The Seers of Truth – Literature, Responsibility and Brave Hearts

excerpts from – P. R. Sarkar
copyright 1999

The aim of artistic creation is to impart joy and bliss. The bestowers of this bliss, the servers of the people, cannot keep their daily lives aloof from commonplace events, mingled with pleasures and pains, smiles and tears. The children of the soil of this earth are those with whom literature must remain inseparably associated – and the writer is also one of them.

A Writer’s Responsibility

People seek deliverance from the whirlpools of darkness; they aspire to illumine their lives and minds with ever-new light. In all their actions, in all their feelings, there is an inherent tendency to move forward; therefore the creator of art cannot remain idle or inert. Yet human beings on their journey through life may sometimes stop short in fear or apprehension. Sometimes their knees give way and they sit down fatigued and frustrated. At such times the responsibility of the gifted writer becomes all the more significant. And when the writers sing their songs of forward movement, they have to be very cautious about one more thing: after every artistic creation they must look back carefully to determine whether those for whom they have sung their marching songs are capable of moving forward with them – whether their thought-waves are touching the core of the people’s hearts, whether their service is really doing good to them.

In the literary world, the garland of glory goes only to those who are ever-aware of their responsibilities as writers. Real writers are not only the beacons of the present, they are also the minstrels of the past and the messengers of the future. They are capable of providing proper leadership for the future only after grasping the relational flow between the past and the present. Past, present and future must become beautifully interwoven in their compositions: only dreaming of a bright future will not suffice. One must remember that all the potentialities of the future lie embedded as seeds in the womb of the present, just as the blossoms of the present were sown in the past.

Good literature, in order to fulfill the demands of the time, must move in unison with society, keeping control over its speed. The writers may move a step or two ahead, for they are the guides of society; but they should not move too far forward. Movement is the characteristic of life, and so everything must move. Writers cannot fling humanity into the stagnancy of death, for in this there is no thought of benevolence. So moving together with the people they will continue singing their marching songs – they will go on filling the human mind with the sweet nectar of eternal life.

Writers must prove their sense of responsibility through every line of their pens. Command over language and ideas is not sufficient. Something more is needed: the power to delve deeply into any matter – the earnest effort to identify the mind with the minds of all, to penetrate into the essence of truth. Those who, possessed with a little superficial knowledge of life, are mere jugglers of language, cannot produce ideal literature. In the language of the Vedas a writer is called Kavi or seer of truth. Only such seers can create true literature; for the task of a writer is to hint at the future, and the ability to look into the future belongs to the seers of truth alone.

Literature Expresses the Dynamism of Humanity

The world is the thought projection of the Cosmic Mind, and so there is no question of any pause, even for a moment, in this eternal flow. Whether humans may desire it or not, society will have to move forward through ceaseless environmental changes. Literature is the psychic expression of this dynamism of humanity. It is for this dynamic humanity that literature has been created, and so it cannot be static, nor shall it ever become static. The thought-provoking expressions that are created with the brush of the artist and the pen of the writer are changeable, and so the artist and the writer should always keep vigilant eyes on these changing currents in society. Although the momentum of society depends on various factors, it is largely determined by psychological and cultural transformations.

Writers must not remain intoxicated with the colourful spell of their imaginations, nor should they drive humanity to despair by constantly harping on the failures of the practical world, or singing the songs of frustration. Writers must be closely attuned to the changes in both the psychological trends and the cultural evolution which remould the social structure. Not only the writers, but all the creators of art should wield their pens or brushes with a synthetic outlook. Artistic endeavour may be justified only when it results in the all-round development of society.

Artists need Courage

So real artists or writers before wielding their brushes or pens, should understand clearly in which way the society is moving and why it is moving in that direction – what are the fundamental causes of its inherent weakness – and from which doctrines the depraved propensities which are infecting the society emanate. And merely understanding will not suffice: the artists may have to resist the surging current of destruction single-handedly.

