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Osho on Art and Enlightenment, The world needs enlightened Art

Question - What about Art and Enlightenment? When you are creating a poem, a painting sculpture, music, you can feel very close to the meditative state. Yet, it is not pure nothing-ness -- because it has an end, a goal. It also enhances the ego. Won't you ultimately have to transcend this kind of creativity?

Osho - ART DEPENDS ON YOU. If you are pathological, your art will be pathological. If you are enlightened, your art will be enlightened. The art carries your quality. If you go to Ajanta, Ellora or Khajuraho, you will find a totally different kind of art. If you listen to classical music, you will find a different quality of art. If you listen to modern music, a different kind of art will be found there. If you see Picasso's paintings, they ARE pathological. Something is ill -- something is ill in Picasso and something is ill in the world that Picasso is going to represent in those works of art.

Never keep a Picasso painting in your bedroom, otherwise you will have nightmares. It is very representative of this society. The society is ill, neurotic, but the art depends on you. The art does not descend out of the blue, it comes through the artist, it brings the artist. It makes the artist visible to the world -- that's what art is. That which is hidden in your heart, you bring it into a painting, sculpture, song, dance. You make it available. You open your heart.

Osho on art and enlightenment

But you can open only that which is there. The dance of a Nijinsky cannot be the dance of a Meera. And the philosophy of Nietszche cannot be the philosophy of a Buddha. It is BOUND to be diametrically opposite.

The pathological art comes out of inner conflict, tension, ego need. It relaxes you like any catharsis relaxes you. If you are angry and you shout and you hit -- even if you hit a pillow -- that helps. You feel relaxed. Now there are schools in the West which think mad people can be helped through art -- therapy through art. And they are right. If a mad person is given painting to do, if he simply paints, it is going to help, because whatsoever he paints will dissipate his madness. It will come out, it will be thrown out. He will feel unburdened and clean.

But ninety-nine percent of art is like that. It is certain that if Picasso is not allowed to paint, he will go mad. It is certain that if Van Gogh is not allowed to paint he will go mad. He did finally.

Art out of madness, art out of neurosis, art out of pathology, is not real art. Gurdjieff used to divide art into two kinds. He used to call this kind of art subjective, and another kind -- the Taj Mahal, or Khajuraho -- objective, because when you have painted, your work is finished but the painting will live. If you have put in the painting a certain pattern of neurosis, whoever will see the painting and think about the painting and look at the painting will have the feeling of the same kind of illness arising in him -- the same nausea, the same sickness. The painting will become a mandala; it will become a yantra. That's how in the East we have used paintings: as yantras.

A pattern can be created so that if you look at it, it gives silence. A pattern can be created so that if you look at it, it makes you tense. The objective art, Gurdjieff says, is the art which leads people towards silence, towards blissfulness, towards inner harmony, towards grace. And the art that leads people towards pathology, neurosis, perversion, is not really art. You can call it art, but that is a misnomer.


Art has nothing to do directly with enlightenment, but enlightenment has much to do with art. When many enlightened people exist in the world, they create a different kind of world, they create different kinds of things, naturally. Zen art has a quality of its own. Watching a Zen painting you become meditative; watching a Zen painting you are transported into another world. Listening to an ancient song like Bhagavad Gita, just listening -- even if you don't understand, even if you don't know the language, the Sanskrit language -- just listening, just the tonality of it, just the timbre of it, just the music, the melody of it, and suddenly you feel great silence arising in you, flowers showering inside you, something opening, something blossoming.

The world needs enlightened art. But that cannot be managed by teaching people how to create more art. That can be managed only if people start moving towards their inner core of being.

Whenever somebody arrives at his innermost core, he is bound to express it. Every enlightened experience is bound to bloom into a thousand and one lotuses. When Buddha became silent, when Buddha arrived home, when he knew who he is, he started speaking -- his words are his expression. When Meera arrived, she started dancing -- her dance is her expression.

EACH enlightened person will find a way to express that which has happened to him, because is PART of that happening that it has to be expressed. You cannot hold it, it overflows. But to different enlightened persons it will happen in different way. Buddha never danced; that was not his way, that was not HIS thing. He never sang, he never composed poetry -- that was not his thing! But if you watched deeply, the way he walks is poetry, the way he sits is poetry, the way he gestures is dance. Even while sitting under his Bodhi Tree, unmoving, there is a great dance inside. Those who have eyes, they will be able to see it. This is his way of expressing.

So different people arriving will express differently. Somebody may become a painter and somebody may become a singer -- it depends! It depends on what potentiality you are carrying. Your enlightenment will become a rider on that potentiality and will be expressed through it.

But the basic thing is not art -- the basic thing is samadhi. Let there be samadhi first, and then whatsoever you are capable of giving to the world, will be given. Whatsoever you are capable of sharing, will be shared. And there will be no ego arising because you have painted, because you have sung, because you danced -- there will be no ego arising. And there will be no motive in it. There will be no tension behind it. If nobody comes to listen to you, you will not miss. You will remain like a flower, blooming in the deep, dark forest -- nobody passes by, but the fragrance goes on being released to the winds. It does not matter.

The artist hankers to express. To an enlightened person expression is natural, like breathing; there is no hankering. The artist is continuously fighting to pave his way; the artist is motivated; hence, he lives in great tension. It is not just accidental that artists suffer more than anybody else from mind diseases -- too much tension. They have to create, and they have to compete, and they have to prove, and they have to leave a signature in the world -- all ego efforts.

An enlightened person lives without any motive. He simply enjoys it the way it is, and whatsoever happens is good. He is blessed and he goes on blessing. If somebody receives it, good; if nobody comes to receive it, that too is good.

Source - Osho Book "Zen : The Path of Paradox, Vol 3"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho on Female Creativity - Female Creative Spirit

Osho discourse on Being an Artist rather than a Mother
Osho on Ravi Shankar Guru Alauddin Khan Enlightenment
First Meditation and then out of Meditation comes Creativity
Osho on creativity, discipline and living a bohemian side of life
Osho - Is it ever possible to paint a totally satisfying Painting?
Osho - Deeper your creation, Greater will be your Emptiness afterwards
Osho - The arts can be immensely helpful in therapy, in spiritual growth

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