On the physical plane it is in beauty that the Divine expresses
In the physical world, of all things it is beauty that expresses
best the Divine. The physical world is the world of form and the perfection of
form is beauty. Beauty interprets, expresses, manifests the Eternal. Its role
is to put all manifested nature in contact with the Eternal through the
perfection of form, through harmony and a sense of the ideal which uplifts and
leads towards something higher.
Let beauty be your constant ideal.
The beauty of the soul
The beauty of sentiments
The beauty of thoughts
The beauty of the action
The beauty in the work
so that nothing comes out of your hands which is not an expression
of pure and harmonious beauty.
And the Divine Help shall always be with you.
Supreme art expresses the Beauty which puts you in contact with
the Divine Harmony.
If art is to manifest something in the divine Life, there also
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a vast and luminous peace
must express itself.
Spiritual beauty has a contagious power.
Beauty is the joyous offering of Nature.
True art means the
expression of beauty in the material world. In a world wholly converted, that
is to say, expressing integrally the divine reality, art must serve as the
revealer and teacher of this divine beauty in life.
In art also we must remain on the heights.
Good taste is the aristocracy of art.
The true painting aims at creating something more beautiful than
the ordinary reality.
Would you like me to draw birds or animals sometimes?
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If you like – but drawings from
nature are best for learning.
I tried to copy the drawing You sent me today.
For learning, it would be better to enlarge the drawing so as to
bring out the details.
I have done this picture without anybody's help. How is it? Will I
be able to learn?
To learn means months and months of study before any picture can
be done; studies from nature, drawing first for a long time, painting only
If you are ready to study hard and regularly, then you can begin,
otherwise it is better not to try.
I would like to know if
looking at pictures is harmful.
Naturally it depends on what the pictures are. Most often, they
are about the things of the ordinary life, and therefore pull down the
consciousness towards them.
“Cubism” and Other Ultra-Modernism
If these painters were sincere, if they truly painted what they
feel and see, the picture would be the expression of a confused mind and an
unruly vital. But, unhappily, the painters are not sincere and then these
pictures are nothing else than the
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expression of a falsehood, an artificial imagination based only on
the will to be strange and to bewilder the public in order to attract attention
and that has indeed very little to do with beauty.
The largest of the flower-paintings is the best because it is more
spontaneous and free. You must feel what you paint and do it with joy.
Copy many beautiful things, but try even more to ca h the emotion,
the deeper life of things.
To make my
difficulty clear to you I am sending You my two latest paintings. One I have
completed, but not to my satisfaction. In the other, where the centre is
unfinished, I know what I want to do, but I cannot manage it. I want to ask You
whether I would make more progress by studying in Paris, or if it
is better for me to try here. I shall willingly follow Your decision.
My dear child,
I have seen your paintings –
they are almost perfect. But what they lack is not technique – it is consciousness.
If you develop your consciousness you will spontaneously discover how to
express yourself. Nobody, and especially not official teachers, can teach you
So to leave here and go anywhere else, to any of the “Art
Academies”. Would be to leave the light and step into a pit of obscurity
You cannot learn to be an artist with tricks – it is as if you wanted to realise the Divine by imitating
Above all and always the most important thing is Sincerity.
Develop your inner being – find your soul, and at the same
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time you will find the true artistic expression.
With my blessings.
Why do you want to do the details? That is not at all necessary.
Painting is not done to copy Nature, but to express an impression, a feeling,
an emotion that we experience on seeing the beauty of Nature. It is this that
is interesting and it is this that has to be expressed, and it is because you
have the possibility of doing this that I encourage you to paint.
I have seen your paintings and certainly there has been progress
over the last year.
Modern art is an experiment, still very clumsy, to express
something other than the simple physical appearance. The idea is good – but
naturally the value of the expression depends entirely on the value of that which
wants to express itself.
At present almost all artists live in the lowest vital and mental
consciousness and the results are quite poor.
Try to develop your consciousness, endeavour to discover your
soul, and then what you will do will be truly interesting.
This is the programme I am giving you for the year which starts
for you today.
12 August 1963
I am sorry to have to say that in the paintings, I do not see much
improvement on last year. They lack sincerity and spontaneity; it is not seen, it is thought – and thought in a childish way. What I said last year
has yet to be achieved. The consciousness must grow in light and sincerity and
the eyes must learn to see artistically.
12 August 1964
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I was not able to look at your paintings until today. Certainly
they represent an effort, and the one which is framed is pleasing to the eye.
But you think too much and you
do not see enough. In other
words, your vision is not original, spontaneous or direct, which means that
your execution is still conventional and lacks originality an imitation of what
There is, behind all things, a divine beauty, a divine harmony: it
is with this that we must come into contact; it is this that we must express.
