= How can One Cultivate Aesthetic Sense? =
… in this order: consciousness first, then the vital (mainly from the aesthetic point of view, but a study of sensations as well) , then the mind, then spiritual realization. And in between the vital and mental phases came the brief period of occultism, serving both as a transition and a basis for spiritual development.
(The Mother, 28 July 1962) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/agenda/03/july-28-1962#p9</ref>
==By Perfection ==
When they speak of God, think of Him as "something else," they think that He cannot be weak, ugly or imperfect—they think wrongly, they divide, they separate… Perfection is something which lacks nothing. <ref>
Each thing is exactly in its place, each person exactly in his place, each movement exactly in its place—and in its place in an ascending progressive movement, without any relapse, that is to say, quite the contrary to what happens in ordinary life. Naturally, this presupposes a kind of perfection, this presupposes a kind of unity, this presupposes that the different aspects of the Supreme can be manifested and, of course, an exceptional beauty, a total harmony and a power strong enough to command obedience from the forces of Nature.
(The Mother, 18 July 1961) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/15/18-july-1961#p11</ref>
Take a great musician; well, even with a wretched piano and missing notes, he will produce something beautiful; but give him a good piano, well-tuned, and he will do something still more beautiful. The consciousness is the same in either case but for expression it needs a good instrument—a body with mental, vital, psychic and physical capacities.
(The Mother, 15 January 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/15-january-1951#p11</ref>
Suppose you have a beautiful experience, that suddenly in answer to your aspiration a great light comes; you feel all flooded with joy, force, light, beauty, and have the impression that you are on the point of being transfigured...mentally, instead of being immobile and attentive, something has begun to ask, "Wait a minute, what is this experience? What does it mean?", begun to try to find an explanation (what it calls an "understanding") . Or maybe in the vital something has begun to enjoy the experience: "How pleasant it is, how I would like it to grow, how good if it were constant, how...." Or something in the physical has said, "Oh! It is a bit hard to endure that, how long am I going to be able to keep it?" It is perhaps not as obvious as all this, but it is a wee bit hidden like this, somewhere. You will always find one of these three things or others analogous. Then, it is there the lantern is needed: where is the weak point? where is the egoism? where is the desire? where is that old dirt we do not want any longer? where is that thing which turns back upon itself instead of giving itself, opening itself, losing itself? which turns back upon itself, tries to take advantage of what has happened, wants to appropriate to itself the fruit of the experience? Or rather which is too weak, too hard, too rigid to be able to follow the movement?... It is that, you are now on the track, you begin precisely to put the light you have just acquired upon it; it is that you must do, focus the light upon it, turn it in such a way that the thing cannot resist it.
(The Mother, 26 April 1951) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/04/26-april-1951#p29</ref>
==By Discipline ==
I have known people with such opposite sides in their nature, so contradictory, that one day they could make a magnificent, luminous, powerful formation for realisation, and then the next day a defeatist, dark, black formation—a formation of despair—and so both would go out. And I was able to follow in the course of circumstances the beautiful one being realised, and while it was being realised, the dark one demolishing what the first one had done. And that is how it is in the larger lines of life as in its smaller details. And all that because one does not watch oneself thinking, because one believes one is the slave of these contradictory movements, because one says, "Oh! Today I am not feeling well. Oh! Today things seem sad to me", and one says this as if it were an ineluctable fate against which one could do nothing. But if one stands back or ascends a step, one can look at all these things, put them in their place, keep some, destroy or get rid of those one does not want and put all one's imaginative power—what is called imaginative—only in those one wants and which conform with one's highest aspiration. That is what I call controlling one's imagination. (The Mother, 3 September 1958) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/09/3-september-1958#p15</ref>
Without outer and inner discipline, one can achieve nothing in life, either spiritually or materially. All those who have been able to create something beautiful or useful have always been persons who have known how to discipline themselves.
(The Mother, 23 June 1934) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/23-june-1934#p3</ref>
==By Detachment ==
In fact people who work in order to develop their taste, to refine it, are rarely very much attached to food. It is not through attachment to food that they do it. It is for the cultivation of their senses, which is a very different thing. It is like the artist, you know, who trains his eyes to appreciate forms and colours, lines, the composition of things, the harmony found in physical nature; it is not at all through desire that he does this, it is through taste, culture, the development of the sense of sight and the appreciation of beauty. And usually artists who are real artists and love their art and live in the sense of beauty, seeking beauty, are people who don't have many desires. They live in the sense of a growth not only visual, but of the appreciation of beauty. There is a great difference between this and people who live by their impulses and desires. (The Mother, 23 February 1955) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/07/23-february-1955#p5</ref>
For the universal soul all things and all contacts of things carry in them an essence of delight best described by the Sanskrit aesthetic term, rasa, which means at once sap or essence of a thing and its taste. It is because we do not seek the essence of the thing in its contact with us, but look only to the manner in which it affects our desires and fears, our cravings and shrinkings that grief and pain, imperfect and transient pleasure or indifference, that is to say, blank inability to seize the essence, are the forms taken by the Rasa… If we could be entirely disinterested in mind and heart and impose that detachment on the nervous being, the progressive elimination of these imperfect and perverse forms of Rasa would be possible and the true essential taste of the inalienable delight of existence in all its variations would be within our reach…
We attain to something of this capacity for variable but universal delight in the aesthetic reception of things as represented by Art and Poetry, so that we enjoy there the Rasa or taste of the sorrowful, the terrible, even the horrible or repellent; and the reason is because we are detached, disinterested, not thinking of ourselves or of self-defence (jugupsā), but only of the thing and its essence…
Certainly, this aesthetic reception of contacts is not a precise image or reflection of the pure delight which is supramental and supra-aesthetic; for the latter would eliminate sorrow, terror, horror and disgust with their cause while the former admits them: but it represents partially and imperfectly one stage of the progressive delight of the universal Soul in things in its manifestation and it admits us in one part of our nature to that detachment from egoistic sensation and that universal attitude through which the one Soul sees harmony and beauty where we divided beings experience rather chaos and discord….
The full liberation can come to us only by a similar liberation in all our parts, the universal aesthesis, the universal standpoint of knowledge, the universal detachment from all things and yet sympathy with all in our nervous and emotional being. <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwsa/21/delight-of-existence-the-solution#p14</ref>
The world is full of things that are not pleasing or beautiful, but that is no reason why one should live in a constant feeling of repulsion for these things. All feelings of shrinking and disgust and fear that disturb and weaken the human mind can be overcome. A Yogi has to overcome these reactions; for almost the very first step in Yoga demands that you must keep a perfect equanimity in the presence of all beings and things and happenings.
(The Mother, 30 June 1929) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/03/30-june-1929#p5</ref>
But if one deeply feels the beauty of Nature and communes with her, that can help in widening the consciousness.
(The Mother, 9 November 1969) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/16/9-november-1969#p4</ref>
There is nothing which gives you a joy equal to that of gratitude. One hears a bird sing, sees a lovely flower, looks at a little child, observes an act of generosity, reads a beautiful sentence, looks at the setting sun, no matter what, suddenly this comes upon you, this kind of emotion—indeed so deep, so intense—that the world manifests the Divine, that there is something behind the world which is the Divine.
(The Mother, 25 January 1956) <ref>http://incarnateword.in/cwm/08/25-january-1956#p61</ref>