And do you know? – love rises always upwards, just like a flame always rises upwards. A flame never goes downwards. Lust is like water, it goes downwards; love is like a flame, fire, it always goes upwards. And between the two is the psychological phenomenon: something of lust in it, passion, and something of compassion in it. It is just in the middle.
It has some quality of the lower and some quality of the higher to it; hence when the poet is in his poetic mood he is almost like the mystic, but it is only a question of mood. When he is not in his poetic mood he is just as ordinary, or maybe more ordinary, than the so-called ordinary people. You may have observed it: when a musician drowns himself in his music he rises to such peaks, such ephemeral peaks, that you can feel the presence of great mystery. And you can see the same musician sitting in some hotel drinking tea, talking all kinds of nonsense. He looks too ordinary; you cannot believe that this man was creating such beautiful music, such celestial music.
If you read the poetry, the poet seems to be like a seer, a Kahlil Gibran. If you read The Prophet it is almost like a prophet, but if you meet Kahlil Gibran and see him in his ordinary moods you will be surprised: he is a very angry person, jealous, quarrelsome. He goes into very childish tantrums, throws things, is very possessive. If you meet Kahlil Gibran you will be surprised that this man could write a book like The Prophet because the book rises to the same heights as the Bible, as the Koran.
But the man is not abiding on those heights; only once in a while are clouds not there and the poet can see the sun, the ocean, can see the open sky and can give you a glimpse of it in his poetry, in his music. But soon the clouds are there again and the sun is no longer available, and the poet is as ordinary as you are or even more ordinary, because when you fall from a glimpse you fall into depths, just to keep balance.
So you can find a poet drunk, lying down in the gutter like a dog, shouting nonsense, and the same poet brings such beautiful flowers from the unknown. So in the middle both things will be together; it is a mixed phenomenon. Rise from the lower, but don’t stop in the middle; go on rising to the highest.
When I talk about love I always mean the highest, with one difference: when others speak of the highest they deny the lowest; I don’t deny it, I accept it. I want to use it as a stepping-stone. The lower has to be purified by the higher. The lower has to be transformed by the higher, not denied, not rejected. If you reject it, it persists. If you reject it, if you repress it, it takes revenge. It makes you uglier than you ever were before.
A woman with a baby, next in line in the crowded anteroom of a station of the Infant Welfare Society, was shown into the doctor’s office by the nurse in charge.
The doctor examined the baby, and then asked the woman, “Is he breast-fed or bottle-fed?”
“Breast-fed,” she replied.