"Meters are the cattle of the gods," we read in the Satapatha Brahmana. ... When we think of meters, we may perhaps glimpse the vague outline of a rhythm, but not much more. ...
The "meters" are the robes that the gods "wrapped around themselves" so that they might come near to the fire without being disfigured ... Thus the gods sought to escape death. And likewise men — for men always tell themselves: "I must do as the gods did."
Mind alone, word alone, are impotent — or at least not powerful enough to take an offering to the gods. The horse of the mind must submit to the harness of the word, of the meters; otherwise it would lose its way. ... Meter is the yoke of the word.
If the gods reached the heavens through a form, how much more will men have need of form if they are to reach the gods. And only the meters will allow men to become creatures who, though mortal, know how to use the forms the gods used. ...
Now we begin to see why literature is so often connected to immortality, and in a sense far more radical than the ... rather modest achievement of being remembered by future generations.
Literature and the Gods (2001)