Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sadhana, the Realization of Beauty

"A thing is only completely our own when it is a thing of joy." Sadhana by R. Tagore

Investigating further into the work of Rabindranath Tagore, he writes in his book, Sadhana several essays on different topics, combined together to create the whole of harmony as he sees it. The realization of beauty, of beauty-harmony, as he describes, is in terms of the realization of what is real.
"The greater part of this world is to us as if it were nothing... but we cannot allow it to remain so... Things in which we do not take joy are either a burden upon our minds to be got rid of at any cost, or they are useful and therefore in temporary and partial relation to us, becoming burdensome when their utility is lost. Or they are are like wandering vagabonds, loitering for a moment on the outskirts of our recognition and then passing on."
But, writes Tagore, "the entire world is given to us," and our final meaning and powers are taken from a patrimony, if you will."
 What is the function of beauty in the process of realization of the self into this world? It is this question which the author takes on here. Tagore muses that if beauty is present to separate light and shadow, or ugliness and other, then "we would have to admit that this sense of beauty creates a dissension in our universe, and sets up a wall of hindrance."

While disagreeing with this understanding of beauty, Tagore writes that the comprehending of beauty is  unexplored territory, as he sees it. Philosophers have come up with discourse as to its nature, and science writes of issues affecting beauty, but its reality remains wide open for exploration.
Truth, he writes, is everywhere. And "beauty is omnipresent." Beauty often comes to us as a smack, awakening consciousness suddenly and definitely. It then acquires its urgency, "by the object of the contrast." It first rends us with its discords. "But as our acquaintance ripens, the apparent discords are resolved into modulations of rhythm."

At first "we detach beauty from its surroundings, we hold it apart from the rest," but in the end we recognize its harmony with the rest. Appealing finally to our hearts, beauty enters into conscious relationship with us; it becomes us and becomes our joy. Our hearts skip a beat as we apprehend that which is in the world, beautiful, joyful, our very own. Beauty, says Tagore, does not exist without Truth. All beauty is some form of Truth.

"Last night I stood alone in the silence which pervaded the darkness, I stood alone and heard the voice of the singer of eternal melodies. When I went to sleep, I closed my eyes with this last thought in my mind, that even when I remain unconscious, in slumber, the dance of life will still go on in the hushed arena of my sleeping body, keeping step with the stars. The heart will throb, the blood will leap in the veins and the millions of living atoms in my body will vibrate in tune with the note of the harp-string that thrills at the touch of the master."
-- Rabindranath Tagore

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