SixFreedoms...3Cultural...3.4Art
3.4 Freedom in the Arts
Art must be considered as an integral part of the existence of the village community. It must sponsor art-related events to the highest extent possible. It must ensure that all children are groomed in at least one of the arts from an early age. As such, it will ensure that teachers of the arts are patronized in the village and that every attempt is made to help the teacher take that particular art to its spiritual heights. When creativity and art merge with daily work, it also lays the foundation for economic success.
Relevance:         The arts play an important role in producing well-groomed personalities and fruitful societies. ... Those who care for and hope to build fruitful societies should ensure that the members of their community are gifted with the benefits of the arts to the greatest extent possible. Gandhiji too has particularly specified art in his vision for villages. The vision of Tagore puts art at the heart of human progress. Indeed, the best cultures are connoisseurs of the arts.

This is especially relevant in order to balance out life in a society that has come to worship consumerism. While consumerism tends to postpone happiness to the next thing to be consumed, it is in living in the present moment that one can experience happiness. In exploring this paradox, one understands that art helps a person’s ability to live in the present moment; it is then that his creative juices flow and he can experience the bliss of the little (and huge) things around him. The pursuit of art is therefore the pursuit of living in the present moment and finding the highest joy.
Detailed Rationale:         There has rarely been a civilization—or even any long-lasting community—that does not have an art form ... that is special to it. Even tribes have their own forms of dance, music and traditions of storytelling. Art, therefore, cannot be considered as either incidental or individual pursuits; the village community has to take up art as one of its central themes to work upon.

Some of the greatest experiences in human expression are in the arts. Most arts have both a physical and a spiritual dimension to it besides the social. A thriving culture always uses arts as a means for experiencing what Maslow calls self-actualization.

It is argued in some circles that humans are actually spirits having a physical experience (not physical beings having a spiritual experience). It is therefore deducted that genuine self-expression is not of the body but of the spirit; highest self-expression is therefore not about possessions but about expression of creativity and the highest freedom. These traits of creativity and highest freedom are seen and experienced when an artist hits his ‘zone’. Some call it a state of bliss. Others call it a connection with the Divine. Some say, ‘I enjoy it.’ Some have called it the power of music while others call it the bliss of dance. People well-versed in meditation techniques speak of art in terms of dynamic meditation—the mind is totally absorbed into excellence, it is at peace and the Self expresses itself.

If we wish to avoid mention of the spirit and return to things that we can observe directly, we can still see that absorption into the arts produces better concentration, more peaceful people, greater fun, passionate personalities, meditative individuals, etc. The best of kings always encouraged great art. It is a sign of class. It induces a certain discipline in people, and many of the distinguished personalities we know have claimed that it contains the highest experience a man can have. So, art must definitely be encouraged.
Success Stories and Action:
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‘We do everything creatively and at excellence.’ This attitude should be patronized in all activities in a village. Arts like culinary arts, performing arts, handicraft, poetry, literature, painting, rangoli and fashion need to be encouraged as an integral part of life.

When arts are combined with spiritual themes, the effect is heady. Folk arts, classical arts, dramatics, prose, poetry and storytelling form effective vehicles for transfer of wisdom. Hence, activities of this kind should be sponsored, and live performances of these by either professionals or amateurs must be encouraged. With the understanding of art as a priceless possession or with the awareness that human fulfillment happens only through the satisfaction of the metaphysical nature of man, the village team must give top priority to encourage art of all kinds.

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