To spread the original, universal and eternal truth, path or law of yoga, which remains forever the same in essence, yet always adapts to the time and place.

Art Meets Spirituality
Extract of a lecture by Harish Johari, published in "Writing as Sculpture", by Louwrien Weijers

All spirituality comes from Artists

'Art in common language stands for expression, this expression has to be done with symbols. I am using words now to express myself. These words are symbols. Expression is connected with your total being that is a combination of your physical body and your psyche. Your physical body comes from your father and mother, who come in you as genes. These genes carry traditions and thus every artist carries some impressions in his own DNA-molecules, which is the experience of the culture to which one belongs.

In India all that exists as Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads or any kind of scriptures comes from artists. They were called rishis, saints, seers and visionaries but they were actually artists. You will find in India an old tribe of saints known as "visionary artists", who are poets, musicians, singers, sculptors and painters. These people created the greatest existing and most ancient literature of the world. The Vedas do not come from a prose writing dry intellectual mind. The Vedas are written poetry. The Bhagavad Gita is poetry. The Upanishads are poetry, its verses are so compact that only one line explains the entire law of Karma. Art is a very precise expression.
So, all spirituality that people know about in the world, where do they know it from, if we the writers, if we the painters, if we the sculptors, if we the musicians did not sing it, sculpt it, paint it or write it?

God knows no language

All spirituality which is known to the world does not come from God, because God knows no language. He does not speak English, Dutch, French, German or Sanskrit. He is just giving inspiration. And inspiration can only come to inspired people. Those who are depressed, those who are only thinking about their future, their social status, name and fame. These people have no time. They are too busy. Only those people who are the most crazy of the entire humanity have time to waste, have time to devote to a particular subject and keep on with that. They are the people who can receive inspiration.

Spirituality is nothing different from art. Art plays an important role in the evolution of spirituality. Recording, drawing, painting, have carried thoughts from one generation to another. Indians do not believe in history. They believe things repeat as in nature. There is morning, noon, evening, and night. In the same way there is childhood, adulthood, old age and death. So Indians believe that we do not die with this body, because we are not this body. We know we take birth again if we have that desire.

So, when you take birth again what is the use of writing all these things which are connected to one birth? One birth is not you, therefore there is no real history. It only exists as a department in the university for scholars to get a grant. In the same way this whole world is based on things which are used by commerce, mass media, being the most powerful weapon in the hands of the people who have money. But Indians don't believe in newspapers either. They see no use in collecting information which keeps changing. One talks about the past, one talks about the future and the present is gone. Man is never living in the moment. But it is in the moment that one lives inspired.

Beyond the material reality

Indians have really exhausted the limit of thinking. The artists of India take the human mind beyond the limitations of thinking. That is what scientists as Einstein and others replied when they were doing work on nuclear physics and people asked them: "Why do you read books like the Upanishads?" They said: "Because it takes us beyond the material reality. It gives us a way to break through our framework of mind". So, the Upanishads is nothing but art. It is art that gives the rational mind a break.

After the drug revolution, which is very important for those who are interested in seeing how man broke away from the old patterns at that time and tried to get a new way of thinking by opening the windows of their minds, new ways of expressing came out which were not known before. That was a fantastic revolution. This again was done by artists. All revolutions have been lead by artists. Afterwards people joined them, but actually the ones who brought it out were artists.

All saints were artists

The whole concept of spirituality is a gift from the artists of the world to the world. If writers had not written there would be no scriptures. If sculptors had not sculpted there would be no gods found in the temples. If painters had not painted there would have been no visuals to meditate on.

The reality is that real saints were real artists. From their awareness they contemplated, concentrated, meditated, and came out with symbols which were immediately accepted and adopted. According to the Vedas all people were in the beginning artists. Through those visionary artists who devoted themselves completely to spiritual life all the symbols of art came out. That is why art and spirituality are inseparable.

Artists are representatives of time

Now, in modern times, the artist gives an expression of how society has gone away from wholeness. Artists are true representatives of their time. They keep the pulse of their tie in their hands. By feeling the pulse the artist knows what is happening to the world. With his special faculty which is intuition and imagination he projects ideas and thoughts into the future and models and new symbols come out. The artist tries to show the people where they are at. Society is directly related to the artist.

Artists are responsible for transferring symbols from one generation to the next. If they do not maintain themselves in a right way, what comes out through them will not be right. Therefore most of the time artists are living like saints. If you see artists they have no bank balance, and if you see saints they have no bank balance.

Before I came out of India I thought artists and saints are the same. But after I came out I saw some art and thought that this cannot be made by a saint. Then I realized that some artists are an ego in action. Those artists who understand that they are messengers and reformers, they know that there is a relation between their conduct and their art. They know if they live as pure beings their art will be pure. To us art is directly related to the gods. If Buddhas were not painted nobody would ever have known. There is no actual picture of Buddha available. It was an image done by a sculptor which became a symbol of Buddha that is now very popular. What is popular? Is Buddha popular or the artist? Actually it is the artist who made Buddha popular. It is the artist who lives as Buddha in your head. It is the artist who lives as the scriptures in your head. It is the artist, who creates all religion, all spirituality, and he is such a humble creature, he does not want to take any credit out of it. That is the real art. Other than that, I told you, is only E...G... and O....'

About this page

Lecture by Harish Johari, published in "WRITING AS SCULPTURE" 1978 - 1987, by Louwrien Wijers.
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Sanatan Society is an international networking association of students of the late Harish Johari, joining efforts to promote his teachings of yoga philosophy, tantra, worship, art and love. Sanatan Society stands for the original, universal and eternal truth, path or law of yoga. Though it is Hindu in origin, Sanatan Society is not limited to any religion, race, time or country, nor in fact to any particular organisation. More about Sanatan Society...

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