13 October, 2014

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi  is the celebration of Lord Ganesha  or the elephant headed god as he is popularly known throughout the world. Each year Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with a lot of excitement and joy, but what exactly is Ganesh Chaturthi and what does it signify.

The hindu religion has been studied and interpreted by different people in different forms including the myriad rituals that are performed to the deities but the essence of all the interpretations is the same and leads one towards the supreme god.

Celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi is one such festival which reinforces the Advaita vedanta principle. Advaita (non dual in Sanskrit) refers to the identity of the true Self, Atman which is pure consciousness and the highest reality,Brahman , which is also pure consciousness. Followers seek liberation from the birth circle by acquiring Vidya (knowledge) of the identity of Atman and Brahman. 

Lord Ganesha  is praised in the hymn composed by Adi shankaracharya as Ajam Nirvikalpam Niraakaaramekam. This means that he is never born. He is Ajam (unborn), Nirvikalpa (attributeless) and Niraakaar (formless). He is omnipresent. This has also been described beautifully in the following stanza from "Atharvashirsham" which is considered to be the most powerful hymn written on Lord Ganesh.

Lord Ganesha is not outside us he is within us; the individual self is not different from Brahman. This is again described in the following stanza from “Atharvashirsham” where he is stated to reside in the mooladhara Chakra.

The ritual of immersing (visarjan) of the idol in water after few days of worship reinforces the understanding that God is not in the idol, it's inside us. So while we experience the omnipresent in the form we ought to bear in mind our formless reality.  This is the essence of the Ganesha Chaturthi festival.

Another interesting aspect of Lord Ganesh can be found in the first line of the above mentioned stanza from “Atharvashirsham”. He is described as “tvam gunatrayatitah” guna means qualities. There are three primary qualities (gunas) of nature (prakriti). It is present in varying degrees in different permutations and combinations among all living beings as defined in the Bhagavad gita they are  Sattva – (awareness, being), Rajas - (activity, intent), and Tamas - (lethargy, inertia). The role of gunas is to bind all living beings through wants for all objects desirous of their senses thus keeping them under the control of prakriti.

Tamas represents darkness, ignorance, stagnation, inertia, indolence, obstruction, dullness, heaviness and is Black in color.

Rajas represents desire, passion, energy, movement, expansion, greed, restlessness, agitation, craving, attachment and is Red in color

Sattva represents light, truth, goodness, intelligence, knowledge, joy, pure, calm, clarity and the lightness of being and is White in color

This is my abstract version of 3 gunas. If you are interested in buying this painting you can do so over here

3 Gunas
The three gunas are present in the divine consciousness and they exist in perfect harmony. When this harmony is disturbed the process of creation begins and all living beings are created possessing these gunas in various proportions.

These gunas are there in all of us in various levels and depending on the circumstances, environment, the food we eat etc., one of these gunas are dominant than the other two during various times in our life.So if we understand these gunas we will be in a better position to curb and cultivate some of our gunas to be able to lead a better life.

I have been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi for the last three years by making Lord Ganesha at home with natural clay. Here is a pic of the ganesh that was made by me this year.

I hope Lord Ganesha gives us the intelligence to watch our conduct and keep in mind the 3 gunas while we go about our life. Let us endeavor to awaken the consciousness which lies veiled within us.

21 May, 2014

Goals - Do You Really Need One?

Each one of us must have given some thought to this at some point in our life. Some may have had goals, some may have not had any and some wouldn't have bothered to give it a thought at all. I didn't have a goal when I passed out of college. All I knew was I had to work to earn money. I gave it a thought quite late in my life when I had spent almost half of my life working in sales and was seriously contemplating to pursue my passion for arts and take it up as a full time profession.

I used to watch every morning people fresh from their morning bath wearing their neatly ironed clothes and marching along on their way to work. As I watched them I used to think about what drives them to get up every morning and go to work? (Besides the fact that they have to feed their families and earn a living) did each one of these people have a goal in their life? What do you mean by goal? Is it necessary to have a goal what if one does not have a goal?

A whole lot of questions were floating in my mind. What is a goal? According to the dictionary: 

1) Something  that you hope to achieve.

2) The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed.
3) The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result:

Each Individual is different and unique in his own way. Like the saying one size doesn't fit all. Likewise there is no universal solution or rule. Each one is different and so are their needs and solutions.

There are different perspectives of looking at goals. Some are of the opinion that, if you have a goal you are so focused on it that you end up losing a lot of good opportunities that pass you by without you having noticed it. There is also a disappointment when you do not achieve your goal.

There are some others that live life each day as it comes and have very specific short term goals that are achievable. The last category is those that do not have any goal in their life.

Most people do not realize that every day from the time we get up to the time when we go to bed we end up making goals and achieving some of them, but they are so small that we do not want to term them as goals.

What do you think of goals? My own experiences during my transition phase led me to doing a series of paintings on them. You can take a look at them by visiting my gallery page here.

Do let me know what you think about goals in the comments below. I will end this post with this talk by Tony Robbins who is a TED speaker and who talks about - Why we do what we do. There is a bit of profanity in the language he uses but if you can ignore that and without being judgemental of the speaker, If you can try to take the positives from this talk you will find this talk inspiring and make you focus on the why which is essential.

It doesn't matter whether you have a goal or not what matters is why you do a certain thing. I hope this post will make you ponder on goals and on why you do what you do. Take care everyone and have a great day. 

01 May, 2014

Dawn Of Hope

It’s a great feeling to set your first foot forward, whenever you are doing something for the first time there is a lot of fear, anxiety, enthusiasm, excitement, eagerness and most important of them all hope the one word based on which the whole world wakes up in the morning and is ready to take on life and its myriad challenges.

As I set my first foot forward in my new endeavor I rely on nothing else but that one word “hope”. I invite you to come along with me in my journey where I create, learn, experience, share and enrich myself and try to help my fellow men in the process. I believe an artist and his art are not separate but one and the same and it’s the artist’s viewpoint on various things in his life that gets depicted in his art. Hence this blog will talk about all those experiences that I come across and my views on them. I hope to see this blog evolve as a meeting ground for exchange of ideas, thoughts and experiences where your feedback as an artist/reader will add to the discussion and in turn benefit the larger community as whole.

I look forward to your comments and hope you find this journey interesting and worthwhile.