Aesthetics: A Love for Beauty
I NEVER DID GET TURNED ON BY CLASSICAL MUSIC, AND ART GALLERIES BORED ME SILLY. SO, IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO FROM THE FIRST LAYER, THE HEAD, TO THE THIRD LAYER, THE CENTER, AND SORT OF BYPASS ALL THIS AESTHETIC GARBAGE?
Nirgun, yes, it is true: in the name of aesthetics, there is much garbage. But when I use the word ‘aesthetics’ I don’t mean the garbage collected in the museums and art galleries.
When I use the word ‘aesthetics’ I mean a quality in you. It has nothing to do with objects — paintings, music, poetry — it has something to do with a quality in your being, a sensitivity, a love for beauty, a sensitivity for the texture and taste of things, for the eternal dance that goes on all around, an awareness of it, a silence to hear this cuckoo calling from the distance….It is not garbage: it is the very core of existence.
But I can understand that you must be getting bored with the so-called classical music and paintings collected in the art galleries. And you must be a little bit puzzled why people go on talking so much about all this nonsense.
Aesthetics is just an artistic approach towards life, a poetic vision. Seeing colors so totally that each tree becomes a painting, that each cloud brings the presence of God, that colors are more colorful, that you don’t go on ignoring the radiance of things, that you remain alert, aware, loving, that you remain receptive, welcoming, open. That’s what I mean by the aesthetic attitude, the aesthetic approach.
Music has to be in your heart, your very being has to be musical, it has to become a harmony. A man can exist as a chaos or as a cosmos. Music is the way from chaos to cosmos. A man can exist as a disorder, a discord, just noise, a market place, or a man can exist as a temple, a sacred silence, where celestial music is heard on its own, uncreated music is heard on its own. The Zen people call it the sound of one hand clapping.
In India, for centuries mystics have been talking about anahat nad — the unstruck sound. It is there in your very being; you need not go anywhere to listen to it. It is the ancientmost music, and the latest too. It is both the oldest and the newest. And it is the music of your own being, the hum of your own existence. And if you can’t hear it, you are deaf. And there is no way, Nirgun, to bypass it. Museums you can bypass, art galleries you can bypass — in fact, you should bypass them. You need not be worried about art and art criticism — forget all about it. But you have to become an artist of life itself.
I say Buddha is a poet, although he never composed a single poem. Still I insist that he is one of the greatest poets who has ever lived. He was not a Shakespeare, a Milton, a Kalidas, a Rabindranath — no, not at all. But still I say: Shakespeare, Milton, Kalidas, Rabindranath, are nothing compared to his poetry. His life was his poetry — the way he walked, the way he looked at things….Just the other night I came across one of the most beautiful statements of Saint Teresa of Avila. She says: All that you need is to look. Her whole message is contained in this simple statement: All that you need is to look. The capacity to look — and you will find God. The capacity to hear — and you will find his music. The capacity to touch — and every texture becomes his texture. Touch the rock and you find God.
It is not a question of objects of art: it is a question of an inner approach, a vision — of seeing things artistically.
And, Nirgun, you have that quality! In fact, because of that quality you were bored by classical music and you were bored by galleries — because in an unconscious way, in a groping way, you feel something far superior inside you. But you are not yet fully aware of it. Bypass the art galleries and you will not be losing anything. But you cannot bypass the aesthetic layer of your being: you have to go through it. Otherwise you will always remain impoverished; something will be missing, something of immense value. Your enlightenment will never be total. A part of your being will remain unenlightened; a corner of your soul will remain dark — and that corner will remain heavy on you. One has to become totally enlightened. Nothing should be bypassed, no shortcuts are to be invented. One has to move very naturally through all the layers, because all those layers are opportunities to grow.
Remember it: whenever I use the words ‘music’ or ‘poetry’ or ‘painting’ or ‘sculpture’, I have my own meaning…
Nirgun, the aesthetic garbage is certainly there, because whatsoever man creates in his unconsciousness is bound to be garbage. The paintings of Picasso represent the mind of Picasso. Now this man seems to be insane somewhere deep down. In fact, his paintings are a way to remain sane; his paintings are cathartic. What you do in your Dynamic Meditation he is doing through his paintings: throwing out tensions, nightmares, all the ugliness that is in the mind. It has to be thrown out of the system, and it can be done through painting very easily.
Carl Gustav Jung used to tell his patients to paint. And many insane people have painted really beautiful paintings. But, certainly, those paintings are insane! How can an insane person paint a sane painting? It may have a certain beauty of its own — the beauty of insanity — it may have a certain proportion, a certain arrangement of colors, or it may even have a certain vision, but something of his insanity is bound to be lurking there around it. And Jung became aware, slowly slowly, that through painting insane people can be helped tremendously — painting can become a therapy. And, certainly, he is right. If you can paint your nightmares, you will be getting free from them. It is an expression!
Expression always brings freedom. Repression brings bondage, expression brings freedom.
And this is one of the beautiful ways to express, to paint. If you are afraid of death, tortured by the idea of death, if you have nightmares about death, and you can paint many paintings of death, you will get rid of those ideas. You have brought them to the conscious from the unconscious. Anything that is brought to the conscious from the unconscious, you become free of it.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1
Chapter title: The beginning of a new phase
28 June 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘love, beauty, aesthetics, gratitude’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses: