1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

The vision of beauty and the purpose of life April 17, 2009

 

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. And so long as that state lasts a soul is in the Garden of Eden; it is exiled from that day when the soul has touched the earthly human nature. Someone may say, ‘If within the soul there was not the capability of appreciating beauty, how would it be able to perceive the external beauty first?’ The soul has, born in itself, a natural craving for beauty. It is a lack in the person if he does not seek it rightly. Is there any person who is not a lover of beauty, who is not capable of appreciating it? He denies himself that beauty which he could have admired freely.

 One may ask, ‘Is the quality of appreciating beauty more spiritual than the craving for knowledge?’ I would say in answer, where does knowledge come from? Knowledge comes by observation; observation comes by love of beauty. The first thing is that the flower attracts one’s attention, and then one begins to find out where the flower comes from, what is its nature and character, what benefit it is, how to rear this plant. The first thing is that one is attracted by its beauty; the next thing is, one wants to fund out its nature. From this comes all knowledge.

There is a kind of artificial learning, not a natural learning, which may be called time-saving. Someone says, ‘Now people have learned in their lives and they have discovered things for us and written about them in books, and I must learn that by reading the book’. But he does not know that he has not learned what that person who has written the book has learned. For instance, someone who has read the books of Luther Burbank, if he has read fifty books on horticulture, has not learned what Luther Burbank had learned. For he had made experiments for himself; he had been in the garden; his joy was such that he could not explain. No doubt another person will benefit by what he has given, but another person cannot enjoy what he has enjoyed, unless he pursues the same course.

In my explanation, spiritual means living. A spiritual person who is awakened to the beauty of poetry, who is quick to admire the subtlety of the poetry, who is appreciative of the beauty of melody, of harmony, who can enjoy art and be exalted by the beauty of nature, who lives as a living being, not as one dead, it is that person who may be called spiritual. And you will always fund the tendency of spiritual personalities is to be interested in every person in their lives. That is the sign that they are living. A person who is shut up in himself closes himself; he has made four walls around himself. That can be his grave; he is buried in it. The person who is living, naturally sees all; and, as he sees all, he sympathizes with all, he responds to all, he appreciates all in everybody; and in this way he wakens in himself the sublime vision of the immanence of God.

 The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

19 Responses to “The vision of beauty and the purpose of life”

  1. axinia Says:

    I love to quote this amazing Sufi saint, Hazrat Inayat Khan, because I agree with every word of his. It is exactly my perception of life, my understanding of beauty and above all – I love how he insists on the TRUE knowledge, not from books but from the experiences. I feel taht this is a rather hard truth to exept for the Western mind, as it is what we have always learnt – knowledge is everything, but it is not.

    As he says:”There is a kind of artificial learning, not a natural learning, which may be called time-saving. Someone says, ‘Now people have learned in their lives and they have discovered things for us and written about them in books, and I must learn that by reading the book’. But he does not know that he has not learned what that person who has written the book has learned. For instance, someone who has read the books of Luther Burbank, if he has read fifty books on horticulture, has not learned what Luther Burbank had learned. For he had made experiments for himself; he had been in the garden; his joy was such that he could not explain. No doubt another person will benefit by what he has given, but another person cannot enjoy what he has enjoyed, unless he pursues the same course.”

    THE book knowledge is limited, THe living knowledge of LIFE, SPIRIT AND BEUTY is the essence.

  2. I am very sorry to say that this saint’s theory is very baffling indeed, Axinia.

    His thinking seems to have been caught in a bubble of his own making, believing as he does that an all powerful, kind and imaginary entity called “God” created everything out of thin air and sent them to one particular planet in the universe that his top creations have named Earth, in order to enjoy the “spiritual beauty” of existing as the top creation of the imaginary entity.

    It’s strange that he thinks that a child is more responsive to “beauty” around it but does not extend his theory to say that animals must be even more responsive to the “beauty” than the child, because going by the same logic, animals are even more spiritual creatures than humans. A natural result of the bubble that the mystic saint created for himself and lived within.

    The kind of bubble that makes one believe that an all powerful, kind and imaginary entity called “God” created and controls everything and that imaginary entity chose to give the divine right of being spiritual only to his top creation. So that the top creation of this imaginary entity can marvel at the wonderful creatures that they are, a mini-version of the imaginary entity “Himself” (never Herself), since the imaginary entity wants to be praised forever for bestowing a special status on His top creation, so they can rule over all other creations, do whatever they like and enjoy the “beauty” of all of it.

