Photos as Objective Art

Gurdjieff, also a contemporary master, coined the expressions "Objective Art" and "Subjective Art". The first he used to describe those art works which were created by enlightened masters to give the onlooker a taste of meditation; whilst the latter for those which express the inner, turmoiled and subjective psyche of the artist. Osho expounds on this subject in various discourses. Here are a few tasters.

Further reading: Resonance of Form...

All great art is born out of meditation

The seers of the ancient East have been very emphatic about the point that all the great arts – music, poetry, dance, painting, sculpture – are all born out of meditation. They are an effort to in some way bring the unknowable into the world of the known for those who are not ready for the pilgrimage – just gifts for those who are not ready to go on the pilgrimage. Perhaps a song may trigger a desire to go in search of the source, perhaps a statue.

The next time you enter a temple of Gautam Buddha or Mahavira just sit silently, watch the statue. Because the statue has been made in such a way, in such proportions that if you watch it you will fall silent. It is a statue of meditation; it is not concerned with Gautam Buddha or Mahavira.

That’s why all those statues look alike -Mahavira, Gautam Buddha, Neminatha, Adinatha.... Twenty-four tirthankaras of Jainas... in the same temple you will find twenty-four statues all alike, exactly alike.

In my childhood I used to ask my father, "Can you explain to me how it is possible that twenty-four persons are exactly alike? – the same size, the same nose, the same face, the same body..."

And he used to say, "I don’t know. I am always puzzled myself that there is not a bit of difference. And it is almost unheard of – there are not even two persons in the whole world who are alike, what to say about twenty-four?"

But as my meditation blossomed I found the answer – not from anybody else, I found the answer: that these statues have nothing to do with the people. These statues have something to do with what was happening inside those twenty-four people, and that was exactly the same.

And we have not bothered about the outside; we have insisted that only the inner should be paid attention to. The outer is unimportant. Somebody is young, somebody is old, somebody is black, somebody is white, somebody is man, somebody is woman – it does not matter; what matters is that inside there is an ocean of silence. In that oceanic state, the body takes a certain posture.

You have observed it yourself, but you have not been alert. When you are angry, have you observed? – your body takes a certain posture. In anger you cannot keep your hands open; in anger – the fist. In anger you cannot smile – or can you? With a certain emotion, the body has to follow a certain posture. Just small things are deeply related inside.

So those statues are made in such a way that if you simply sit silently and watch, and then close your eyes, a negative shadow image enters into your body and you start feeling something you have not felt before.

Those statues and temples were not built for worshipping; they were built for experiencing. They are scientific laboratories. They have nothing to do with religion. A certain secret science has been used for centuries so the coming generations could come in contact with the experiences of the older generations – not through books, not through words, but through something which goes deeper – through silence, through meditation, through peace.

As your silence grows; your friendliness, your love grows; your life becomes a moment-to-moment dance, a joy, a celebration.

Osho, Beyond Enlightenment, chapter 28

Objective art

Gurdjieff means by objective art, art which has some intrinsic quality which can be imparted for thousands of years. The work of art is a code word. After experiencing meditation for thousands of years, meditators have come to recognise that a certain posture, a certain way of sitting, a certain way of the eyes, can create in anybody a synchronicity, a sympathy. Some sympathetic note can be stirred by the statue.

In the East a statue is not made for its own sake. It is made as a code language for centuries to follow. Scriptures may disappear, languages may change, words may be interpreted. There may be disputes about theories...

But anybody who is capable of sitting silently by the side of this statue will have a certain thing stirred in the heart. This is objective art.

Osho, From Darkness to Light, Chapter 27

Resonance of Form

Whatsoever you see creates its echo within you, and in some deep sense you become like that which you see.

Osho, Hidden Mysteries, Chapter 4

Further reading: Resonance of Form...