Fragments from the book “Yoga Art” by Ajit Mookerjee
Yoga art offers the total perception: All is One
According to yoga, the perceptual power of insight transcends by penetrating and absorbing all forms into a profound and cohesive reality. In this way the yogi-artist begins the journey inward, releasing himself from blind servitude to ordinary sense-perception.
The elimination of all thoughts, feelings, and perceptions except of the immediate object of concentration is absolutely necessary to focus concentration. A particular symbol, form or colour may act as this focus. Once total unity of mind is achieved by the help of this object, and the subject becomes aware of this unity, it can serve as a take-off point for his understanding of the unity of his whole essence, and of the great Whole.
According to yoga, this state of awareness is universally understandable, communicable and accessible to all. It is not to be regarded merely as a piece of intellectual speculation. It is a living experience that imposes a denial neither of the senses nor of the normal experiences of life. It is not a way that must be followed in total solitude.
When sight turns inwards its focus is the vibration of forces which activate the object, rather than the outer configuration of the object itself. This transmutation of the visible, vivid and precise, is familiar to nuclear physicists. Known as sukmsadristi in Sanskrit – subtle vision – it generates its own sound and colour dynamics, and opens up a language of abstract form. The precondition for personal experience of such vision is a state of inner silence or equilibrium, a quietude or primordial calm.
forms and their energies
A form is not only a geometrical figure or a diagram, but a structure to induce and carry a particular pattern of thoughts and forces. To enter this form is to enter its ‘thought’. To enter this form is to register the impact of that force which form creates. It is a field of energy. To be able to read the language of form is to learn the secrets of the universe.
All matter is the fruit of constant states of vibration. The sound waves produced are beyond human hearing.
Such basic geometrical figures as the point, straight line, circle, triangle and square, have symbolic value in representing the basic energies of the universe. They can be combined in increasingly complex figures to represent particular forces or qualities embodied in some aspect of creation, evolution, dissolution.
The visual symbol or yantra is the power diagram by which the physics and metaphysics of the world are made to coincide with the psyche of the meditator.
colours and their symbolism
In dealing with colour we are dealing with the interpretation of vibration … for when light of varying wave-length is refracted from an object to strike the retina of the eye (or even the skin), it excites corresponding impulses which on reaching the brain, the seat of consciousness are there translated into colour perception. Each colour is therefore the vibration of life expressing itself at a certain frequency of energy through matter.
When colours begin to take on definite shape in inward perception, this is symptomatic of some dynamic formation in consciousness. A square, for instance, represents a degree of creation in process; this configuration determines that the creation is to be complete in itself, while a rectangle with unequal sides would indicate a partial or preliminary state of creation. … Colour-waves represent a dynamic rush of forces.
Yogic perception is centered between the eyebrows and at the axis of the forehead. When in the process of concentration this centre opens, the essence of the symbol discloses itself to the seer. Its opening coincides with yogic, as opposed to ordinary consciousness. This is characterized by a resplendent flashing light that the yogi sees at the centre of his own forehead.
Pin-points of light first appear involuntarily to the yogi as he concentrates. Then these grow and converge into a light-source ‘as big as the sun’. The yogi feels power radiating from him. If his eyes are open his visual field will centre on this same bright luminosity.
This experience is not to be confused with hallucination or illusion. It signals the opening of the ‘inner eye’ that perceives the vibration of forces acting through the object, rather than the object itself. Such perception is as vivid as actual sight, and is invariably precise. The deeper and more accurate the seer’s grasp of the Idea, the more dynamic and pure will be the forms by which he represents it.
art and yoga
The true artist, like the seer, is always conscious of his role as a vehicle for truth. The disciplines of science, metaphysics and philosophy must converge in the artist with a personal mysticism that penetrates the confused surfaces of experience to extract the principle of being. Perfection lies in the purity and inclusiveness of the resultant world-view.
Just as pure science pursues its investigations in microscopic and macroscopic regions beyond the reach of ordinary sense-perception, so the yoga system, too, annihilates the barriers of appearances.
The yogi-artist relies on the discoveries of science when he understands and integrates the abstraction that registers the magnetic impulse and chemical reaction as extreme reductions of matter. His philosophy emerges from his personal search and experimentation with reality within himself, and his accurate documentation of this search.
The tools he brings to bear on the subject are his symbols; for the yogi, art remains a revealed truth of intense personal meaning.
Art awakens our sense of the real, in the full meaning of that word. Its vocabulary is drawn from our world of sense-perception and functional exchange: the word, the musical sound, the line, colour and plastic substance. Yet to forge these separate elements into a significant language, the informing and unifying principle of art must come into being: by a radical simplification, and paring away of all inessential details, one may arrive at the root of artistic meaning.
The yogi-artist’s work culminates in a simultaneous diagram of himself and the world within which he is a world. The mind of the yogi thus becomes a bridge between the physics of the atom and the orbits of the planetary bodies. It is in this sense that his art literally yokes together (the Sanskrit word yoga, yuj, means ‘yoke’) in fine fusion the polarities of the subjective and objective, the microscopic and macrocosmic, the abstract and the physical; as it were, the male and female principles in this great dance of creation.
(published in 1975, NY)
(picture: fragment of the painting by Andrei Siderski)