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Sessions with Ashram Residents
by Swami Krishnananda

Session 7: The Beauty of God

Do you believe that God is beautiful, or do you think that He is a bearded, terrible old man? You think that God is a bearded old man. Nobody in any scripture says that God is a beautiful person, and nobody thinks that He is a beautiful person. God is wonderful beauty, but we have not seen beautiful things in the world. That is why we cannot understand. We see only ugly things. Where are the beautiful things? We say things are beautiful, but that is only a way of speaking. Really we have not seen beautiful things. If we see it, we cannot exist afterwards.

Nobody knows what beauty is. We have seen some beautiful things, but these beautiful things are different from beauty, just as money is different from a currency note. A currency note is only paper and ink, but money is something different. Money is hidden inside the paper. It is an invisible power that is operating through the currency note. Like that, the beautiful object is not actually beauty. There is something inside which manifests itself as perfection.

Actually, beauty is the manifestation of the soul. The soul is beautiful. The more our soul manifests itself through the sense organs, the more things look beautiful. The rainbow, the full moon and the ocean all look beautiful. Even an elephant looks beautiful. We like to look at it. During the full moon, nectar is flowing. The nectar that is flowing from the full moon at night sustains all the plants, and they become happy.

There are no beautiful things in the world because everything has some defect. Even if there is something beautiful, there is some defect. Complete beauty cannot be imagined. The world does not contain anything which is so great as God, and therefore we cannot imagine Him. We are caught up with this bodily ugliness; therefore, we see ugly things everywhere, though there is a beautiful thing inside. We see a beautiful painting, but what is a painting? It is only some ink splashed on a canvas, so why is it so beautiful? Ravi Varma's painting, Michelangelo's painting, Leonardo da Vinci's painting—why is a painting so beautiful when it is only a little ink and canvas? It has arrangement, pattern, system, completeness, symmetry. A thing looks beautiful only when it is symmetrical, perfect, inclusive, rounded, proportionate, with no ugliness, no corners. That is the beauty of the soul. The soul is symmetrical, perfect equilibrium, inclusive, rounded, complete. When that gets reflected through this pattern of being, we say it is a beautiful painting. That is the power of music, painting, dance. They look beautiful because they attract the perfection of the soul by their gestures and arrangement of things. God is the original of this reflected image. If you can think that, it is wonderful. But it is very difficult.

When Krishna played music, the cows were dancing; everybody was dancing to the music. If you can love everything at one stroke without excluding anything, that is love of God. If you love one thing excluding something else, that is ordinary, perishable love. Can you love the entire thing at one stroke? Whatever you are thinking in your mind must be loved. The entire thing—space, time, sun, moon, stars, everything—love everything together at one stroke. Is it possible? You are thinking only one thing: something here, something there. Put all things together and, in one stroke, love it. The whole universe is a beautiful object. Love it as the body of God, and see the beauty. Lord Krishna showed the Vishvarupa. Is it a beautiful thing or a fearful thing? It is the greatest beauty, the greatest fear, the greatest wonder, the greatest perfection. But the mind is unable to think that, due to our confinement in this little body and the daily harassment. We clash with something.

Sadhana is a difficult thing. It is not easily done. These devotees sometimes look like mad people, but they are not mad. They have various ways of dancing. There was a great sage in South India who used to think of God as honey. He could not think of anything else; that was the best thing for him. “O, Ocean of Honey, Honey, Honey. O Honey, please come!” What can you say about God? The best thing is honey because nothing is equal to that. The most tasty thing is honey.

What I am saying is, God is not a judge who hangs a person in the prison, and so on. He looks like that, but He is also beautiful. Nobody can equal Him. Whatever you think in your mind, you will find there. You will find wheat and rice and honey and firewood and matchbox there. You will find a supermarket there. Everything is there. The only thing is, you require time to think in this way.