Art–The Expression of Divinity


Sri Swami Sivananda

This article is from the book An Apostle of India’s Spiritual Culture.

ALL beings however low in evolution, all actions however trivial in their nature, all things however lifeless they may appear to be, bear the stamp of the light of the Eternal; the principle of the Beautiful is dancing in them all; the splendour of the Truth is shining equally in all creation–in the man toiling in the field, in the birds of the air, in the beasts of the forest, in the blossoms of the garden, in the waves of the sea. There is only one Law of Life that is pulsating in the veins of the contents of the entire universe. Glory to the Divine Being.

Everyone in this beautiful creation is a piece of art; all that we see is but the manifestation of His art. We are His art, vivifying His might, reflecting His beauty and expressing His grandeur. Every man has the eyes of the painter and the poet; every heart has a dormant feeling for beauty and for the awareness of perfection. Every speck of space is rich with the inexhaustible abundance of goodness, of godliness, of beauty. One has to widen one’s consciousness and deepen one’s spirit to be able to develop the vision of all spirit shining in and through matter, all reality revealing itself in and through the unreal. To escape from this world of limitations (while yet being on earth) into the boundless world of Freedom and Beauty, Power and Brilliance, is the purpose of our existence.

For the one who has eyes to see, all is goodness, all is sweetness, everything is beautiful, everything is graceful; whatever he perceives is homogeneous and harmonious. Children of Light! Behold the brilliance of the diamond in the darkest coal mine; look at the lustre of the eyes in the ugliest face; smell the fragrance of the lotus in the stinking pond; feel the omnipresence of your life in the lowliest creature revelling in filth; discover the greatness of the genius in the humblest family grovelling in poverty. To one with insight, whatever is met with will be seen to be the master-touch of the Divine Painter, of the Master-Artist, who expresses himself in such infinite and ineffable beauty.

Art is not for the fleeting pleasures of the human creature nor a solace to the sorrow-stricken heart nor yet for mere aesthetic enjoyment; it is more than all these–it is a systematic and scientific living in Absolute Beauty, in Infinite Harmony, in Perfect Peace, in Eternal Joy. Art is a kingdom of intense feeling, a feeling in which one is aware of the one undivided Divine Essence of Existence. Art is majestic and mystic, idealistic and symbolic, supernatural and transcendental, an expression of the Unseen in and through the seen.

That art blossoms into perfection which is free from all sense desires and physical interests. In the name of art one should not fetter oneself in the prison of professionalism and sensualism. The artist should be moved by the beauty of Truth; and his art should be progressively creative and spiritually suggestive; it should be a revelation of his moments of inspired vision and of total self surrender. In his creative moods the artist should soar high–high into the skies of luminous imagination and of glorious existence, wholly oblivious of all mundane madness. Purified in heart, one should wave the magic wand of art at whose touch everything is converted into the beauty of the Beyond.

Let the drawing rooms be filled with the vibrations of the highest spiritual ideals which pour into us the power and beauty of a new life of joy and peace. Let the wielder of the brush be free from all stuff of pride and selfishness and from all that is related to the sense-world, so that the Divine may fill him with His Will to paint the pictures that breathe healing power and soothing balm into all onlookers through their eyes, so that they may be relieved of their illness of mind and sickness of heart. Let your art be a lamp of deathless beauty, shining with an effulgence dispelling the darkness of the soul that sings the sorrowful songs of the world.

An art that panders to the lower appetites of men, that does not aim at discovering the meaning of life, that does not awaken the spiritual consciousness in the human heart, is soulless and, therefore, unsalutory in its effects and malefic in its influence. The test of true art is implied in its profoundest suggestions. True art should embody the best of the genius of the artist, the finest in him, and awe one into a subtler plane of refinement and thrill; all art that falls short of this great purpose is profane and perishable.

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