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Chapter4:ReflectionsOnSpecificArts

ReflectionsOnSpecificArts
Writing,literature,poetry
1

Writingcanremainawayofexpressingthenarrowestandbasestpartsoftheego,a
stimulanttoviolenceandcoarsenessandanimality.Or,inthehandsofamoreevolved
person,itcanbecomeasourceofuplifttoothersand,likeanyotherart,evenawayof
developmentforthewriter.
2

Whenwritingachievesimportancethroughstyleoreffectivenessofexpressionorbeauty
ofform,ithasattainedthelevelofliterature.
3

Ifthewriteristocometoinspiration,heshouldnotbeawareofanyaudience:theonly
readermustbehimself.Otherwisehedoesnotdohisbestwork,fortheselfconscious
egoisbehinditall,puffedupwithitsownimportance.
4

Thecreativewritermustgivehistopicaninwardturnedconcentrationasifhewere
listeningtoamentalvoicespeakingwithinhimself.Theconcentrationmustbeabsolute,
withoutdistractionitmustnotevenbesharedwithanybackgroundmusic.
5

Wisdomisallthebetterwhenitislikewisewitty.Raisealaughwhileyouliftaman.Mix
somehumourwithyourinkandyoushallwriteallthebetter.Soundsenselosesnothing
ofitssoundnesswhenitispouredintobright,goodhumouredphrases.Truthisoften
coldbloodedandabathinwarmsmilesmakesitthemoreattractive.
6

Thewritermaysetdownwhateverwordcomesintohismindtoexpresshisthoughtin
ordernottolosethethought,butlaterheshouldnothesitatetocomebackandexamine
whathehaswrittenandruthlesslytochangethosewordsortothrowthemoutaltogether
ifhismeaningisnotexpressedwithsufficientfineness.
7

Keeponwritingnomatterwhatitisputdownwhatevercomesintoyourheadinthis
wayyoudevelopfluency.Thecriticismandcrossingsoutofwhathasbeendonecan
followatalatertime.
8

Thenotionthattheeffectsofinspirationshouldnotbehandledbythelaboursofrevision
isawrongone.Thisisso,first,becausefewartistseverachieveatotalpurityof
inspirationhoweverecstatictheircreativeexperiencemaybeand,second,because
evenifachieveditisstilllimitedbythepersonalnatureofthechannelthroughwhichit
flows.Thewriterwhorefusestotouchmanuscriptsagainortocorrectproofsdisplays
vanityorignoranceorboth.
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Wewhoworkinliteratureorpoetrymustlearntoputimagesoftruthorbeautyintothe
mindsofreaders.Thesensitivepersonistoooftencowedbytheprevailingmaterialismin
thesocietyaroundhimandparticularlyinitswayoflifecowedtothepointoffallingin
withthiswayanddoingwhattheothersaredoing.Thisisweaknessandcowardliness,
thesurrendertoexternalsuggestion.
10

Itisthebusinessofaphilosophicwritertoputamoralvalueandmetaphysicalmeaning
intolifeforthosewhocanperceiveneitheronenortheotherinit.
11

Theauthorwhoputspenandpaperintofruitfulconjunctionisstatingamessagefor
others.Doesherecognizeinthedepthsofhisbeing,hissoul,hisconscience,thathehasa
certainmoralresponsibilitythere?
12

Ifeelthatitisawriter'sdutytowriteaboutthebest,thehighest,thetruestthingshe
knowsandthenonlytocommunicatethesethoughtstoothers.OnlywhenIcanseethem
quiteclearlyandamconvincedoftheircorrectness,oughtItostarttoturntoothers.
13

Wewhowritehavearesponsibilityforthethoughtformswecreateandletlooseinthe
world.
14

Weshouldrememberthatapieceofprosewhichupliftsthereaderandgratifiesthewriter
istheworkofhisbestmoments.Whatdoeshedowithhislesseronesforhemustbe
humbleenoughtoacceptthattheyarethere.IfheiswisehewillacceptthePythagorean
advicetoworkuponhimself.Hewilldomorethanwelltotransferactivityfrom
unresistantwhitepapertoobduratenegativetendencies.Thereshapingoftheselfisnot
pleasantandnoteasybutitisrewarding.
15

WhenthepresenceoftheRealissoineffable,itssecretsoincommunicable,howcanany
writernomatterhowdeftandexperiencedputacorrectpictureofitinabook?
16

Apieceofwritingwhichlacksliteraryformdoesnothavethepoweroverreadersofone
whichdoeshaveit.Twomenmayutterthesametruthbutonewillhavemanymore
hearersthantheother.Stylestillcounts.
17

Thebestserviceawritercanrenderistoseekandfinddivineinspirationandtrue
thinking,andthentooffertheresulttohisfellowmen.
18

Nomanwhohasseenhissoul'sgrandeurandfeltitssublimitycouldwriteinadull
drearyinartisticstyleaboutit.
19

Inthismatterofcommunicationhemustbecontemporary,producingworkofandforhis
owntime,currentandthereforeresultful,aliveandthereforeabletoreachthelivingmore
closelyandmorepersonallythanadeadpersoncouldreachthem.
20

Sentencesfreefromvolubleoverdecoration,almostasnudeastheyarenobleideas
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phrasedwithverbalthriftsothatmeaningiskeptclearandcommunicationisasexplicit
ascanbethisoughttobethemodernidea.Therearenotmanycountrieslefttoday
wheresuchopenspeechaboutreligionJewish,Christian,Islamic,orotherwisewillbe
punishedbyexecutionorpersecutionforheresy.
21

Playingwiththepowerofwordstogivenewforms,newexpressions,newimages,and
newmantramsforthespiritualrevivificationofman,thewriterofvisiontrulymakesthe
Wordbecomeflesh.Hisgiftsshouldbevaluedaccordinglyandreceivedgratefully.
22

Whenawriterfeelsthattheflowofthoughtrunssmoothly,heshouldnotinterruptthe
workbytakingtosomeothertasktemporarilyorletanyoneelseinterruptit,butshould
takeadvantageofthispeakperiod,asonemightcallit,forwhenhepicksitupagainthe
workmaynotrunsosmoothly,becausetheinnerpushisabsent.
23

Awritercannotworkproperlywhensurroundedbynoise,whencompelledtoworkat
conventionalhours,whensociety,neighbours,andwouldbefriendlypersonsintrude
uponhim.
24

Thenimbleuseofwordsisnotaloneasatisfactorysubstitutefortheaccurateuseoffacts.
25

Itishardforanauthortoeffacehimselffromhisproduction.Notonlyisthisso,buta
onepointedattentionisalsoneededinthereader.Hecandosoonlyifhepossessesthe
capacitytobesocompletelyconcentratedintheworkastoforgeteverythingelse.This
achieved,thepersonalegowillnaturallybeabsent.
26

Abuddingauthorusuallythinkshisworktobefarbetterthanitreallyis,whereasthe
mature,proficientoneishisownbestcriticalwaysreadytoamend,revise,cancel,and
changewhathehaswrittenearlier.
27

Oneshouldbewillingtoexaminecarefullywhathehassaidordoneorwrittenandhe
shoulddoitnottopraiseitbuttocorrectorimproveitimaginatively.
28

Thevalueofdocumentationinabook,whetherthroughfootnotesortext,isthatit
answerscriticsoropponentsholdingoppositeviews,inadvancewithfacts,andalsothat
ithelpstopreventthemaliciousfalsificationordistortionofhistory.
29

Heshouldknowthatnoman'sworkissogoodthatitcouldnotbebetter.Saveforthe
pleaoflackoftimeawriterisprudenttorevisesentencesandevenpolishphrases.As
soonasheassumesthemantleofvanityhisworksuffers.
30

WhenanauthorcaneffectcontactwithhisOverselfhiswritingbecomesaspiritual
activity.Itinspireshim,teacheshim,upliftshim.
31

Howoftenhewillhavetoerasewordsandalterphrasesandimprovesentences,ifhis
communicationistofitthethoughtwhichhisintuitionhasgivenhim!
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32

Inspirationismorevaluablethaninformation.Butthewriterwhocanimpartbothtohis
readersrendersthemthebestservice.
33

Donotallowstylizingtousurpthethroneoftruthdonotletmannerismgetoutofhand.
34

Thesamefactwhich,whenpresenteddrilyandlogically,leadstonoresultmay,when
presentedvividlyandimaginatively,leadtoastirringoftheemotions.This,inturn,may
leadthemantotakeaction.
35

Techniquedoescount.Sentenceswhichareslipshodinconstructionirritatethereader,
andphraseswhichareawkwardinformobscurethemeaning.
36

Ifhisthinkinguponthismatterislogicalandcoherent,andiftheexpressionofhis
thoughtsisgrammaticalandaccurate,thenthosewhoseektolearnfromhimwillhave
lessdifficultyinunderstandinghim.
37

Thewriterreduceslifetowords,thatis,tomeresymbols.
38

Writewhatcanbeusefultoothers,whatwillsimplifytheteachingforthem,andwhat
willleadthemtoseekthesourcewithintheirownbeings.
39

Evenifnobodywantstoreadhisbookstheauthorofconcentrated,welldone,orfinely
inspiredworkbenefitshimselfinternally.
40

Thepoetwholivesattimesfromthisprofounderselfwilllinkhiswordswithwordsas
othersdo,andhisrhythmswithrhythms,butthedifferenceoflevelwillappearintheir
effect.
41

Whenhewritesathisbest,whathewritesmaybeonahigherlevelthanhimself.
42

Ifawritercanputhistheme,case,statement,orargumentonlyinshrillhysterictones,
youmaybesureheisanillbalancedperson.
43

Complimentarylettersfromreadersmayfattenanauthor'segoifheisnotcareful.Itis
thereforegoodifthereisasufficientleavenofcriticism,orevenabusiveletters,from
thosewhodislikehisworkorwhodisagreeviolentlywithhisideas.
44

Theequilibriumofawrittenpiecemaybeupsetandthemeaningsomewhatfalsifiedby
puttingtoomuchstressoraccordingtoolittleweight.Aprudentbalanceisessentialin
expressinganyparticularidea.
45

Goetheonwriting:"Ihavethewholethinginmyheadandonlyneedthemoodtowrite.I
wrotedownlittleornothinguntilIhadworkedoutmostofitindetailinmyhead."
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46

Wemustwritefromwhatweknow,fromourownexperience,fromwhatweobserveas
factsaroundus,butwherewecannotdoeitherwemuststatethatatheoryisonlya
theory,howeverplausibleandgooditmaybeandhoweverworthourhoarding.
47

Therearedifferentwaysofmakingnotesandmarkingbooks.Therearealsodifferent
colourswhichappealtosomewritersandnottootherones.QueenVictoriascribbledher
thoughtsordecisions,suggestionsorcommentsonofficialreportssubmittedtoher:all
wereendorsedwithavioletcolouredpencil.AliceBaileywroteherArcaneTeaching
bookswithanordinaryblackleadpencil,neverwithpenandink:shegotinnercontact
eitherwithherhigherselforwithherguru'smindthatway,sheexplained.
48

AldousHuxleyhasoutgrownhismerelyrationalisticstageandbeguntoexpressmystical
ideas.Thisisamostgratifyingadvance.Buthehasfallenintothecommonerrorwhich
makesthequietistidealthesupremeideal.Hemaytrytorefutethisactivistoutlookas
beingmysticalheresy.Hemayevenwriteawholebook,suchasGreyEminence,toshow
themisfortunesbroughtonhiscountrybyaFrenchmysticleavinghismonasticretreatto
meddleinStateaffairs.ButHuxley'sefforthasbeenavainone.Itisjustaseasytowrite
anotherbookshowingthegoodfortunebroughttohercountrybyJoanofArc,alsoa
Frenchmystic,throughmeddlinginStateaffairs.Inthismatter,Iwouldratheraccept
Plato'steaching,thattrueknowledgecompelstoaction.AndPlato'sphilosophywas
surelyamysticalone.ButtherearetwofactswhichrefuteHuxley.First,thereisnosuch
thingasinaction.Nomaninhissenseswillspendeverydayeveryyearincontemplation
alone.Hehastogetupanddosomething,evenifitbeonlyeatinghisdinner.Alifeof
continuousmeditation,withoutanyinterruption,wouldbeimpossibleandundesirable,
impracticableandunbalanced.EverywhereinNatureweseestrivingandactivity.For
mantoattempttorefrainfromboth(asifhereallycould!)inthenameofanexaggerated
unbalancedandpervertedsurrendertoGodistomisunderstandGod'sthatis,Nature's
working.Second,therefusaltoactisitselfakindofactiontherealavailablechoiceis
onlybetweenonekindandanother,betweengoodactionandbadaction.Walkingabout
inthemonasticcellisasactiveadeedaswalkingaboutinthestatesman'schamber.But
whetherwetakeashortoralongviewofthematteritisamistaketoregardtheworldly
lifeasnecessarilymaterialisticandsordid.Menmaymakeitsoortheymayennobleit.
Theevilorthegoodisintheirthoughtofit,thatis,inthemselves.Thenotionthatthe
questoftheDivinemustnecessarilyleadtodenyingthesocialanddespisingthe
historicalbelongsonlytoanunripenedandimperfectmysticism.Thefactisthatno
mysticalexperienceandnometaphysicalideacancompleteourdutytowardslife.They
arenosubstituteforrightconduct.
49

