In India, when somebody is reading an ordinary book it is called “reading”; but whenever somebody is reading the Gita we have a special term for it: we call it path. Literally translated it will mean “lesson.” Ordinary reading is just reading – mechanical; but when you read so deeply absorbed in it that the very reading becomes a lesson, then the very reading goes deep in your being and is not only part of your memory now but has become part of your being. You have absorbed it, you are drunk with it. You don’t carry the message in so many words, but you have the essence in you. The very essential has moved into your being. We call it “path.”
In reading a book, once you have read it the book is finished. To read it twice will be meaningless; thrice will be simply foolish. But in path you have to read the same book every day. There are people who have been reading their Gita every day for years – fifty, sixty years – their whole life. Now it is not reading because it is not a question of knowing what is written in it; they know, they have read it thousands of times. Then what are they doing? They are bringing their consciousness again and again to the same tuning, as if Krishna is alive before them, or Jesus is alive before them. They are no longer reading a book – they have transformed themselves into a different space, in a different time, in a different world.
Read the Gita, sing it, dance with it, and allow it as much as possible to go withinwards. Soon words are left behind but the music goes deeper. Then even that music is left behind – only the rhythm resounds. And then even that is gone. All the nonessential is gone, only the essential…and that essential is inexpressible. It cannot be said – one has to experience it.
So if you read, it depends on you whether reading is going to help you become free, or whether reading is going to make you a greater slave. Whether it is going to become a freedom or an imprisonment, it depends on you.
A music teacher took her class to a concert in the hope of further developing their musical appreciation. After the program she took them out to eat and they had cakes, ice cream and other goodies.
Just as they were ready to go home, the teacher asked the youngest of them, “Well, did you enjoy the concert?”
“Oh yes,” he replied happily, “all except the music.”
If you read the Gita or The Bible only from the head, you will be enjoying everything else except the music; and the music is the real thing. That’s why we have called it Bhagavadgita– the song of the divine. The whole thing is in the innermost coherence of it. It is poetry, it is not prose. And poetry has to be understood in a totally different way from prose.
Prose is logical, poetry is illogical. Prose is linear, it moves in a straight line. Poetry is not linear, it is circular, it moves in circles. Prose is for ordinary things and ordinary experiences. There are experiences which cannot be expressed in prose. Those experiences need poetry. Poetry means a more liquid form. Poetry means a more singing, dancing, celebrating form. All great scriptures are poetry; even if they are written in prose they are poetry. Poetry can be written in prose and prose can be written in poetry. So it is not a question only of linguistic form – it is a question of its very essence.