Painting the Universe
This is my impression of one of Sri Chinmoy's bird drawings - what we refer to as his Kanu-Yogamaya picture. When we first see the painting, it is too much to grasp. The eye doesn't know how to take it all in. If we look at the birds one by one, we lose sight of the overall picture. If we focus on the larger colour patterns, the individual birds disappear. It's like trying to "see" the universe with our human faculties. We want to grasp what Guru is expressing, to feel what the painting embodies. But it's almost impossible, just as it's impossible for us to comprehend how the billions of objects and events in the inner and outer world interact with one another. Science makes a gallant effort, but there's just too much that defies human logic. We would have to be God Himself to see the pattern behind life's seemingly random and chaotic events. But after gazing at the painting for a while, we start to notice that the universe Guru depicts is more comprehensible than it first appeared. Everything is ordered. Each "section" of birds, if I can describe the different groupings this way, has its mission, its own shape, its own colour, its own movement. And within each section are other sections - tiny blue birds flying their own formation amid the larger pattern of red or yellow birds, for example. Different planes of consciousness are weaving in and out of one another - maintaining their discrete identities while, at the same time, participating in the larger pattern of things. Each bird-life is joyful, spontaneous, free; but, taken together, the patterns of consciousness they form are structured and coherent - with an artistic logic and psychic beauty. This universe of birds, despite its complexity, is at bottom very simple, highly ordered and extremely beautiful. As the eye moves back and forth from the individual birds to the bird patterns, we start to get a simultaneous sense of both realities - like seeing the ocean and its individual drops at the same time. But the birds aren't drops of water. They are living beings, drawn by their creator with enormous love; and this love they express and embody. Each bird, so to speak, is like a distinct heartbeat throbbing with love. And the heart patterns they form, the entire painting in fact, vibrates with intense love. Observing how the birds function individually and collectively, seeing how the moment of love that each bird represents interacts with the timeless love that the painting itself embodies, we get a glimpse of how Guru himself might "see" or experience the universe - as though Guru in this painting had somehow reduced all of existence to a form the human consciousness could grasp. So that was my experience of the painting.