The Search for Beauty Is a Search for the Divine

As with other aspects of human life, the individual tends to fixate upon the outer form in an attempt to define beauty.  There are even proverbs that reinforce this idea such as “beauty is only skin deep”.  In reality, the true beauty manifests when it reveals something of the soul, something deeper, higher, more powerful than just the outer form.  In Savitri, Sri Aurobindo alludes to this deeper connection when he indicates:  “Matter shall reveal the Spirit’s face.”

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “…that which we are seeking through beauty is in the end that which we are seeking through religion, the Absolute, the Divine.  The search for beauty is only in its beginning a satisfaction in the beauty of form, the beauty which appeals to the physical senses and the vital impressions, impulsions, desires.  It is only in the middle a satisfaction in the beauty of the ideas seized, the emotions aroused, the perception of perfect process and harmonious combination.  Behind them the soul of beauty in us desires the contact, the revelation, the uplifting delight of an absolute beauty in all things which it feels to be present, but which neither the senses and instincts by themselves can give, though they may be its channels, — for it is suprasensuous, — nor the reason and intelligence,  though they too are a channel, — for it is suprarational, supra-intellectual, — but to which through all these veils the soul itself seeks to arrive.  When it can get the touch of this universal, absolute beauty, this soul of beauty, this sense of its revelation in any slightest or greatest thing, the beauty of a flower, a form, the beauty and power of a character, an action, an event, a human life, an idea, a stroke of the brush or the chisel or a scintillation of the mind, the colours of a sunset or the grandeur of the tempest, it is then that the sense of beauty in us is really, powerfully, entirely satisfied.  It is in truth seeking, as in religion, for the Divine, the All-Beautiful in man, in nature, in life, in thought, in art; for God is Beauty and Delight hidden in the variation of his masks and forms.  When, fulfilled in our growing sense and knowledge of beauty and delight in beauty and our power for beauty, we are able to identify ourselves in soul with this Absolute and Divine in all the forms and activities of the world and shape an image of our inner and our outer life in the highest image we can perceive and embody of the All-Beautiful, then the aesthetic being in us who was born for this end, has fulfilled himself and risen to his divine consummation.  To find highest beauty is to find God; to reveal, to embody, to create, as we say, highest beauty is to bring out of our souls the living image and power of God.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 14,  The Suprarational Beauty, pp. 144-145

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