At the outset, I would like to explore the meaning of the word 'communion', which Krishnamurti often used in his writing. One of the meanings offered by the dictionary is 'fellowship with others'.Years ago, when I started reading K's books, apart from the psychological insights, I was enthralled by the sheer beauty of his description of the natural world. The description revealed to me his keen sense of perception, his love of nature and his deep sensitivity. I also felt that his writing was not just a mere description of the physical world, but had a transcendental quality, and his words had a certain freshness. I began to understand the implication of the meaning of the word 'communion', and this communion with nature became very important to me.

In this regard, I have been fascinated by the potential of haiku, a form of poetry which originated in Japan. A haiku is a short poem. A haiku poet is one who observes the natural world, and in observing it, experiences a 'moment'. He shares this experience with his readers. The experience is his perception; it is an insight, which reveals a link between human nature and the natural world. In a haiku, there is a reference to a particular season. The seasonal word is called the kigo. The haiku poet is in touch with the gradual movement of seasons as he observes the changes in theworld around him.

The great Japanese poet Basho is considered the father of haiku. There were many other poets during his time who also explored this form. For these master poets, writing was a way of living; it portrayed their philosophy and their deep aesthetic sense. They were religious poets, who lived the doctrines of Zen Buddhism.

Let us now look at a few haiku poems, both traditional and contemporary.

Chrysanthemums bloom
in a gap between the stones
of a stone-cutter's yard.


Beginning of Spring -
the perfect simplicity
of a yellow sky.


Behind the dunes
amidst rustling pines
the sailors' graveyard.

(Adri van den Berg)

leafless trees -
the sea
visible again.

(K. Ramesh)
Haiku Novine (March 2002)

When a haiku poet shares an experience, he does it by simply stating what has caused the experience, without making an attempt to write about the feelings which the experience has evoked in him. In this manner, he is different from a poet who writes a sonnet or any other form of western poetry. With very few words, and one or two images, the haiku poet captures the essence of an experience and also transcends it. The theme dealt with in haiku is always in the present . what the poet sees or observes now in nature. The images are sensory - visual, auditory and olfactory. The experience of the haiku poet, like a scent, permeates the mind of the reader and leaves one with a sense ofwonder. The depth of the poet's perception and his insightmay not be apparent the first time one reads his haiku. Often, the depth is hidden in the simple words. Thus, the brevity of haiku is a challenge to anyone who attempts to write it.

I am reminded of the significance J. Krishnamurti gave to keeping all the senses awake. In his interactions with students, he often posed the question: can all our senses be open, when we are looking at a blossom or a tree or when we listen to someone? He considered 'looking' an art in itself.

According to him, when a person looks at nature with all the senses alive, there is space in the mind and this space has energy. When one begins to look at the outer world in this manner, the looking can become a movement from the outer world to the inner realm of mind. This can lead to the understanding of 'what is' in oneself.

Haiku poets have a deep reverence for life. We can see this in Issa's haiku, much of which is on various life forms.

Come with me,
let's play together -
swallow without a mother.

A haiku poet is an environmentalist. His message for the world is that every life form has its right to live on this planet. It is the anthropocentric view of man that runs the world now. Reading haiku, one hears distinct voices that have deep concerns for life. Small though it may be, a haiku speaks about theinterconnectedness in nature.