A story of Rumi tells about a group of men who described the elephant that they had witnessed with a small oil lamp in a close dark enclosure. One said it had rough textured skin, he had touched it. One said it had a small tail, so must be a small animal. Other one said it has mouth that wound like grass, so must be a weak animal. Another said it had large ears that swiped. None of them agreed and argued that the other was wrong. If they had ever seen the whole elephant in bright light, they would have known that no one was wrong, they were just aware of a small part of real elephant’s existence. Story of our lives! Don’t we see a small part of the world, and know just a fraction of our minds and make opinions that we believe as the truth?
Modern man has been more and more prone to this disease, of believing only that can be experienced with the sensory organs and fitting it into well taught academic logic. In our zest for logic, we never realize that we might be missing out on the whole picture, limiting ourselves to the accepted logic. Neither do we listen to our fellow beings, neither to our own selves. Man who is born with 32 permanent emotions, in contemporary may not experience even half of them in his whole lifetime! What can a man see when not aware of what has to be seen! In such an incompleteness of being, art helps us transcend the logic and move beyond our immediate knowledge to reach out to the unknown. When you buy art, you are buying the vision to see the elephant that you have not seen with your own lamp!
This certainly does not implicate that art gives you knowledge of the unknown; it rather gives you the zeal and acquaints you with emotional powers to look, hear, feel, smell and taste beyond your known capacities. The word used for art in Sanskrit illustrates this very well. The word ‘kalā’ in Indian aesthetics denoting art comes from ‘Chandrakala’, the changing facets of the moon, from new moon to full moon and vice versa. The moon technically doesn’t change at all; it looks different each day to different people at various geographic locations. The word kalā thus leads to something that gives different perspectives of looking at a whole. What a wonderful definition of art, the also suffices its purpose and part in human existence. Artists, who create their own experiences and visions of the world, impart them with all sincerity in the artworks. When we buy art, we are buying a part of the world that we exist in, that we have not yet experienced. When you buy art and own, and live with it in your space, you are taking a walk round the globe, seeing the same emotion or instance from another point of view. In this sense art makes you more vigilant to newer ideas and emotions, makes you humble and open to listening and further understanding alien thoughts and random people. Living with an artwork makes you content, and opens up your mind for thinking out of the box ideas, makes your creative trigger go ringing.
When you buy art, you buy yourself a new you, a new world of emotions within you and outside with others. Own a work of art and see the full moon, and know the elephant that is hidden in the darkness of unknown!