The Aesthetic or Esoteric Poet
The Aesthetic or Esoteric Poet
The esoteric or aesthetic poet is initially inspired from within. He or she may not consciously know this, but there is an unmistaken and intuitive pull from nature, that attracts such souls. With persistence and joy in his/her work, sooner or lately, either by guidance from without or inwardly, or both - as in my case - the poetry of the esoteric poet flourishes. It then becomes a beacon of inspiration to many, having been touched and given the momentum to guide and heal Souls from the Supreme Itself.
The inspiration for my poetry began as a young child growing up in the Caribbean. On cool dark, wintry nights, in the village of Hermitage, St Patrick's, on the island of Grenada, West Indies, my friends and I would sit on the side of the road, telling Anancy stories, (traditional folklore) well into the early hours of the morning. Our only, yet precious comfort, was the taste of piped water coming directly from the 'bubbling' springs, way into the mountains. Of course, the stories themselves gave me tremendous joy and inspiration, together with a deep sense of love and brotherly comradeship. I have not heard stories such as ours since, neither have I encountered the purity and self-giving nature of this life-energising water, on those cool dark nights.
I was also influenced by Shakespeare, Keats, Blake, Kipling, Wordsworth and many more. I can still re-call sitting under a lamp post at 4.a.m., in the early hours of a typical Caribbean morning, imbibing the beauty of the poet’s sonnets or other sublime works. I wrote to a small degree in my early teens, but it was not until the early eighties, that I re-commenced my love for all things aesthetically beautiful; expressing them on paper in such a way as brought me much accolade from others. The esoteric side would soon develop by my coming into contact with Sri Chinmoy, an illumined visionary and remarkable lover of God, the Supreme. Of course poetry is an art and Sri Chinmoy expresses this most loftily, with tremendous depth and breadth:
“The supreme Art is to know the Supreme Artist intimately, within and without. This knowledge, well-established, cannot but guide all our movements on artistic lines. And this knowledge will be the basis of a perfectly beautiful life within and without. Art in the most effective sense of the term is a sublime truth that draws our soul from within towards the infinite Vast.” – Sri Chinmoy. Eternity’s Breath, Agni Press, 1972.
I have already spoken of the inner influence on the divine poet. As to whether the inner benediction that comes from poetry is greater when the poet is conscious of the Higher Force or not conscious, I leave for others to decide. What I do know is that some of my earlier works, while written for the mundane, contained many lofty and sublime pieces. Still, it was only with my spiritual awakening, that I was able to recognise the depth of inner awareness, given to me on Sri Chinmoy's Path. I then realised that prior to my conscious awakening, I was unconsciously reaching for higher ideals.
My poems in the early eighties were ‘prayers’ composed to assist me in my life of spiritual pursuit. Sri Chinmoy's style of devotion, yearning and aspiration for the Supreme had influenced me deeply, giving me the strength and necessary tools to re-commence my work. What is a poet? I was once sitting at home when I received a letter, which had a most profound effect upon me. There and then I started composing a poem:
"Thank you" Said the devotee to his Gurubhai.
The words echoing from his inner core,
While joyful secretions trickled down his cheeks.
Happy was he in the waves of gratitude,
Suddenly taking hold of his heart.
O Lord, immeasurable is Thy beauty,
How diverse Your ways of expressing it!
This moment: stillness, repose, and the next...
Flowing gladness, wondrous delight,
An awakening of psychic tears and thankfulness.
Brother Gurubhai, appreciation for thy faith in Man,
Long lives thy soulful inspiration”. -Manatita
So perhaps one can say that poetry is that which comes from within, affected by impulses from within nature and the external world. This is particularly of deep significance, to the poet reaching upwards to the Divine.
Again, at a gathering in Shepherds' Bush, (in London), I experienced a 'flashing' of the wholeness of life and its interconnectedness, which prompted me to write the following poem:
I smiled at the server, who lovingly handed me the drink.
The Swami had just finished,
A most stirring speech.
Musicians played hauntingly,
While the vocalist sang melodiously
To rapturous applause,
And the drumming of the tabla
Mesmerised the crowds.
Upstairs, where I now sit,
The aroma of palatable food and cheerful noises,
Permeate the soulful atmosphere.
Servers diligently seek to see
That all is fed and trays are taken away.
Tables are wiped clean,
While floors are swept.
All is buzzing with life.
Downstairs, the pungent smell of incense, still lingers on,
And the deities stand majestically At their respective places.
The shoe racks swell with pride,
And the book tables quietly wait their turn In this game of life.
Silently I sit, not moving, but marvelling at the intricate web and
Beauty of Truth's Creation.
Each part of the whole,
Playing his or her tune, and dancing with God. - Manatita
Some of my most inspired works came as a direct result of experience in meditation. Here I give you, my reader, a sense of the esoteric side.
In the Presence of Thy Sanctity
As I sit down before Thy sacred shrine,
Your stillness-peace I feel within.
Grace points me to an inner thrill;
I know the effort is not mine.
Around me all is calm, serene;
Your spirit percolates my being.
Before I even think of Thee,
Thy bliss is flowing ever free.
Your love is sanctimonious, keen,
So selfless for a wretch like me,
When all I’ve done is enter in,
The presence of Thy sanctuary. -Manatita
The point here is to show that the divine poet, whether he is conscious or not conscious of the Supreme, writes primarily from a Higher inspiration flowing through his soul, heart, mind, vital and finally fingers and pen, in order to be dynamically used by an esoteric or psychic flow. This, Sri Chinmoy, with his direct inner vision, does infinitely better than I can, and so I would finish this writing with a poem of his which illustrates fully - in my view - the soul of the inspired poet as well as the poet with direct perception or embodiment of life's inner transcendental beauty:
No mind, no form, I only exist;
Now ceased all will and thought;
The final end of Nature's dance,
I am it whom I have sought.
A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate;
Beyond both knower and known;
A rest immense I enjoy at last;
I face the One alone.
I have crossed the secret ways of life,
I have become the Goal.
The Truth immutable is revealed;
I am the way, the God Soul.
My spirit aware of all the heights,
I am mute in the core of the Sun.
I barter nothing with time and deeds;
My cosmic play is done. – Sri Chinmoy. From My Flute, No 1, Agni Press, 1972.
- Manatita, 22nd July, 2012.