In poetry there is no “therefore.” Poetry takes quantum leaps. Poetry is a vision, not a logical process; a song, not a syllogism. Yes, even the song has some intrinsic logic in it, but it is not on the surface. And it is not for those who are on the path, it is only for those who have arrived.
Once you have arrived you will see the whole logicalness of each step that you had taken, but not before it. You will see why you had to jump, why you had to take a certain step. When you were taking that step, nothing was clear, nothing was absolutely certain or guaranteed. You were taking that step according to your feeling, not according to your thinking. But later on, recapitulating, looking back, thinking can be revived. Now you can search for the undercurrent of logic.
Those who have arrived are very logical. But those who are on the path, if they try to be logical, they will never arrive. This is one of the paradoxes to be understood. Hence the statements of Buddha, Tilopa, Saraha and Atisha are really very logical, but only for those who have arrived. The logic can be felt only backwards. When you are progressing towards the goal, the ultimate, everything is vague, hidden behind a cloud. It is like the early morning mist. In the afternoon, in the full noontide, the mist will have disappeared. But that full noontide has yet to happen.
So think, meditate, feel these instructions, but don’t take them in dead seriousness. There are bound to be a few differences. A few things are going to happen on your way which did not happen on Atisha’s way. A few things are going to happen on your way which have not happened on my way. There are as many ways in the world as there are people. Nobody can stand in your place; even those who are standing very close to you are not standing in exactly the same place. Your angle of vision is bound to be a little bit different from the angle of vision of somebody who is standing just by your side holding your hand. No two persons can see the world in exactly the same way, it is impossible. And everybody has to move from his own place, his own space.
Now, Atisha existed one thousand years ago. He must have seen a totally different world, he must have walked through a totally different world, with a different kind of language – where a different kind of understanding was prevalent, where different attitudes and approaches were still valid. They are no longer valid, they are no longer relevant, that world has disappeared. Atisha’s world exists no longer.
Still, his instructions are of tremendous importance, taken non-fanatically. Taken fanatically, you miss the whole point. One has to be very, very loose and relaxed. While thinking about the past buddhas, one has to be available to them, open to them, but unclinging and detached, knowing perfectly well that centuries have passed, knowing perfectly well that “I am not Atisha, so how can I follow these instructions absolutely?”
But Atisha is not telling you to follow his instructions absolutely. He is simply giving a glimpse of his vision and the way he has arrived at it. He is simply sharing his poetry with you, his compassion with you.