In his poem” Ode on a Grecian Urn” John Keats states: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty’-that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”
The Prince in Dostoevsky’s “Idiot” claims that “Beauty will save the world.”
Are these just idealistic ramblings or is there indeed some truth in what they say?
The world suffers because of its alienation from what is truly beautiful. Yet the beauty of nature can bring us to tears because the soul knows for what it yearns, surrounded as it daily by those images and thoughts that stifle its natural inclination for what transcends a world built upon that which is antagonistic to such an inspirational awareness of what we truly love, in the midst of the cacophony of modern life.
The Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne Jones expressed this feeling when he wrote:
“The more materialistic science becomes, the more angels shall I paint. Their wings are my protest in favour of the immortality of the soul. “
How many of us have had our wings clipped by the mephitic emanations of the modern world and only in silence do we cry out for the beauty that our souls crave and the stability that only the Spirit can give us in the final analysis?
Do not our thoughts have an affect either positive or negative?
In an article “1888” HP Blavatsky writes:
“Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life, persons who can change the colour of a day and make it beautiful to those with whom they come in contact. We claim that there are adepts, masters in life who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live?”
Beauty kindles within us the sacred flame that burns on the altar of our innermost being. This is the fire that consumes all that stands in the way of the love that unites us as a true community of lovers of Truth and Beauty.
Plotinus, the Neo Platonist, in his wonderful essay “On Beauty” states:
“This is the spirit that Beauty must ever induce, wonderment and a delicious trouble, longing and love and a trembling that is all delight. For the unseen all this may be felt as for the seen; and this the Souls feel for it, every soul in some degree, but those the more deeply that are the more truly apt to this higher love—just as all take delight in the beauty of the body but all are not stung as sharply, and those only that feel the keener wound are known as Lovers.”
These Lovers, then, lovers of the beauty outside of sense, must be made to declare themselves. What do you feel in presence of the grace you discern in actions, in manners, in sound morality, in all the works and fruits of virtue, in the beauty of souls? When you see that you yourselves are beautiful within, what do you feel? What is this Dionysiac exultation that thrills through your being, this straining upwards of all your Soul, this longing to break away from the body and live sunken within the veritable self? These are no other than the emotions of Souls under the spell of love .”
It is the Theosophical definition of meditation as the ‘inexpressible yearning of the inner man to go out towards the infinite.”
How are we then to see nature with this heightened vision? PB Shelley writes:
“Hence in solitude, or that deserted state when we are surrounded by human beings and yet they sympathize not with us, we love the flowers, the grass, the waters, and the sky. In the motion of the very leaves of spring, in the blue air, there is then found a secret correspondence with our heart. There is eloquence in the tongueless wind, and a melody in the flowing brooks and the rustling of the reeds beside them, which by their inconceivable relation to something within the soul awaken the spirits to a dance of breathless rapture, and bring tears of mysterious tenderness to the eyes, like the enthusiasm of patriotic success, or the voice of one beloved singing to you alone. Sterne says that if he were in a desert he would love some cypress. So soon as this want or power is dead, man becomes a living sepulchre of himself, and what yet survives is the mere husk of what once he was. “
Therefore we must learn once again to truly love nature and to know that we can always go there to find our true solace and to be reminded as we walk upon the hallowed ground that we and all living things are truly ONE heart. This is what makes us Human in the true sense of the word.
To finish with another Great Soul , HP Blavatsky, the Voice of the Silence has these words:
“Help Nature and work on with her; and Nature will regard thee as one of her creators and make obeisance.
And she will open wide before thee the portals of her secret chambers, lay bare before thy gaze the treasures hidden in the very depths of her pure virgin bosom. Unsullied by the hand of matter she shows her treasures only to the eye of Spirit — the eye which never closes, the eye for which there is no veil in all her kingdoms. “