The Re-Assertion of Beauty

[from the forthcoming biography of Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Adi Da]

One of the photographic suites created by Avatar Adi Da Samraj in March 2001 is entitled "The Re-Assertion of Perfume in the Instant of Time". The title is suggestive of the purpose of Avatar Adi Da's Art altogether. After the artistic experiments of the twentieth century—some of which focused intensely on the "ugliness" or "darkness" of life, even leading to the development of a kind of "anti-art"—Adi Da Samraj is moved to "re-assert" the primacy of beauty as the goal of art.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Traditionally, even where something apparently ugly was represented, that object or performance was somehow mysteriously associated with the feeling of the beautiful.

What is something beautiful, then? What is a beautiful subject?

Only that which is loved is beautiful. [May 5, 2001]

This truth is ancient knowledge. After His first viewing of the prints of "The Re-Assertion of Perfume", Adi Da Samraj began to speak about Plato's philosophy of beauty, which has informed western art and aesthetics for over two thousand years. In Socrates' discourse on beauty, as Plato presents it in The Symposium, beauty is synonymous with love, goodness, and truth.

The experience of beauty is found first in the domain of human love, and then becomes extended to the beauty of institutions and ideas, aspiring to the knowledge of a transcendental beauty that is beyond form, beyond mortality. At the same time, this knowledge of ultimate beauty is understood to be mediated through the senses, through feeling, through the company of the wise and the contemplation of wisdom. In other words, the secret of right living is to cultivate and find beauty in every dimension of life.

Adi Da Samraj expressed His sympathy with this point of view:

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: I find that the central "consideration" of Plato's Symposium —of Realizing that "All Is Beautiful" is the same as what is at the root of My Work. The Symposium is a conversation about finding the lover, the beautiful, and how you must, in the same manner, find all similarly beautiful. It is a conversation about Realizing Beauty Itself.

All of My Work in artistic terms is about the Beautiful, Beauty Itself, Reality Itself, Love-Bliss Itself.

Art is about going beyond. Art is about generating (and participating in) a process that goes beyond that which is merely cosmic (or universal) and (thereby, ultimately) Realizes the Very Divine Domain.

The Realization of the Beautiful is the Realization of the Way of Adidam.

The Realization of the Beautiful is Yoga.

To Realize the Beautiful is to make Yoga of all things.

All is Energy—and Energy Is all there is. But people use Energy as if it were mere mud.

Look again—and find the Beautiful, the Unlimited, the Conscious Light, the "Bright" of Consciousness Itself. [March 30, 2001]

Avatar Adi Da's motive and passion as Artist is to make ecstatic "monuments" in light-imagery, and, in so doing, to restore the sacred dimension to art. His negatives are the code for monuments-in-light that (as of this writing, in 2001) are just beginning to be realized. What is sacred about His images is not their association with a particular religious culture, but their value as artifacts of incandescent beauty, Revealing the "Bright" Reality that shines through them.

Avatar Adi Da's Power to Reveal this Reality comes from His Realization—the Realization of Absolute Non-"difference" Which is uniquely characteristic of the seventh stage of life. All of His Artwork is an always-instant Expression of His Identification with all beings and forms as modifications of His "Bright" Divine Condition. His fundamental "Act" as Artist is this Divine Self-Recognition.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: My Art is the Art of Heart-Participation, Heart-Activity. It is Art made of feeling, rather than of a perception or a conception merely. The total field of feeling—perceptually located, ecstatically Realized—is the content of My Artwork.

While Divinely Self-Recognizing all before Me, I engage in this feeling perception, this whole-bodily perception process, and I let this be registered in the plastic of the art form. I invest Myself with the whole body—not merely with a part of it, such that neither the wrist nor the conceptual mind nor mere perception controls or manages the plastic form. Neither the object nor the conventional subject makes the form. My Divine Heart-Realization makes the form.

For Me, the making of art is entirely and simply this Regard, this Divine Self-Recognition. My Artworks are the Expression of My direct "relationship" (so-called) to some specific individual or other, whatever or whoever the so-called "subject" of My Artwork may be. It is the act that is important, not the particular person or object that is there. There are no other concerns. My Artwork is just this direct expression of Divine Self-Recognition Itself. No other convention is applied.

Arising forms are Divine Mystery. I Am the Divine Mystery Incarnate. Therefore, My Art is participation in that Divine Mystery—not an attempt to duplicate or imitate forms themselves. The process is one of Ecstasy—or total Sacrifice of the Artist, the Seer, through Love, through Feeling-Participation, through Divine Self-Recognition. The patterns express My Vision, My Revelation, of Eternal Divine Love-Bliss.

Thus, My Artwork Serves My Communication of Ultimate Truth and Ultimate Happiness (or Divine Self-Realization), rather than any merely subjective or objective conditional vision.

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