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Newsletter Archive

Showing 145 to 168 of 209 results
Showing 145 to 168 of 209 results
Exploring Karma - Tales of a Universal Principle
"The word karma is derived from the Sanskrit root 'kri,' meaning 'to do,' implying that all action is karma. Technically, the term incorporates both an action and its consequence... we...confront a dilemma...namely, the relative impurity and purity of an action... What determines the nature of the karma is the will or intention behind an act... We read in the Bhagavad Gita again and again that we must all work incessantly. There it is also mentioned that all work by nature is composed of good and evil... Good and evil are not constant - they change according to time and circumstance... every act is sacred since we are not the doer but a higher reality is acting through us... Karma yoga is a means for seeking divinity in action and life itself..."
Published in Oct 2004
Iconographic Perception of Krishna's Image
"Lord Krishna...is now for centuries the most cherished theme of arts in India... Unlike Lord Vishnu, who he incarnates, Krishna is...an entity beyond time, without end and without beginning... He has been represented in visual arts... but no...form could ever define him... Forms decompose, erode and are subject to transition, Krishna is not... He exists in what he creates, yet is always beyond it. Thus, all are his forms and yet he is beyond them all... This defines Lord Krishna related art vision and the entire creative endeavor, which always fell short of its theme…"
Published in Sep 2004
Mysterious and Inspiring Stories of Hanuman Ji
"In Hindu symbolism, a monkey signifies the human mind, which is ever restless and never still... Hanuman is symbolic of the perfect mind, and embodies the highest potential it can achieve... Hanuman's name...illustrates his self-effacing character, being made up of 'hanan' (annihilation) and 'man' (mind), thus indicating one who has conquered his ego... Hanuman never threatens the world with his virility unlike say Shiva whose virility often has to be restrained by goddess Kali... He is...a perfect karma yogi since he performs his actions with detachment, acting as an instrument of destiny rather than being impelled by any selfish motive..."
Published in Aug 2004
Mughal Miniature Painting - An Alternative Source of History
"The art of painting is often made to face a question: Is it an instrument that calibrates past... whether art is different from history or is only one of its alternative sources...haunt the minds of art critics and as often the conference halls of academic institutions... our mind is always keen to discover in art, whatever its genre, the world that it realizes through its senses or by its intellect and other faculties... Mughal art better reveals the world of Mughal days than do written histories or literary annals... (Indian) miniature art (is) both imaginative and realistic, but it is not imaginative in the sense in which are some of the abstract or symbolic art modes that seek to transform a materially 'existent' into an abstract symbol... The truth of an Indian miniature stands midway, somewhere in between the 'real' and the 'unreal', or imagined, and it is in this dilemma that it discovers its uniqueness..."
Published in Jul 2004
Conception and Evolution of The Mother Goddess in India
"The Mother Goddess is India's supreme Divinity... In fury or in frown, she is always the same protective, caring, loving Mother with a benign face and a blessing hand... In her material manifestation, She represents, with absolute motherhood, also the absolute womanhood. She causes life and sustains it, and is also the cause of life, its inspiration and aspiration, and the reason to live... She is the eternal upholder of Dharma and truth, the promoter of happiness and the giver of salvation and prosperity but also of sorrows, grief and pain... As Adi Shakti, She represents Prakriti, which operates in and on all things, the manifest or otherwise, materially present or abstract..."
