Form and Content

by Swami Prajnanananda
Created: 04 Jan, 2012

The Japanese give a lot of importance to gift wrapping. It is an art to wrap the gift and present it. Sometimes the wrapper may cost as much or even more than the content. It is customary to remove the wrapper and see the gift and say a few words In appreciation of the gift received. The guest who presented the gift does not feel bad when the expensive wrapper is removed. Rather he feels good about it, as the host could see the gift and appreciate it. Now a days, most of the goods are purchased on the internet and delivered at your door steps. The package Is so important to protect the content. The form assumes so much importance though the usage is in the content. Bitter medicine has to be consumed in the form of capsule. If you want to drink coffee, you need a cup to hold it. You drink the coffee and leave the cup. But we would like to have attractive and expensive cups. The police force and military have uniforms that make them appear smart and respectable even though they are selected in the force by their qualification and physical fitness. 

Any product needs branding to be sold. Not only the products, even individuals need branding to be recognized. A walking stick and a pair of glasses remind Mahatma Gandhi. The form indicates the content. The image of Mahatma Gandhi indicates simplicity and his support to the down trodden. Even saints who have renounced the world have their dress code like white, orange etc.

One who gives has to be careful about the form and deliver the content. At the same time one who receives has to be careful about the content as the content is going to serve the purpose. In these days of globalization and cybernetics, form has a significant role than ever before. Even to convey your ideas, your form of expression has to be novel, otherwise who has the time to listen to you? You need to brand yourself, your ideas and products if you are serious about promoting yourself. Being honest and sincere are essential values, however the image you create is of no less value. Mere image without substance cannot sustain, content without image cannot be perceived. 

In Bagavad Gita, Krishna describes His glory thus, “Among the luminaries, | am sun, among animals | am lion, among the seasons | am spring, among seers | am Vyasa. There is no end to my glories, whatever existent thing there Is, which has glory every one of that is born out of fraction of my glory.” The Lord Himself has talked about his forms and glories. The Lord who pervades this world Is the real substance and all forms and names keep changing. But only through this changing objective world the invisible God is understood. Perishable world and body are required to understand the imperishable substance, God. 

The human body and mind are the means to realize the self. Yoga is to train the body and mind to make one fit to receive knowledge and assimilate it. Body is a necessary vehicle for the spirit. Therefore the right practice of yoga is not to underrate nor pamper the body but to conquer it. Any form is a vehicle to the content. Soul without body cannot be recognized, but body without soul perishes. Forms keep changing through ages, but useful to carry the content. The right understanding of form and content makes life meaningful and enjoyable.

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