IagreewithIsraelZangwill,whenheremarkedatapublicspeech,"Itisalwaysamistake
foraliterarymantoshowhimselfinthefleshthefleshisgenerallyalittledisappointing
anauthorshouldbeadisembodiedspirit!"
50

Manywritersgetintoanexcitedstateabouttheworktheyhappentobeengagedin,but
fewhavealsogottenintoastateofentrancement.Inthelattercase,theworksproduced
seemtohavehadconsiderableeffectuponthereadersandmadequiteanimpressionupon
theirfeelings.Threewritingscometomindimmediately:thefirst,WaltWhitman's
LeavesofGrassthesecond,JoelGoldsmith'sfirstandmostcelebratedwork[TheArtof
Meditation]andthethird,AllenGinsberg'sHowl.
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Wordsareclumsythingswithwhichtoexpresstheseetherealmoods:atelepathic
concentrationontheonesideandapassivemeditationontheotherwouldbebetter.But
failingsuchsilentinnercontact,whatelsecanweusebutwords,ormusic,orsomeother
artform?
52

T.S.Eliotistoooftenaneuroticwriterofthe"precious"school,begettingmuddled
mysticalnonsense.Hisreputationisoverratedpartlybecauseoftheportentousairhe
giveshimselfandpartlybecauseheissufficientlyincomprehensibletoputhimselfoutof
theherd.ButinTheCocktailParty,whereheleavesverseforplaywriting,herisestoa
trulysuperiorandtrulymysticallevel.
53

WhenWordsworthfirstsawthatbeautifulstructureTinternAbbey,hewasupliftedtoa
spiritualplane.HeputhisfeelingintoapoemwhichthosewhocouldnotvisittheAbbey
couldread.Aglimpsewhichinspiredoneartformwastransferredtoanother.
54

Therearethosewhoclaimthepoeticvaluetobeasimportantasanyotherwhomake
poetrysynonymouswithspiritualitywhorankitattheheadofallthearts."WhenIread
poetrythereisevokedinmeasenseofbeauty.Myfeelings,however,godeeper...I
approachGodthroughpoetry.Thisisthetrueexperienceofadeepsearchingperson."
TheselineswerewrittenbyRyoseninthefirstfewyearsofthiscentury.Hewasaleader
oftheyoungintellectualsinJapanbutdiedinhisthirties.Hebeganasadevout
religionist,becameascepticalrationalist,butinthelastfewyearsofhisshortlifemoved
overintomysticism.
Helaterexplainedtheabovequotation:"Thesphereoftruthandthesphereofpoetryare
fromtheoutsetdifferent....Totheextentthatwepenetratetotheinnermostpartof
humanlife,truthandpoetrydrawclose...nowinharmoniousunion."
55

Iconsiderpoetrytobeagrandformofhumanculturebutpoetstobe,quiteoften,victims
oftheirownconceit,emotionalism,hallucination,andwishfulthinking.Platoseverely
criticizedthem.MuhammedwroteharshlyintheHolyKoran:"Andastothepoets,those
whogoastrayfollowthemdoyounotseethattheywanderaboutbewilderedinevery
valley?Andtheysaythatwhichtheydonotdo."
56

PlatobanishedpoetsfromhisidealRepublicbutneverthelesshecrownedthemfirst.By
doingsoheacknowledgedpoetry'swelldeservedprestigebutalsoitsdanger.Forpoets
aremoretempted,becausemoreresponsivetofeelings,toexaggerateorsometimeseven
tofalsifyintheirattemptstoweaveanemotionalatmosphereandcreateaninfluential
effectuponthereaderbyusingmetaphorsandfiguresofspeech.Ofcoursethatwouldnot
meanadeliberatefalsificationbutratheracarelessnessabouttruth.Unfortunately,truth
wasPlato'sprimaryvalue.Takethefamousandbeautifulline:"Aroseredcity,halfas
oldastime."Notetheexaggerationconcerningtime.
57

Iamnotaloneinregardingthemysticaldeliverancesofpoetswithspecialcaution.Quite
unconsciously,andbecausetheyarecarriedawaybyemotion,theirsenseoftruth
becomesimpaired,theircapacityforjudgementimperilled.Moreover,poetryis
concernedwithpersonalfeelingsprosecanascendhigherandexpresstheimpersonal
andtheuniversal.Hencethepoetissooftenanegotistwhereasitiseasierfortheprose
writer,sofarashisworkgoes,tobeanaltruist.Newman,althoughhimselfaCatholic,
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criticizedFaber'swritingsinfavourofPapalInfallibilityasfollows:"Judiciouspeople
thinkthemcrudeandyoung,perhapsextravagant.Hewasapoet."
58

Poetryisakintomusicinthatitappealsmoretofeelings,andfeelingsintheendareso
importantthattheypushusintoactionsanddeeds.Butfeelingscanalsomisleadusand
endangerusthereforetheyneedtobebroughtintoequilibriumwithreasonandeven
morewithintuition.Henceapoemwhichcombineswisdomwithitsbeauty,thoughtwith
emotion,willserveitsauditorsbetterintheendthanonewhichdoesnot.
59

Anauthorisnotalwaystobejudgedbyhisbooks.Sometimesheismuchbetterthanhis
writingssometimestheyaremuchbetterthanhe.Thereasonisplain.Inspirationraises
thewritertoahigherlevelofbeinghisinspiredmomentsrepresentthepeaksofhis
character,butafterwardshemustfallbackintoeverydaynormalcy.
60

AnautobiographycanbeandmostofteniswhatGuide,theEnglishVictoriannovelist,
nowsoforgotten,calledadegradingformofvanitywhichherefusedtowritedespitethe
requestofpublishers.Butitcanalsobeaworkofutilitytothosewhoreadit,evenof
wisehelpfulinstructiontotheyoungerpeoplewhohavetofindtheirwaythroughthe
difficultiesofearlylifeandthedeceptionsoflaterlife.
61

Whenwillpeopleunderstandthattheycomeclosertoawriterbystudyinghisideas
ratherthanbymeetinghimintheflesh?Thoreauoncesaid:"Thebestofmeisinmy
booksIamnotworthseeingpersonally."
62

Allimperishablepoemshavethissamequalitytheyworshipbeautyofthehighestkind.
63

TheRazor'sEdge,bySomersetMaugham:ThegurudescribedinMaugham'snovelisa
compoundofRamanaMaharshiandothers,butthedescriptionsarefancifulandthe
eventsunreal.TheashramisgreatlyexaggeratedandtheyoungAmericanrisheehasnot
yetexistedonearth.Maughamisanewcomertothesethings,anyway,andcannotget
evenaquarterofaninchbelowappearances,whileoftensoakingincloudsofself
deception.Neverthelesshehascomeoutofagnosticismtothishigherstandpointitis
goodtoknowthathewrotethisnovelinsteadofconcentratingexclusivelyonsex,asin
hisotherstories.
64

ThemaligndestinywhichsnatchedtheyoungKeatsandShelleyfromphysicallife,
whichkeptthegiftedByroncaptiveofhisphysicalpassion,deprivedthemoftheir
chancetocometospiritualmaturity,andtheworldofagreaterdeeperpoetry.
65

OnceW.B.YeatswroteinadmirationofShankara'steaching.Butinmiddleagehe
marriedandlaterrevisedhisviewsandthenwrote:"Ah,howmanyyearsithastakenme
toawakefromoutofthatdream!"
66

Thepoetshouldbringustoadoreanupliftingbeauty,notplungeusinamadfrenzy.
67

ThesensualweaknessestowhichwriterslikeD.H.Lawrencedevotedsomuchoftheir
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literarytalent,insteadofbeingregardedasmorallyundesirable,cametoberegardedas
praiseworthyvirtues!Itwasforgottenthattheprudentmanwillcontainhisdesireswithin
reasonablelimits,ifidealsandnotcapricesaretorulehislife.ItistruethatLawrence
possessedideals,evenmysticalones,butlackedprudence.Inshort,hewasunbalanced.
68

WhatD.H.Lawrencewroteinoneofhisprivateletters"IfeelsometimesthatIshallgo
mad"isthekeytoboththemanandhiswork.Onepartofhisbeingwas,inhisown
words,"damnablyviolent"butanotherandashegrantedadeeperpartrespondedto
"thekindnessoftheCosmos."Hewasadisjointeddisconnectedman,aseerfilledoften
withbitterspleen.
69

LeslieA.Fiedler,summarizinganarticlein"CEACritic,"May1974,said,"Popular
Literaturesentimental,horror,pornographictitillatestheemotions,releasingthereader
fromrationalityandallowinghimamomentofecstasy.Todefineatruemajority
literature[i.e.,lowculturalP.B.]weshouldevaluateaworknotbyethicsoraesthetics,
butbytheecstasyitproduces."CommentbyP.B.:Ifaliteratureofrefinedculturaltaste,
matureintellectualstatements,andcivilizedcourtesyistoberejectedbecauseitadmires
selfcontrol,thenwesurelyshallmovebackwards.
70

Idonotunderstandmuchinmodernart,modernpoetry,andmodernliterature.WhenI
hearonallsides,fromprofessorsincollegesanduniversitiesmoreparticularly,thosein
AmericaninstitutionswhenIhearthemplacingJamesJoyce'swork(especiallyhis
Ulysses)amongthecreationsofgeniusandfulsomelypraisingit,Iamdumbfounded!I
feellikeMansfieldwhen,aftertryingtoreadthisbook,shewrote,"Thisisthefuture,and
I'mgladI'vegottuberculosis."Asweknow,shediedfromthisdreadfuldisease.Idonot
takesoblackaviewashersbecauseIbelievethefuturecontainspositiveaswellasthis
negativematerial.
71

Shelley'sdeathatanearlyagehasoftenbeenlamented.Yet,leavingasidetheelementsof
fateorkarma,wemayseehowthenegativequalityofimpatiencecontributedtowardsit.
Hehadboughtasmallsailingvesselduringhisresidence,ontheItaliancoast.Hewent
onajourneytopurchasesuppliesandtotendtoothermattersandthenwasaboutto
returntotheresidence,wherehiswifeandchildawaitedhim.Itwasonlyoneday's
sailingfromwherehewas,butanexpertseamanandalsothelighthousekeeperwarned
himthatastormwascomingandthathewoulddobettertopostponehistripuntilithad
passed.Hedidnotlistentothemowingtohiseagernesstoreturntohiswife,andhe
sailedaway.Withinaveryshorttime,quiteshort,thestormsuddenlyappeared.There
wereviolentupheavalsofthewater,andthelittleshipdisappearedbeneaththewaves.
Thisishowhewasdrowned.ShelleywaslostwithitatleastthelivingShelleyforhis
bodywasrecoveredlater,andhumanitywasdeprivedoftheproductsofhisbrightgenius
atastillmorematureage.
72

ThemodernversemovementintheEnglishlanguagecameintobeinglargelythroughthe
pioneeringeffortsofT.S.EliotandEzraPound.OfthefirstmanIhavelittletosay:he
wasagoodman,atalentedman,aspirituallysensitiveman,butinthisefforthewas
misguided,andwouldhavedonebetterfortheworldifhehadnevergottenassociated
withPound,whowasabadinfluenceonhim.
73

Itispardonableforpeopletoexpectawritertoincarnatehisownwords.Thiswould
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seemnecessaryifheisnottobeahypocrite.Buttheyforgetthathisbestwritingcomes
outofhisbestmoments,thatsuchtimescomeonlyatintervals,thatsuchlevelsare
inspired,hencebeyondorabovehisordinaryones,andthatlikealltrueartistsheisused
topaintidealsforthebenefitofhimselfaswellasotherpeople.Theidealhasits
legitimateplaceeventhoughthereisatimegapbetweenitandtheactuality.Weneednot
beharshlyovercriticalofthewriterwhoportraysitbutisunabletolivebyitshigher
standardtoday.Ifheissincere,hewillarriveatitanotherday.Ifheisnot,hestillrenders
ausefulservicedespitehimself.
74

