Social Gatheka Number 40
Many think that art is something different from nature,
but, if I were to say, art is the finishing of nature. And
one may ask, 'can man improve upon nature which is made
by God.' But the fact is that God Himself, through man finishes
his creation in art. As all different elements are God's
vehicles, as all the trees and plants are His instruments
to create through, so art is the medium of God, through
which God Himself creates and finishes His creation.
No doubt every so-called art is not necessarily art.
By looking at the real art man is able to see that 'thy
will is done on earth as in heaven.' In this whole creation,
from one thing to another, through evolution the Creator
has worked. In man the Creator has finished, so to speak,
nature, but at the same time the creative faculty is still
working through man. Therefore art is the next step towards
creation. In reality all creation, scientific or artistic,
is art, but mainly, the object which is produced with the
sense of beauty and which appeals to the sense of beauty
in man is principally art.
Besides being the creative power of God it is the expression
of the soul of the artist. An artist cannot give what he
has not collected, although man ignores the way how, the
artist's soul conceives, only recognizing what the soul
of the artist has produced. Once it is understood that the
artist conceives also, not only produces, then it is not
so difficult for a man with an awakened heart to see into
the soul of an artist. For art in color, in line is nothing
but the re-echo of his soul. If the soul of the artist is
going through torture, his picture gives one the feeling
of awe; if the soul of the artist is enjoying harmony, you
will see harmony in his colors, in the lines. What does
it show? It shows that the soul works automatically through
the brush of the artist. The more deeply the artist is touched
by the beauty that his soul conceives from outside, the
greater appeal it makes to those who see his production.
Now coming to the question what is it in line and color
which has such an influence on man's faculty? It is the
vibrations which the color produces which thrill the centers
which are hidden in the body and which are the centers of
the intuitive faculties. So a person looks at a color and
immediately feels thrilled by it. Each degree of vibrations
that different colors produce is different and therefore
the influence is different. At the same time one person
is more open to the effect and influence, another person
is so blocked that upon him colors make little impression;
and the same reason may be said to be the cause that makes
woman more responsive to color and to line than man. For
woman by nature is responsive, man by nature is expressive;
therefore while woman receives the impression of the color
man repels it. But, at the same time, the difference between
a man with fine feeling, with intuitive faculty awakened
and a man whose faculties are not yet opened is only this
that the former responds to the color and the latter does
Now coming to the question of strong colors and soft
colors. Strong colors make more distinct vibrations, there
effect is more distinct that that of soft colors and therefore
it is natural that the strong colors can make impression
upon every soul, but, at the same time, to distinguish the
impression made by soft colors wants delicacy of sense.
For instance, the simple words of language of everyday life
are understood by everyone, but the fine shades which follow
the words are not understood by everybody. Therefore, color,
which is only a color to everybody, to a person with a fine
sense has its value, its degree of influence.
The harmony of color is based on the same foundation
as the harmony of music. The reason is that music is audible
vibrations, color is the visible form of vibrations. But
from the metaphysical point of view, color has a great significance
in man's life. The first important thing that is to be understood
in connection with color is that different colors come from
the essence of light. All different colors are the different
degrees of light. No doubt there are three aspects of light
and it is this which produces confusion in the mind of those
who have not thought upon the subject.
If the color can
be called light, then these three aspects of light are in
this way: one aspect of light which manifests through the
color, the radiance of the color itself; the next aspect
is the light of the sun or of something else which throws
its light upon the color, the light of the color responds
to that light; the third light is the light of the eyes,
which sees, therefore the same color is not the same, nor
is its influence the same for everybody, not for the reason
that the degree of the light falls on the subject is different
or that the degree of the color is different, but also the
element which that particular color represents has a certain
degree of response, to a certain extent in an individual.
According to the mystical idea there are four principal
elements which can be distinguished and one which is indistinct.
