A painter disappears in the painting

1001 Tales told by the Master

“Whenever the union is found, God is found.”

Landscape painting

A famous Taoist story says a great emperor asked the greatest painter of his land to paint the wall of his bedroom with Himalayan mountain peaks. “Paint the Himalayas” – he was a lover of the Himalayas. The painter worked for two or three years, and when the painting was completed he asked the king to come and see.

The curtain that was covering the wall was removed. The emperor was simply transported to another world. He had been to the Himalayas many times, he was a lover of the mountains, but the painting even surpassed the real. He looked and looked and looked. He was so mystified that he could not utter a single word for many minutes.

Then he suddenly said, “But I have been to these parts. I have never seen this path that goes round and round the mountains. Where did you get the idea of this path?”

And the story says the painter said, “I don’t know, really. Let me go and see.” And he went onto the path and disappeared behind the mountain – in the painting! – and never came back again.

A strange story, unbelievable. How can you go into the painting and never come back again? But it is of tremendous significance. It is not a historical event, but a mythological, poetic event, which says much.

It says that the painter can disappear into his painting: only then is he a painter. The poet can disappear in his poetry: only then is he a poet. If he cannot disappear in his poetry then his poetry is just rubbish. If he cannot disappear in his painting, then he may know all the techniques of painting but he is not a great artist. He may be a technician, he may know about colors and canvasses and he may know how to paint, but he has no real genius in him. His painting is something separate from him; he has not yet found the union with his painting.

And whenever the union is found, God is found.

That’s why I say there are as many doors to God as there are people. All that is needed is, whatsoever you are doing, get lost in it; be so totally one with it that nothing is left behind. In that very moment, God is.

God is Unio Mystica: the Mystic Union. […]

If you are clinging to your separate existence, if you are clinging to your separate life, God will not be yours – because God is the union. […]

You cannot have both separation and union; that is impossible. That is not possible because of the very nature of things. Either you can be united or you can remain separate. […]

And the paradox is, when you are no longer interested in your separate life, in your separate being, you will have infinite being and you will have eternal life. You may disappear as a small flame of a candle, but you will become the sun of all the suns. You may disappear as a drop, but you will become the ocean.

Osho, Unio Mystica, Vol 2, Ch 9

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

Comments are closed.