Mystical Poetry

Posted on 25 October 2005


Some of the most ancient poetry was sacred poetry and song as a vehicle for sacred teachings. The Vedas of India, for example, are sacred verses that are traditionally chanted. It is said that they are not merely descriptions of doctrines, but revelations of Truth. Their poetic power to transform consciousness derives from the fact that these verses are not merely sounds referencing a silent Truth separate from the sounds. Rather, the vowels and consonants of the sacred verses are the tangible presence of Truth itself. According to this tradition, poetry is not merely a fanciful and pleasant play of words and sounds that might evoke some surprising images or emotions, but a direct manifestation of a deeper reality that has the potential to radically transform us and shift us out of fixed modes of awareness.

Moreover, it is said that all existence manifests in this way from a fundamental seed syllable or vibration, OM. As the Mandukya Upanishad says, “This eternal Word is all: what was, what is, and what shall be, and what is beyond eternity. All is OM.” The Greek word poesis (related to our words poetry and poem) means simply making or creating. The divine poetry is thus the divine creation, which is the world made manifest through the act of divine speech, such as in Genesis where it brings heaven and earth into existence. The world is God’s speech, God’s poem. As Meister Eckhart puts it, the simple being of a stone is the speech of God. It, and everything else, is the divine OM. When we begin to sense this, then we become the poetry.