Hazrat Inayat : The Essence of Art pt II

After discussing the relationship between art and nature, Hazrat Inayat Khan now begin to examine the fundamentals of art, such as colour.

Strong colors produce more distinct vibrations. Their effect is more noticeable than that of soft colors, and therefore it is natural that strong colors can make an impression upon every soul. In order to distinguish the impression made by soft colors, delicacy of sense is required. For instance, the simple words of everyday language are understood by anyone, but the finer shades which follow the words are not understood by everybody. Therefore color, which is only a color and nothing else to ordinary people, has its special value, its degrees of influence, for a person with a fine sense.

The harmony of color is based on the same principles as the harmony of music. The reason is that music is audible vibrations, while color is the visible form of vibrations. From the metaphysical point of view, color has a great significance in man’s life. The first thing to be understood in connection with color is that the different colors come from the essence of light. All the different colors are different degrees of light, but as there are three aspects of light, this sometimes produces confusion in the mind of those who have not given thought to the subject. One aspect of light manifests through color; it is the radiance of the color itself. The next aspect is when the sun or something else throws its light upon the color, and the color responds to that light. And the third light is the light of the eyes that see. Any given color is not the same to everybody, not only because the degree of light of every person is different, or that the light which falls on the subject is different, or the degree of the color is different, but also because the element which that particular color represents produces a certain degree of response in an individual.

According to the mystical idea, there are four principal elements that can be distinguished and one that is indistinct. The distinct elements are earth, water, fire, and air. They are not elements in the sense in which a scientist would use this word, but rather according to the meaning that the mystic attaches to it. The indistinct element is the ether. All these elements are in the body of man, in his mind, and in his deeper self. The whole edifice of an individual existence is built by means of these five distinct elements. It is not necessary for a certain element which is predominant in one plane of existence, to continue to be so on all other planes. It is possible for harmony to exist between the elements that are predominant on the inner plane and those which are predominant on the outer plane. In short, it is according to the working of the different elements in one’s being that one is responsive to the different colors which represent the different elements.

From the point of view of a mystic, yellow is the color of the earth, green or white the color of the water element, red that of the fire element, and blue that of the air element. If asked what color the ether element is, the mystic would answer gray, because by gray one may think of anything one likes. It is most interesting for a student of color to see that all colors are, so to speak, different shades of light. It shows that light itself has manifested in variety, in the form of many colors.

Another important question is that of line. Many lovers or students of art feel the great influence of a line, the effect that a line can have. A vertical line, a horizontal line, a curve, a circle, all make such a difference in the form. And the more one studies to what extent line makes a difference, the more one will find that the secret of all beauty is in the line. But it is difficult to say what form or what line is the right form or line, and man has to accept that what one cannot learn by study, intuition can teach.

To be continued…

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