Thosewhoseliteraryactionscomenotoutofgoodwillbutoutofhatehurtthemselvesas
wellasothers.
75

ItmaybeaskedwhyPlatobannedthepoetsfromhisidealRepublic.Isitnot,perhaps,
becausepoetryseekstomovethefeelingsofitshearersorreadersandthatfeeling
inducedfromoutside,asbypoetry,canbecarriedtoanextremepointandsweepaman
offhisfeet,asthesayingis,sothatheactsonimpulseorfromungovernedemotionand
passion?
76

Therearepiecesofprosewhicharealmostpurepoetry,andtherearelinesofversewhich
arealmostpureprose.
77

Themostintelligentofwritersaresometimestheleastintelligentofphilosophers.
78

Nietzsche'sdistortedsemimysticismsetupbeforeeducatedpeopletheidealofabarbaric
Superman,andOswaldSpengler'sdistortedintellectualismledthemtodrawthefalse
lessonfromhistorythatmanisalwaysabeastofprey.
79

NietzschewasalunaticwhorejectedJesusbutacceptedSocrates,anasceticwho
denouncedhedonism,andafirebrandadmiredbytheNazis.
80

Thereisthisweaknessinthepoetwhoisonlyapoetandnothingmorethatheislikely
toacceptalmostanythingastruth,provideditbebeautiful.
81

Whoeverwritesforpublicationisinapositionofpublictrust.
82

Thesculptedwood,castmetal,orcarvenstoneimagespeaksinstantlytoall,butthe
writtenwordonlytothosewhoknowthelanguageused.
83

Thereisadifferencebetweenthosewhoreportintheirwritingsandthosewhocreate.
Thefirstarecarriedawaybythemoment'shappenings,thesecondlookdeeperandfind
weightierthings.
84

Thepoet'slanguageisnecessarilyrichinmetaphorandsimilebecausehehimselfisrich
inimagination.
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NobodycouldlooklesslikeamysticthanWalterRussell,yethislongpoemTheDivine
Iliadisakindofworkweassociatewithhirsute,eccentricdreamers.
86

Whenanyonereadsabook,hecomesintomentalcontactwithanauthorthatistosay,
withacreaturewhoisapartofahumanbeing.Butwhenonemeetshiminpersonhe
meetstheotherpart.Hewillseethedifference.
87

Inbiographyandautobiographyhewillgetsomethingofthethrillofreadingfictionyet
possessthesatisfactionofdiscoveringtruth.
88

Tonelessversesfallsomewhatflatintheear.Meaninglessonesoffernonourishmentto
themind.
89

Shakespearehasbeenjustlypraisedandadmiredforhisextraordinarydramaticgenius
andforitsunusualbreadthofsubject."Unique!"weexclaim.Andonthefewoccasions
whenheallowedalittlephilosophytocreepinandinterruptthestorywebegintowonder
whetherFrancisBacondidwritetheplays.
HowdidthesamemancometocreatesobrilliantaplayasTheMerchantofVeniceand
thenstuffitwithsuchnarrow,rabid,andunkindlyprejudice?Howcouldhefallintothe
commonsuperstitionwhich,foroverathousandyears,ledtowidespreadintoleranceand
persecution?
90

ThekeytoHenryMiller'srealcharacterisplainfromhisownconfession:"...thelifeof
thestreets,ofwhichInevertire.IamacitymanIhatenature,justasIhatetheclassics."
Thereisrevealedallthecommonnessandvulgarityofhischaracter,thecoarsenessof
taste,thelackoftrueculture.
91

NormanMailerhasenormouscreativepowersheisunquestionablyagenius:butthis
doesnotstophimfrombeingsomewhatmad.
92

Wilde'shighlycolouredparadoxlovingalliterativestyledegeneratedfrombeingameans
intobecominganend.Truthwassacrificedtostyle.
93

"ElbertHubbardhadhismomentsbeforebigbusinessgothim,"isStuartChase'scritical
appraisalofthisgreatAmericangenius.Whethersoornot,thewisdomexpressedinhis
writingsandtheoriginalityexhibitedinhisprintingswereinspired,aswemight
anticipate,byalivingfaithintheesotericphilosophy.
94

OfthefivemostfamousRussianwritersofthenineteenthcentury,Tolstoywasthemost
powerfulwriterofthemall.Hewasalsothemostspiritualandmostinfluential.Butin
himselfhewasanillbalancedman.Dostoevski,whoisusuallypraisedasbeingthemost
spiritual,wasthemostreligiousbuthewasanemotionalpsychopathinlovewiththe
ideaofsuffering.Heneededstraighteningout.Turgenevwascompetentandtalentedbut
quiteworldly.MaximGorki,althoughbutamaterialist,wasfairlysensibleandan
excellentwriter.ItwouldnotbefairtocompareChekhovwiththeothers,because,
althoughhisworkwasalwaysgood,hewroteplays,whichtheothersdidnot.
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95

WhenwefindthatleadersinEnglishliteraturelikeSomersetMaughamandAldous
Huxley,whoreceivedsupremehomagefromthemostcultivatedandsophisticated
audienceoutsideFrance,bravelyturnedfromscepticismtomysticismdespitethe
howlingofdisappointedfollowers,wefindaphenomenonworthlookinginto.
96

Poetryprovidesimagesforthemindtodwellupon.Ifitisinspired,thoseimagesbring
mantoahigherplane.
97

Toomuchofmodernliteraturehastoolittleofgreatness,letalonenobilityorgoodness.
Whereitisnotmorbidlypathologicalitisaggressivelyscatologicalwhereitisnot
criminallyviolentitisabsurdlytrivial.
98

Aprintedpagehasserveduswellifitenablesustomeetafinercharacter,ariper
intelligence,andadeeperknowledgethanourown.
99

Tolstoy,intheearlierperiodofhislife,createdsomeartisticpieceswhichgavehim
Europewidefame.Butinthelaterperiodofhislife,whenagloomysaturnineasceticism
heldhismind,hepreachedmoralizingsermonsinsteadandpuritanicallydenouncedart.
100

Itmakesallthedifferencepossibleifamanplowsthroughtwentybooksinordertoput
outthetwentyfirstonthesubject,orifhewritesitoutofdirectfirsthandknowledge.
101

Theinterestinphysicaladventurestoriesisasignofadolescenceand,whentheyinvolve
crime,ofundisciplinedadolescence.
102

TheworkofEmerson'spenisexcitinglyinspiredandserenelybeautiful.
103

NoboatfromAmericabroughttheotherfourcontinentsmoreinspiredwritingsthanthat
ArgosyanvesselwhichlefthershoreswiththefirstpublishedworkofR.W.Emerson.
Therearesomeofhisphraseswhichholdthememoryasinavice!AndEmerson'sskyis
alwaysblue.However,IwasnotalwaysinthisperfectconcordwiththeConcord
philosophy.WhenIfirstcametoEmerson'spages,asagreenandguilelessyouth,Ifound
theepigrammaticnutsofhiswisdomtoohardfortheteethofmyunderstanding.SoIput
himasideforafewyears,andthen,withstrongermolars,successfullyrenewedthe
attack.
104

Agoodbookwhichrevivesinspirationorinvigoratesreasonisasblessedtowriteasto
read.Itscostisnoadequatereturnanditsauthorcanneverbeadequatelythanked.
105

DespitethevolumeandvarietyofBertrandRussell'scommentsandconsiderationsupon
life,Ihavecomeacrossnointerestintheappreciationorcultivationofbeauty.Doesthis
nothelptoexplainhismysticaldeficiency?
106

OnthistopicofwritingIwouldliketoquotefromanexperiencedwriterhimselfaman
whowroteoveronehundredbooks,thoughIdoubtwhethertheyareatallreadtoday.I
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methimonlyonce.HewasastaunchCatholic,highlydogmatic,butverydevotedtothe
valuesofcontemplationeventhoughhewastoobusyamantopractisethemmuch.He
wasviolentlycriticalofmostthingsandmostleadersinsocietysomuchsothathe
abandonedhismembershipintheBritishParliamentindisgust.HisnamewasHilaire
Bellocandhewroteaboutwriting:"Theworstenemyofprosetodayisthesnobbishness
ofrulesandforms...themumbojumboofhieraticprescription."
107

Theyoungwriterhasonegreatdefectandonegreatlack.Thedefectisthatheis
irresponsiblethelackisthatheisinexperienced.Themature,perhapsmiddleaged,
writerismuchmorecautious,muchmorecarefulofthewordsheuses.
108

Itisagreatandwidespreaderrortoidentifythebestmodernpoetrywiththedisciplesof
EzraPound,asthenaveMr.T.S.Eliot,himselfoneofthem,did.Perhapsweowethisbit
ofliteraryfoolishnesstotheAmericanprofessorsofEnglishLiterature,notnecessarily
becausePoundwasalsoAmericanbutbecausetheyweretoonavelyledastraybythe
editorsandeditressesofpoetry's"littlejournals."
109

Ifbothbeautyandmelodyareremovedfromapoem,whatisleft?Callitwhatyouwish
butdonotinsultreadersbycallingitpoetry.
110

Thewriterwhocontinuescivilizedculturaltraditionsmayalsobeacreatorofculture
itself.
111

Donotseektomeettheauthorofamysticnobleorwisebook,foryoumaysuffer
disappointment.Youexpecttofindhimsuperiortohisbookbutthenheisrevealedas
inferiortoit.(Notalways.)
112

Abookwhichevokestheintuitiveinyou,howeverbrieflyorspasmodically,orwhich
awakensyoutonewerrecognitionordeeperperceptionsisitselfagurutothatextent.
113

WhatIappreciateaboutCardinalNewman'spersonalityandwritingisexactlywhat
repelsothers.Iappreciatehisaristocraticattitude,hisrefinedspeech,hisdignityand
quality.
114

IwouldliketogivemyselfthepleasureofquotinghereawriterwhosepersonalityI
esteemedwhenhewasaliveandwhosebooksIadmireA.E.,theIrishpoet.
115

SeventyyearsagothatversatileIrishmanwhousedthepennameA.E.publishedhis
collectedpoems.Hewasagiftedpainteraswellaspoet,economistaswellasaprose
essayist,clairvoyant,seer,and,whenImethim,moreofasage.Lookingthroughhis
verses,Iselectafewlineswhichimpressme:
1.Thepowerisourstomakeormar
Ourfatehasontheearliestmorn,
TheDARKNESSandtheRADIANCEare
Creatureswithinthespiritborn.
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2.TheWisdomthatwithinusgrows
Isabsolutionforoursins.
3.Hedoesnotlovethebendedknees,
ThesoulmadewormlikeinHISsight,
Withinwhoseheavenarehierarchies
Andsolarkingsandlordsoflight.
4.Hefeltaninnersecretjoy
Aspiritofunfetteredwill
Throughlightanddarknessmovingstill
WithintheALLtofinditsown,
Tobeimmortalandalone.
5.DarkchurcheswheretheblindMisleadtheblind.
6.Untothedeepthedeepheartgoes,
Itseeksadeepersilencestill
Itfoldsitselfaroundwithpeace,
Withfoldsalikeofgoodorill
Inquietnessunfosteredcease.