Published in Jun 2004
Evolution of the Buddha Image
"...the first ever image defined by humanity was not a thing chiseled to a likeness, but such likeness was only discovered in it...the image of the Divine, discovered or made, and its worship, were quite in vogue much before Buddha's days...Buddhist themes first make their appearance in...a number of monolithic pillars surmounted with animal capitals aiming at invoking man's reverence for all creatures, which was the prime thrust of Buddhism...the mind of the Buddhist sculptor, which had so far wrestled between the 'image' and the 'non-image', had at last discovered 'one' in the 'other', that is, the motif in man and the man in motif...it is yet a matter of debate whether (the) early...images were sculpted at Mathura or in Gandhara region...Gandhara images of Buddha are more akin to Greek models, whereas Mathura images show a continuity of its own indigenous tradition...During over 2500 years of its emergence the Buddha image has always been growing and evolving and is today the most loved and preferred image for a drawing room, irrespective to whom and to which land it belongs"
Published in May 2004
Putting The Ocean in a Bowl - The Origin of the Buddha Image
"The Buddha image...has constantly been under debate as to its origin and evolution...Some believe that the first Buddha image had come into being during the lifetime of the Buddha himself...For most scholars however...he earliest Buddha images come from around...some five hundred year after Buddha's Mahaparinirvana...early Buddhist art...sought to represent him by a number of symbols, or material motifs, which had remained associated with him...These motifs, the empty throne and stupa in particular, depicted rather, and with utmost thrust, only Buddha's absence, as it was in his absence that his devotees realized the presence of their Master...the artists, working as per the Buddhist tradition itself, saw Buddha more in the Dharma rather than in a human form...Even during the subsequent late phase...not a single Buddha image...has so far come to light, which does not depict one aspect or the other of the Dharma...It does not so much portray the Buddha as it does the Dharma..."
Published in Apr 2004
The Life of Buddha and the Art of Narration in Buddhist Thangka Paintings
"In its characteristic unique way, Buddhist thought divides the eventful life of its founder into twelve glorious "events." These defining incidents of his life are given visual form in densely packed sequences narrated in a special genre of paintings... These artworks not only delineate Buddha's gradual progress towards spiritual enlightenment, but also present a visual depiction of a vast number of abstract philosophical notions underlying esoteric Buddhism..."
Published in Mar 2004
Nepal - Adventures in a Living Museum
"One enters Nepal as a traveler, and leaves as a pilgrim... Nepal is the ideal place to rise above the theoretical... textbooks, and see the twin strands of Tantra and Shamanism... rooted in the eternal and faithful depths of Hinduism, and tempered by the sobering influence of Buddhism... the gods of Nepal do not represent a forgotten era of the past. The deities here are living, and participate in the ordinary existence of everyday life as much as we mere mortals do..."
Published in Feb 2004
The Ideals of Motherhood  - Aesthetics of Form and Function
"providence has blessed women with the primary responsibility of the perpetuation of the human race. Understandably her physical body has been richly endowed for this glorious function… To the connoisseur of Indian aesthetics, the profusion of voluptuous women dominating its canvas comes as no surprise… But while celebrating the female body in glorious images the artist never loses sight of the fact that whatever nature creates, it creates with a purpose. No form is accidental and every natural form must have a divinely ordained function. Whatever be the artistic representation, it must glorify this inherent natural function…"
Published in Jan 2004
Playing with Krishna - God as Child in Art and Mythology
"Wordsworth... said: 'Heaven lies about us in our infancy.'... as an infant and a child, Krishna is approachable... He can be approached with the intimacy with which a parent approaches a child... Such a god invites man to dispense with cumbersome formality and come to him openly, delighting in him intimately... Krishna's incarnation represents the human dimension of the divine... Krishna removes the poison of evil from this world while he joyously feeds on a mother's bosom... God as an infant does not govern the world from a majestic throne, but makes the world his playground and even while enjoying himself maintains the cosmic order. A child too seeks only to amuse himself, expressing his essential nature in every action..."
Published in Dec 2003
Buddha and Christ - Two Gods on the Path to Humanity
"Christ and Buddha, two manifestations of divinity, showed us that true salvation lies only on the path of humanity and compassion towards all. Indeed, through their humanity they are both related to us, and through their divinity, to god... 'Buddha and Christ are but local inflections of a universal archetype: the Cosmic Person imaging wholeness.'... Just as Buddha gained enlightenment by conquering the five senses, Christ, pinned in five places... nails down the five senses... Since they both embodied universal human aspirations and their ultimate realization... the art they inspired too would develop motifs which would elaborate similar principles, though the metaphors deployed would vary, being dependent upon local contexts."