The distinct elements are, earth, water, fire and air. Not
according to the sense in which a scientist would take it,
but according to the meaning that the mystic sees. It will
take, perhaps, time if I tried to explain the difference
between the mystical conception and that of the scientist.
The indistinct element is the ether. All these elements
are in the body of man, in his mind and in his deeper self.
The whole building of an individual existence is built by
these five elements, and it is not necessary that on every
plane of existence a certain element is predominant, which
continues to be predominant in every plane. I mean that
it is not a certain predominant element, which is in one
plane, continues to be predominant in all planes. It is
possible that there can be harmony in the elements which
are predominant in the inner plane with those that are predominant
in the outer plane. In short, it is according to the working
of the different elements in one's being that one is responsive
to the different colors which represent the different elements.
From the point of view of a mystic, yellow is the color
of the earth, green or white the color of the water element,
red that of the fire element and blue of the air element.
If the color of the ether element was asked, the mystic
answers gray. By gray you man think anything you like. It
is most interesting for a student of color to see that all
colors are, so to speak, different shades of light. And
what does it show? It shows that light itself has manifested
in variety in the form of many colors.
Now coming on the question of line. Many lovers or students
of art feel a great influence, a great effect that a line
makes. A vertical line, a horizontal line, a line with a
curve, a circle, it makes such a difference in the form.
And the more one studies to what extent line makes a difference,
the more one will find that the secret of the whole beauty
is in the line. And it is difficult to say what form, what
line is the right line, and man has to accept that what
one cannot learn by study, intuition teaches.
The only reason, that from the mystical point of view
one can give about the secret of line, is that the effect
of a certain line arranges the inner and outer planes of
the human being in such a condition that for a moment one
looks at the line, one is, so to speak, in a kind of spell
of that line. The secret of this can be found in the secret
of concentration, that every object man thinks about, be
it for a moment, has a effect upon his whole being.
And there is a harmony between lines. The harmony of
lines is more difficult and more complex to understand than
even the harmony of color, and the harmony of lines touches
deeper that the harmony of color. If a room is beautifully
furnished with costly furniture, but if the things are not
kept in harmony according to the science of lines, you will
find a kind of confusion in the room. The same thing in
dress. The dress may be costly, beautiful in color, and
if it lacks line, it lacks a great deal in beauty. Therefore
in art line is the principle thing. It is the secret of
art and it is the secret of its charm, and only the artist
who has conceived the beauty of line can express it in his
Art has three aspects. One aspect is that the artist
tries to copy exactly that which he sees. That artist is
contemplative, and it is not a small thing to be able to
copy exactly the object. For the success of this artist
is sure. With all man's craving for something new, what
really he wants is something he has seen. Is it not something
wonderful, is it not great to be able to copy nature as
it is, to produce the same in the soul of man as is in nature?
Another aspect of art is the improvement on nature which
the artist makes by exaggeration. And the benefit of this
art is more attraction than impression. No doubt in this
form of art the artist can fulfill his soul's purpose. But
at the same time the artist may go far away from nature,
and the further he goes the more he destroys the beauty
of art. For nature and art, both, must go hand in hand.
Now coming to the third aspect of art, that aspect is symbolical
art. Symbolism has not come from the human intellect, for
it is born of intuition. The finer the soul, the better
equipped in some way or other in the symbolical idea. A
fine soul always dreams symbolical dreams, and when the
soul becomes finer still it interprets the dream to itself,
understanding the meaning of that symbolism. The artist
who produces in his art a symbolical idea has learned it
from what he has seen in nature and has interpreted that
in his art. Certainly it is inspiration. The finer the artist
is, the finer his symbolical way of producing.
In every work of art one can observe three things: its
surface, its length and width, and its depth. That I do
not say in the ordinary sense of the words. The surface
means what the picture is, the length and width is the story
that it tells and the depth is the meaning that it reveals.
Therefore for the best way of appreciating and studying
the works of an artist, these three faculties must be developed.
Art is a very vast subject. A series of lectures is not
sufficient for this subject.