Resonance of Form

Osho has been speaking about how Buddha statues create a resonance in us while looking at them. We feel calm and silent and can get a glimpse of meditation just by contemplating a statue of an enlightened being. These statues are part of Objective Art, a term introduced by another contemporary mystic, Gurdjieff.

Whatsoever you see creates its echo within you

Someone asked a great French artist why he painted. He said, "I draw pictures only to find what form a certain emotion, a certain feeling of my heart, can take on a canvas. In my efforts to express that feeling, a picture emerges." If someone meditates on that picture, he can experience the same emotion as was present in the painter’s heart.

When you see a painting you just see a form; you don’t realize that the soul of the artist is entering you. Those crisscross lines on the canvas are not just the lines of that form. If you concentrate on them, a picture with crisscross lines will emerge within you too... because it is the nature of the mind that it vibrates in you with a similar resonance to that which it sees outside it.

You probably do not know that the joy which you feel when you see a flower is not so much because of the flower itself but because of the symmetry of its petals, which is also induced in you. When you are attracted to a beautiful face of someone, it is not because of that person’s beauty but because it corresponds to your inner image of beauty. It produces a resonance of beauty in you which makes you feel that something within you is also beautified. In a similar way, the presence of an ugly face makes you feel uncomfortable. The experience of joy in the presence of someone who is beautiful is because of the flow of beauty which it brings about in you, making you also more beautiful. Ugliness means that something is disproportionate, crude, non-symmetrical and crooked; and this evokes in us a feeling of disharmony, repulsion, disorder and discomfort.

Nijinsky, the famous Russian ballet dancer, committed suicide. When people went to his house to investigate, they came out within ten or fifteen minutes feeling a sort of discomfort. They said that it did not feel good to go into his house, that if anyone stayed in it as long as Nijinsky had, they too would commit suicide. What was it about his house which was so unpleasant? He had painted all the walls and ceilings red and black – for two years it had been like this. It was not surprising that he went mad and that he committed suicide. Those who went inside his house said that if anyone were to stay in that house for two years they would also go mad and commit suicide. Nijinsky must have been a very courageous man – he had created around himself a very anarchic situation.

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

Hidden Mysteries, Chapter #4

Objective art: a code language

Gurdjieff used to call Eastern art "objective art" and Western art "subjective art." He 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 recognize 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. Doctrines can be wrongly interpreted, commented upon. There may be dispute about theories – and there has been – so they thought there must be a different way than language.

Now what dispute can there be about the statue of a Buddha or Mahavira? There is no question of dispute, there is no need of any commentary. Anybody who is capable of sitting silently by the side of this statue will have a certain thing stirred in his heart. This is objective art.

From Darkness to Light, Chapter #27

The original function of statues

Just watching Mahavira’s statue you may fall into a meditative state. That was their original function. They were not made to be worshipped, they were made to make you aware of a certain state. The statue is of a certain state, not of a certain man; that man is irrelevant.

It happened that some photographer took a picture of Ramakrishna. That was his first picture and the photographer was very happy. He brought the large framed picture to present to Ramakrishna who was sitting with his disciples. He took the picture in his hand and kissed the feet in the picture. The photographer could not believe it! Is this man sane or insane? His own picture, and he is kissing the feet!

Vivekananda, his chief disciple, was sitting by the side. He said, "Paramahansadeva, what are you doing? This is your own picture. Have you seen it or not?" He thought he had not looked at the picture – Just that the man had given it to him, and he must have thought it was some god’s picture, so he had kissed it.

Ramakrishna said, "Is it so? Let me look." He looked and he said, "Yes, it is my picture," and he kissed the feet again!

Vivekananda said, "Now this is too much."

Ramakrishna said, "I am not kissing my own feet. This is a picture of a state, it has nothing to do with me. Just look at the picture," he said, "It is a picture of a certain state. The body is just the outer lines, but look into the eyes, look into the face. And I remember perfectly where I was when this picture was taken: I was in samadhi, so it is a picture of samadhi. And I say to you that only this picture should be distributed, no other picture."

