The same happens when one comes to know the reality, but the reality is to be known through deep participation. If you don’t participate you will know the reality from the outside as a stranger, an outsider. You can come to this house; you can move around the house and you will know certain things about the house, but you have moved outside, on the periphery. You have looked at the walls from the outside – you don’t know the house from the inside.
Sometimes, like a thief in the dark of the night, you can enter the house also; the poet is a thief. The scientist remains a stranger. The religious man is a guest; he does not come in the dark of the night, does not steal in the house. Because one can know certain things as a thief also, the poet will be better than the man of science who has been wandering around and around and around, about and about and about, and never in. Even a poet will know something which a scientist can never know, because he has been in the house – though in the night, in the dark; though uninvited, not as a guest, not from the front door.
A religious man enters in the house as a guest. He earns it. And he knows something not only about the house but about the host also – because he is a guest. He not only knows about the material house that exists, but also about the immaterial host that is there who is really the center of the house. He knows the owner.
Science knows only matter. Art sometimes has glimpses of the immaterial because a thief can also come across the owner, but he will be asleep. He can also see the face, but only in the dark because he is afraid, always afraid something may go wrong. He is a thief and is always afraid and trembling. But when you come to the house as a guest – invited, you have earned it – the host embraces you; there is welcome. Then you know the very center of the reality.
In India we have two words, both mean “the poet.” In no other language are there two words for poet, because there is no need; one word is enough. It explains the phenomenon of poetry – “poet” is enough. But in Sanskrit we have two words, kavi and rishi, and the distinction is very subtle and is worth understanding. Kavi is one: he is a poet who has come as a thief. He participates, so he is a poet, but his knowledge is in fragments. In certain moments… as if the thief was inside the house and there was sudden lightning in the sky and he could see the whole house from the inside also – but it is for a single moment. The lightning gone… everything has become like a dream.
The poet comes across the reality sometimes, but as if he has not earned it. That’s why you will sometimes be surprised: you read a poem by somebody – X, Y, Z – it appeals to you, to your very heart, you are stirred and you would like to meet this man out of whom these lines have flown, but when you meet the man, the poet, you are disappointed – he is just plain, ordinary, nothing.