  3. axinia Says:

    Raj, I believe animal are not respoisive to beauty at all! – please prove me the opposite.

  4. Animals are not responsive to beauty at all. Do you believe that just because animals cannot convey how they perceive the so-called “beauty” to us, Axinia, they are not responsive to it 😕

    If animals are not responsive to the so-called “beauty”, then how can humans be responsive to the same “beauty”? If humans are not animals, then what are they 😕 Plants? But plants are also responsive to the so-called “beauty”, but it is in a different manner than what animals (including humans) do.

    I’ll offer enough proof.

    This bubble-dwelling mystic saint said, In my explanation, spiritual means living. A spiritual person who is awakened to the beauty of poetry, who is quick to admire the subtlety of the poetry, who is appreciative of the beauty of melody, of harmony, who can enjoy art and be exalted by the beauty of nature, who lives as a living being, not as one dead, it is that person who may be called spiritual.

    So, according to the saint, a “spiritual” creature or one that can perceive the so-called “beauty” must be able to admire the subtlety of poetry or appreciate the beauty of melody or harmony or can enjoy art etc. Correct? Though all animals would be able to do this, let’s take two kinds of creatures that are closer to human animals – birds and mammals.

    Take a look at this lovely little bird appreciating the beauty of melody by responding to it:

    Or a look at this amazing mammal that deserves to join an art academy:

    I hope you are convinced 🙂

    • axinia Says:

      Thank you Raj for trying to finde some proof, unfortunately I do not find that lovely videos convincing, because there is too much of human “work” involved…

      Animals are not able to appreciate beauty and that is perfectly fine – for their evolutionary level it is good enough, I dont see any prolem with that. But it is important to realise that and remind ourselves that we do differ from animals and should value that and behave accordingly…

      • I’m very disappointed that you believe animals cannot appreciate the so-called “beauty”, Axinia😦

        Even if there is no human “work” involved, animals do appreciate the “beauty” better than humans, just like the child. I won’t try convincing you any further since you believe the bubble-dwelling mystic saint’s theory (of an imaginary entity creating apes-with-opposable-thumbs different from other apes and animals in order to receive eternal praise from such “special” apes) is beyond question😐

  5. swaps Says:

    ‘Is the quality of appreciating beauty more spiritual than the craving for knowledge?’

    I wish he had said yes.

    I often get this feeling that saints (otherwise great) dilute spirituality to make it attractive to common man. Why at all argue or advocate? Who needs it, will find it.

    • axinia Says:

      swaps, that is a totally wrong feeling. A saint does not want to “sell” anything, because he/she does not need any thing…really!! I am afraid you have understood this sentence simply wrong – here he talks of appreciating the true beauty, not superficial. I do not think he means that someone who loves fashion magazines is more spiritual than the one who loves to study books!🙂
      I think i understand him so well beause I share the same experiences. Here we talk about seeing the beauty in everything, and, I am afraid – will never be that clear to a common man😦

      • swaps Says:

        A x i n i a, I don’t say he is ‘selling’ anything. More over it is my belief too that common man must rise above his commonness before he appreciates what Inayat Khan is saying.

        A modern man is so intoxicated by technology, he immediately equates knowledge with mere tools. Inayat Khan’s message is lost on them.

        Actually, I liked the way he shows the inspirational quality of beauty. I think he is also trying to say knowledge inspired by beauty(ancient wisdom) is different from knowledge inspired by necessity (modern science).

        • axinia Says:

          exellent comment, my friend! I enjoyed it a lot.

        • volodimir108 Says:

          Swaps, I cannot agree more.
          In the West the understanding of knowledge is too intellectual, technical. in the East hopefully still- spiritual.

          • swaps Says:

            @Volodimir, here most young people are sold out to western thinking, while the rest have a superficial to chauvinistic attitude to traditional knowledge. But Westerners can have genuine grasp of spirituality. In fact, they inspire me🙂

  6. If a child is being more responsive to beauty only, then the child is supposed to be always smiling. I see that children do cry and are adamant sometimes.

