Man in his innermost is seeking for happiness, for beauty, for harmony; and yet, by not responding to the beauty and harmony which is before him, he wastes his life, which is an opportunity for him to experience and to enjoy. What self-denial is it to deny the divine beauty which is before us? If we deny ourselves the divine beauty which surrounds us, then the beauty which is within will not unfold itself. Because the condition is that the soul is born with its eyes open outwardly; it does not see the life within. The only way of wakening to the life within, which is most beautiful, is first to respond to the beauty outside. This world with all its unlimited beauty, nature with its sublimity, personalities with divine immanence, if we ignore all this then why have we come, and what have we accomplished here? The person who ignores it turns his back on something which he is continually seeking for. He is his own enemy. By this way he cannot be spiritual, he cannot be religious; by denying himself all that is beautiful around him he cannot be exalted. For if beauty within was the only purpose of life, God would not have created man and sent him on earth.
Besides this, it is the vision of the beauty on the earth which awakens the vision of the beauty which is in the spirit. Some say that it is sensuous and that it deprives one of spiritual illumination. It would, if a person were to be wholly absorbed in it and were to live only in it, and did not think that there was something else besides. Because the beauty which is outside no doubt has a transitory character; it is passing and therefore it is not dependable. For the one who depends upon this beauty and has become absorbed in it and by doing so has turned his back on that beauty which is everlasting, for that person this is certainly wrong. But at the same time, no soul has ever arrived at beholding the vision of the spiritual beauty which is to be found within, without being awakened to the beauty which is external.
One might think that a child who dies very young cannot come to that spirituality through the beauty of life. I will say that the child is sometimes more responsive to beauty than a grown-up person, because a grown-up person has developed in himself a pessimistic attitude, a prejudice; and by that prejudice he is incapable of seeing that beauty which a little child can see and appreciate. For instance, when we look at a person we make a barrier of our preconceived idea before we look at him. A child, an angel on earth, looks at him as it would look at its best friend. It has no enmity, no preconceived idea about anyone, and therefore the child is open to beauty. A child does not know that the fire burns; the child only knows that the fire is beautiful. And therefore the child is so blessed that every moment of its life it lives in a complete vision of beauty. (more…)