Chapter 10: Truth, Goodness, Beauty: Windows to the Divine
These three characteristics - truth, goodness and beauty - are human categories framed around the divine, which is in itself frameless. They are not qualities of the divine as such. If the human mind can perceive the divine through any fourth dimension, then this fourth dimension will also become a quality of the divine. I don’t mean that the divine is not the good. I’m only saying that this goodness is a quality that is chosen by us and seen by us. If man did not exist in the world then the divine would not be good, the divine would not be beautiful, the divine would not be true. Divinity would exist all the same, but these qualities, which are chosen by us, would not be there. These are just human perceptions. We can perceive the divine to be other qualities as well.
We do not know if animals perceive the divine. We do not know how they perceive things at all, but one thing is certain: they will not perceive the divine in human terms. If they perceive the divine at all, they will feel and perceive it in quite a different way from us. The qualities they perceive will not be the same as they are for us.
When a person is predominantly intellectual, he cannot conceive of how you can say godliness is beautiful. The very concept is absolutely foreign to his mind. And a poet cannot conceive that truth can mean anything except beauty. It cannot mean anything else to him. Truth is beauty; all else is simply intellectual. For a poet, for a painter, for a man who perceives the world in terms of the heart, truth is a naked thing without beauty. It is just an intellectual category.
So if a particular mind is predominantly intellectual, it cannot understand the emotional mind, and vice versa. That is why there is so much misunderstanding and so many definitions. No single definition can be accepted by the whole of humanity. Godliness must come to you in your own terms. When you define godliness, you will be part of the definition. The definition will come from you; it as such is indefinable. So those who look at it through these three windows have, in a way, imposed themselves, their own definitions, on the divine.
There is also the possibility of a fourth way of seeing the divine for one who has transcended these three dimensions in his personality. In India, we do not have a word for the fourth. We simply call it turiya, the fourth. There is a type of consciousness where you are neither intellectual nor emotional nor active, but just conscious. Then you are not looking at the sky through any window. You have come out of your house and you know the windowless sky. There is no pattern, no frame.
Only the type of consciousness that has realized the fourth can understand the limitations of the other three. It can understand the difficulty of understanding among the others, and can also understand the underlying similarities among beauty, truth and goodness. Only the fourth type can understand and tolerate. The other three types will always be quarreling.
All religions belong to one of these three categories. And they have been constantly quarreling. Buddha cannot take part in this conflict. He belongs to the fourth type. He says, “It is all nonsense. You are not quarreling about divine qualities; you are quarreling about your windows. The sky remains the same from any window.”
So these are not divine qualities. These are divine qualities as perceived by us. If we can destroy our windows, we can know the divine as quality-less, nirgun. Then we go beyond qualities. Only then does human projection not come in.