    To understand eternal beauty, the saint says that we ought to appreciate the external beauty. To say what I want to say I use the following situation:

    Suppose you do a lot of jogging, physical exercise, cleaning of your home and other physical tasks on a particular morning, which is somewhat stressful, and then you are requested to drink a lemonade.

    Suppose the same lemonade is given to you after you finish your full dinner and an apple juice and your stomach is already full.

    In both the cases the same lemonade is given but your reaction to its beauty differs, doesn’t it?

    My point is, to appreciate beauty better, you ought to be taken away from the favourable circumstances that make you comfortable and happy. Which is somewhat contrary to what he says. You realize the beauty of a relationship only after you seperate, don’t you? Otherwise the relationship is taken for granted!

    Destination Infinity

    • axinia Says:

      DI,
      sorry to say it, but I totally disagree with this statement: “You realize the beauty of a relationship only after you seperate, don’t you?”.

      This is simply not true for me🙂 I realise the beauty of my marriage to the highest extend, every single second of it, and it is getting more and more beautiful everyday, even if I think it is already the best possible state…may be I live in a different world, by I make same experiences and the respective Sufi saint, really…life is amazing!

  7. tatushka55 Says:

    “not responding to the beauty and harmony which is before him, he wastes his life”

    I agree with you with all 100% ……….
    People always try to find someting, all the time they are seekig and waiting for something.
    We must learn first to appreciate the beauty and opportuniyies which are in front of us, and after this start looking for more, if that will not be anough.
    I understand this from inside me, but even I understand I dont follow this. And all the time I also wait and look for something🙂

    • axinia Says:

      tatushka55, I see your point, and I think I know what it is – you seem to be a seeker of Truth…and although the Truth is also the Beauty, but it is not easy to understand without deep spiritual expeirences lke this great Sufi saint obviously had.

  8. I know you weren’t convinced earlier that animals are not capable of experiencing the so-called “beauty”, dear Axinia.

    I hope you are convinced with this proof at least, that animals are perfectly capable of not only experiencing the so-called “beauty” but also have plenty of spiritual experiences (one where no human interference whatsoever is involved), though we aren’t aware of it (till now, at least) because we cannot communicate well with animals. As usual, it is SCIENCE that finds answers to all the mysteries of the universe:

    Animals Said to Have Spiritual Experiences

    Ever have an out-of-body experience? Your dog may have too.

    By Jennifer Viegas

    Fri Oct 8, 2010 07:00 AM ET

    55 Comments

    THE GIST

    A neurologist and other scientists argue animals are capable of having spiritual experiences.

    The researchers hold that spiritual experiences originate within primitive parts of the human brain, structures shared by animals.

    The challenge lies in proving what animals experience.

    Spiritual experiences originate within primitive parts of the human brain, structures shared by animals, like dogs.

    Chimpanzees may confront death in a lot of the same ways we do, researchers suggest.

    *******

    Animals (not just people) likely have spiritual experiences, according to a prominent neurologist who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades.

    Research suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain — areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own.

    The trick, of course, lies in proving animals’ experiences.

    “Since only humans are capable of language that can communicate the richness of spiritual experience, it is unlikely we will ever know with certainty what an animal subjectively experiences,” Kevin Nelson, a professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, told Discovery News.

    “Despite this limitation, it is still reasonable to conclude that since the most primitive areas of our brain happen to be the spiritual, then we can expect that animals are also capable of spiritual experiences,” added Nelson, author of the book “The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain,” which will be published in January 2011.

    The finding is an extension of his research on humans, which has been published in many peer-reviewed journals. A Neurology journal study, for example, determined that out-of-body experiences in humans are likely caused by the brain’s arousal system, which regulates different states of consciousness.

    “In humans, we know that if we disrupt the (brain) region where vision, sense of motion, orientation in the Earth’s gravitational field, and knowing the position of our body all come together, then out-of-body experiences can be caused literally by the flip of a switch,” he said. “There is absolutely no reason to believe it is any different for a dog, cat, or primate’s brain.”

    Other mammals also probably have near-death experiences comparable to those reported by certain humans, he believes. Such people often say they saw a light and felt as though they were moving down a tunnel.

    The tunnel phenomenon “is caused by the eye’s susceptibility to the low blood flow that occurs with fainting or cardiac arrest,” he said. “As blood flow diminishes, vision fails peripherally first. There is no reason to believe that other animals are any different from us.”

