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Read more about Art from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is Art?

Art in its fundamental truth the aspect of beauty of the Divine manifestation. True art is the expression of beauty in the material world. It must act as a revealer and teacher of this divine beauty in life. Skill is not art, talent is not art. Art is a living harmony and beauty that must be expressed in all the movements of existence. It expresses the beautiful, but in close intimacy with the universal movement. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Elements of Art


For technique is a means of expression; one does not write merely to use beautiful words or paint for the sole sake of line and colour; there is something that one is trying through these means to express or to discover.

In technique, there are two different things,—there is the intellectual knowledge which one has acquired and applies or thinks one is applying—there is the intuitive cognition which acts in its own right. [5] [6]


Art is a self-expression of Consciousness under the conditions of aesthetic vision and a perfect execution. There are not only aesthetic values but life-values, mind-values, soul-values, that enter into Art. The artist puts out into form not only the powers of his own consciousness but the powers of the Consciousness that has made the worlds and their objects. [7]

Three elements making the whole of Art, perfection of expressive form, discovery of beauty, revelation of the soul and essence of things and the powers of creative consciousness and Ananda of which they are the vehicles. [8]

Types of Art

Each type of art has its own greatness and can touch in its own way the extremes of aesthetic Ananda. Music goes nearest to the infinite and to the essence of things, painting and sculpture have their revenge by liberating visible form into ecstasy, poetry can make a many-stringed harmony, a sound-revelation winging the creation by the word and setting afloat vivid suggestions of form and colour,—that gives it in a very subtle kind the combined power of all the arts. [9]

Photography no longer an exact copy of Nature, it is an arrangement of forms and colours intended to express something else which is usually hidden by physical appearances. [10]

All poetry is an inspiration, a thing breathed into the thinking organ from above; it is recorded in the mind, but is born in the higher principle of direct knowledge or ideal vision which surpasses mind. It is in reality a revelation. [11]

Why Is Art Important?

When the material world is transformed that it will be possible to express the Divine in his purity. It has the capacity to become fused, but not entirely, and it remains an instrument for giving a form, whatever may be the form. One can express the Divine with words, one can express Him with colours, express Him with sounds, express Him with forms. [12]

All can be done in a movement of aspiration to express a higher beauty, giving an appropriate abode to the godhead who was evoked. [13]

Music and art and poetry have striven to express the vision of the deepest and greatest things and not the things of the surface only. [14]

How to Cultivate It?

An artist goes into deep contemplation to see, realise it as a whole in his inner consciousness; and execute it outwardly; to create according to the greater inner vision. A yogic discipline to enter into intimate communion with the inner worlds. [15]

To train our eyes to appreciate the harmony found in physical nature; in taste, culture, the development of the sense of sight and of beauty and with not many desires. We live in the sense of a growth not only visual, but of the appreciation of beauty. [16]

Every artist has a unique, personal contact with the Divine, and through the work of art one has mastered, one must express this contact in one’s own way , with his own words, his own colours. [17]

The inspirational consciousness, gathered in the sense of surrender; to hold it sacred, without anything getting mixed in with it, very still. It's especially the sense of the "I" that must be lost—that's the great art in everything— painting, sculpture, architecture, evenI music… [18]

All true artists feel they are intermediaries between a higher world and this physical existence. When consider in this light, Art is not very different from Yoga. When worked consciously at one’s art with the knowledge. In their creation they did not put forward their personality as the most important factor; they considered their work as an offering to the Divine, they tried to express by it their relation with the Divine. [19]

To maintain its energy and will to create. To preserve the right to write for the Spirit that moves him. To be free to use his wings even if they carry him above the comprehension of the public of the day or of the general run of critics or lead him into lonely places. the value of the poet is the power of his vision, of his speech, of his feeling, by his rendering of the world within or the world without or of any world to which he has access. [20]

To be an artist of word and rhythm. One can be strong and powerful, full of sincerity and substance without being harsh, rough or aggressive to the ear. Rhythm can be either austere to bareness or sweet and subtle, and a harmonious perfection can be attained in either of these extreme directions if the mastery is there. [21]

What Are the Obstacles in Expressing Art?

The need of the stimulus of an audience, social applause, satisfied vanity or fame. It must go absolutely if one wants to be a Yogi and his art a service not of man or of his own ego but of the Divine. [22]

Self-complacency is an obstacle to art and to intelligence. Fatuity is one of the greatest of human stupidities. There is a very great difference between having faith in what can be done, the will to realise it, the certitude of the possibilities open in creation , in self-complacency; these are two things which turn their backs completely on each other. This is one of the things that takes you farthest away from the divine realisation. There is no place for self-complacency; for, as we are nothing in ourselves but what the Divine makes of us, and as we can do nothing by ourselves except what the Divine wants to do through us. One can only have the feeling of one's perfect powerlessness. there is always a wrong side and a right to every state of consciousness. One is the shadow and the other the light, but they are exactly alike: one is no better than the other. And if really one were aware of being nothing at all, one would not bother to know what one is like. [23]

What Is Degeneration of Art?

Things could be beautiful in themselves but they had no meaning. It was not a whole having cohesion and attempting to express something: it was an exhibition of talent, cleverness, the ability to make. [24]

Some artists want to produce something before having worked, they want to know before having studied and they want to make a name before having done anything good. [25]

Almost all man's works of art—literary, poetic, artistic—are based on the violence of contrasts in life. When one tries to pull them out of their daily dramas, they really feel that it is not artistic. [26]

There is a kind of anguish and there is still a complete lack of understanding of what beauty can and should be, but one finds an aspiration towards something which will not be sordidly material. For a time art had wanted to wallow in the mire, to be what they called "realistic". They had chosen as "real" what was most repulsive in the world, most ugly: all deformities, all filth, all ugliness, all the horrors, all the incoherences of colour and form; People were compelled to put aside all refined sensibility, the love of harmony, the need for beauty, to be able to undergo all that; otherwise, I believe, they would really have died of horror.