“The enjoyment of art is an act of recreation, or rather of creation in the reverse direction, towards the source of intuition, i.e., an act of absorption, in which we lose our small self in the creative experience of a greater universe.”Anagarika B. Govinda
I happen to have a small sweet book titled Art & Meditation (actually a few years back I took it from my brother), written by Lama Anagarika B. Govinda – an artist, a Buddhist monk, traveller and writer.
Sharing his paintings, poems and thoughts with us, he talks about the ineffaceable, elusive yet real, sublimely beautiful link between art and meditation; how true art merges with true religion and vice-versa.
It is not digressive or sluggishly cumbersome, this thought, rather it is stimulating for the one who is not in a hurry.
The author wishes his essays and artwork to serve as koans i.e. ‘meditative problems’ for his readers that churn our thoughts and act as an impetus for continuing the search.
I have gone through this insightful book twice now. What struck me this time was its size, how come Lama Anagarika Govinda’s lectures on art and meditation along with his artwork were capsuled in such a tiny book?
Of course, there must be other collections of his essays and pictures, surely in not-so-tiny a book.
But here I would intentionally turn this coincidence into a grand undertaking and happily say something ambitious.
This beautiful book holds, yes-yes it does, the secret to enlightenment and simply because of its humble, calm and forgiving nature, affordable price, elucidations of the artwork and colour schemes given and the profound ideas shared.
With these balmy thoughts, I will read this book again in the near future for then it will reveal a new secret to me.
Leaving you with an edifying thought –
“Art in itself is a sort of a paradox, a Koan in the deepest sense of the word, and that is why the followers of Zen prefer it to all other mediums of expression. For only the paradox escapes the dilemma of logical limitation, of partiality and one-sidedness. It cannot be bound down to principles or conceptual definitions, because it exaggerates or abstracts intentionally in such a way that it is impossible to take it literally: its meaning is beyond the incongruity of the words.”Anagarika B. Govinda
Also read other posts on art and meditation –
- The Source
- In The Sundarbans
- The Knight’s Missing But The Horse’s Here
- Temple Food
- Walking and, Without Looking for it, Finding Narnia