Wednesday, 24 July 2013

On Sensitivity and Appreciation of Beauty

A new post in the series - Satyam Shivam Sundaram

A series featuring inspiring words from various sources, words that speak of  timeless truths, words that remind me of the deeper and hidden truth behind surface events and phenomena, words that shine light when all seems dark, words that are just what I need - 
for this moment and for all times to come.

A life that is held in technological knowledge is a very narrow, limited life. It is bound to breed a great deal of sorrow and misery. But can one have technological knowledge, be able to do things, make a little money and still live in the world with intensity, with intensity, with clarity, with vision? That is the real question. Life is not merely going to the office day after day. Life is extraordinarily vital, important, and for that you must be sensitive, you must have the sensitivity that appreciates beauty. You know, there is something extraordinary about beauty. Beauty is never personal, though we make it personal. We put flowers in our hair, have nice saris, wear fine shirts and trousers, look very smart and try to be as beautiful as we can; that is a very limited beauty. I do not say that you should not wear nice clothes, but merely that - that is not appreciation of beauty. The appreciation of beauty is to see a tree, to see a painting, to see a statue, to see the clouds, the skies, the birds on the wing, to see the morning star, and the sunset behind these hills. To see such immense beauty we must cut through our little personal lives.

You may have good taste. Do you know what good taste means? To know how to combine colours, how not to wear colours that jar, not to say something that is cruel about anybody, to feel kindly, to see the beauty of a house, to have good pictures in your room, to have a room with right proportions. All that is good taste, which can be cultivated. But good taste is not the appreciation of beauty. Beauty is never personal. When beauty is made personal it becomes self-centred. Self concern is the source of sorrow. You know, most people are not happy in the world. They have money, they have position and power. But remove the money, the position, the power and you see underneath an extreme shallowness of head. The source of their shallowness, misery, conflict and extreme anguish is a feeling of guilt and fear.

To really appreciate beauty is to see a mountain, to see the lovely trees without the "you" being there; to enjoy them, to look at them although they may belong to another; to see the flow of a river and move with it from beginning to end; to be lost in the beauty, in the vitality, in the rapidity of the river. But you cannot do all that if you are merely concerned with power, with money, with a career. That is only a part of life and to be concerned only with a part of life is to be insensitive and, therefore, to lead a life of shallowness and misery. A petty life always produces misery and confusion not only for itself but for others. I am not moralizing, I am just stating the facts of existence.

J. Krishnamurti, On Education -Talks to Students
(Photographs: Suhas Mehra)

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