12 August 1965
To all those who took part in today's singing and music: Sri
Aurobindo and myself have felt that there was a great progress this time. It
was not only from the external point of view of execution, but in the greater
aim of the concentration behind and in the inner attitude. May the day bring
its benediction to all.
24 April 1932
I do not know who is spreading the rumour that I do not like
music. That is not true at all – I like music very much, but it should be heard
in a small circle, that is, played for five or six people at the most. When
there is a crowd it becomes a social gathering, more often than not, and the
atmosphere that is created is not good.
To keep yourself occupied with music and writing is always good;
for your nature finds there its inborn occupation and that helps to maintain
the vital energy and keep the balance.
About sadhana I should like to ask you: why not do sadhana
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through your music? Surely
meditation is not the only way of doing sadhana. Through your music bhakti and
aspiration can grow and prepare the nature for realisation.
If moments of meditation and concentration come of themselves then
it is all right; but there is no need to force it.
23 January 1939
Music follows the rule of all things on earth – unless they are
turned to the Divine they cannot be divine.
Am I right in saying that when the Mother plays on the organ,
certain chords of music create the necessary vibrations for the manifestation
of the higher Force which the Mother wants to establish on earth?
When somebody lives in a higher consciousness, the vibrations of
this higher consciousness are manifested in whatever this person does, says or
thinks. These higher vibrations are manifested by the very fact of the presence
of this person upon earth.
What is the significance of the tune that goes on repeating itself
in your music so often?
You must have noticed that this tune generally comes after some
trouble or chaos has been expressed. It comes as a solution to a problem. It
advancement, a progress, a step forward in consciousness. It comes as a
enlightenment. My music resembles the inner movements of the Sadhana. Sometimes
a trouble, a chaos, a problem, a wrong movement which seemed
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conquered returns with a greater force. But then, as an answer or
as an aid, the growth, the unveiling of the consciousness – and then the final
This music is very difficult to understand – especially for the
Western mind. To people from the West it often means nothing; nor do they
easily feel in them the corresponding movements. Mostly those who can
appreciate the Indian Ragas can like that music; for there is some resemblance
with the Ragas. But here too from the point of view of form, all conventions of
musical laws and notations are broken.
30 October 1957
should one try to do when one meditates with your music at the Playground?
This music aims at awakening certain profound feelings.
To hear it one should make oneself as silent and passive as
possible. And if, in the mental silence, a part of the being can take the
attitude of the witness who observes without reacting or participating, then
one can take account of the effect which the music produces on the feelings and
emotions; and if it produces a state of deep calm and of semi-trance, then that
is quite good.
15 November 1959
Sweet Mother, how can one enter into the feelings of a piece of
music played by someone else?
In the same way as one can share the emotions of another person by
sympathy, spontaneously, by an affinity more or less deep, or else by an effort
of concentration which ends in identification. It is this last process that one
adopts when one listens to music with an intense and concentrated attention, to
the point of checking all other noise in the head and obtaining a complete
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into which fall, by drop,
the notes of the music whose sound alone remains; and with the sound all the
feelings, all the movements of emotion can be perceived, experienced, felt as
if they were produced in ourselves.
20 October 1959
X and I play the flute together. We have found a book whose songs
have very beautiful, very simple and easy-to-play tunes. We should like to know
if the poems of love and death, which do not seem to go with our ideal in the
Ashram, have a bad spirit in the tune. Are the Catholic religious pieces of
music, which are played in churches, bad to play? If so, we shall not play
either the tunes accompanied by vulgar words nor the religious compositions.
You should eliminate the words
and keep only the music in both cases.
If you know how to write the music, make copies of the tunes you
want to play (without copying the words). If you do not know how to write the
music, ask someone who does – Jo for example – to do it for you or to teach you
to do it.
Do not keep the books with you, for these books can have a bad
What is it we should look for in music?
How to judge the quality of a piece of music?
How to develop good taste (for music)?
What do you think of the light music (cinema, jazz, etc,) which
our children like very much?
The role of music lies in helping the consciousness to uplift
itself towards the spiritual heights.
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All that lowers the consciousness, encourages desires and excites
the passions, runs counter to the true goal of music and ought to be avoided.
It is not a question of name but of inspiration – and the
spiritual consciousness alone can be the judge there.
22 July 1967
Concerning a medieval love song
The words are ridiculous and even in bad taste. Generally, when we
studied a song, if the lyrics were unbecoming they would be changed and only
the music retained.
Someone who has a sense of rhythm can do it very easily.
(Concerning the words of two Christian canons, “Halleluia” and
“Dona Nobis Pacem”', inscribed on a programme of vocal music}
It is all right on condition that it is not exclusive and that
other religions are also represented.
Poetry is sensuality of the spirit.
