In a darshan, Osho speaks about the different reflections of bliss that we know as pleasure, happiness and joy, and refers to Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso.
It is just as you see your face in the mirror. The face in the mirror is a reflection of your original face but it is not your face. Joy is the reflection of bliss in the mirror of the mind. When you close your eyes to the mirror, you experience your original face. And that’s the search of all religion, the search for the original face.
The Zen masters say one has to find the face that belonged to you before you were born or even before your parents were born. And there are layers and layers which have gathered upon the original face.
The most superficial layer is of pleasure. So whenever a society, a culture, remains obsessed with pleasure it remains childish; it is playing with toys. It cannot have anything of real meaning. Sooner or later it will feel the emptiness, the hollowness of it – because toys can keep you engaged for a time but not forever. And it is good that they cannot keep you occupied forever, otherwise there would be no possibility of becoming a Christ or a Buddha.
Toys have to be broken, have to be shattered. One has to get rid of them, but nobody can get rid of toys in an immature way. It has to be a realisation that they are futile.
The people who have broken all the toys enter a deeper realm, the realm of happiness. Then they start becoming aware of the beauty of existence – the sunrise, the sunset, the stars and the immense harmony that exists in the universe, the celestial music… what Heraclitus calls the hidden harmony.
To feel that hidden harmony through any aspect brings happiness. One can feel it through painting, one can feel it through music, poetry, sculpture. But modern man has lost that dimension almost totally. We have started worshipping ugliness instead of beauty. It is a sad thing, unfortunate, but in a way indicative. It indicates a failure of nerve.
The paintings of Picasso, and the paintings of the ancient masters, of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, are so totally different that they seem to be unbridgeable. Leonardo or Michelangelo give you a sense of harmony, accord. Looking at their sculpture or painting, their pieces of art, you will feel as if you are surrounded by something which can only be called the song of silence. A grace will descend on you, a kind of meditativeness. The mind will stop for a moment.
Looking at the paintings of Picasso or Dalí one feels like going crazy, one would like to commit murder or suicide. One cannot meditate on the paintings of Picasso. If one does one is bound to become sick, sick to death.
The paintings of Picasso are basically not works of art but works of pathology. He is full of insanity and this is his way of getting rid of it, by painting it he gets rid of it. It is good for him, as far as he himself is concerned it is cathartic. It is a kind of throwing up or something that is making you feel nauseous, once you have thrown it out you feel good, there is a certain well-being.
If Picasso had been prevented from painting he would have committed suicide or would have committed murder or would have gone mad – these were the only three alternatives left for him. Painting was good for him as a psychoanalytical method.
They use it now in psychoanalysis: mad people are told to paint – and it helps. Just by painting they can throw much garbage out of themselves. They are told to write and they write poetry and novels. Just by writing they become a little saner because that which was torturing them inside is thrown out; they feel unburdened.
This is a pathological state.
Happiness cannot arise out of modern art. It has lost that quality, it has even fallen from giving happiness to people. And the same is true about modern poetry, modern music. And not only man but even plants give their judgement.
In one Canadian university they were experimenting with music. To a few plants Ravi Shankar’s sitar was played, and to others of the same kind, of the same height, in every way the same, jazz music, pop music. A strange thing happened: the plants that heard Ravi Shankar’s sitar – taped music – all started leaning towards the tape-recorder, like a person who is hard of hearing and wants to listen more closely and puts his hand to his ear and comes closer. And the other plants started moving away from the jazz music and the pop music… to avoid it, somehow to escape. They could not escape because they were rooted in the ground, imprisoned, but at least they could move away a little.
And the plants that were listening to Ravi Shankar’s sitar grew faster. In the same time they became double the size of the other plants and they produced bigger flowers than the other plants.
Happiness is the experience of harmony in existence, but it is passive, you are just receptive. Joy is active, not passive. Happiness is a woman, joy is a man. Joy dances, sings, participates, creates; happiness only receives, welcomes. Happiness is a host, but joy is the process of participation in the ultimate harmony of things. But still all these three are far away from bliss.
Bliss is becoming one with the harmony, not even participating. It is neither male nor female. It is just dissolving into the whole and dissolving forever. It is the point of no-return – and that is the ultimate goal of sannyas.
Osho, Going all the Way, Ch 9 (unpublished excerpt)