The inspiration for this poem comes from the meeting between Swami Vivekananda and Robert G. Ingersoll described on page 186 of the second volume of Complete Works. However, this poem is not a historical account of that meeting. Instead, it describes an imaginary journey of a man from the “orange” world view to the “mango” world view. The title is based on Gita 6.22.
Tasting Which Nothing Else Tastes Better
Once in the olden times,
Somewhere in the Western climes,
There was a very good and learned man,
A very intelligent and “rational” man.
He worshiped “reason” in every season,
Any deviation from reason, for him, was treason!
He was very happy and content with his “world”,
Which he thought was very “rational” and “bold”.
He thought his world was complete and whole,
Unfortunately, he left out his very own soul!
The world to him was a juicy orange,
His goal, to squeeze out all the juice from this orange.
To this tangible orange,
So great was his attachment,
He refused to step out of this comfort range,
Even for a moment!
Satisfaction with this concrete, near-at-hand orange,
He called “rational”;
Searching for anything beyond this familiar range,
He thought was “irrational”.
Time rolled on in his “reasonable” world,
Turning the wheels of his predictable world.
One season followed another, sure as ever,
But then there was a change, a breath of fresh air,
In his familiar world of four seasons,
Arrived a great Sage from the land of six seasons!
He eagerly showed his prized orange
To this great Sage dressed in orange!
The Sage patiently heard him out,
And then smiled, and took out
A golden fruit from the land of six seasons,
Never before seen by our man of only four seasons!
It was a fruit very strange
Not at all like his familiar orange.
This golden fruit could not be easily squeezed,
But had to be patiently peeled.
The perseverance was richly rewarded, however,
By a taste that satisfied one for ever!
Words cannot describe that taste,
Known only to one who experienced that taste.
With time it tasted better and better,
And afterward, nothing else ever tasted better!
Having tasted that golden fruit, our man felt a change –
The golden fruit no more looked strange,
It felt closer than even his once familiar orange!
He fondly looked back at his orange, once more,
Which he needed no more.
The orange had played its role,
But now he found completeness in his very own soul!
He was now wiser and knew better,
Having tasted something better.
Thus, finding completeness in his very own Self,
He softly whispered to himself,
“As there are seasons beyond four,
So are there truths beyond ‘reason’ for sure!”