Every mystic is a poet! Once the mystery of the cosmos dawns in one’s consciousness, the exquisite poetry of creation bewitches the soul! Truth becomes beauty, and beauty, the truth that is all one needs to know!
The most sublime poetry is mysticism at its best- take for example the work of Shakespeare! Can any statement match “to be or not to be? That is the question!” In such exquisitely brief language, the bard caught the essential dilemma of human existence Or William Blake’s “Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright, in the forest of my night! What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry!” William Wordsworth was a master at describing meditative states of ecstasy induced by his experiences in nature. A more prosaic poet, who was nevertheless, a master of capturing moods and deep truths in words, was Rudyard Kipling. He summed up the whole gist of the Bhagavad Gita in a line. “If you can look on fame and blame and treat the two impostors just the same!
Our Indian scriptures and the Rishis who wrote them were sensitive to the core in their perception of human experience. A particularly charming example is a verse from the Vaishavuite Saint Tirumangam Azhwar on the “extremely un-poetic” subject of a female crab!
The subject of the verse is a female crab who watches her crab-husband trapped inside a lotus flower. How the irony of life on earth was captured so poignantly by the saint poet! Using the crab’s predicament as his extended metaphor.
The female crab was pregnant and the male crab went out in the morning to get some food for the female. The dwelling place of the two crabs was a water lily, which closes up during the day and opens at night.
The male crab went to a nearby lotus in the same pond early one morning. The lotus had just opened up with the rising sun. The crab gathered honey from the flower but by the time his work was done, it was evening. The sun went down and the lotus closed up, leaving the crab trapped inside. The next day, when the sun came up the lotus opened as usual and crab rushed to his home, which was the water lily. Sadly for the crabs, the lily closes up as soon as the sun rises. So when the crab arrived outside its home, the petals closed up and the crab was left outside.
Since the husband crab was trapped in the lotus, he did not return to his home that night with food for his wife. The wife crab only knew her husband was gone all night! Suspecting the worst she closed the door of their lily home and did not allow him entrance.
What a beautiful illustration of the misunderstandings which arise between husband and wife in human relations. The karmic problems which arise during our earth-bound innovations.