So only that picture hangs in the houses of people who worship Ramakrishna, because that picture was worshipped by Ramakrishna himself. It is absurd logically, but just a little bit of patience and you can see the point. It is a picture of a state. It is immaterial whether Ramakrishna was in that state or Mahavira was in that state or Buddha was in that state. It is immaterial – what matters is that consciousness.

Good music, good poetry, can raise your consciousness. They can create the situation for the entry into the third. Very few musicians have been there very few poets, very few painters, and very few sculptors are capable of creating such artifacts that can give you a resonance inside you.

From Misery to Enlightenment, Chapter #5

Experiencing objective art

Question: While in an art museum I entered one room with statues and carvings of Buddha. I was surprised to feel a very strong energy current, similar to what I feel here in the lecture. Was I imagining things?

The first thing to be understood: you will be surprised to know that the Buddha statues have nothing to do with Gautam Buddha. They are all false, they don’t resemble Buddha at all, but they have something to do with buddhahood. Not with Gautam Buddha, the person – they have something to do with buddhahood.

You can go into a Jain temple and you will see twenty-four statues of twenty-four teerthankaras, the founders of Jainism, and you will be unable to make out any difference between them; they are all alike. To make a distinction, Jains make small symbols on them to know who is who, because they are all alike. If those symbols were hidden, not even a Jain could make any demarcation. Whose statue is this? Mahavir’s? Parswanatha’s? Adinatha’s? And you will also be surprised to know that they are exactly like Buddha – no difference.

In the beginning, when the West became acquainted with Mahavir, they thought it was nothing but the same story of Buddha, because the statue is the same, the philosophy is the same, the understanding is the same, the teaching is the same – so it was just the same thing; it was nothing different from Buddha. They thought Mahavir was another name for Buddha. And of course both were called Buddhas – ‘Buddha’ means ‘the awakened one’ so Buddha was called Buddha and Mahavir was also called Buddha, so they thought that they were just the same person.

And the statues were a great proof: they look absolutely alike. They are not photographic, they don’t represent a person, they represent a certain state. You will have to understand it, then the thing will be explained.

In India, three words are very important: one is tantra, which we are talking about, another is mantra, and the third is yantra.

Tantra means techniques for expanding your consciousness. Mantra means finding your inner sound, your inner rhythm, your inner vibration. Once you have found your mantra, it is of tremendous help: just one utterance of the mantra and you are in a totally different world. That becomes the key, the passage, because once uttering that mantra, you fall into your natural vibe. And the third is yantra. These statues are yantras. Yantra means a certain figure which can create a certain state in you. A certain figure, if you look at it, is bound to create a certain state in you.

When you watch something, it is not only that the figure is outside – when you watch something, the figure creates a certain situation in you. Gurdjieff used to call this ‘objective art’. And you know it: listening to modern pop music, something happens in you – you become more excited sexually. There is nothing but sound outside, but the sound hits inside – creates something in you. Listening to classical music, you become less sexual, less excited. In fact, with great classical music you almost forget sex, you are in a tranquility, a silence, a totally different dimension of your being. You exist on another place.

Watching a Buddha statue is watching a yantra. The figure of the statue, the geometry of the statue, creates a figure inside you. And that inside figure creates a certain vibe. It was not just imagination that happened to you, those Buddha statues created a certain vibe in you.

Watch the state of Buddha sitting so silently, in a certain yoga posture. If you go on watching the statue, you will find something like that is happening within you too.

The outer is not the outer, and the inner is not just the inner; they are joined together. So beware of what you see, beware of what you listen to, beware of what you read, beware of where you go – because all that creates you.

Those Buddha statues you saw in the museum are the states of inner silence. When a person is absolutely silent, he will be in that state. When everything is still and quiet and calm inside – not a thought moves, not a small breeze blows; when everything has stopped, time has stopped – then you will also feel to sit like a Buddha. Something of the same geometry will happen to you. It is objective art – less concerned with the reality of Buddha, more concerned with those people who will be coming and will be seeking Buddhahood. The emphasis is different: what will happen to those who watch these statues, and will kneel down before these statues, and will meditate on these statues.

It was not imagination, it was objective art which you stumbled upon unknowingly.

The Tantra Vision, Vol 2, Chapter #6

Further reading: Objective Art...

More on this subject (if you have a fast connection): "Art Expressed Through Meditation" (a compilation of Osho’s words)