Here is the starting point: all photographs are miracles.
Imagine: your childhood dog, your long dead grandfather, a baseball inches away from an outfielder's mit - each image frozen in time to be revisited again and again.
It's like that. A facsimile of reality is replicated on paper, on a computer screen, on your ipod and into your memory. The miracle isn't only in the exacting likeness. Yes, that's miraculous in itself. The real miracle, the one that makes us stop in our tracks and feel something, is the way a photograph can transcend.
I may see you across a room. And I may see you in a photograph. The two views may look the same. But when a photograph offers insight beyond its image, that is when the magic happens.
It is not that a photograph reminds me of your character and tells me again what I already know. The thing about a photo is the way it can open a door. I see the mischievousness in the twinkle of an eye. I comprehend the thought suggested by a curl of a lip, the prelude to a spoken word. I know more about you in that moment - frozen at 1/50 of a second, f5.6, 800 ISO - than in three million such moments streamed in the continuous flow of life.
The photograph transcends its place in time. Through a photo, we can see beyond. It is more than time travel.
When we look at a picture of Shri Mataji, we can also feel something. We can feel the compassion and the joy, the open-hearted, all-embracing purity. There is a power. And it is miraculous.
It is a picture gift-wrapped in love, tied with a ribbon that knows nothing of time, nothing of space.
And so every photograph, in varying shades and degrees, is a miracle.
Remember the first time you met Shri Mataji. Perhaps the moment expanded beyond itself. Perhaps time stood still. Perhaps your heart opened and listened like never before. Certainly, you were beyond thought.
A photograph of Her can do that too.
We have snapshots of Shri Mataji and we have portraits and puja pictures. There are thousands. And we also have photographs that show vibrations - a wave of light, a streaking aura, a glow and warmth that were not there for the eyes. The camera and film see what the eye and brain cannot. We call them "miracle photos."
But the truth is that many of these miracle photographs are not miraculous in the sense we think them to be. Zoom out while on a long exposure and you will get something like the Capri boat trip photos of 1989. A lens flare, a double exposure, a shake of the camera to make the candles dance - for every manipulation, there will be someone to call it "a miracle." And I haven't even mentioned the devices of Photoshop.
So here, at last, is the point of all my words: the miracle does not happen in the photograph. It doesn't happen in the brain. The miracle happens in the heart.
It isn't what you see and think. It is what you feel.
A "miracle photograph" is handed to me. I look at it. It is abstract and beautiful. There is Shri Mataji at the centre. I can discern Her face. Around Her the colours are streaked. The lines run and are blurred. There is a beauty in the chaos. Is it a mistake, not what the photographer intended, beyond his design and framing? Is it a gift, an insight into a truer realm? The image dances and charms.
Now I look at a second photograph. I see the face of Shri Mataji, Her smile. She stands in portrait. Her eyes look directly into the camera, beyond the lens, the iris, the shutter and the light sensitive plate. Her love encircles and comforts the digital code that represent colour and vibrance and file format.
Can you feel the love?
Can you see the divinity?
Which photograph transcends?
Which photo disregards space, stops time, touches the spirit?
Where does the miracle happen?
Only in the heart.
The Divine Cool Breeze editor