MAHATMA Gandhi realised the importance of pure art when he inspired the Indian people to take to their spinning wheels in their fight for independence from the British.
The Indian cloth created on little spinning wheels from Calcutta to Delhi was an economic necessity, a religious ritual and a national symbol.
It was a living work of art that energised the Indian people.
This was not the art for the sake of riches, ego or fame, but creativity expressing the divinity within all of us and our ability to shape the universe for the better.
These days, art is often seen more as a commodity than a spiritual necessity.
It is less a matter of questioning what an artist does than what his or her work is worth in marketing or money terms.
Sometimes ignored by religion, creativity has sometimes become the domain of those who exploit it for big profits, or for destruction.
Creativity and skills gave us Hamlet and the Beethoven quartets — but also the Hiroshima bomb, pornographic websites, Trident submarines, dictatorial governments and rampant consumerism.
Albert Einstein said art with a spiritual sense always carried with it a sense of justice.
But he also said that the industrialisation of society had made it difficult for people to explore mysticism and self-expression because of the social emphasis on the pursuit of materialism.
The recovery of faith in the positive creativity of all men and women is something that a tired civilisation needs.