CHENNAI : It was a lovely garden, with sunken lawns and old shady trees. The house was large, with spacious rooms, airy and well proportioned. The trees gave shelter to many birds and many squirrels, and to the fountain came birds of every size, sometimes eagles, but mostly crows, sparrows and noisy parrots. The house and garden were secluded, the more so as they were enclosed within high, white walls. It was only a thin wall that separated the lovely garden from the pulsating village.
To deny ugliness and to hold to beauty is to be insensitive. The cultivation of the opposite must ever narrow the mind and limit the heart. Virtue is not an opposite; and if it has an opposite, it ceases to be virtue. We want to be aware only of beauty, and we shut ourselves off from that which is not beautiful. This suppression merely breeds insensitivity, it does not bring about the appreciation of beauty. The good is not in the garden, away from the village, but in the sensitivity that lies beyond both.
To deny or to identify leads to narrowness, which is to be insensitive. Sensitivity is not a thing a be carefully nurtured by the mind, which can only divide and dominate. Reality is not the opposite of illusion, of the false, and if you try to approach it as an opposite it will never come into being. Reality can be only when the opposites cease. To condemn or identify breeds the conflict of the opposites, and conflict only engenders further conflict. A fact approached unemotionally, without denying or justifying, does not bring about conflict.
A fact in itself has no opposite; it has an opposite only when there is a pleasurable or defensive attitude. It is this attitude that builds the walls of insensitivity and destroys action. Where there is resistance there can be no action, either in the garden or towards the village. There may be activity, but not action. Activity is based on an idea, and action is not. Ideas have opposites, and movement within the opposites is mere activity, however prolonged or modified. Activity can never be liberating. Activity has a past and a future, but action has not. Action is always in the present, and is therefore immediate.
Reform is activity, not action, and what is reformed needs further reform. Reformation is inaction, an activity born as an opposite. Action is from moment to moment, and, oddly enough, it has no inherent contradiction; but activity, though it may appear to be without a break, is full of contradiction. The activity of revolution is riddled with contradictions and so can never be liberate. Conflict, choice, can never be a liberating factor.
If there is choice, there is activity and not action; for choice is based on idea. Mind can indulge in activity, but it cannot act. Action springs from quite a different source. The moon came up over the village, making shadows across the garden. —