I was walking on the road one day, preoccupied and deeply immersed in figuring out the world (“‘so what’s new with that?” my wife would ask) when I was struck by the utter beauty of a small plant growing out of the cracks in the pavement. It was a small bright yellow flower, so vulnerable and yet the tar and concrete had not succeeded in dampening its will to live and smile! I was jolted out of my preoccupations and lifted into a world of beauty and delight. This is the ineffable quality of ramyam.
Design discussions usually confine themselves to focusing on functionality and aesthetics, and often functionality is given greater weightage. Indian design has emphasised three aspects as essential for good design: functionality, aesthetics and ramyam. Even every day objects like the knives one uses for cutting vegetables or the pot in which water is kept are crafted with care and beauty. This aspect of every day life where space and time are devoted to ones creative self is very rare today. Having a space for an artistic exhibition or performance is not the same thing because it fragments an important ingredient of integral growth.
Stop reading, and take a short walk in the garden (if one is accessible to you) or just gaze outside the window for a few minutes. If you kept your heart and mind open you would have experienced a ‘mini-miracle’. Perhaps you noticed a bird in flight, or a blade of grass shaking in the wind. If you were touched by this small miracle, you will understand the idea of the Divine that is at the heart of the beautiful temples and the many dances and music that abound in India:
“The divine expresses itself through order and beauty; whenever man experiences order and beauty, he touches the Divine; In words through poetry; in sound through music; in form through sculpture; in space through architecture; in ones’ body through dance and in ones’ mind through mathematics”
These modes of self-expression are called the six paths to reaching the Divine within.
Ramyam is not difficult to put into practice; it only takes a shift of intent. The moment one stops valuing the utilitarian above the human, one has taken the first step towards appreciating the aesthetic and the inspirational. Yogacharya Krishnamcharya had a simple suggestion “whenever you find yourself really busy with activity, take a moment to get in touch with your breath and notice the world around you, you will feel a burst of energy” Often small miracles have hit me when I took a moment off, did some thing for the pure fun of it, or just watched the world go by. Ramyam is also the sense of fun.
The only thing that comes in the way of allowing the beauty that nature is offering to us all the time is our need to take ourselves too seriously. J Krishnamurti has said that one can’t walk the spiritual path if one does not have a sense of humor and one is not able to laugh at oneself. If we give ourselves space to fail and goof off and learn, we will discover play. Play is fun, play is innovation and play is love for life.
Ramyam: the exuberance of creative interpretations arises from the Vishuddhi Chakra
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My work revolves around helping individuals, groups and organizations discover their Dhamma, and become “the best they can be”. This aligns with my own personal saadhana. I have restated this question for my self as follows: “how can I be in touch with the well spring of my love for the world and my love for my self simultaneously”