Beauty is not accidental or incidental. Beauty is Intentional.

The other day, in trying to help a friend, I met with Yolande Edwards, who definitely has an eye for spotting natural beauty. On the walls of her office were beautiful pictures she captured. Those pictures can transport one to natural serenity, even in the midst of the most chaos.

Looking at the pictures (all pictures in this blog post are by Yolande Edwards), I reflected on the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but actually there is no beauty to behold unless there is intrinsically some beauty to behold. So, Yolande definitely has the eyes to see that beauty.

Then, I started to reflect on how all that beauty came to be? A famous thought goes like this “If a tree crashes in the forest and there was no one to hear it crash, then did it make a sound?”, in other words, “if someone didn’t see beauty, then was there any beauty at all?”

But not to get sidetracked with pointless mental speculations… beauty is all around us, and talented poets, philosophers, artists, photographers, and other creative individuals give us access to that beauty that pervades the world, the universe, and is all around us.

Even if there is beauty to be perceived, without the right talent, without the right intent, that beauty may not be perceived. But we see that beauty is strewn all around almost carelessly, like a master artist whose every brush stroke is a masterpiece, or a musician who, even while tuning their instrument makes the most heavenly sounds.

I began to reflect that whether beauty was perceived or not, still, the creation of beauty, the perception of beauty, all of it is intentional, not incidental or accidental… it is not that somehow accidentally some leaves arranged themselves in some beautiful patterns, or the trees arranged themselves into some pretty scene… the clouds, the winds, the skies, the stars, didn’t accidentally show up as beautiful, but there is a grand master of beauty behind it all, as said in the Christian literature “The Lord God made them all”.

In giving thanks to talented souls like Yolande, we should not forget the Supreme Talented Super Soul, the source of all beauty.

Bg. 10.41
यद्यद्विभूतिमत्सत्त्वं श्रीमदूर्जितमेव वा ।
तत्तदेवावगच्छ त्वं मम तेजोंऽशसंभवम् ॥ १०.४१ ॥
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ
śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ
mama tejo-’ṁśa-sambhavam

Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor.

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Surf’s Up!

In my recent travels, I’ve been to the coastal regions of Southern California quite a bit. There, I had a chance to witness surfers in action. My personal experience with them, (when they’re not far out on the water) is that they’re insightful. I feel a connection with surfer dudes and dudettes. They’re certainly out there seriously looking to catch the next big wave, and so are all of us.

There are different types of oceans to surf on. There are the traders who surf the waves of the markets, and the emergency medical staff who surf the waves of calm, accidents, and disasters, there are the surfers of corporate politics, and of course, among the most skillful surfers in the material world, politicians of various kinds… But all these oceans are material in nature.

Eventually one becomes too weak to be able to surf materially at all (old age, death, and disease), and then one has to eventually give up this body, and give up all the assets, relationships, privileges, and all identity associated with the present body left behind. The ocean of material existence is ultimately exhausting, all that effort and we go nowhere. And once all the waves I’ve earned are “caught”, there are no more left, until I strive hard to earn more, start from scratch. Such a waste. A bad deal.

I do have to surf a few different waves of material nature yet, but for the last couple of decades, had the great good fortune to first dip my toes, and then dive headlong into, the unlimited ocean of spiritual nectar. Those waves are sweet and refreshing, never-endingly adventurous, and one never tires of them. And one can go on surfing for all of eternity. These waves of spiritual bliss take one higher and higher, and there is no hankering, each wave is simply delicious!

It’s a matter of my previous actions and resulting reactions that I still have anything to do with the waves of material nature, but there will surely be a day when I will never leave the ocean of spiritual bliss.

While I do not yet have a personal experience of what Rupa Goswami writes below, I pray to never leave the waves of the oceans of nectar generated by the vibration of the syllables “krish-na”. Spiritual assets, relationships, privileges, and identity are guaranteed, I do take them all with me to any new destination.

tuṇḍe tāṇḍavinī ratiṁ vitanute tuṇḍāvalī-labdhaye
karṇa-kroḍa-kaḍambinī ghaṭayate karṇārbudebhyaḥ spṛhām
cetaḥ-prāṅgaṇa-saṅginī vijayate sarvendriyāṇāṁ kṛtiṁ
no jāne janitā kiyadbhir amṛtaiḥ kṛṣṇeti varṇa-dvayī

“I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Kṛṣ-ṇa’ have produced. When the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.”

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