It is through clashes that power finds expression. In a life which is averse to fight – where the urge for fight is feeble – there life’s expression also remains vague and indistinct. Human intellect is indeed awakened through various kinds of natural, social, psychic and economic struggles. Those who seek the awakening of their intellects should not be afraid of struggle. Each of the social, economic and psychological principles of human life keep on changing from age to age. Endowed with the strength of past experiences, human beings seek to create their future wealth: this is an undeniable truth.

In order to give full expression to this continuous flow of humanity’s true nature, then insight, power of expression, and boldness – all three are necessary. The creation of ideal literature is not possible for those who are ever ready to yield to the pressures of the throng.

Art as Service

The author’s literature and the artist’s creation of art are indeed dedicated to the service of humanity, and so the writer and the artist must always deeply remember this truth. They will have to delineate their subject or theme in such away that people, while assimilating it, may not feel any impediment in the path of their development. Interest must be created through natural expression. The suggestion of subtle hints, interest and humour that exists even in the crudeness of ordinary life has to be adroitly held up before the eyes of the people – a touch of its colour must be conveyed to their minds.

It is easy to talk, but difficult to act; for in spite of mental characteristics being the same in all persons, they are expressed differently at different times, at different places, and in different persons due to variations of reactive momenta or environmental peculiarities. If the artist’s mind can be made to touch the innermost hearts of others – if their human sentiment can be synchronised with others’ sentiments – then alone can people determine which path will be truly beneficial for them, which road will lead to the greatest unfoldment of their potentialities. If the potentialities of individual or collective development are not clearly understood, the psychic wealth of humanity may be misused at any moment.

The Apex of Artistic Practice

Whatever be the profound, philosophical implications of the word love, or prema in sanskrit, the true characteristic of prema is supra physical -beyond the bondage of any limitation. When artists, absorbed in the essence of love, try to convey it to the people through their language, rhetoric and subtle suggestions, the sweetness of their artistic genius reaches the apex of expression.

But then this creation of the artist cannot be regarded as popular literature or art, because the subtle sense which is capable of comprehending that transcendental feeling is, indeed, undeveloped in most people. We do find at places in the literature of Rabindranath Tagore some semblances of this pure, supra-physical love, but whenever Rabindranath tried to give expression to it, he became unintelligible to the mass. The transcendental thoughts and ideas of the sweet, graceful shlokas of the Upanis’ads are also incomprehensible to the common people.

This sublime prema or love has established itself for all eternity beyond the limits of time, space and person. Infinite love is the ultimate ecstatic expression of finite love. This very sense that artists try to awaken in the popular mind – when they devote themselves to the task of establishing the link between the finite and the infinite, between the mundane and the transcendental – this very awareness though not purely transcendental, verily bears the highest importance in the realm of art. Through expressions which are comprehensible to ordinary intelligence, it gradually leads the sweetness of the human mind to a supra-sensible dreamland.

Knowledge of the Cosmic Mind

The greatest obstacle in the collective progress of the human race is the ignorance of the individual mind. Knowledge is for all – it should be open and free like the light and air of the sky. I would say that an artist should try to convey whatever they know to the hearts of the people in an easily understandable manner.

The sole cause of the internal weakness of human society is its ignorance. The superlative intuition that removes this ignorance is nothing but the thought of the Cosmic Mind. Art or literature is one of those sources from which common people get the opportunity to become established in the Cosmic Mind. If the mind of one fails to know the minds of others, if the minds of many are not comprehended by the mind of one, then how is the establishment of unity possible? The endeavour (sa’dhana’) of the artist or the writer has been continuing through the ages, and its aim is to see One among many, and to lead the many to the path of One. In this effort there is no imposition, no injunction of the Law, nor the imperious pressure of any administration, only a sweet and cooperative relation. Though separated by many countries, many states, many religions, many communities and many languages, the human race is an indivisible entity.