Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

The Seeker-Writer, and expressing God in words

Sumangali Morhall of Sumangali.org recently wrote a fine play in rhyming verse, The Seeker-Writer, based on a short story of the same name by meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy—“a humorous story with a spiritual lesson behind it” as she describes it. Despite my being a few days late in responding—not to mention several months late in updating what was once a regularly tended web diary—late is better than never in the case of this particular talented author, whose small, divine army of writing, poems and plays are worthy all of further attention and readership—Krishna’s Supreme Love and Music and Religion among them.

In Sumangali’s play come masterpiece, one rhyming couplet come brilliantly crafted jewel stood out for me from many:

“God told you to your face your words were all perfection.
You became disgusted, but you missed His true Inflection!”

To me, this line says much about the art of writing, the art of poetry, and even reading.

Some may claim a writer’s greatness is as readily apparent as the page their words appear upon—as though a book, page or poem is itself a finished product, and while of course they are correct in one sense, such a conception misses the fact that writing is meaningless, even useless if it is not read, understood or appreciated by a second and third party. If it is not appreciated by a reader.

And here begins something of a philosophical treatise. Forgive me if I have been doing too much thinking…

To me, a writer’s greatness is, just like God himself, mostly hidden from ordinary human sight. Like casting pearls among swine, to partially quote a famous carpenter’s son, the art of great writing is only able to be properly, truly appreciated by those with a trained, refined eye—an eye for correct, true “inflection”—the depth, meaning and intention of the author, the breath behind their written word.

Understanding great writing, just like the foolish writer protagonist of The Seeker-Writer—a vain, foolish sycophant who completely misses the truths, true context of the appreciation much sought for his efforts—is a matter of “inflection”—a matter of being able to appreciate what are often ordinary, lifeless garments—words—in the true context and depth which they were written—wear them as they were intended by their author to be worn.

Here I am reminded about a point, more personal anecdote about Sri Chinmoy’s poetry and writing.

I must, somewhat red-faced, admit that when I first began to practice meditation as a student of Sri Chinmoy, I was overburdened with intellectual knowledge, in the midst as I was of a university degree, and while I hope it is to my credit that I immediately recognised this state of being, in the face of true knowledge, knowledge of the Eternal, Immortal and Infinite, for the weakness and (spiritual) deficiency that it is, and took (long, sometimes arduous) steps to rectify it, I did find the apparent simplicity of Sri Chinmoy’s words—in poetry or in writing—initially hard to fathom.

But not any longer.

The longer I have been meditating, the wiser I grow (which is just a little I do hope), and the deeper Sri Chinmoy’s words appear; even a single sentence enough now to transport this little mind to a vast place of wisdom and understanding—a place where the mind is truly no longer needed.

But Sri Chinmoy’s words haven’t changed—rather I have changed. I am reading and re-reading the same books I read when I was a new member of the Sri Chinmoy Centre, some twelve years ago now, only now I am seeing new depths, new “inflections” in them, like an echo or resonance within that I never could have imagined then.

Inflection, hidden meaning, hidden depth is what writing and poetry are all about for me. Not obliqueness, willful obscurantism, plain sophistry or outright confusion, but meaning larger, grander, deeper and more beautiful than words themselves.

True writing and poetry, ultimately, is about expressing God in words.

7 Comments

  • Prachar
    Posted December 16, 2007 6:11 am 0Likes

    John, I LOVE the playful irony of this sentence…

    “I must, somewhat red-faced, admit that when I first began to practice meditation as a student of Sri Chinmoy, I was overburdened with intellectual knowledge, in the midst as I was of a university degree, and while I hope it is to my credit that I immediately recognised this state of being, in the face of true knowledge, knowledge of the Eternal, Immortal and Infinite, for the weakness and (spiritual) deficiency that it is, and took (long, sometimes arduous) steps to rectify it, I did find the apparent simplicity of Sri Chinmoy’s words—in poetry or in writing—initially hard to fathom.”

    … pure gold!

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted December 16, 2007 10:43 am 0Likes

    Why thank you Prachar! Of course now I am afraid I that some of the irony on my part might have been unintentional…

  • Sumangali Morhall
    Posted December 17, 2007 9:29 pm 0Likes

    Thank you, John, for your most flattering words about my play, and equally for your very insightful “philosophical treatise” on spirituality and writing, which I found most illumining.

    Sumangali
    (An oblique, willful obscurantist)

  • Surface Earth
    Posted December 19, 2007 4:59 am 0Likes

    Greetings. Found a link to your blog over at Tobeme’s! Having fun reading your posts.

  • Surface Earth
    Posted December 19, 2007 5:03 am 0Likes

    Oops…I actually found a link here via Goodness Gracious (found her site at Tobeme’s blog).

    Namaste.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted January 10, 2008 12:41 pm 0Likes

    Namaste Mr Surface, and apologies for my belated reply. In lieu of thanks I am heading on over to your site straight away, which if you are a friend of Ms Gracious I am sure will be worth a visit.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted January 10, 2008 12:43 pm 0Likes

    And thank you Sumangali—this willful obscurantist is grateful for your not at all oblique compliments, all of the time.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: