“We live in a beautiful world… yeah we do, yeah we do!”


Devi NarayaniYou know that feeling when you involuntarily gasp at the sight of something… as though it’s radiance and perfection were a portal into other more subtle and shimmering realms? Be it a woman dancing, a moon rise, sunlight filtered through a canopy of forest, or a child’s eyes looking into yours… the feeling you get is that God is close… right here in fact, and that somewhere, somehow, there’s a method to all this madness and that everything’s going to be alright.

This world can feel pretty tragic sometimes. We open to the news, or to Facebook, and we’re assaulted with stories of war, murder, abuse, corruption and outrageous greed. It’s enough to break your heart, or at least to shut it down in despair.

I don’t know what will be the future of our planet – some days it looks really pretty grim, but I do know that this moment is the only one there is and it’s entirely up to me how I choose to spend it.

My personal definition of beauty is ‘divinity made manifest’, and has much more to do with the light that shines from within the outer form. It can affect any of the senses, but in essence it takes us beyond them. Beauty touches the Soul… it reminds us that we have one. It reminds us that no matter how tired, lonely, or overwhelmed we may feel at times there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Beauty stirs a place in me that I suspect is the same in you. Beauty harmonises, magnifies, regenerates, and uplifts. It reminds us that magic is real.

At the temple here in South India, there’s a puja performed early in the morning on all of the deities (made from black stone or various metals), called abishekam, which involves ritually and lovingly washing them with a variety of things – water coloured with turmeric (yellow) and kumkum (blood red), a herbal paste which is like a scrub for their ‘skin’, coconut water, oil, sandalwood powder, milk and honey. Afterwards the God or Goddess is dressed as people are here in India when in their Sunday best – brightly coloured silk sarees for the women, and gold-trimmed cotton dhotis (formal version of a sarong) for the men.

Finally, He or She is adorned with jewels and flowers, and ‘awakened’ by passing the flame of various ghee lamps in fluid circular motions in front of the deity’s form. Bells are rung, trumpets sound, and the deep base of drums makes sure that the mere mortals observing are wide awake as well!

It is elaborate to say the very least, but the message conveyed is quite simple. It tells us wake up, bathe joyfully, dress with care, anoint yourself with sweet smells or put a flower in your hair, remember that inside you too are divine – tend to that as well as to your body, as you move with dignity and grace about your day.

It also reminds us that some effort is required to remember the Light within. We must prepare the soil by pulling out the weeds occasionally, sweep the dust out from under the bed, light a candle, bake a cake, sing a song, or clean the windows! The things that we do may be mundane or spiritual – it doesn’t really matter, just that we do something to consciously welcome Love and Light into our homes and into our hearts – preferably on a daily basis.

Beauty – both the creation and the appreciation of it, brings me so much joy. Joy makes me smile, and when I smile I feel good. It’s pretty simple. My teacher Amma tells us not to be confused that our altars and our offerings are actually for God. The Source of all life, the Ultimate Reality probably doesn’t need our shells and our feathers, but in the act of offering up the best of ourselves – our presence, gratitude, generosity, and love, we get to feel good, and that’s the whole point. A world full of people feeling good would be quite an extraordinary place.

As the saying goes, “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”.

Beauty can be expressed in so many ways, and it’s up to each of us to find our unique contribution. Some of us dance, some of us sing… some plant, paint, bake, draw, sew, decorate, write or counsel. There’s no limit to the mediums we can use. All that’s required is a little bit of awareness and the willingness to share.

Never underestimate the power of your creation – anything done with love has the power to transform the heart of another. It’s like the beauty outside resonates with something inside of us, and reminds us who we really are. The vibration of Beauty strikes the string alongside of it, the Joy note. Beside that I’m sure is Gratitude major. Put them all together and the Bliss chord melts the heart, with the sweetest music ever in perfect pitch.

Whatever you do, do it with love. Make it beautiful for beauty’s sake… why not?! Be like a frangipani tree making sublime smelling flowers only to throw them to the ground to make way for more! Be that abundant. Be that generous. Delight in your embodiment and use it well. Remember always the source of your creative energy, and bow to That by letting it flow.

I suspect that for you, as for me, as for our planet, there will be great healing in that.

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”  ~ Anne Frank

Om Namo Narayani

ps. thanks Coldplay for the title. And Simon & Garfunkel for last week’s in case you were too young to realise.