    Nelson added, “What they make of the tunnel is another matter.”

    The light aspect of near-death experiences can be explained by how the visual system defines REM (rapid eye movement) consciousness, he believes.

    “In fact,” he said, “the link between REM and the physiological crises causing near-death experience are most strongly linked in animals, like cats and rats, which we can study in the laboratory.”

    Mystical experiences — moments that inspire a sense of mystery and wonderment — arise within the limbic system, he said. When specific parts of this system are removed from animal brains, mind-altering drugs like LSD have no effect.

    Since other animals, such as non-human primates, horses, cats and dogs, also possess similar brain structures, it is possible that they too experience mystical moments, and may even have a sense of spiritual oneness, according to Nelson.

    Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, also believes animals have spiritual experiences, which he defines as experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective and comparable to what humans have.

    Both he and primatologist Jane Goodall have observed chimpanzees dancing with total abandon at waterfalls that emerge after heavy rains. Some of the chimps even appear to dance themselves into a trance-like state, as some humans do during religious and cultural rituals.

    Goodall wondered, “Is it not possible that these (chimpanzee) performances are stimulated by feelings akin to wonder and awe? After a waterfall display the performer may sit on a rock, his eyes following the falling water. What is it, this water?”

    “Perhaps numerous animals engage in these rituals, but we haven’t been lucky enough to see them,” Bekoff wrote in a Psychology Today report.

    “For now, let’s keep the door open to the idea that animals can be spiritual beings and let’s consider the evidence for such a claim,” he added.

    “Meager as it is, available evidence says, ‘Yes, animals can have spiritual experiences,’ and we need to conduct further research and engage in interdisciplinary discussions before we say that animals cannot and do not experience spirituality.”

    *******

    I’ve always had the highest regard for higher animals, especially mammals and birds. Now, my respect for them shoots up even further, since I’m convinced with the solid proof offered that such animals are perfectly capable of having spiritual experiences, something that hominoids arrogantly and falsely believed it’s an ability that only they themselves were capable of.
    🙂

  9. The comments left by readers under that stunning article are as good as the article itself, even more solid proof of animals being spiritual creatures perfectly capable of experiencing beauty!:

    http://news.discovery.com/animals/animals-spiritual-brain.html

    This section is the gem in that article:

    Since other animals, such as non-human primates, horses, cats and dogs, also possess similar brain structures, it is possible that they too experience mystical moments, and may even have a sense of spiritual oneness, according to Nelson.

    Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, also believes animals have spiritual experiences, which he defines as experiences that are nonmaterial, intangible, introspective and comparable to what humans have.

    Both he and primatologist Jane Goodall have observed chimpanzees dancing with total abandon at waterfalls that emerge after heavy rains. Some of the chimps even appear to dance themselves into a trance-like state, as some humans do during religious and cultural rituals.

    Goodall wondered, “Is it not possible that these (chimpanzee) performances are stimulated by feelings akin to wonder and awe? After a waterfall display the performer may sit on a rock, his eyes following the falling water. What is it, this water?”

    “Perhaps numerous animals engage in these rituals, but we haven’t been lucky enough to see them,” Bekoff wrote in a Psychology Today report.

    *******

    On another note, this article also scientifically proves what I’ve suspected all along. That the spiritual bubble state is just a fabulous trick played upon the mind by itself, without the aid of any external substances or chemicals. Such a spiritual bubble state can indeed be obtained by use of mind-altering substances like drugs, but the state achieved without the use of such substances is what we call as a “spiritual state”:

    “In fact,” he said, “the link between REM and the physiological crises causing near-death experience are most strongly linked in animals, like cats and rats, which we can study in the laboratory.”

    Mystical experiences — moments that inspire a sense of mystery and wonderment — arise within the limbic system, he said. When specific parts of this system are removed from animal brains, mind-altering drugs like LSD have no effect.

    All the pieces of the puzzle fall neatly into place with this wonderful scientific article, finally! 🙂

    Wish you a MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS, Axinia dear!!! 🙂 I hope this day commemorating the birth of the greatest spiritual human of all time brings eternal happiness and joy to you and all whom you love for now and forever!!! 🙂

    P.S.: In the first line of my previous comment, I meant to say, I know you weren’t convinced earlier that animals ARE capable of experiencing the so-called “beauty”, dear Axinia.
    🙂


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