116

D.H.Lawrencetoldafriendwhowasatthedyingnovelist'sbedsidethathecouldfeel
himselfwithdrawingfromthephysicalbodyyetatthesametimelookingatthescene
fromoutsideasifhewerefloatingaway.
117

RalphWaldoEmerson'sintellectualwayoflifeisagreatstandbyformany.Onecould
notwishforafinerexample.
118

Somespiritualbooksarewritteninadull,almostdeadmanner.Thewritersseemto
believethatbecauseperchancetheyarewritingofanancientwisdom,theymustbedull
andmournful,withnomorejoyintheirworkthanthereisintherumbleofahearse.
119

Thosewhocanonlylearnbytrialanderrorwillcontinuetodoso.Theresultsare
importantonlytothemselves,andtoafewothersintheirorbits.Butwhenthetrialis
madebywritersandtheerrorispassedontonumerousreaders,thesituationwhich
developsbecomesofwiderimportance.
120

EarlyinthenineteenthcenturyayoungwriterunexpectedlybrokeinuponBritish
attention,electrifyingpeoplewithhisthoughtandphrasealike.ThatmanwasCarlyle.
Outofhishermitlikemeditationsuponhisepoch,heemergedtopealforthinthunderous
tonestheplaintofatruthseekerinanageofsocialshams.
121

FrancisBaconmakesanewsentenceholdanewidea.Herequiresanaudienceofbusy
thinkers,ratherthanmerereaders.IreferofcoursetohisEssays.
122

SomeyearsagoaCzechwriter,KarelCapek,publishedanovelcalledTheAbsoluteat
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Largeinwhichhepicturesaninventorwhosucceedsinutilizingtheenergyoftheatom,
notformilitarypurposesbutonlyforpeacetimeindustrialpurposes.Inthesamebook,he
imaginestheeffectofthisdiscoveryuponreligionandmetaphysics.Supportingthe
doctrineofpantheismandaffirmingthatdivinityispresentinallmatter,hepicturesa
divinebyproductissuingfromeachatomicturbine.Theconsequenceisthatallthe
peopleintheneighbourhoodoftheturbinebecomespirituallyminded!Theybeginto
renouncetheworld,totalkinspirationally,toperformmiracles,andtoengageinrevivals.
Theideaisacleverone,butisitatrueone?Howcanspiritualitybeturnedonbya
mechanicalinstrumentandletlooseuponthepeople?ThebasicfallacyinCapek'snotion
isthatdivinityiscontainedwithintheatom.Onthecontrary,philosophysaysthatthe
atomitselfisindivinity,whichrequiresnomachinetoreleaseit.Itiseverywhereand
alwayspresentandifitistobereleasedandcommunicated,thatcanonlybedone
throughahumaninstrument,notthroughanarrangementofsteelandsprings.
123

InSanskritformulationsandanalysesontheartofpoetry,itsplaceandpurpose,itsstyles
andtechniques,theimportantthingisforitsmessagetobeimplicitratherthanexplicit,to
givehintsandcluesratherthanrevelations,tousesuggestiveimageryratherthanto
deliverplainstatementsbut,aswithourownWesternwork,tousemyth,metaphor,and
symboltoarousefeelingandreleaseemotion.
124

Poetrywhichgivesnobeautytomanorwhichraiseshimtononobilityhasfailedevento
becomeitself,thatis,poetical.Butwhenitismeredisjointedgibberish,spluttering
nonsense,thenitisharmfultotheorderlysanityofthosewhoadoreit.
125

Whatwitcheryisthiswhichenablesamantotakesomewordsandconnectthemwith
otherwords,sothattheresultaffectsotherpeople'sfeelingsandminds?
126

Agenuineaestheticfeelingshrinksfromthecrudefilthandthevulgarfourletterwords
ofsomeofthese"in"youngwriters.Theyelevatethelowestasifitweretobeadmired.
127

Thewriterwhoknowsnomoreoftruththanwhatsomeguruthatis,whatsomeoneelse
hastoldhimoughtfranklytosaysotohisreaders.
128

TheneuroticscreamingofaD.H.Lawrenceisseenforwhatitis:anadolescent's
passionalexciteddiscoveryofsexandhis(Lawrence's)inabilitytogetoverit,his
incapacitytogrowupintoanadultresponsibleandbalancedviewofit.
129

InhisbookBetweenHeavenandEarth,thelateFranzWerfelwrote:"Thestupidestofall
inventionsofnihilisticthinkingisthesocalledimpersonalGod.Confrontedwiththis
nonpersonalGod,oneistemptedtoblessthepersonalnonGodofthehonestatheistfor
theconceptofaspiritlessandsenselessworldcreatedbynothingandbynoone,and
existingnevertheless,isforallitsghastliness,moreacceptablethantheidioticnotionofa
kindofextramundaneandautonomouspowerstationthatcreatesandfeedsallthings
withouteveratallhavingbeeninventedoroperatedbyacreativeMind.Theimpersonal
Godisthemostwretchedreflectionoftechnologizedandthoughtwearybrains,the
modernoldfolks'homeofsenilepantheism."
Thesesentencesbetraysuchamisunderstandingofoneofphilosophy'sbasic
metaphysicaltenetsthattheycallforareply.Weofferthemostunstintedpraiseof
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Werfel'sgeniusasanovelistandweconsiderhisbookTheSongofBernadetteoneofthe
finestpermanentcontributionstomodernreligiomysticalbiography.ButWerfelgotout
ofhisdepthwhenheattemptedtocriticizethis,theultimateconceptofallpossible
humanconceptsaboutGod.Forhebroughttohisthinking,albeitquiteunconsciously,all
thelimitationsofhisotherwisegiftedpersonality.Wemustrememberthathewas
primarilyamanofimagination,anartisttowhom"forms"and"entities"areanecessity
intheworkingofhismind.ConsequentlytheideaofVoid,whichisSpiritinallits
uttermostpurity,remainedimpenetrabletohim.Tothephilosopher,theprivationofall
thingsandeventhoughtsrepresentstheonlyabsoluteemancipationfromthelimitssetby
mattertimespaceandego.Thereforeitrepresentstheonlypowerwhichisreallyinfinite
andalmighty.Thatis,itrepresentstheonlytrueGod.Werfelunconsciouslylookedfora
mentalpictureinhissearchforGodbecauseonlysuchapicture,togetherwiththe
ecstaticdevotionitarouses,couldgivehim,asanartist,theassuranceofarealpresence.
WerfelnotonlywasincapableofacceptingtheconceptoftheVoidbuthealsodidnot
wanttoacceptit.Thiswasbecausehewas,likesomanyartists,anemotionalist.Witness
inproofofthisassertionthethreeintellectuallyweakreasonshegiveswhyaJewshould
neverbecomeaformalconverttoChristianity.Whenanalysed,thesereasonsturnoutto
benothingmorethanmerehistoricaltraditionworship,passionatesentimentality.

Inspiredrevelatorywriting
130

Therearegreatbooks,callthemscriptures,classics,orcommentaries,whicharevehicles
notonlyofinstructionbutalsoofinspirationandenlightenment.
131

Ordinarywritingisaprocessofthecommonintellect,whereasrevelatorywritingisa
productoftheinspiredintellect.Inthefirststatetheintellectworksbyitsownpowerand
momentum,whereasintheseconditworksunderthepossessionofthehigherpowerand
byahigheractivity.
132

Thereisastylewhichisformedartificiallyandselfconsciouslybynimble,intellectual
rhetoric.Thereisastylewhichformsitselfunconsciouslyoutofnaturalloftinessof
character.Trulyinspiredwritingandspeakingcomefromthelatterclass.
133

Theauthorwhowillinglyandhumblygiveshimselfuptosuchaninwardlyguidedmode
ofwritinglearnsnewtruthsfromitsresults,justashisreadersdo.
134

Apieceofwritingwhichexpressestheilluminationofthewriterhasthepossibilityof
initiatingthereader.Itisanechoorareflectedimage.
135

Ininspiredwritingyoumeetanindividualworthmeetingyouaretakendirectlyintoa
mindworthknowing.Youpartakeofcommunionwithabeingsuperiortoyourself.
136

Whentheinspiredsentenceisread,thesensitivemindcomprehendsthatitisnolonger
merelyreadingwords.ItisalsoreceivingthegraceofthePresence.
137
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Theeffectofinspiredwritingistoarousespiritualaspirationorprovidespiritual
guidance.Thisisitshighestfunction.
138

Whatreadersgetfromaninspiredbookdependsontheirowncapacity.Itcan
communicatethetruthorbeauty,thesublimityorgoodnessfoundintheinspirationonly
totheextentthatthereadercanfeelsomethingofsuchathinghimself.Thebetteritis
written,themoreeffectiveisthecommunication.
139

Aspirituallyinspiredbookmustnotbereadtoolightlyortooquickly.Thereadershould
trytopenetratedeeplyintotheideasoneachpage...sodeeplythathecomesoutonthe
otherside.
140

Whenwritingofwritersandtheirproductions,ThomasdeQuinceysetforwardan
interestingtheory.Hedividedbooksintotwokinds.Thefirstbelongedtowhathecalled
the"LiteratureofKnowledge,"andtheywereintendedtogiveinstructionortopresent
information.Butsuchbookswould,fromtimetotime,becomeobsoleteandhavetobe
broughtuptodate,orneedrevisionforsomeotherreason,orrearrangement.But,
anyway,theydonotgenerallyhavepermanency.Thesecondkind,whichhecalled"The
LiteratureofPower,"didhavepermanencybecauseitmoved:ithadthepowertomove
theheart,thefeelingsofpeople.Andbeingwhatitwas,writtenfromtheauthor'sliving
experienceorwhathehadhimselfseen,gavethewritingapowerwhichinstructedworks
ofinformationdonotpossess.Inotherwords,theLiteratureofPowersurvives,whereas
theLiteratureofKnowledgegetssuperseded.
141

TruthsitspercheduponthepenofonewhohassurrenderedhishandtotheOverself.
HencehiswordsendureandaretobefoundamongtherecordsthatTimekeepsinits
treasury,whereasthewordsofegotisticandephemeralwritersareoftenthrownoffinto
oblivionassoonastheyarewritten.
142

Theliterarylegacyofthemodernworldisnothingshortofamazing.Althoughthe
wisdomoftheAlexandrianLibrarywasburntdownwithit,Iwarrantwehavetodaya
fullerandmoreroundedrecordofhumanknowledgethantheancientseverthought
likely.Yetwithalthegreatsecreteludesus.
143

Thereisapowerininspiredwritingsandauthoritativerevelationsnotonlytoworkupon
themindsandheartsoftheirreaders,likemanyotherbooks,butalsotoworkupontheir
intuitivenatures.Thisisafarmorevaluableservicethanprovidinginformationor
stimulatingemotion.Theystartaprocessoffruitfulthoughtorgiveglimpsesofhitherto
unperceivedtruthorformulateclearlyanddecisivelywhathasbeenhalffeltandvaguely
known.
144

Thewriterfollowsaprofessionwhichisglamorousbuthollow:heismerelya
manipulatorofwords.Butitishollowonlyifhiswordscomeoutofnofacts,iftheyare
nothingbutbabble.Itisonlywhenhisexperienceoflivingisrich,wide,andvertically
crosssectioned,orwhenhismindtouchesdeepsourcesbyitspowerofconcentration,
thathiswordsareloadedwithcontentandhisreadersareenrichedwithinspiration.
145

Itisforthereadersuccessfullytorecreateinhimselfthemoodwhichinspiredthewriter.
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146

Youmustlookformeaningnotonlyinthewordsbutalsoinbetweenthelettersofthe
words,forsucharethewaysofthemysticsandalsoofthewritersofparadox.
147

Thewriterwhoengagesthereader'smindandinvitesittothinkrendersanintellectual
service.Butthewriterwhoincitesittointuitrendersaspiritualone.
148

TherearephrasesintheNewTestamentwhichmustimpressthemindofeverysensitive
person.Thesephrasesembodytruthsbuttheyembodytheminlanguagewhichcarries
addedauthorityderivedfromthestyle.IrefertotheKingJamesversion,thetranslation
intoEnglishmadeintheseventeenthcenturyandtodayreplacedbyseveralmodern
versionsinplaineverydaytwentiethcenturyEnglish.Itistruethatinthemodernones
theordinarypersongetsaclearernotionofthemeaningand,therefore,forhimthe
moderntranslationisundoubtedlymoreuseful.ButIwroteofthesensitiveperson.For
himnotonlyisthemeaningclearenoughintheoldversion,butthestyle,withitsbeauty
andauthority,makesthestatementsevenweightier.
149

Thewaytouseaphilosophicbookisnottoexpecttounderstandallofitatthefirsttrial,
andconsequentlynottogetdisheartenedwhenfailuretounderstandisfrequent.Using
thiscautionaryapproach,heshouldcarefullynoteeachphraseorparagraphthatbringsan
intuitiveresponseinhisheart'sdeepfeeling(nottobeconfusedwithanintellectual
acquiescenceinthehead'slogicalworking).Assoonas,andeverytime,thishappens,he
shouldstophisreading,putthebookmomentarilyaside,andsurrenderhimselftothe
activatingwordsalone.Letthemworkuponhimintheirownway.Heismerelytobe
quietandbereceptive.Foritisoutofsucharesponsethathemayeventuallyfindthata
dooropenstohisinnerbeingandalightshineswheretherewasnonebefore.Whenhe
passesthroughthatdoorwayandstepsintothatlight,therestofthebookwillbeeasyto
understand.
150