For me true poetry is beyond all philosophy and beyond all
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Modern photography has become an art and, like all other arts, it
can effectively express the inner feelings and the soul, with a true sense of
Photography is an art when the photographer is an artist.
We see too many films these days and I do not see how they educate
When one has the true attitude, everything can be an occasion to
In any case, this excess should make you understand that the
imperious desire of certain people to see films is as pernicious as all other
11 May 1963
We would like to be able to show the children pictures of life as
it should be, but we have not reached that point, far from it. These films have
yet to be made. And at present, most of the time, the cinema shows life as it
should not be, so strikingly that it makes you disgusted with life.
This too is useful as a preparation.
Films are permitted in the Ashram not as an amusement but as part
of education. So we are faced with the problem of education.
If we consider that the child should learn and know only
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what can keep him pure of every low, crude, violent and degrading
movement, we would have to eliminate at a stroke all contact with the rest of
humanity, beginning with all these stories of war and murder, of conflict and
deception which go under the name of history; we would have to eliminate all
present contact with family, relatives and friends; we would have to exercise
control over all the vital impulses of their being.
This was the idea behind the enclosed monastic life of convents,
or the ascetic life in caves and forests.
This remedy proved to be quite ineffectual and failed to pull
mankind out of the mire.
According to Sri Aurobindo, the remedy is quite different.
We must face life as a whole, with all the ugliness, falsehood and
cruelty it still contains, but we must take care to discover in ourselves the
source of all goodness, all beauty, all light and all truth, in order to bring
this source consciously into contact with the world so as to transform it.
This is infinitely more difficult than running away or shutting
our eyes so as not to see, but it is the only truly effective way – the way of
those who are truly strong and pure and capable of manifesting the Truth.
How should one see a film? If one
identifies oneself with the characters and if it is a tragic or detective film,
one is so much involved that one weeps or is frightened. And if one keeps aloof
one cannot appreciate it very well. What is to be done then?
It is the vital that is affected and moved.
If you look mentally, the interest is no more the same; instead of
being moved or troubled, you can judge quietly the value of the film, whether
it is well constructed and well acted and whether the pictures have any
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In the first case you are “good public”, in the second you are
30 January 1970
(Concerning cinema in Auroville)
Children below fifteen years will see only educational films.
Care should be taken in selecting films to be shown in Auroville.
All that encourages the lower movements and actions must be
25 February 1972
Learn to be silent
The cinema is given for those who like to look at pictures and to
listen to the music and the words, and they have a right to look and to hear
Those who cannot stop talking, chatting, laughing and making a
noise or even running about, ought not to be there, because all what they do,
they can do elsewhere without spoiling the pleasure of those who are not like
So here is the decision: a silent audience – or no cinema.
12 October 1962
“The Wizard of Oz”²
A short explanation will surely increase the interest of the
picture to be shown to you tonight.
two paragraphs are based upon the Mother's comments; when the notation was
shown to her, she wrote the final paragraph.
The Mother made this statement over the loudspeaker when this
film was shown at the Ashram playground.
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This picture is in three sections, two black and one, the most
extensive, in colour. The two black sections (first and last) show how things
appear in the physical world; the coloured one expresses a similar sequence of
events and similar characters in the vital world, the world where one can go
when the body is in deep sleep, when one gets out of the body. So long as you
have a physical body, no true harm can happen to you in the vital world, for
the physical body acts as a protection, and you can always return into it at
will. This is shown in the picture in a classical way. You will see that the
little girl wears on her feet some magic ruby-red slippers, and so long as she
keeps the slippers on her feet nothing wrong can happen to her. The ruby-red
slippers are the sign and the symbol of the connection with the physical body,
and as long as the slippers are on her feet, she can, at will, return to her
body and find shelter therein.
Two other details can be noted with interest. One is the snow
shower that saves the party from the influence of the wicked witch who by her
black magic has stopped their advance towards the emerald castle of beneficent
vitality. In the vital world, snow is the symbol of purity. It is the purity of
their feelings and intentions that saves them from the great danger. Note also
that to go to the castle of the good wizard they must follow the broad path of
golden bricks, the path of luminous confidence and joy.
The second is: when Dorothy throws water on the straw man to save
him from burning, some water falls on the face of the wicked witch who lit the
fire and at once she gets dissolved and dies. The water is the symbol of the
power of purification and no hostile being or force can resist this power
handled with goodwill and sincerity.
Finally, when the good fairy teaches the little girl how to go
back home by knocking her red slippers one against the other, she says that
nothing is better than home; by “home” she means the physical world which is
the place of protection and realisation.
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As you see, the subject of this picture is interesting and not
altogether devoid of knowledge. Unhappily the rendering is not as beautiful and
harmonious as it could have been. In the setup there are some serious faults of
taste and many regrettable vulgarities.
14 September 1952
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