Adi Shankara spoke about dispassion, detachment, and renunciation. However, he foresaw that if he only talked about renunciation, people might start liking and encouraging sadness. He did not want people to stop appreciating beauty, so he sang a hundred verses on beauty.
Beauty has three levels: indication, expression and exposure. Spirituality indicates, art expresses, and science exposes.
The Divine is beauty, and beauty is Divine. Deva means one who loves to play, one who is effulgent, glorious, and one who plays. Demons fight, men live in peace, and Gods play. Playfulness cannot happen if there is no beauty; they go together. Enthusiasm, the same force that is beauty, creates playfulness. Beauty is associated with shyness, and shyness enhances beauty. For example, a small child sometimes makes a very shy face. When everyone notices and appreciates the child, he just hides his face. Likewise, shame is a part of ugliness. Shyness softens you; ugliness or shame hardens you. When a person feels ashamed, he becomes hard inside and becomes violent.
The way of Gods, the way of the wise has always been indirect. There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Paroksha priya hi vai devaha?’ which means, ‘Gods love indirect methods’. Poetry is indirect. It is exaggeration. The heart always exaggerates, while the mind puts the fact forward. Fact is intellectual. But when it comes from the heart, the fact is decorated. It becomes doubly beautiful.
Direct expression is necessary when one is not awake. With the Awakened, hints and indirect expression make it all the more charming. But it does not mean that something is good or something is bad. Everything has its place and its time. Total exposure is not the language of the heart. Total exposure provokes and concealed beauty invokes. That is why this nature conceals the whole creation during the night inside itself, and reveals it the next morning.
Love is at its peak when no effort is made to express it. It is not that you should not express it sometimes- otherwise you may burst! There is beauty in not expressing it completely. In that secretiveness and the unveiling of Love, there is knowledge, there is opening, there is joy, and there is beauty. That is a Divine quality. Intellect has its place and poetry has its place. Both make life fuller. That is the beauty.
See people beyond their expressions. What a person expresses is not what he is all about. There is a lot of unexpressed love in each life. Just recognizing this fact, you expand. Your heart expands. With this knowledge you would never dwell on what someone says or does. What someone says is very small, and what someone does is just the ribbon on the package. If you do not like the ribbon, just take it off and look inside.
Everybody is a packed gift. Look at more than just the wrapper. Inside each person is a very precious gift. Some packages have firecrackers! Some packages have sweet candies. No box is empty. There is place for everybody in the heart of the Divine. That is what Jesus meant when he said, “there are many rooms in the house of my father”.
So do not worry that there are so many people. Do not ask how you can be close to God. Do not worry about how you can belong there. There are many rooms, and each one of you will have your own private room! And Jesus promises, “if there are not many rooms, I shall make room for you and then come to take you there”. The mind cannot appreciate the abstract; It is so used to looking at concrete things and promises. The mind needs promises. When you love somebody, you want a promise from him or her. You ask, “Do you promise me? Do you really love me? Tell me for sure!”
The second aspect of beauty is gratefulness. When you don’t feel that you lack something, then you feel grateful. You cannot be grateful and feel that you lack something. The two cannot go together. You can experience both, but only at different times. When you feel you lack something, the grumbling begins. With the knowledge you have, you become grateful. When you are grateful, by natural law you will be given more. As Jesus has said, “those who have will be given more. Those who have not, even what little they have, will be taken away from them.”
Whoever you want to love, first of all, know they love you very much. If you doubt in somebody’s love, your doubt grows no matter what, you receive from him or her. If you want to be close to someone, first begin to feel they are already close to you. When you ask people whether they trust you, you already doubt their trust. You grow in doubt. There is no limit to it; there is no end to convincing people of one’s love, one’s trust, one’s goodness. That is why it is said that those who have not, whatever little they have will also be taken away from them. And those who have will be given more, and more, and more. This is the very law of nature.
Not having is just an attitude in you. It is the direction you are moving in. Whatever is inside you is what grows. The seeds are already there. You sow the seeds and the seeds will grow. They become plenty. If the seed itself lacks something, how can anything grow? Open your eyes and see what you have been given! When you recognize what you have been given, you become grateful. In that gratefulness, life grows.
Why did Communism fail? It was a great policy to give to those who did not have. When everyone was provided for, the people became poorer and poorer in the material plane and in consciousness. Without knowledge, without wisdom, there is no progress.
This power, this energy, this beauty, this wealth has been given. It is permeating the whole Creation and without it not a blade of grass can move. However clever the devas, or angels are, they cannot move, cannot do anything without the power of consciousness and this life. Without life there is no beauty. A body is beautiful because there is life in it. The entire creation, the trees, the birds, animals, stones, and rivers are full of life. Life is not just biological life. Life includes the consciousness that permeates much beyond.
In creation there is beauty, in the operation of creation there is beauty, and in the destruction of creation there is beauty. You can see it in nature all the time. Spring has its own beauty; in mid-Summer everything is green; during Fall all the leaves fall and it looks spectacular! The Niagara Falls are so beautiful. To maintain these ancient falls year after year, a certain process is required. The clouds have to rise, and rain on the Great Lakes; and the Great Lakes have to flow. Only then the Niagara Falls can remain forever. Otherwise, if the water only flows down once, there is no more water to flow. If it does not rain, the whole beauty is gone!
Underneath creation’s beauty is a maintenance principle that maintains it time after time, for centuries. Even a dead log of wood has its record embedded in it; its beauty, in the past and present, is recorded in its genes and particles. Even in transformation there is beauty. Even in anger, there is beauty. Just look at somebody who is very upset. The best awards in the film festivals go to the actors who show intense emotions like anger and frustration. All emotion that gets exhibited is appreciated.
Just imagine somebody yelling at the top of his voice, grinding his teeth, holding his fists, with red eyes and all the veins in their throat popping out. Just looking at them is such fun! Without them, the whole world would be very dull. Imagine everybody walking around with an “air-hostess” smile all the time. It is no fun! It is the same thing when children cry. There is some beauty even in crying. When they laugh or smile, there is beauty in it. If they are angry, there is beauty in it. Beauty is all-pervasive. You only have to open your eyes and see the reality that is there.