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,
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)