The highest education is that which does not merely give us information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence.Rabindranath Tagore
Why are our temples so heavily adorned with images, patterns and designs?
Climb to the top of Chartres Cathedral, out onto the roof and rafters and you see the stone carvings at the very top of the building are just as intricately detailed as those at the very bottom. These images are never intended to be seen by the average worshipper, they sit in the sky only to be looked upon by an omnipresence.
Perhaps the images we see from ground inspire us to look up. Perhaps they remind us of the infinitude of creation and celebrate in the limits of the temple the unlimitedness of the universe .
Perhaps the imagery is a way to focus our attention, we come to the peace of the temple from our chaotic lives outside and return to introspection and contemplation. It breaks us away and allows cool moments of stillness. Art breathes a trace of the Ultimate Love into us, awe captivates us and overwhelms us, gently nudging us into the feeling of separatelessness.
The memory of a single image is something we can take away with us after we leave the temple. We hold it in our minds eye, and remember the peace we had at that moment.
Ultimately our endeavour is to realise that the temple isn’t outside of us, but while on our path, may it be illuminated by the beauty of art.