Published in Nov 2003
The Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism - A Study in Spiritual Evolution
"Buddhism has evolved over the centuries a complex, yet discernable scheme of symbolism which has found adequate expression in Buddhist art... Buddhist motifs [are] soaked in rich spiritual symbolism... [They are] said to represent Buddha's deep and resonant voice, through which he introduced his followers to the path of dharma... Undoubtedly, the most popular of such symbols is the group of eight, known in Sanskrit as 'Ashtamangala,' ashta meaning eight and mangala meaning auspicious. Each of these symbols is also individually associated with the physical form of the Buddha... Artistically, these motifs may be depicted individually, in pairs, in fours, or as a composite group of eight. Designs of these eight symbols adorn all manner of sacred and secular Buddhist objects, such as carved wooden furniture, metalwork, wall panels, carpets and silk brocades."
Published in Oct 2003
The Rhythm of Music - A Magical and Mystical Harmony
"Mysticism is the inherent desire to seek oneness with the ultimate reality... the sense organs provide the only window to perceive this supreme state of being... This state is non-material, just like music is... the first musical instrument was the human body itself, and the first created music, the human voice... In mysticism, everything is vibration... all material forms made up of vibrations... The drum, through its rhythms, replicates these vibrations... the beating together of cymbals is said to signify the symbolic union of opposites... an activity which is necessary to maintain the harmony of the dynamic universe... the flute... gives forth a clear, pure and simple sound... both intensely melancholy and entrancingly sprightly... The sacredness and reverence for the flute can be gauged form the fact that it is often deified as an extension of Krishna's own beauty"
Published in Sep 2003
Ganga The River Goddess - Tales in Art and Mythology
"Ganga is...(the) divine grace flowing on to our material world, as is visible in the prosperity of the fertile and rich crop-yielding regions adjacent to her banks... The intense devotion and love which her devotees feel for Ganga is no small measure due to the fact that she is the only accessible physical entity that flows both in the heavens and on the earth... Ganga is a river that has been at the core of sacred Hindu lore and tradition... As a mother, Ganga is tangible, approachable, and all accepting... Ganga's icon at the (temple) doorway... implies her status as a remover of pollution..."
Published in Aug 2003
The Five Meditating Buddhas - An Enquiry into Spiritual Aesthetics
"The five Dhyani Buddhas represent the five basic types of human personality and demonstrate the absolutely perfected form of these personality types... It is an ample demonstration of the genius of Vajrayana Buddhism that... weaknesses are not denied or suppressed... hope lies in the belief that the human mind holds within itself the potential to metamorphose these negative traits into positive attributes... All the five Dhyani Buddhas are said to have originated from Vajrasattva himself... Color is logically... one of the significant means through which Buddhist art gives a tangible form to human emotions and nowhere is this more explicitly displayed than in the typical iconography of the five Dhyani Buddhas..."
Published in Jul 2003
The Shiva Linga - Images of Cosmic Manhood in Art and Mythology
"Shiva is worshipped in the form of the male organ of procreation, often alone, and frequently conjoined with the corresponding female organ, which is sculpted as a receptacle to receive Shiva's seed... The distinctive sign by which one can recognize the nature of something is called lingam... The linga is... a great equalizer... worshippers, regardless of sex, caste, or creed... (pour) generous libations on the linga, while simultaneously caressing it intimately... Shiva's liberated phallus represents this illuminating power rising heavenward beyond the material world. Thus is the linga likened to a pillar of light, guiding us to true knowledge..."
