The scholars are so clever in destroying all that is beautiful by their commentaries, interpretations, by their so-called learning. They make everything so heavy that even poetry with them becomes non-poetic.
I myself never attended any poetry class in the university. I was called again and again by the head of the department, that ‘You attend other classes, why you don’t come to the poetry classes?”
I said, “Because I want to keep my interest in poetry alive. I love poetry, that’s why. And I know perfectly well that your professors are absolutely unpoetic; they have never known any poetry in their life. I know them perfectly well. The man who teaches poetry in the university goes for a morning walk with me every day. I have never seen him looking at the trees, listening to the birds, seeing the beautiful sunrise.”
And in the university where I was, the sunrise and the sunset were something tremendously beautiful. The university was on a small hillock surrounded by small hills all around. I have never come across…I have traveled all over this country; I have never seen more beautiful sunsets and sunrises anywhere. For some unknown mysterious reason Sagar University seems to have a certain situation where clouds become so colorful at the time of sunrise and sunset that even a blind man will become aware that something tremendously beautiful is happening.
But I have never seen the professor who teaches poetry in the university to look at the sunset, to stop even for a single moment. And whenever he sees me watching the sunset or the sunrise or the trees or the birds, he asks me, “Why you are sitting here? You have come for a morning walk–do your exercise!”
I told him that, “This is not exercise for me. You are doing exercise; with me it is a love affair.”
And when it rains he never comes. And whenever it rains I will go and knock at his door and tell him, “Come on!”
He will say, “But it is raining!”
I said, “That’s the most beautiful time to go for a walk, because the streets are absolutely empty. And to go for a walk without any umbrella while it is raining is so beautiful, is so poetic!”
He thinks I am mad, but a man who has never gone in the rains under the trees cannot understand poetry. I told to the head of the department that, “This man is not poetic; he destroys everything. He is so scholarly and poetry is such an unscholarly phenomenon that there is no meeting ground between the two.”
Universities destroy people’s interest and love for poetry. They destroy your whole idea of how a life should be; they make it more and more a commodity. They teach you how to earn more, but they don’t teach you how to live deeply, how to live totally. And these are the ways from where you can get glimpses of Tao. These are the ways from where small doors and windows open into the ultimate. You are told the value of money but not the value of a rose flower. You are told the value of being a prime minister or a president but not the value of being a poet, a painter, a singer, a dancer. Those things are thought to be for crazy people. And they are the ways from where one slips slowly into Tao. ggate06
We have been given such a beautiful existence with such glorious seasons. In the fall, when the leaves start falling from the trees, have you heard the song? When the wind passes through the dead leaves which have gathered on the ground…even the dead leaves are not as dead as man has become; still they can sing. They don’t complain that the tree has dropped them. They go with nature wherever it leads. And this is the way of a true religious heart: no complaint, no grudge but just being blissful for all that existence has given to you–which you had not asked for, which you had not earned.
Have you danced while it is raining? No, you have created umbrellas. And it is not only against the rain…you have created many umbrellas to protect you from the constant creativity of existence.
When I was a student in the university, whenever it used to rain it was an absolute certainty that I would leave the class, and my professors became aware that “When it is raining, you cannot stop him. He has to go.” And I had found the loneliest street, with tall trees reaching and touching the clouds. On that silent and deserted road, there were only a few bungalows belonging to professors and deans, and the vice chancellor. It was a silent place and it was a dead-end street.
The last bungalow belonged to the head of the department of physics. His family had become accustomed to it, that if I was there, the rain was bound to come; or if it was raining, I was bound to come. We had become simultaneous, to the family.
The whole family used to look–“What kind of crazy boy is this?” Soaked in the falling rain, in the dancing winds…and because that was the dead-end, I used to stay under a tree as long as it continued to rain. The family was certainly curious. They wanted to inquire, “Who is this boy?” But the head of the department of physics had become interested in me for other reasons. He was a lover of books and he always found me in the library. There were days when we were the only two persons in the library.
He started becoming more and more loving and friendly towards me and he said, “You are a little strange. You should be in your class, but I see you most of the time in the library.”
I said, “In the class, the professor is almost always out of date. He is saying things which he read when he was in the university thirty years ago. In these thirty years, everything has changed. I want to keep pace with the growing wisdom, knowledge, science. In fact, in the library I am more a contemporary, in touch with the latest findings. So I go to class once in a while when I feel a desire to argue. My professors are happy that I remain in the library because whenever I visit their classes, it is always trouble. There is a gap of thirty years and I have all the latest information.”
He said, “One day I would like to take you to my home. I want you to be introduced to my children, my wife, to show them that here is a student who has come to the university not for degrees but to learn; not for certificates and gold medals but to keep in tune with the explosion of knowledge in all directions, in all dimensions. Sometimes, even although I am the head of the department of physics and you have nothing to do with physics, you know more than I know. Now it is too late to cover the gap of thirty years; I have lost contact.”
So one day he invited me. He was feeling that his family would be immensely happy to meet me, to talk with me, to listen to what I had to say. But he was very much shocked–as we entered his house, the whole family started laughing, and they escaped inside the house!
He said, “This is very strange. They have never done this before. My wife is a postgraduate, all my children are getting educated. This is not a behavior…. ”
I said, “You don’t know; I know your family, we are well acquainted. Although we have not spoken to each other, we have known each other for two years.”
He said, “This is strange. I wasn’t even aware of the fact.”
I said, “Don’t be worried and don’t feel sad and sorry and hurt by the behavior of your family. What they have done is absolutely right.”
We entered, and the family gathered. He asked them: “What was the reason for you all to start laughing and why did you all escape? Is this a way to welcome a guest? And I had informed you that I was bringing a guest that you would all love.”
They said, “But we are almost in love with the guest already. He’s the craziest fellow in your university. Not only does he waste his time, when it rains, he wastes our time too because we cannot go inside until he leaves. He’s an interesting fellow.”
Then I explained to him that I loved running miles against the wind–one feels so alive–going for long walks without any umbrella, particularly when it is raining. Even when it is a hot day and the sun is throwing fire, it has its own beauty–to perspire and then to have a jump in the lake. The water feels so cool, just the contrast.
One who understands life will not be left behind. mess113