Divinity in Form & Colour: India’s Artistic Tradition
In ancient India, science and art were twins, both in search of the Godhead in human beings. One was the way of the intellect, the other, of the heart. The first was guided by logic, the latter by intuition.
Of the many ways to God-realization investigated in India, art always stayed closest to the life of the common people. It was for them that paintings such as those in the Ajanta and Ellora caves were crafted—paintings that took generations to complete. For those unknown artists, their work was their worship. The better they could capture divinity in form and colour; the more satisfaction they derived. Art was an expression of inner growth, expansion and the harmony between humanity, nature and God. It was a means of joy and peace to the creators and the aesthetics. The age-old adage “satyam, sivam, sundaram” [Truth, auspiciousness and beauty] rightly describes the oneness of art and divinity.
Today, art has primarily become an expression of individualistic ego—its wounds, fears and sense of separateness—a struggle to articulate the pain and misery of a soul that finds itself caged by the social dogmas and chained by the innate desires of the flesh. Ancient artists used the anguish of separation and pain associated with the physical form as pointers towards a higher, richer and blissful Self. Just as a lotus takes its nourishment from the dirt and converts it into beauty and fragrance when it opens up to the sun, the radiance of divinity brought out the spirit of objects of art. Today the hearts of artists must open up in the light of selfless love and compassion so that their compositions may become a song of the boundless soul.
This great art exhibit, Colours of Compassion, was the first of its kind—artist ranging from amateurs to different schools, countries and cultures came together to rediscover their common heritage. If God is love and compassion personified, a work of art born out of a good heart is the most befitting offering for that eternal beauty. When form and colour act as a bridge for the human soul in agony to cross over transient life to reach the shores of ecstasy, a painting that transcends time is created. Colours of Compassion presented us with such a bouquet of lasting colour and fragrance.
In modern times, art is most often a human expression of beauty. The Colours of Compassion exhibit helped reveal one of its rarely scene dimensions—an expression of goodwill and of the greatness of the heart. Artists from all over the world came together to express their solidarity and whole-hearted support for world peace and harmony by offering their genius in a spiritual quest that surpassed the geographical ideologies and religious dogmas. The works were born out of compassion for humanity—torn by wars, terrorism, poverty, exploitation and fear. Only the selfless love of a motherly heart can heal these wounds and bring all souls in Her loving embrace. Amma has dedicated Her whole life singularly for this cause. Colours of Compassion was an appreciation and adoration by the artists, from India and abroad, of Amma as a living presence initiating a paradigm shift in human consciousness.
Today the world is in dire need of a holistic approach for solving social and personal problems. The fusion of spirituality, art and modern technology can become a nucleus to create a new society where the feelings of the heart, intellectual inquests, and selflessness can support each other and find wonderful avenues of expression. Colours of Compassion was, perhaps, the first great step towards this goal.
All the paintings exhibited in Colours of Compassion were offered out of this sense of sharing and mutual respect. One can not fail to appreciate the synergic outcome of art and spirituality when a spectra of colours and forms unravel a new vision and hope for humanity.