Our sense of beauty points to our transcendence
We have an innate sense of beauty – beautiful things naturally attract our heart. But where does this sense come from?
If we are just stardust come alive, as materialism would have us believe, why do we have an appreciation for beauty? If we are just genes geared for survival amidst a ruthless struggle for existence, as atheists claim, how does our sense of beauty contribute to our survival?
If a tiger about to pounce on a deer paused to appreciate the deer’s beauty, the tiger would go hungry. If the deer paused to appreciate the tiger’s handsomeness, the deer would die. Atheists might say that the sense of beauty is meant to promote copulation and reproduction. But we appreciate beauty in non-sexual contexts too, as in a beautiful sunset. Atheists may explain away that sense as an evolutionary misfiring. But our aesthetic sensibility, inclusive of its non-sexual dimension, is universal – even if people in different cultures differ in what they consider beautiful, still they all have a sense of beauty.
Gita wisdom explains the origin of our aesthetic sensibility much better. Our bodies are geared for survival, but our identity transcends our body. We are souls, who are parts of God, Krishna (Bhagavad-gita 15.07). Just as parts are meant to harmonize with the whole, we are meant to devotionally harmonize with Krishna. Our sense of beauty comes from our spiritual essence and is meant to draw us towards Krishna, the supreme embodiment of all beauty.
Presently however, that sense is misdirected by inner impurities towards worldly things, whose temporary beauty titillates only to frustrate. Thankfully, Gita wisdom makes us spiritually aware, and helps us remove the impurities by devoting ourselves to all-pure Krishna. As we become purified, our sense of beauty propels us towards him for a life of eternal transcendental love.