Three is a powerful number. In Christianity, there is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Buddhism speaks of the Buddha (the teacher), the Dharma (the teaching) and the, Sangha (the community). In Hinduism, the three top gods are Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer). In the face of world events and particularly an extraordinary video clip I saw on Youtube, I’m intrigued by this Hindu Trinity.
As an artist, I’ve both experienced, witnessed and been the recipient of the power of creation. I feel most alive when creating, be it music, words or a solution to a life dilemma. When the spark of the creative instinct bursts into flame, it brings light, warmth and the mesmerizing beauty of fire. Thus, Brahma.
Then comes the tending of the fire, the preservation of the initial inspiration through disciplined practice. Vishnu.
The law of entropy suggest that things tend towards disorder over time, energy disperses and systems dissolve into chaos. That which was once alive and vibrant— be it a human body, a cultural practice, a tree— decays and in the natural order of things, becomes the food for the next cycle of creation. Thus, Shiva.
But destruction can also be unnecessarily sped along by our human failings and thus, disturb the natural order of growth and decay. Shiva is often depicted in a monstrous form and seems to personify the death-dealing side of humanity— the wars, genocides, abuses, dominations.
If you’re a Hindu scholar or physicist, you may rightfully scoff at my incomplete and simplistic notions here and apologies for that. But I’m just searching for the images of creation, preservation and destruction that all live together in this 1 minute and 45 second clip of a woman playing Chopin in her bombed-out home in the Ukraine. Through her lifetime of discipline, she is boldly and bravely preserving the wondrous creation of Frederick Chopin in her home that has been cruelly torn apart by the monstrous Putin and his henchmen. The contrast between the beauty of the music and the ugliness of war’s havoc is breathtaking.
There is no question how real the results of heartless power and hatred are, as the camera shows the chaos of broken glass, furniture destroyed, buildings smoldering outside. But the sounds of Chopin as an antidote to the death-dealing are equally real. They don’t stop the bombs from dropping, but they remind us of the ennobled human soul, that Creation and Preservation call on us to affirm and sustain life amidst the Destruction, and that every moment dedicated to them, whether in peace or war, is a vote for the higher possibilities of our humanitarian promise.
I’ll stop talking now and simply invite you to watch. Many times, please.