Have you noted? – he says, “His power came from some great reservoir of spirituality, of spiritual life, else it could not have been so universal and so potent.” It is rational, logical, but it has no roots in experience. He feels that something beyond the grasp of mind has come through Kahlil Gibran, but he is not certain. And he cannot be certain, because it is not his experience. He is immensely impressed by the beautiful language; each word is poetry unto itself. But he himself is unaware of that great reservoir of spirituality. He himself has not tasted it. He has loved Kahlil Gibran, but he has not lived him.
With me, the situation is totally different. Hence, there are a few things I would like to say to you before I make my commentaries on the statements of Kahlil Gibran.
First, he is certainly a great poet, perhaps the greatest that has ever been born on the earth, but he is not a mystic; and there is a tremendous difference between a poet and a mystic. The poet, once in a while, suddenly finds himself in the same space as the mystic. In those rare moments, roses shower over him. On those rare occasions, he is almost a Gautam Buddha – but remember, I’m saying almost.
These rare moments come and go. He’s not the master of those rare moments. They come like the breeze and the fragrance and by the time you have become aware they are gone.
A poet’s genius is that he catches those moments in words. Those moments come into your life too. They are free gifts of existence – or in other words, glimpses to provoke in you a search, to come to a moment when this space will become your very life, your blood, your bones, your marrow. You will breathe it; your heart will beat it. You will never be able to lose it, even if you want to.
The poet is for moments a mystic, and the mystic is a poet forever.
But this has always created a very difficult question, and nobody has been able to solve it. I have a humble solution. The problem has been posed again and again, thousands of times all over the world: if the poet gets only glimpses yet creates so much beauty, so much poetry – words start becoming alive the moment he touches them – why have the mystics not been able to produce the same kind of poetry? They are twenty-four hours a day, day and night, in that creative state, but their words don’t carry that beauty. Even the words of Gautam Buddha or Jesus Christ fall very much short of the words of people like Kahlil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy, Rabindranath Tagore. It certainly seems to be strange, because the people who have only moments create so much and the people who have the universal consciousness available to them, waking or sleeping… What happens? Why have they not been able to produce Kahlil Gibrans? And nobody has answered it.
My own experience is that if a beggar finds a gold mine, he will sing and he will dance and he will go mad with joy – but not an emperor.
A poet once in a while becomes an emperor – but only once in a while; that’s why he cannot take it for granted. But the mystic is not just for a moment merged with the universal consciousness – he is merged. There is no way of coming back.