Awriterwhogivesouthighidealsoughttobethefirstmantofollowthemhimself.
151

Ithasbeensaidthatitissomewhatdisillusioningtomaketheacquaintanceofwritersin
personandthatitisbettertobesatisfiedwithenjoyingtheirwork.Thisislesstrueofthe
generalcategoryofauthorsthanitisofthosewhowriteuponreligious,mystical,and
philosophicalsubjects.Readersformpreconceptionsofwhattheauthorsofsuchbooks
mustbelikepersonallyandphysically,butsuchpicturesarebasedupontheirbias,their
prejudice,thelimitsoftheirreadingandexperienceespeciallysocialexperience.Sothey
receiveasurprise,sometimesevenashock,whentheyfindthattherealitydoesnot
coincidewiththepreconception.
152

Thespiritualauthorwhoconformstohisownteachings,whoisascarefulofhisethics,
motives,actions,andthoughtsasheisofhisstyle,isararecreature.Thereisnotless
posingtoapublicaudienceintheworldofreligiomysticismthanthereisintheworldof
politics.Thecompletelysinceremaywritedowntheirexperiencesortheirideasforthe
benefitofothers,buttheyaremorelikelytodosoforposterityratherthanfortheirown
era.Theirmostinspiredworkispublishedaftertheirdeath,notbeforeit.Thehalfsincere
andthecompletelyinsincerefeeltheneedofplayingouttheirrolesduringlife,forthe
ego'svanity,ambition,oracquisitivenessmustbegratified.Thehalfsincereseldom
suspecttheirownmotivestheinsincereknowtheirowntoowell.
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153

Mostmodernwriterswhodealwithsomeaspectofmysticism,spirituality,andthehigher
consciousnessgenerallyhavedonelittlemorethanprobealongthemargins.Thisistrue
nomatterhowfluentlyorauthoritativelyormysteriouslyorloftilytheywrite.Itiseasier
andcommonertoenterthestillnessandspeakfromitspleasanttranscendencethanto
penetratetoitsinconceivablecoreandachieveinsight.
154

HewhocanputGod'sGreatSilenceintowordsrendersahighservicetohisfellows.He
isnotonlyarevealerwhoopensdoorsintheirmindsheisalsoahealerwhorelieveshurt
placesintheirhearts.
155

ThecorrectkeytothemeaningofOmarKhayyam'sRubaiyatisneithertheliteralnorthe
mysticalone,butacombinationofboth.ThePersiancharacterandoutlookaresuchthat
theycaneasilyholdthescepticalanalyst,thepiousdevotee,thecarelesssensualist,and
thetheosophicalfakirunderasinglehat.Consequentlysomeoftheversesofthe
Rubaiyataretobetakenastheystand,butothersmustbesearchedforaninnermeaning.
AndthismeaningisopenlyhintedatbyaPersianSufiteacher,SheikhIbrahim,ina
quatrainwherewearetoldtoweepinyearningforthedivinesoulandtogiveitour
heart'slove:
Therealwineisthebloodofourhearts,
Donotsearchforitinthebottle.
Thetruepearlsarethetearsofoureyes,
Donotlookforthemintheocean.

156

Aworkwhichbringstruefaithandreasonablehopetoheartsnotonlybereftofbothbut
steepedindespair,hassomeusefulness.
157

Aman'sspiritualaspirationsmayremainasleepuntilhecomesintocontactwithan
advancedmysticoraninspiredbook.Bymarkingoutthepathwhichhisfeetwillhaveto
treadaswellasbyshowingitsdeviationsandpitfalls,themanorthebookmayhelphim
totreadaright.
158

Someofthoseancienttextswerewrittenonsohighalevelofinspirationthatone
approachestheminaweandreverence.ItisasiftheWordwasmadescript,the
intangiblegivenformtobreakthroughthelimitationswhichshutmanupintight
ignorance.TheunnameableGodheadhasusedafewhumanstotellhumanitythatitIS
andthattheyarenotalone.
159

Amerehandfulofwordsmaycontainthewisdomofalifetime.Asinglepagemayteach
amanmuchabouthimself.Nooneeventhemysticneeddespisebooks,buttheyneed
tobekeptintheirproperplace.Readingcannotsupplantmeditation.
160

Toreadinspiredbooksistoliveforatimewithinspiredminds.
161

Youmaytestapiece,abook,orapassageforinspirationbywhetherornotityieldsthe
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feelingthatalivingpersonisspeakingbehinditswords.
162

Theideamaypreviouslyhavecomeintuitivelytothem,buttooweaklytohavedirectly
influencedthem.Yetwhentheyreaditformulatedeffectivelyinwordsandputintoprint
bysomeonewhoisexpertinbothwritingandthesubjectitself,thelikelihoodof
acceptanceissoverymuchmorethataresultlikeconversionisnotseldomproduced.
Whenthereadersfindtheirsecretbutuncertainthoughtopenlyproclaimedinthestrong
languageofdirectknowledgeandpersonalconviction,theymaysubmittoitsauthorityin
asingletransformingmoment.
163

Anypieceofwritingthatcanmovementoseekthetrueandhonourthegoodwillhave
donemoreforthemthanifitmovesthemtojoinasectoracult.
164

Itmaynotbeimportanttoarrangealotofwordsonpaper,butifthosewordsconvey
intimationsofaninnerlifethatismoresatisfyingandlessillusorythantheouterlife,
thentheirwriterperformsausefulactivityatleast,averynecessaryoneatmost.Evenif
hisbeonlyavoiceinthewildernesswithfewornonetohearhim,thetremendous
importanceofhismessageremains.
165

Thosewholackthecapacitytopractisemeditationshouldcompensateforthisbyreading
andstudyingthewritingsoftheotherswhopossessit.
166

Thereisadeepchasmbetweenbookswrittenoutofgenuineknowledgeandthosewritten
toadvocateapointofview.
167

Thebeginnerhaslittlecapacitytodiscriminateandseldomknowswhetherheisreading
theworkofagreatmysticoronlytheimitationofsuchawork.Whatmakesthesituation
evenworseisthatinadditiontosuchcopiesthereexistthemereimitationsofimitations.
Ofcourseitismainlytheideasthemselvesthatareplagiarized,fortheinspired
presentationofthemisnotcommonlywithinthecompassofmediocrity'shand.
168

Thereissomethinglikemagicinthewayasimplewhitesheetofpapercanstironeman
torancorousfrenzy,oranothertodeliriousjoy,ifcertainblackmarksaremadeuponit.
Butstillmoremagicalisitwhenthemessagecontainedinthosemarksinducesa
transcendentalstate.
169

Theworkofaninspiredindividualwillalwayscarryauthenticitybutitmaynotalways
carrystyle.
170

Lightcomestouswithcertainwritingstheymakeourmindfertileandourunderstanding
clear.Thesearethegreatwritingsofthehumanrace,whethertheyareknowntoitor
neglectedbyit.
171

Poetryarousesfeelingandthisinturn,ifloftyenough,canawakenintuition.
172
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Wordsmaygiveotherpersonstheircuetostartoffinaneworhigherdirection,may
encourageorinspirethismove,buttheinnerworkhasstilltobedonebyeachpersonfor
himself.Thewordsbecomemorevaluableastheyleadtheaspiranttoabsorbintuitions.
Thisistheirbestservice.
173

Thereareauthorswhogettheseinspiredmoments,whosometimeswritebetterthanthey
know,whohavetowaitliketheirreaderstocatchthehighrevelatorymeaningofa
piecetheyhaveputdownasitflowedthroughthem.
174

AncientOrientalauthorsonspiritualsubjectsoffered,intheirfirstlines,theirhomageto
theirmasterortotheirpersonalidealthepurposebeingpartlytokeeptheirwritingfree
frompersonaldistortionandpartlytogaininspiration.
175

Tositthere,spinningoutthephraseswhichshallcarryideastoothermen,isnotlessan
actofworshiporofpreachmentiftheybereverentlycomposedreligiousmysticalor
philosophicideasthanprayingonone'skneesoraddressingothersfromapulpit.
176

Inthereadingofthesebooks,justasinthepresenceofthemasters,wegrowemotionally
andareatourbestmentally.
177

Aword,aphrase,asentence,oraparagraphmaybeenoughtoawakenahundred
sleepingminds.
178

Aspokenwordorawrittenbookwhichreachesthroughaman'sordinaryeveryday
charactertohisbetterselfrendershimaservicewhichmaybefleetingorlasting.The
resultwilldependonwhetherornothefollowsupthemoodinvoked.
179

Itisnotonlythatheistryingtocommunicateamessagetheworkdoesnotendthere:it
isalsothatheistryingtomovehisreaderstofeelingandtoactionor,contrariwise,toa
depthofstillnesstheydonotordinarilyknow.
180

ShankaraofKanchi:"TheHinduartistdedicateshisworktoGod.Bysuchdedication
purityofmindarises."
181

Inthesymbolismofseveralscriptures,theSaviourrepresentsthehigherselfandthe
seekerthelowerone.Thus,intheBhagavadGita,Krishnaisthedivinesoul,Arjunathe
humanego.
182

Towritenobleandbeautifulwordsconstitutingamessagethatwillstillbereadeagerlya
thousandyearslaterandthatwillseemfreshandinspiredissomethingworthdoing.
183

Finepassagesgrowuponthepagesoftheoldenseersasthicklyasgrassinspring.Where
aresuchgreatandtruevoicesasthosetoday?IcanhearthebleatofthelostsheepbutI
cannothearsuchvoices.
184
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Styleanditsartisticfunctionmayhavenoplaceintheasceticprophet'sschemeofthings.
Hemaysaywhathehastosayinthebarestmostunattractiveway,orputitsoclumsily
thathishearersmayhavetointerprethismeaning.
185

Ifanypassageinhiswritingmovesyourmindorwillintherightdirection,ithasserved
youwell.Donotaskthatitshalldomoreandsolveyourownpersonalproblemdirectly
anddefinitely.
186

Thesegreatmindsactivelyliveagaininhisownconsciousnessduringtheintentstudyof
theideasintheirwritings.
187

Itisausefulexercisetomemorizethemostinspiredorthemostappealingpassagesin
bookswrittenbymastersofthespiritualorphilosophiclife.
188

Thedifferencebetweeninspiredwritingdrawnfromwithinbyintuitivefeelingand
paraphrasedwritingdrawnfromwithoutbyomnivorousreadingisalwayscleartoa
practisingmystic.
189

Writingssoinspired,sorevelatory,exorcisetheevilspiritsofhateandangerfromour
hearts.
190

Coleridge'sAncientMarinerisamysticalpoem.Whenhewroteit,hewasplungedinto
thestudyofthemetaphysicalmysticssuchasPlotinusandotherNeoplatonists.
191

Ifthroughabookwecanassociateourselveswithamastermind,itrepresentsan
opportunitywecannotaffordtomiss.
192

Truthtakesonfleshandbloodinsuchinspiredwritings,embodiesthebodilessSpiritand
announcesitsownexistencetoadoubtingargumentativeworld.
193

Somecomeamonguscommissionedwithasacredmessage.
194

Ifitistobeinspiredworkitwillhavetobewrittenoutofthefullestinnerconviction.
195

Thewriterwholiftshisreaderstoahigherplane,whomakesthemfeelthatspiritual
achievementiswithintheirreach,isasmuchaministerofreligionasanyordainedone.
196

TheseinspiredphrasesluretheunderstandingontoseektheseraphicSourcewhencethey
havearisen.
197

Throughinspireddocumentsandinspiredprophets,peoplewhoareblindtothisreality
areenabledtosee.
198
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Thesepassagesseemtobringwiththemthehigherpartofthereader'snature.Theynot
onlystandforitsymbolicallybutalsodeputizeforitactually.
199

IfIreadatrulyinspiredpieceofwritingwithalltheattentionandfeelingitdeserves,then
Itakepartinasacramentnolessreligiousthantheoneinachurch.
200

Thepermanenttruthsenshrinedininspiredclassicsaretobeloved,theirgoodcounsels
deeplyrespected.
201

Thewordsofabookmayspeaktoaninnerneedwhichmayberagingwithinhimor
whichmaynotevenenterhisconsciousnessuntilthatmoment.
202

Whenanyoneelseuttersfortheordinaryinarticulateman,inwordsandwithprecision,
whathefeelsvaguelyandobscurely,heishelpedintellectuallyandfortifiedspiritually.
203

Herearewordsaglowwithdivineecstasy,ashinewithdivinetruth.
204

PhilotheAlexandriantellsoffeelingsoinspiredthattheideasflowedofthemselves
effortlesslythroughhispen.
205

Thatbookrendersarealservicewhichletsinlight.
206

Ifthebookisreallyinspireditwillstrikesparksinthereader'smind.
207

ThesongsofKabirshowwhatwisdomcangointoanartisticform:thetwoarenot
necessarilydivorced.ThepoemsofRumiperformthesamefunction.
208

