Literary Exploration Series: Sadhana, the Realisation of Life – Ch.7

Sadhana cover

CHAPTER 7: The Realisation of Beauty

Link to chapter: click here
Length of chapter reading: 14:14 minutes

Is beauty pleasurable? Can pain be beautiful? Can beauty that once brought us joy turn into a thing of pain? The realisation of beauty is not a milestone, and once reached, your quest is complete. Beauty takes on an infinite variety of shapes, colours, meanings and stories. To assume that what is beautiful to you is beautiful to everyone else is a common warp of perception, but what of the assumption that all beauty brings joy? We can discuss society, we can discuss culture, we can discuss tribal influences. Beauty is understood just as much as it is misunderstood. Tagore’s seventh chapter provokes ideas that allow his audience to perhaps question what this creature we call ‘beauty’ really is.


“A thing is only completely our own when it is a thing of joy to us.”

This is because joy resides in the heart, and for something of this world to bring us joy, we must have allowed it into our heart.


“…as long as our realisation is incomplete, a division necessarily remains between things known and unknown, pleasant and unpleasant. But in spite of the dictum of some philosophers, man does not accept any arbitrary or absolute limit to his knowable world. Every day his science is penetrating into the region formally marked in his map as unexplored or in-explorable. Our sense of beauty is similarly engaged and ever-pushing on its conquests. Truth is everywhere, therefore everything is the object of our knowledge. Beauty is omnipresent, therefore everything is capable of giving us joy.

Our perception dictates whether we recognise beauty. Perception is not a question of how much are see but from where we see it. Test this last statement with the quote above and see how it fits into your reality. Everything is capable of giving us joy. What does that mean? Can you see joy in starving children? Can you transcend the physical and encompass the beauty of any scenario? If you are using your physical sense, the answer will be ‘no’. Perhaps the human mind is not capable of recognizing beauty in all that exists in this world. Perhaps what we understand to be beauty is, in fact, a misunderstanding. Perhaps it is helpful to start there…what is your definition of beauty?


“As we become conscious of the harmony in our soul, our apprehension of the blissfulness of the spirit of the world becomes universal, and the expression of beauty in our life moves in goodness and love towards the infinite. This is the ultimate object of our existence, that we must ever know that beauty is truth, truth beauty. We must realise the whole world in love, for love gives it birth, sustains it, and takes it back to its bosom. We must have that perfect emancipation of heart which gives us the power at the inner-most centre of things and have the taste of that fullness of disinterested joy which belongs to Brahma.”

This, to me, implies that beauty has absolutely nothing to do with physical looks and everything to do with the essence of existence. A woman is beautiful not because of what she is wearing but because of the essence within that she radiates for others to experience. A sunset is beautiful not because it is romantic but because of the essence of life that it inspires.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Not in the ‘eyes’ of the beholder, but in the ‘eye’ – the Third Eye. Beauty can only be seen through the soul. It is the connection of divine to divine that creates the experience of beauty. It is the openness of the heart that allows for beauty. Without faith in the existence of a power greater than our own, beauty cannot exist.

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