The Spiritual Life - Topic Ten
What is the purpose of art?
From Maturity: The Responsibility For Being Oneself by Osho
Those statues and temples were not built for worshiping; they were built for experiencing. They are scientific laboratories—they have nothing to do with religion! A certain secret science has been used for centuries so the coming generations could come in contact with the experiences of the older generations. Not through books, not through words, but through something that goes deeper—through silence, through meditation, through peace. As your silence grows, your friendliness, your love grows; your life becomes a moment-to-moment dance, a joy, a celebration. P.xvi-xvii
What is the purpose of religious art whether it be beautiful architecture, sculpture, paintings, music, liturgy, stories and illuminated texts? As Osho points out, religious art is not for worshiping but for experiencing.
One person said that she didn’t go to church for the worship, or for the people, but for the building. She liked being in such a beautiful building. The building filled her with a sense of reverence, awe, joy, and peace.
Does beauty lead us to an awareness of Godliness? It can, if we stop to smell the roses. If we savor the experience. The beauty of Godliness is sublime, moving, and lifts us to an awareness of wonder. This experience has been called “rapture” as if we have been taken up into the Oneness of All.
Religious art is not made up of objects to possess, to view, to analyse, to sight-see. Religious art is a gateway to a higher state of consciousness, to an experience of celebration of the wonder of existence and creation and beauty.