TRUTH AND BEAUTY
by B P Wadia
© 2003 Online Teosofiska Kompaniet Malmö
conscious Art of man can give me the panoramic
These are the words of Gandhiji. They signify the importance of real Beauty in man's mortal life. Man's environment is not to be neglected. The soul has environed itself in the corpus and not without a purpose.
In India, both body and environment are grossly undervalued. For centuries, we have neglected the teachings of the Sages on body and environment. It would seem as if one of the hidden purposes of the British Rule in India had been to awaken us to the truth that matter, body, and environment have values.
The Occident has over-emphasized and over-valued environment. It has blundered into the belief that sanitation and architecture, pictures and songs, radio and television sustain and evolve the soul. Nay more — these are the creators of the human soul! India seems likely to be lured by the glamor of gadgets.
Lusts of all kinds continuously enslave man; often he knows it not. When his attention is drawn to his enslavement he excuses himself after a fashion and philosophizes — it all is as Science teaches, Determinism. Modern knowledge, even of psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis, does not provide the answer that the ancient Oriental Psychology gives. The latter offers an explanation and a remedy for the lust of things.
The constant enemy of man on earth is a power that circulates in his brain, his blood, his glands, and his senses. It overpowers his mind, blinds his intuitions, and silences the action of Spirit Itself. The process is well described in the closing portion of the third chapter of the Gita.
It is this power, inimical to Man, the spiritual Thinker, which brings about "enjoyments which arise through the contact of the senses with external objects which are wombs of pain." This power inclines man's senses to objects of possession and creates in him the strength of egotism and causes pride to rule his will. It causes the contact of the senses with the many objects created by human hands and human mind. These are often created for the purpose and in the hope of increasing the wealth and power of their creators. Such man-made objects are not always after the pattern of the pure mind.
What human hands create as objects is surcharged with human feelings; they carry the magnetism of the maker of the objects. In the shop window, objects attract by their form, their color, and their glitter. However, the attraction is ensouled by the ambitions, yearnings, and hopes of the fabricating hand and brain. The lure of the world is not as imponderable as it appears to be. The substantial nature of human magnetism is not suspected by ordinary knowledge. The transmission of the fabricator's magnetism to the objects of his making has become very complex in our machine age with its mass production. However, the subtle aura of man-made goods, however invisible, is a fact and it plays an important part in the lure that attracts men and women to the siren song of the "constant enemy."
Occultism, the Science of the Higher Life, warns against following the desires and the passions and advocates discrimination even in the purchase and use of objects. That great Science does not advocate foolish asceticism, or recommend sensuous hedonism. It suggests the Vow of Poverty to be observed in and by the mind of the Heart. The motive of such poverty is the enjoyment of objects of the senses as vehicles of experience that will lead to true development.
To enjoy the totality of human creation without coveting the wealth of another is possible, when the GITA teaching is followed. The good, the beautiful, and the true have pragmatic values. To use the world as his footstool in the true sense, man must be practical, as the up-to-date capitalist, bourgeois, or proletarian is not; nor is the modern aesthete practical. Between the creative artist and the skillful artisan, there is a gulf. It has to be bridged. The Sage who worships Pure Truth, the Saint who embodies Pure Virtue, and the Seer who creates Pure Beauty are builders of that bridge.
The great pair of opposites, Necessity and Luxury, contains a clue. The balance point between the two must be reached. The pride of poverty is as false and as ugly as the pride of possessions. Egotism, separating the True from the Beautiful, is the source of Evil. Destroy Egotism and Evil dies and Good lives. Then man-made beauty reflects Divine Beauty. Is not that the truth to which the Buddha was pointing when he said to Bhaggava, the Wanderer, "Whenever one reaches up to the Release, called the Beautiful, then he knows indeed what Beauty is?"
B. P. WADIA
From "Thus have I heard", pages 210-12. Utgiven av Indian Institute of World Culture, 1959.
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