It is interesting to speculate what kind of relationship the art of the day had with teachings such as Chinmoy's, especially considering the coincidence of the founding of the Third Eye Centre with the emergence of video and conceptual art in the UK in the late '60s and early '70s. There are seemingly certain similarities between these strands including an economy of means (often, especially in the case of video, dictated by scant resources); a contemplative aesthetic; an investigation into the nature of being and a self-reflexive, philosophical approach. Whether or not there is any direct correlation is difficult to assert, although these cultural tracts, along with various others, seem to have coalesced around the nascent arts centre, playing a significant role in its identity.
I have posted 3 videos from the archive below; the first is from a Tai Chi demonstration that took place in the Third Eye in 1977, the second is an extract from a Michael Craig-Martin artist talk of the same year in which he reads the text from his [in]famous An Oak Tree piece, the third footage of Chinmoy in 1975, meditating with the help of what looks to be a casio keyboard. Craig-Martin was mentor for many of the YBAs and an inspiration for the Scottish neo-conceptualists, and so has been more influential than most in the development of visual art in the UK. In this piece he plays with ideas of semiotics and idealist philosophy, providing an interesting counterpoint to the minimalist humming of the spiritual leader Chinmoy and the slow, performative actions of the Tai Chi demonstrators.
Start all of the extracts at the same time and you get a 3-channel video conflating conceptual art, Tai Chi and meditation in a small portrait of the Third Eye Centre in the mid '70s.
Tai Chi demo from The Glasgow Miracle on Vimeo.
Oak Tree from The Glasgow Miracle on Vimeo.
Chinmoy from The Glasgow Miracle on Vimeo.
For any who might be interested, Adam Curtis has another, more sinister take on the influence of eastern spiritualism on western culture in this extensive and fascinating blog post: