Outside a cave at Ellora, Photo by Suhas Mehra
Sometimes channel surfing on TV actually does yield some good results. Like that afternoon in Delhi, while passing an idle hour and randomly clicking buttons on the TV remote I came across a song I had almost forgotten. And this is a song I used to very much like once upon a time.
Listening to this song that lazy afternoon naturally led me to re-read some of the absolutely masterful passages on Indian Sculpture by Sri Aurobindo. Interesting, I thought, how re-discovering an old song on TV can make an afternoon so enriching when we go deeper into an idea that is merely hinted in the song. Afterall, TV watching can also be educational at times, it seems! Of course, I am not getting cable TV installed in my home right away, but surely will be spending a few more afternoons searching on youtube for some old favorite songs, just in case some musical inspiration is needed to re-read some more from the Master's Works.
"All Indian art is a throwing out of a certain profound self-vision formed by a going within to find out the secret significance of form and appearance, a discovery of the subject in one’s deeper self, the giving of soul-form to that vision and a remoulding of the material and natural shape to express the psychic truth of it with the greatest possible purity and power of outline and the greatest possible concentrated rhythmic unity of significance in all the parts of an indivisible artistic whole."
"The inspiration, the way of seeing is frankly not naturalistic, not, that is to say, the vivid, convincing and accurate, the graceful, beautiful or strong, or even the idealised or imaginative imitation of surface or terrestrial nature. The Indian sculptor is concerned with embodying spiritual experiences and impressions, not with recording or glorifying what is received by the physical senses. He may start with suggestions from earthly and physical things, but he produces his work only after he has closed his eyes to the insistence of the physical circumstances, seen them in the psychic memory and transformed them within himself so as to bring out something other than their physical reality or their vital and intellectual significance. His eye sees the psychic line and turn of things and he replaces by them the material contours."
Excerpts from The Renaissance in India and Other Essays on Indian Culture