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I And Mine: [02.26] - A Religious Revolution - Art And The Artist

Published: 27.11.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

It would have been very fine if I had been an artist and had shed light on art. But I am not an artist. I am a spiritual practitioner. And I practise restraint not art. But if I take a broad view of things I find that everyone having speech, hands, fingers, feet and other bodily organs is an artist. Everyman is an artist. I am also an artist.

Since inception man has had a tendency towards communication or self-expression. From non-manifest he wants to become manifest. Had it not been so, speech would not have developed. In the absence of speech, thought would not have found expression. Is manifesting the non-manifest and concretising the abstract not an art?

According to the Upanishads the origin of the universe is the primal art. It occurred to Brahma - 'Let me manifest myself.' He manifested through name and form. What else is universe? It is nothing but name and form. He alone is an artist who has something to express and who knows how to express it.

The artist first makes a sketch and then decorates or refines it. Sometimes refinement changes the original form. A house is decorated. Everything produced can be refined. Refinement is a symbol of development.

An art requires the use of hands, fingers, feet, physical senses and the body. The Lord has taught us to restrain our hands, feet, speech, and senses.

The principle of art is: open your eyes and see. The basic principle of restraint is: Close your eyes and see.

At the back of art is expression. Restraint inspires expression. The two do not seem to be in harmony with each other. Everything has pairs of opposites. Even within an atom there are numberless pairs of opposites. Nothing can exist without pairs of opposites.

There is harmony between art and restraint also. Art means a harmonious activity. I have a viewpoint based on syaadvad (the doctrine of qualified assertion). I see using the relative viewpoint that the development of art has occurred through harmony. Truth is vaster than art. When the two unite, life tends to develop. An incense-stick when burnt (united with fire) emits fragrance. When Truth and Beauty combine, life is put on the road to development. Welfare and life's development are not two different things. Welfare is equivalent to the Good. The Good has to be consonant with the True and the Beautiful. The True, the Good and the Beautiful can be in harmony only when life is motivated by the Good and the eyes face the Beautiful.
  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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