a mystic is not a medium, he is the source.
Sometimes in Eliot you will find words which are as beautiful as Buddha’s words or Jesus’ words, but there is a qualitative difference between them: Eliot is not aware of what he is doing; Jesus is fully aware of what he is doing, of what he wants to do. Each of his statements is deliberate, conscious
But if you start meditating, then from many sources you will be able to recognize, and then even poets start looking like mystics.
Listen to these words of Octavio Paz: