The art of photography surrenders

Shyama Charan Lahiri was dead against anyone’s taking a photograph of him. But since his intimate disciples were repeatedly requesting permission to take his photograph, he once agreed. The disciples called in a photographer, and like a child the Master asked him questions. The photographer was deeply honoured, so he taught the Master the ABCs of photography.

But when it was time for the Master’s picture to be taken, the photographer could not see him in the viewfinder. He aimed the camera at the Master, but the Master was not visible. When he focused on others, he saw them perfectly, but when he focused on Shyama Charan, there was nothing visible at all.

Finally the frustrated photographer said to the Master, “It is impossible. I can’t take your picture. I don’t know what you are doing.”

The Master smiled and said, “All right, I shall behave myself. Now you can take it.” This time when the photographer looked through the viewfinder, Shyama Charan Lahiri was clearly visible, so he snapped the picture. Then Shyama Charan Lahiri said to him, “Spirituality and spiritual power far surpass modern science. Just have faith in the Real, which is spirituality.”

That particular picture is an immortal picture, the most authentic and the highest picture taken of the Master. His disciples now worship in front of that picture.

Commentary: Some spiritual Masters are not in favour of picture-taking. They feel that since the body-reality is so transient, why pay any attention to it? There are other Masters who are of the opinion that a photograph does not represent a mere object, but can serve as an inspirational force and an elevating and illumining experience. These Masters feel the supreme necessity of seeing the highest reality inside the body-reality first, and then transforming the body-reality into the soul’s universal mission and transcendental vision. According to them, a photograph is not a mere piece of paper reflecting an outer face or appearance; it is an illumining revelation of what one inwardly is.

There are those who think the achievements of the world, in the world, are useless, and the world itself is useless, for it is unreal; therefore, they do not want to leave behind anything when they enter into the other world. But those who think of the world as the field of God-manifestation will strive to leave behind a transformed life and revelations of an immortal soul. Both parties are equally correct in their respective approaches to reality, according to the depth and height of their own realisation.