Anutterancewhichisauthenticallyinspiredwillleaveitsmarkonsomeone.
209

Anoblepieceofwritingcanservethosewhoarereceptivetoitsmessagebycleansing
theirheartsandupliftingtheirminds.
210

ThetranslationoftheBhagavadGitabyPrabhavanandaandIsherwoodisoneofthemost
readable,clearest,easiesttounderstand.
211

MuchofEmerson'swritingcamefromhisintuitionratherthanfromhisintellect.
212

Therearetruthswhichdonoteasilydeclarethemselves,whichhideorresistsothatthey
mustbedugfor.Butthatispreciselywhereaninspiredbookcanhelptheseekerso
much.Andthenwhenthediscoveryismade,whenthejewelisfound,itcanbeaddedfor
hisgreaterenrichment.
213
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Thatwriterhasfulfilledhispurposewhosereadercatchesfirefromhiswords.
214

Oratoryisgreatwhenitgivesitsauditorsmoreunderstanding,butitisgreatestwhenit
givesthemaglimpse!
215

Itisrighttoexpectthatawriterontheartofmentalquietwillproduceworkswhich
themselvesbearastyleandatmosphere,acontentandmessageofquietness.
216

Thebookwhichprodsusintofinerthoughtorhigherfeelingormakesuslivebetterhas
serveduswell.
217

Avolubletongueoraprolificpenisnoevidenceofaninspiredmind.
218

Inthesepagestheywillfindtheirhalfheldbesthopestakenupandtransformedinto
reasonedaffirmations.
219

Whenyoureadsuchinspiredworks,itisnotenoughtoreadthemwiththeeyesalone:
youmustabsorbtheircontentsintoyourinnerselftheymustpenetrateyouthroughand
through.
220

Hewilllovethewritingsofinspiredprophets,illuminedseers,orintuitivethinkers.The
moretheysucceedinconveyingthefeelingoftheirexperienceof,orkinshipwith,the
Overself,itspresenceandpower,itsbeautyandpeace,themorewillhelovethem.
221

Toregardeverypartofaworkasequalininspiration,oreveninvalue,witheveryother
partisnave.Theartistorwriterhastimeswhenhemaybeonlyhalfawake,overtired,
moody,anddepressed,andhisworkisnotlikelytobethenatitsbest.
222

Thesewordsevokeexaltedfeelingsintheheartofathoughtful,wellinformed,and
sensitiveperson,butisthesameresultlikelytohappentoacynical,sceptical,totally
materialisticperson?Withoutsomepreparationofphilosophytheymayfailtotakehold
onalimitedmindoramainlyselfishone.
223

Apoemwhichstirsayoungpersontohighaspirationhasdoneanobleservice.
224

Anartisticorliteraryproductmaybenothingmorethanthemereexpressionofa
capriciousmood,ofapassingwhimsy,somethingaltogetherinsignificantoritmaybe
alliedwithgreatspiritualmeaning,loadedwithrichesforbeholder,listener,orreader,
andfinallymetamorphosedintoaritualofhighmagic.
225

Adeeperforceisoperatingatsuchatimethaneitherreaderorhearerisawareof,butthe
resultdependsonwhetherthesensitivity,receptivity,andpassivityarepermittedto
dominate.
226
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Thereaderwhojoinshisownwithanauthor'smindgetsachancetogoasfarasthe
authorhasgone.
227

LaoTzu'sclassicandonlywork,BookoftheWayandofitsMerit,triestomakeits
readersseevalueswhichonlythesageordinarilysees.
228

Awiseandnoblestatementinaninspiredbookmaycomebacktosomereader'smindat
amomentofgreatneedwhenitwillbemeaningfultohimandhelphimthrougha
difficultperiod.
229

Afewwordsmaycarryaman'smindtoanupliftedstate,mayhelptoawakenabrief
associationwithhisbetterself,andmayhelphimrelatetoafinerstateofconsciousness.
Butthisdependsonwhoutteredorwrotethosewords.
230

Isitpossiblethatsomethingofthewriter'smindinfusesitselfintheattentivereader's?
Whynot,ifthereaderisalsoreceptive?Buttheeffectmaybebriefandsoonfadeout.
231

Asinglewordorashortphrasemaybecomesochargedwithmeaningforhimthat,
ponderinguponit,enlightenmentgrowsrapidlyandtheinnerworkprogresses
accordingly.
232

Awriterinthisfieldofstudyattractstheseriousandearnest,thesensibleandlevel
headed,buthealsoattractsthepsychoticsandneurotics,themildlylunaticfringewho
becomeamenacetohisquietindustriousexistence.
233

Weallknowthatthereisadarknegativesidetolife,withitsmiseriesandsufferings,as
weknowthattherearesomanyimperfections,follies,meannesses,andwickednessesin
humans.Butwhyshouldanauthoronspiritualtopicsdepictthem?Thereisnotmuchin
existencetodaytocomfortandgladdenus,sowelooktosuchanauthortoholdupnoble,
beautiful,peacebringingideals,ideas,andexperiencesforourgaze.
234

Sometimesasinglespokenorwrittensentencecanrevealtotheperceptivemindthatthe
speakerorwriteris,forthosemomentsatleast,anenlightenedindividual.
235

Thisliteraturehasbeguntofamiliarizethemwiththeideasandpracticesofmysticism,
thelivesandwaysoftheyogis.Ignorancemustgiveplacetoacquaintancebeforeitcan
giveplacetoacceptance.
236

WilhelmvonHumboldtreadWilkins'EnglishtranslationoftheBhagavadGita,withthe
resultthathefeltboundtothankdestinyforhavinglefthimlifelongenoughtoallowhim
toreadtheincomparablework,whichhecalled"thefinestphilosophicpoemthatthe
literaturesknowntouscanoffertohumanity."
237

Ifwebelievethatthemenwhowrotescriptureswereinspiredandifweknowourworld
literature,wemustbeveryinsensitivenottoseethatothermenhavewrittensincethen
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whowereatleastonlyalittlelessinspiredthanthescripturalauthorsandwhowrotewith
alightandwisdomnottheirown.
238

Literaturecanbeasmuchaspiritualforceinthesemoderntimesasliturgyhasbeenin
medievaltimes.

Stage,cinema,dance
239

AncientGreektragedyplays,withtheiratmosphereofhelplessandhopelessdisaster,
givetruthonlyiftheyarecounteredbymodernwritingsorspeechesbasedonworship,
personaloptimism,andsuccessstories.
240

IfTheTempestwasShakespeare'sfinalwork,itwasalsohismostphilosophicalplay,
neatlyexpressinghishighestthoughts.Thereislessconflictandtragedy,morecalmand
dignityinitthaninanyofhisotherwritings.
241

ThetheoryofTragedy,whichdevelopedoutoftheDionysuscult,remainedaspiritual
thingfortheGreeks.Aristotleconsideredthatitarousedpityandfearfortheheroand
thuspurgedandhealedtheaudience'semotions.
242

Itisimportanttorememberthepowerofsuggestionwhenweexaminetheeffectofa
theatricalplayonthespectators.Thispowercanbeusedtoharmthemmorallyorto
elevatethememotionally.
243

Ihaveoftenaskedpeopleconnectedwiththetheatrewhethertheybecometherolewhich
theyplayandentirelyforgetthemselvesorwhethertheyneverentirelylettheirown
personalidentitydisappear.Theanswershavebeencontradictory.Theredoesnotseemto
beuniversalagreementuponthispoint.Somesaytheynolongeridentifywith
themselves,otherssaytheyalwaysrememberthemselves.Perhapsthesolutionisthatthe
veryfewwhohaverealgeniusdosucceedinlettinggooftheegoandbecomingthe
characterwhichtheyplay,totally.Others,whomayhavegood,realtalentbutnotgenius,
willnotbeabletoletgooftheirego,willnotbeabletoforgetself,howeverwellthey
mayassumetheroleonthestageitself.
244

WasSalvinirightwhenhesaidthatanactorweepsandlaughsonthestageyetallthe
whileheiswatchinghisowntearsandsmiles?
245

ThepeopleofAthenscouldthinkofnobetterhonourfortheirtragicdramatistSophocles
afterhisdeaththantosaythatagodhadlivedwithhimasaguest!
246

Wehavegonefarfromtheserioususeofaplayinthetheatre.Shakespeareusedittohelp
usget,foracoupleofhoursatleast,aslightlymoredetachedviewofhumanexistence
thanispossiblenormally.Thismighthelpustogetaslightlybetterunderstandingofour
ownexistence.Buttodaycriminalsareadmiredbytheaudienceandheldupfor
admirationbytheauthor.Sexwithoutselfcontrolisanotherpraisedthemeforthe
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titillationofaudiencesandthebriskersaleofticketsattheboxoffice.
247

ItisriskytotrytomodernizeShakespeare'sstoryandlanguageunlessgreatrestraintis
used.
248

Thefictitioussufferingsandjoysenacteduponatheatricalstagemaymoveanaudience
totearsorpleasure,butwithitsdeparturecomestheawakeningtoreality,thatknowledge
ofwhatiswhichistruth.
249

Aplaywhichcarriessomethingoftheatmosphereofareligiousritualtherebybringsthe
TheatreneartotheChurch.
250

Iftheaudiencereflects,eitherduringoraftertheshow,onthepieceoflifeithasseenon
thestage,itwillhavesomehigherprofitthanmereentertainment.
251

ItistruethatShakespeareheldamirroruptotheevents,persons,andhistoriesofhis
time.Butitisalsotruethatheinsertedphilosophicalcommentswhichcarriedforce.
252

WemayaskwhyShakespearehasportrayedtoomanyhumanfaultsandtoofewhuman
virtues.Buttheanswercanonlybebecausehehasgonetolifeitselfforhissources,
wherehumanimperfectionsarealltooplain.
253

Ihaveknownthemanwhowas,inhistime,theworld'sgreatestscreencomedian
Chaplin.
254

Igotothecinemapartlytogettheoppositionwhichwillinamildbutvariedformtest
myasceticindifferencetowardsearthlyattractionsandpartlytogetvividinstructionin
theirdeceptivenessandvanity.Theverysceneswhichexcitethesensualityofmost
beholders,Iuse,byaprocessofkeenintellectualanalysis,toexcitemyrepulsion.
Finally,Ialsogotothecinemasimplytoenjoymyselfwithcomediesandlaughover
them.
255

Toomanyfilmsareturnedoutfollowingacheaplymelodramaticorallegedlyfunny
formula.Soonafterthestartofapictureoneknowshowitisgoingtounfold.Itisinane,
adenialoftrueartistry,afalseescapefromreality,awasteoftime.Onecanattend
cinemasonlywhentheyshowversionsofagoodnovel,agoodplay,oraworthwhile
comedy.
256

Thecinemaisheretostay.Everybodyunderstandsitspictoriallanguage.Butlikeother
formsofscienceappliedtoart,itspowerfulinfluenceneedstobepurified.
257

Thecinemahasoverexploitedsexandoverpictureditssaccharinesensualities.
258

TheboxofficesuccessofthefilmTheRazor'sEdgeisproofthatthereisalittleroomfor
somethingloftierintheentertainmentworld.Hereisastoryofayoungwarveteran
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whomNaturehasmadeanindividualistandwhomexperiencehasmadereflectiveabout
experienceitself.Hebeginsasearchforinnerpeace,whichinthestoryiscontrastedwith
asettingofcontinentalworldlinessandParisiansin.
259

RudolfSteinercomparedtheeffectsofcinemagoingtothoseofadrug.Perhapshe
wouldhaveincludedtheentertainmentsideoftelevision,thereadingoflightfiction,too.
Butifweanalysethepleasurewhichsuchattractivedistractionsyield,weshallfindthat
theyletusgetawayfromtheego.
260

Thedancesusedinconnectionwiththeancientreligions,andparticularlythoseofthe
NearandMiddleEast,werenotintendedtoofferpleasureorprovideentertainmentas
mostofourmodernorWesterndancingis.Theyhadasacredorsymbolicmeaning.At
somestagestheymightbringtheaudienceintochoruschantingorevencertain
movementsalongwiththeoriginaldances.
261

Whatevertheotherreasonsareforthetremendouspostwarpopularityoftheballetbothin
EuropeandAmerica,betheyitscolourfulness,itspoetry,itsvigour,itsbeauty,andits
blendingofdifferentarts,thereisonemore,whichisimportant:itsotherworldliness.It
answersaspiritualcravingthatdoesnotknowitisspiritual.

