Beauty, expression of the divine perfection
“For God all things are Good, Beautiful and True; only to people, some things seem right and others do not.”
Since the beginning of times, the sages have argued that beauty exists above all as a principle, overflowing, from its divine fullness, the good and the truth in the whole creation in a mysterious and relentless flow. Echoes of ancient wisdom still sound in the memory of mankind, as, one by one, all schools of authentic spiritual teaching have transmitted their torch to the followers, connecting thus to the primordial tradition, so that the enigmatic promise of immortality is not lost.
This teaching has always been adapted to the specific conditions of each era. In the oriental vision, the power of divine perfection and beauty, Tripura Sundari, the Beauty of the Three Worlds, is considered to be the creator of the five fundamental cosmic acts: Creation (Srsti), Maintenance (Sthiti), Resorption (Samhara), Occultation (Tirodhana) and Revelation (Anugraha). The godly power of the triad, Tripura Sundari, is immanent in every triad and also transcends and sustains all triads (the three worlds: physical, astral and causal, the three conditioned states: wakefulness, dream and deep sleep; the three trends of nature (gunas): sattva – purity, rajas – expansion and passion, tamas – inertia and ignorance; the three dimensions of time: past, present and future, etc.
Beyond any theory and attempts to define it, the sages of all times have always sought to achieve inner beauty, the ideal perfection carried to holiness, which enables the man to feel beauty intensely and deeply, in order to live beautifully.
Divinity is always considered the center and origin of beauty: “… everything is around the King of Everything; He is the purpose of all that exists; He is the cause of all beauty.” (Plato, “the Second Letter to Dionysus”).
In the Tantric vision, in terms of universal principles, it is known that the feminine principle is the manifestation of God in terms of names and forms, while the male principle signifies the transcendent and lacking of attributes aspect of the Divine. Therefore, the feminine nature has always been associated with beauty, but in connection to this, an obvious question may appear in us: where does ultimate beauty actually lie? Tantric teachings urge us to look for the beauty within us, since the outer beauty can reflect only for a few moments the ineffable inner beauty that transcends all forms. Sundari means, literally speaking, “beauty” and the worship of this Great Cosmic Power is nothing else but to practically follow the ecstatic path of beauty and happiness through manifestation, towards the Divine Absolute.
At the level of the common conception, we visualize beauty as something that involves perfection and harmony in forms and visible appearances, like a very beautiful woman or a beautiful flower. However, no matter how beautiful they are, if we analyze more carefully we find in them some aspects that are less likeable as well as some imperfections. In addition, as a direct result of the life experience we have, we know that no matter how great the beauty of some form is, it will end in decay and even disappear, sometimes very quickly. This is because the form can embody a breathtaking beauty for a certain period of time, yet beauty is and means much more than any form. At the highest level, true beauty is eternal and it just reflects itself in certain proportions in the changing forms of things and beings in Manifestation.
From this perspective, Tripura Sundari does not represent only the beauty of the form, but she is the very indescribable beauty of perception of the divine perfection. For this reason, beauty should never be considered inherent in objects, because it appears from the light of the divine consciousness radiating from everything. As the supreme Consciousness of God is infinite and eternal, beauty is also eternal, so it never disappears, only reveals itself differently in many forms. Therefore, the power of transfiguration (or, in other words, the ability to see the sublime where others do not see anything or even see the opposite) is an essential attribute in ensuring the success of the sadhana, or of the tantric spiritual practice.
The Taoist wisdom also offers a profound spiritual perspective on beauty, goodness and divine truth in a form that allows us to intuit the subtle flavor of metaphors:
“When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other
Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other
Therefore the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away.”
(Excerpt from “Tao Te King “)
Oriental sages and some philosophers argue that beauty exists as an idea modulated through a specific energy since before it manifested concretely in everything that surrounds us, in nature or in art, here or in other planes or worlds. Beauty is always seen in the relationship between the perceiver (the knowing subject) and the object perceived. Beauty, regardless of its reality, is the representation in the human consciousness of the properties and characteristics considered to be true, harmonious, good and uplifting of the object, reality or human being considered as such. Fully noticing and appreciating what is beautiful, the human being will vibrate in unison with the truth, harmony and mysteries which are beyond its actual support and thus will transfer in his own being, through resonance, the truth, the harmony and the well-being perceived as such outside himself. Due to this ineffable, complex process the human being who is aware of beauty will instantly vibrate in unison with the beneficial subtle, objective, harmonious energies from the sphere of force of beauty, truth and cosmic good.
Physically, beauty manifested as a form is the sublime, harmonious, beneficial, objective (true), creative expression of a necessity which provides happiness, which indirectly reflects the idea of order, truth, balance, symmetrical structure, evolution, spiritualization. In its immediate, amazingly splendid, exuberant or discretely brilliant expression, beauty is truth, good and harmony. From this perspective, the sense of beauty could be seen as the awareness of perfection, the mysterious appeal or the call towards the intuition or the full realization of the possibilities of perfection. The feeling of beauty is, in its essence, a spontaneous state of excitement, an ideal palpable around this absolute.
To gradually and ineffably resonate with this euphoric state of perception of beauty, it is however necessary to eliminate any distorted views, prejudices or embarrassing ideas about what we know or can evoke through our memory. In other words, a “cleansing method” of our mind is absolutely necessary, to allow the light of the Eternal Self to reflect gloriously and magnificently at every level of Creation, from a simple blade of grass to the immensity of the physical or astral galaxies. If this condition is not met, the residue of our thoughts and emotions will hinder, like a dark film, the subtle divine beauty which transpires from every form that surrounds us, even if we are able to perceive clearly the physical characteristics of these forms.
Essentially speaking, Tripura Sundari represents the ultimate beauty of the pure perception which occurs when we are able to see the entire manifestation in ourselves and the whole nature as a direct reflection of the reality of God’s consciousness.