Almost seventy percent of painters, dancers, poets have gone mad. They have made too much effort. They have put too much tension into their being, so that it brought a breakdown, a nervous breakdown. And many of the artists have even committed suicide. The wound of failure became unbearable: to live any longer and to carry the same wound, and feeling again and again…became too difficult, and it was better to destroy oneself. And those who have not gone mad or committed suicide, they have also not died in a blissful way.
In the East, we have defined the ultimate values as three: satyam, shivam, sunderam. Satyam means truth – that is the highest. The seeker, the mystic follows that path. Then comes shivam: goodness, virtue. The moralist, the saint, the sage – they follow that path. And sunderam means beauty. The poets, the singers, the musicians – they follow that path.
Those who attain to truth automatically come to know what is good and what is beauty. Those who follow good, neither come to know what is true, nor do they come to know what is beauty. The followers of good – the moralists, the puritans – also never achieve enlightenment. All that they achieve is a repressed personality – very beautiful on the surface, but deep inside very ugly. They have great reputation, honor, respect, but inside they are hollow.
The people who follow sunderam, beauty, are inside fulfilled, utterly fulfilled, but their misery is that that is not their aim: just to be fulfilled. They want all that they have experienced to be brought into language, into paintings, into sculpture, into architecture. Hence, even though they have experienced beautiful spaces they remain anxiety-ridden.
The people who follow beauty are most often not very respectable – not in the same sense as the saints are. They are very natural people, very loving and very lovable, but they don’t have any ego, any idea of holier-than-thou; they remain just simple and ordinary.
These three values have been for centuries followed separately. So the people who have become enlightened have never painted, have never made beautiful statues, have never composed music; they have never danced. They have never followed the dictates of the society, they have never followed the conventions of the society; hence most of them have been crucified, poisoned, killed – because people want you to be a puritan, a moralist. In people’s eyes morality is a social value, truth is not. Beauty is for entertainment; they don’t take it seriously.
I have been trying in many ways to open new doors – this is one of the most important doors. I want you to be a seeker of truth, but when you have attained to truth you should not be without songs and without dances. Beauty is a little lower value than truth, but the man of truth can express beauty more clearly than the poet, than the painter. For the higher, the lower is always understandable – not vice versa.