Painting,sculpture,architecture
262

Thepaintermustnotonlyhavethetalentsofdrawingandcolouring,butalsothebodily
giftofseeingsharplyandthementalgiftofvisualizing,imaging.
263

Thelightwhichinformsandbrightensthecoloursofthebestmedievalpaintingsis
suggestiveandsymbolic.Theartistsworkedoftenunderinspirationgotfrommystical
rapture,fortheyworkedoftenwithreligioussubjects.
264

ThetinyfigureofaBuddhaappearsinsomeTibetanpaintingsorstatuettes.Itisaperfect
replicaofmidgetsizeplacedintheheartorhead.Itisputinbytheartisttoshowthe
unseen,therealBuddhawithintheouterformthatisallmostpeoplesee.
265

Inspireddrawingsmaygiveasmuchaspiritualimpactasinspiredpaintings.
266

ThosepicturesBuddhist,Hindu,andChristianwhichshowthebenedictoryraisingofa
hand,showonlyoneoftheideaswhichexistsidebysideindifferentreligions.
267

Christianartwasnotthefirsttouseahaloroundtheheadwhendepictingholiness.
Chinesepictureshaveusedittoo.
268

Somepaintingsofpopartseemtobescenestakenfromtheastralplane.Theyaremore
thanmereimaginationextraordinarycreaturesoramazingmonsters.Theyaremostly
resultsofastralclairvoyance.
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269

Apaintingwhichbeholdersfindquiteincomprehensibleandwhosemakerboastsofits
meaninglessnessbelongstohumanpathology,nottohumanart.Tohimlifeitselfis
withoutmeaning:hispictureisajumblebecausehissoulisachaos.
270

Thoseultramodernartistswhoscorntodrawwellbecausetheycannotdrawatall,whose
slovenlyproductionsanduglycolouringrepeltheseekerafterbeautyinart,possess
neithertechniquenorinspiration.
271

Raphael,Leonardo,Michelangelo,FraAngelico,andPierodellaFrancescahad
unquestionedgeniusinart.Buttheybelongtotheoldschool,andmodernyouthcraves
thenew,thedifferent.Thecravingislegitimatebuttheacceptanceofcrazynonsense
merelybecauseitisnew,ofuntalenteduglinessmerelybecauseitisdifferent,mustbe
rejected.
272

Itmaybethatthosewhosetastehasbeenformedaroundthemodernexpressionsby
contemporaryartistswillhavesomedifficultyinadaptingittothecompletelydifferent
masterpiecesofByzantineart,andinappreciatingthem.Thosewhoareconfrontedby
themforthefirsttimemayneedasufficientperiodofadjustmenttothehighly
ornamentalcharacterofByzantinepainting.
273

Whenwestandbeforeoneoftheluminousdawnssofrequentlypaintedbythe
FrenchmanCorotwefeelpeacegivinghealingradiations.
274

DespitethefineworkputforthbyourEuropeanmasters,Westernarthasyettoreachthe
levelofvitalityincolouringattainedbyoldChina.
275

InapaintingoftheChinesemasterChouTunYi,thegreatphilosopherisshownholding
asceptre.Thisiscalled"TheSceptreofPower."Itstandsforthemasculineelements
withintheperson.Thesceptrebeingheldwithinhishandsshowsthatthemasculine
energyisheldwithinhiscontrol,thatheisindeedamasterinthissense,arulerof
himselfforthesceptreisadornedwithadiamond,hardestofstones.
276

InthisportraitofChouTunYiwhichlooksdownuponmefromthestudywallthisgreat
masterissittinginfullrobesholdingtheflatsceptreofauthorityatitslowerendwithhis
righthandandsupportingitsupperpartwithhislefthand.Thisceremonialsceptreisnot
onlysymbolicofhighstatusontheworldlyscene,butinhiscaseisalsosymbolicof
spiritualpower.
277

Evenifthesimplepeasantfervourofthefiguresappearinginmedievalpicturesmaynot
beinaccordwithmodernmentalities,yettheauthenticinspirationistherealso
admirationisdueforthemagnificentpaintworkitself,theclearluminouscolouring,and
theskilleddrawingofaPierodellaFrancescaoraFraAngelico.Artwasalivethen,
artistswerecreative,talentwasvisible,andtrainingwasfundamental.Todaythecontrast
issaddening:pseudoartflourishes,iswellpaid,whilethetastefortherealthingislittle.
278

TheChineseregardpaintingandcalligraphyasthehighestformsoftheirartistic
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expression.
279

Nottheslowandpatientbuildingupofapicture,asisordinarilydone,buttheswift
strokes,thedecisiveconfidentexecutionoftheworkintheshortestpossibletimeandthe
leastamountofeffort:thatisZenartistry.Ittriestotakeadvantageoftheinspired
momentstogivebirthtomemorableandexceptionaldrawingonpaperorpaintingon
silk.Itistrulycreative.
280

TheiconsofGreekOrthodoxywerehighlystylizedandtraditionbound:theartistwas
notfreetointroducehisindividualvariation.
281

Whatthepainterputswithhisbrushandcolouronacanvasbecomesthemediumofhis
ownexpression.If,inaddition,hehasbecomeavehicleforhishigherself,thentherewill
beatwofoldeffect,theonepersonalandtheotherinspired.
282

CalligraphywasplacedashighamongtheartsbyprewarChineseasmusicandpoetry
havebeenplacedbyus.Handwritingandsignwritingwereusednotonlyto
communicatebutalsotodecorate,notonlytoexpressbutalsotogivejoy.
283

Howinspiredbythefeelingforbeautyareoftenthosedelicatelypaintedscrollsonwhich
Chineseartistsputtheirimpressionsofpinetreessetonmountainsides,leaping
waterfalls,andquietriverbanks.
284

ThestrengthshowninGreekmalestatues,thegracefulnessshownintheirfemaleones
arematchedbytheequipoiseshowninGreekphilosophy.
285

WhattheAsianadeptpointedto,inastatueconfrontingusandwhichhecalled"the
Angkorsmile,"couldonlyhavebeenchiselledbyaskilledartistwhowasalsointuitively
sensitivetotheprofoundserenityofhissubject.
286

InapieceofJapaneselettering,thearchoveraMoorishdoorway,oranoldGreek
pediment,beautynaturallyinheres.Eachinitsownwayissymmetrical,balanced,a
harmonyoftwooppositesides.Inasage'smindthereisthesameattractiveequilibrium.
287

ThesolidbalanceandintelligentproportionwhichGreekphilosophyadmiredandtaught
wereexpressedintheelegantpedimentsandcolonnadesofGreekarchitecture.The
ferventdevotionanddirectsimplicityofMuhammedanreligionwerebroughtintothe
taperedminaretsandarcadesofArabarchitecture.Fromthethoughtandfaithofapeople
cameforthitsart.
288

ThesuperbbalanceandfineproportionofGreekarchitectureholdslessonsforman,for
hispersonasforhiswayoflife.
289

Itisonemoresignoftheunbalanceofourtimesthatarchitectsoverconcentrateonthe
straightlineintheirdesignsforthemassivenewbuildingswhichappearinallmajor
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cities,andignoreitscounterpoisethecurve.
290

Toomanymodernbuildingshavethesoullessness,thematerialisticinnerandouter
nature,ofmechanicalconstructions.Theyarenotgrowths.Thisiswhytheylackbeauty,
grace,charm.Competentfunctiononlyistheirpurpose.Theyachieveit.Buttheyare
monotonousbarracks.
291

Buildingsthatarelikeboxes,withoutanyidentityorindividualityoftheirown,showthe
decayofimaginationandthemistakeoflettingthefunctionalistsupplanttheartistinstead
ofworkingsidebysidewithhim.
292

Thepillaredarcadeswhichtransformastreet,makingitpicturesqueandgivingitdignity,
oughttobemultipliedahundredfold.
293

ThedignityofGreekarchitecture,expressedinfinestatelypillars,invitesrespectforthe
Greekmind.
294

Thestraightcleancutlinesoftheexterior,themodernisticcubesandparaboliccurvesof
theirinterior,arefitsymbolsofdirectnessandnewnesstheskyjuttingspiresareapt
symbolsofthealtitudeofachievementwhichbeckonsyoungambition.

Music
295

Musicalcompositionswhichcarrytheirhearersupintohigherworldsofbeingare
benedictions.
296

Themiracleofmusicalbeautyistobeexperiencedgratefully,notforthesensuousand
emotionalsatisfactionsalone,butalsofortheremindertomakealllifebeautiful.
297

Ofalltheartswhichministertotheenjoymentofman,musicistheloftiest.Itprovides
himwiththesatisfactionwhichbringshimnearertotruththananyotherart.Suchisits
mysteriouspowerthatitspeaksalanguagewhichisuniversallyacknowledged
throughouttheworldandamongsteveryclassofpeopleitstirstheprimitivesavageno
lessthantheculturedmanofthetwentiethcentury.Whenwetrytounderstandthis
peculiarpowerwhichresidesinmusic,wefindthatitisthemosttransientofallthe
others.Thesoundswhichdelightyourearshaveappearedsuddenlyoutoftheabsolute
silencewhichenvelopstheworldandtheydisappearalmostinstantaneouslyintothat
samesilence.Musicseemstocarrywithitsomethingofthedivinepowerwhichinheres
inthatgreatsilencesothatitisreallyanambassadorsentbytheSupremeRealityto
remindwanderingmortalsoftheirrealhome.Theaspirantfortruthwillthereforelove
andenjoymusic,buthemusttakecarethatitistherightkindofmusicthekindthatwill
elevateandexalthisheartratherthandegradeandjarit.
298

MusiccanbeastartalongthePaththesameasotherarts,ifitisusedasameansof
elevatingfeelingandupliftingoneselftotheprimalbeautyoftheSoul.Itisitselfayoga
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pathandcanbenotonlyameansofexpressionbutoneofliftingthoughtandfeelingto
thehigherrealmofillumination.
299

Whatmancannotreceivedirectlythroughtheintuition,hemustreceiveinadifferent
formthroughthephysicalsenses.Thisiswhymusic,forexample,takestheplaceofa
spiritualmedium,asitcanbeheardbyanyone,whereasintuitionisunfeltbythe
insensitive.
300

Thosewhoareinsensibletothemysticalinitsordinaryformmayberesponsivetoits
musicalform.
301

Musiccanexpressthemysticalexperiencebetterthanlanguageitcantellofitsmystery,
joy,sadness,andpeacefarbetterthanwordscanutter.Thefatiguedintellectfindsatonic
andtheharassedemotionsfindcomfortinmusic.
302

WhocanrespondtothegeniusofBach'sSaintMatthewPassionunlesssomeawakening
ofspiritualityhoweversmallisinhim?
303

Wecometoconcertsandoperastohearmusic.Loudapplauseinterruptingwhatwehear
introducestheshockofnoise.Itspoilstheatmosphere.
304

Beethoven'smusicisnotonlymelodious,whichiscommon,butalsochargedwith
thought,whichisnot.
305

MusiclikeanyoftheintellectualartsmayhelporhinderthisQuest.Whenitisextremely
sensualordisruptiveornoisy,itisahindranceandperhapsevenadanger.Whenitis
upliftingorinspiringorspirituallysoothing,itisahelp.
306

WarnerAllensayshegot,attheageoffifty,themysticexperienceoftimelessness,saw
theDivineLightinvision,andfeltonewithGodwhilelisteningraptinBeethoven's
SeventhSymphony.(Ihavehearditbutonlythesecondmovementismystical.)
307

IfaninspiredsonatabyBeethovenbringsyoumomentarilytothebordersofheaven,do
notstopwiththeenjoyment.Exploretheglimpseafterwardsforallitsrichcontent,its
immensemeaning,itsgloriousrevelation.
308

(1)Bach:thefinalchorusfromSaintMatthewPassion,(2)Beethoven'slastpianotrio
(Archduke),(3)theslowmovementfromMozart'sGMajorViolinConcerto,K.216
thesethreearespirituallyinspiredmusicalworks.
309

MusicalgeniuseslikeBachandBeethoven,MozartandBrahms,Handel,Vivaldi,
Puccini,Rachmaninoff,Schubert,andWagnertouchedanddrewfromtheOverself's
inspiration,althoughinunequaldegree.Theygavetheirhearershighervaluesandeven,
inthecaseofthemoresensitiveandpreparedones,spiritualglimpses.Beethovenhimself
said,"IwasconsciousofbeinginspiredbyGod."Brahmssaid,"WhenIreachmybest
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levelduringthetaskofcomposition,Ifeelahigherpowerworkingthroughme."
310

Musicisstillused,asitwasformorethanathousandyearspast,bymanySufistohelp
bringonlovinglyanddevotedlythejoyousabstracteddepthsofmeditation.
311

Tchaikovsky'sSymphonyno.5isaspirituallyelevatingcomposition.
312

ThePastoraleSymphonybyBeethovenisacallinmusictoournativespiritual
homeland.
313

EvenuntilacoupleofdecadesagothebetterclassIndonesianswouldplayoneoftheir
severalnativemusicalinstrumentsaftersunsetasaspiritualexercisetorefine,purify,and
disciplinetheirfeeling.
314

Musicreceivesasacramentalformwhenitistheexpressionofaninspiredcomposerit
trulyhelpsitshearersspiritually.
315

ItiscuriousthiscontrastandcontradictionofBuddhabanningmusicandBeethoven
receivingdivineexaltationfromit.BuddhasaiditledastrayBeethovensaiditledto
God.Butanalysisshowsthatmostpeopleweretootastelessorweakorignoranttobe
entrustedwithsuchaninfluenceandallowedtomaketheirowndiscriminationbetween
thedegradingorexcitingandtheennoblingorcalming,soitwasprobablysafertoban
musicaltogether.Besides,theirtimeasmonkscouldbebetterusedinreflectionsand
meditations,studiesandpractices.
316

InthePersianSufibookDiwaniShamsiTabrizitiswritten:"Wedonotattendmusical
assembliesnoremploymusic.Inourpositionthereismoreharmthangoodinit.Music
improvestheapproachtotheconsciousness,ifheardintherightway.Butitwillharm
personswhoareinsufficientlydeveloped.Thosewhodonotknowthishavetakenup
musicasifitweresomethingsacredinitself.Thefeelingstheyexperiencefromitare
mistakenforsublimeonessentimentsarearoused,whichisnobasisforfurther
progress."BahaudinNaqshband,leaderoftheNaqshabendiDervishOrder
317

SufiTeachingonMusic:
(1)"Donottrainyourselftomusicincasethisholdsyoubackfromhigherperceptions."
IbnHamdan(medieval)
(2)"Theyplaymusicandcastthemselvesintostates....Everylearningmusthaveallits
requirementsfulfilled,notjustmusic,thought,concentration."MainuddiChishti,ina
lettertodisciples,referringtoecstaticstates.Themasterexplainedfurtherthefactthat
loveofmusicwasnotenough,thatemotionalfeelingsproducedbymusicwerebeing
confusedwithspiritualexperience.
318

PlayoftheSoulandtheBodyCavalieri,bornmidsixteenthcenturyinRome,died1602
inRome,wasGeneralDirectoroftheTuscanCourtinFlorencein1588.Hebelongedto
thecircleof"CamerataFiorentina,"whichbroughtagreatinnovationinWesternmusic:
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the"NuoveMusiche"(NewMusic),aspecialnewmannerwhichhadahypnoticeffecton
thewholeaudience.HisRappresentazionewasperformedtwiceinRomein1600.Fifteen
Cardinalswerepresentatthefirstperformance.Itwasthefirstworkwritteninarecitatio
style.Itisareligiousplay,relatedtothemedieval"mysteryplays,"especiallytothe
moralityplayEveryman.ItisBuddhisticinbasicthemethehumansoul,blindedby
worldlylifeanddeceivedbypleasures,finallyhasarevelationofthetransitorinessand
shallownessthenitrisestothehigherexperience,thesphereoftruehappiness,ofangelic
hostsandeternalpeace.
319

In1822RossinivisitedBeethovenatthelatter'sVienneselodging.Twoimpressions
remainedvividlyanddominantlyafterwardsinthevisitor'smind:"...theindescribable
untidinessoftheroomandtheindefinablesadnessofBeethoven'sfeatures."Thequestion
arises:Howcouldthecreatorofsuchjoyousmusicappearsounhappyhimself?
320

WhatMozartexpressedinhisFortiethSymphonywaswhat,inadifferentway,Buddha
expressedinmanyofhissermonsamelancholy,asadness,adissatisfactionwithlife
amountingalmosttorebelliousprotest.Yetinneithercasedoesoneleaveitwithafeeling
ofdespair,asonedoesinthecaseofTchaikovsky'sPathtiquesymphony.Onthe
contrary,thereseemstobeawayofescape:withBuddhaplainlystatedasthe"Noble
EightfoldPath"toNirvana,butwithMozartappearingonlyasthejoywhichisso
fundamentalinmostofhisotherworks.
321

Brahmsgotcreativemoodsinthewoods.Walkingdidnotstopthemfromoccurring,
despitethebody'smovements,whilethesolitudecombinedwithNaturetofosterhis
inspiration.Itwasonlyathomethatheputhiscompositionintowriting.
322

Mozartwasabletocomposeandcompleteawholesymphonyinhismindbeforeheputit
downonpaper.
323

WagnerhimselftellsusthathecomposedParsifalasanescapefromthehumanevilsof
thisworldandasanattempttopictureanoblerone.
324

Therearemanypassages,melodies,piecesofinspiredmusic.Theseincludepartsofsuch
worksasSaintMatthewPassion,TheMagicFlute,Haydn'sDuetSong,andBach's
churchmusic.
325

Handel'sMessiahisasinspiredapieceofmusicasanyeverwritten.Itisa
communicationfromheaventoearth,fromthegodstoman.Themachinehasmadeit
availableonascaleandtohomesimpossibleinthedayswhenHandelcomposedit.All
aspirantswhoneedtocultivatethereligiousdevotionalandreverentialsideoftheir
natureshouldhearitfromtimetotime.
326

"I'veneverseenhimactlikethisbefore,"saidHandel'sservanttoafriend."Hejuststares
atmeanddoesn'tseeme.HesaidthegatesofheavenopenedwideforhimandGod
Himselfwasthere.I'mafraidhe'sgoingmad."Butthefruitofthis"madness,"ofthese
longhourswhenHandelrefusedtoeatandwroteandwrote,wasthegreatestoratorio
writtenduring,before,orafterhiscenturytheMessiah.
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327

Thesensitiveheartwillfeelinexpressiblygratefulforthesoothingmelodies,thepeace
fraughtbarsofsuchmusicasBach'sfugues.Lifeistemporarilyglorifiedandredeemed
underthisspell.
328

Handelsatforthreedaysmotionless.Then,outofthisphysicalandinnerstillnessthere
cametohimthetremendouslyinspired,triumphantlymajesticstrainsoftheMessiah.
329

ItwasanillandsufferingHandel,anageingandimpoverishedman,whogavetheworld
itsgreatestoratorio.Howdidhedoit?Hesatimmobile,staringvacantlyintospaceuntil
theinspiringchorusesburstuponhisinnerears,andthenhewrotefeverishlyforhoursat
atime.Thiswentonforthreeweeks.SowasborntheMessiah.
330

TheunearthlybeautyofGregoriansacredchantsmustbringjoytosensitiveears,whether
thoseearsareCatholicorProtestant,HinduorMuhammedan,ifprejudicedoesnot
intrudeitselfandblockordistortthehearing.
331

Mendelssohn'sConcertoforViolinoffersnotonlybeautifulsoundstotheearbutalso
celestialpeacetotheheart.
332

TheancientGreeksgavemoreimportancetosingingthantoinstrumentalmusic,forthe
reasonthatitwasassociatedwithwords,andhenceideas.
333

IshallneverforgetthewonderfulmessagewhichRamanaMaharshisentmebythelips
ofanIndianfriend(heneverwroteletters).Itwassomeyearsbeforehisdeathandmy
friendwasvisitingtheashrampreparatorytoavisittotheWest,whitherhewasbeing
sentonamissionbyhisgovernment.Ihadlongbeenestrangedfromtheashram
management,andthereseemednolikelihoodofmyeverseeingthesaintagain.The
visitormentionedtotheMaharisheethatheintendedtomeetme:wasthereany
communicationofwhichhecouldbethebearer?"Yes,"saidtheMaharishee,"When
heartspeakstoheart,whatistheretosay?"NowIdon'tknowifhewasawareof
Beethoven'sexistenceinthedistantworldofWesternmusic,butIamcertainhecould
nothaveknownthatthededicationtotheMissaSolemniswas"Mayheartspeaktoheart."
ThisisaworkwhoseinfrequentperformancestirsmetodepthswhenIhearit,so
reverential,sosupernalisit.FewknowthatBeethovenhimselfregardedtheMissaashis
greatestcomposition.Itmustsurelybehismostspiritualcomposition,aperfect
expressionofthelinkbetweenmanandGod.
334

ItissaidthatHandeldeclaredthathewishedtomakepeoplebetter,notjusttoentertain
them.
335

Thewitchdoctorwhobeatsoutarhythmonhisdrumorwhohasanassistantdothe
sameaccomplishesaconcentrationofmind,alullingofthesenses,andarecessionfrom
theworldforhishearerstoagreaterextentthantheywouldhavebeenabletoaccomplish
forthemselves.
336

Schubertwasdeeplyaffectedbythebeautyandtranquillityofeventide.Hissong"In
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Abendrot"expressesthismood,andhowhiscomplaintsatlife,hisconfusionsinhuman
relationsfadeawaywhenviewingthesky'sredglory.
337

InthechoiredsingingofaRussianchurch,intheSanskritchantingofaHinduashram,
theSoulofbhaktifindsamagnificentoutlet.
338

Artisnotonlyheretoembellishhumanexistence.Itisalsoheretoexpressdivine
existence.Ingoodconcertmusic,especially,amanmayfindthemostexaltedrefuge
fromthedrabrealismofhisprosaiceverydaylife.Forsuchmusicalonecanexpressthe
etherealfeelings,thedivinestirringsandechoeswhichhavebeensuppressedbymundane
extroversion.ThethirdmovementofBeethoven'sQuartetinAMinor,forinstance,
possessesgenuinemysticalfervour.Onemayderiveforafewminutesfromhearingits
longslowstrainsagravereverence,atimelesspatience,adeephumility,anutter
resignationandwithdrawnnessfromtheturmoiloftheeverydayworld.
339

InOratorio,musicrisestoitsmostspiritualheight.Itnotonlygivesthejoyousfeeling
thatothermusicalformscangivebutalsoaspiritualmessage.
340

Tchaikovsky'sPianoConcertoisgrandlybeautiful,spirituallyecstatic,happy,elevating,
otherworldly.
341

Refreshyourselfattheendofaday'shardworkwithfoodanddrinkandthensettledown
tolistentoarecordingofBeethoven'sEmperorConcerto.Itwillenrichandrefineyour
feelingsuntil,attheend,yourmindwillbewellpreparedandelevatedtoenterthestate
ofmeditationandattuneitselftotheinfinitesilencedeepintheheart'score.Thus,the
beautyofmusiccanleadyoutothebeautyoftheOverself.
342

InthegreatestworksofcomposerslikeBach,Beethoven,andVivaldi,wehearmusic
whichbringsusasclosetoinspiredmoodsasmusiccanbringhumanbeings.
343

Amusicwhichenchantsthesenses,refinestheemotions,andtemporarilydissolvessome
limitationsofhumanexistencemustbeaninspiredone.
344

Itishardtotranslatethesemomentsofupliftintomusicbut,asidefromandquite
differentfromBeethoven's,Bach's,andHandel'smostreligiouscompositions,themusic
gotbytheChinesefrompigeonsbytyingtinypipestotheirpinionfeathersandthen
lettingaflockofthesebirdstakeflightismostspirituallysuggestive.
345

AmanmayenjoylisteningtoBeethoventothatextentheappreciatesmusicandderives
pleasurefromthephysicalsoundsbutifthisisasfarashegoeshehasnotsoundedart's
depth.
346

Musicfulfilsitshighestpurposewhenithonoursthehigherpowerinthataspectwhichis
beauty.
347
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Churchmusicandchoirsingingmaybehelpfultoputacongregationintoamore
receptiveandworshipfulmoodbutwhentheyarerepeatedtoooften,becometoo
familiar,andarenolongerspontaneous,thereisthedangerthattheythenbecomemere
theatricalperformancesormusicalshows.
348

WhohasnotfeltthestrengthwhichsomeofBeethoven'smusicimparts,farprofounder
thanthemelodiousrhythmsofsomanyothercomposers'works,charmingthoughthey
are!
349

MovedbytheexultationofBeethoven'smusic,theintensepassionbehinditall,hecan
comenearertothehigherlife.
350

Whyisitthatthedivinestoftheartsmusicisneverthelessthemostevanescentofthe
arts?
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