Published in Jun 2003
The Hindu Temple - Where Man Becomes God
"The Hindu Temple (dissolves) the boundaries between man and divinity... by putting into practice the belief that the temple, the human body, and the sacred mountain and cave, represent aspects of the same divine symmetry... The thought behind the design of a temple is a continuation of Upanishadic analogy, in which the atman (soul or the divine aspect in each of us) is likened to an embryo within a womb or to something hidden in a cave... Temples appeared on the horizon only in the Kali-yuga...(when) the gods ceased to come down and appear in their own or disguised forms. The architecture of the Hindu temple recreates the archetypal environment of an era when there was no need for such an architecture..."
Published in May 2003
Buddha - A Hero's Journey to Nirvana
"The Buddha's journey to spiritual awakening or 'Nirvana,'... perfectly mirrors the ... progressive development of a hero... Not at ease with his immediate environment... a constant unease gnaws at his heart, prompting him to question the very nature of his existence. This inner strife is the first inkling that a greater destiny lies ahead of the potential hero... Buddha was born an ordinary mortal. His path to fulfillment... was a journey full of exciting experiences and mistakes made. He learned from each of his mistakes, making it a springboard for all future, and finally the ultimate success... each of us... is capable and deserving of Nirvana, having a potential Buddha hidden in us..."
Published in Apr 2003
Shakti - Power and Femininity in Indian Art
"The earliest term applied to the divine feminine... is Shakti... Specifically, Shakti means power, force and feminine energy. She represents the fundamental creative instinct underlying the cosmos, and is the energizing force of all divinity, of every being and every thing... The yoni or female generative organ is... venerated for its obvious properties of fertility and growth... While Durga is the most potent icon to express the aggressive and destructive behavior of Shakti, Lakshmi is the quintessential goddess who proclaims her creative aspect... (It) is emphasized in the Gandharva Tantra (that) 'She who is the sun, moon, and fire, lays down the purusha (male) and enjoys him from above.'..."
Published in Mar 2003
The Stupa - Yoga's Sacred Architecture
"Since its beginnings in India, Buddhism has spread over an area... wherever you travel throughout this vast area, there is one type of architectural monument which is everywhere... This ubiquitous Buddhist monument is the stupa... it was the Buddha himself who outlined the basic design of the stupa... The Buddha's physical form... finds an echo in the stupa... The stupa by virtue of being the monument of Buddha's choice is deemed especially sacred... The spiritual merit of this monument is enhanced... by it being a reflection of the Cosmic Man, visualized in the ideals of Yoga, who resides in each of us..."
Published in Feb 2003
Vishnu - A Symbolic Appreciation
"'The world rests as the lotus in the palm of my hand, the cosmos revolves around my finger like a discus. I blow the music of life through my conch and wield my mace to protect all creatures'... Vishnu is the Preserver, the protector of all humanity. A deity who saves mankind from calamities which result from its own foibles... (a) popular icon of Vishnu shows him in a dreamlike state reclining upon a mighty serpent and floating upon the primordial waters. Vishnu in his dream state represents that gap in time when creation stands withdrawn and eternity awaits the birth of a new age..."
Published in Jan 2003
The Philosophy of Yoga - An Aesthetic Appraisal
"Human nature is like a chariot yoked to a team of powerful horses. One of them is prana (breath), the other is vasana (desire)...the yogi masters the science of breath and by the regulation and control of breath, he controls the mind and stills its constant movement...Yoga is one of the most ancient spiritual concepts of East, and despite a philosophical look it has an equally significant physical basis...Yoga is a collection of simple practices...consisting of action, method and technique...the method by which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed into constructive channels"
Published in Dec 2002
The Wheel of Life - Aesthetics of Suffering and Salvation
"'The Wheel of Life'...serves as a powerful inspiration to spiritual aspirants...to look deeply into their own inner beings...it is an attempt to convey spiritual insights behind our 'physical existence' in purely visual terms...(It) symbolically represents how...beings, who have not practiced the Dharma and liberated themselves, are bound in a cycle of existences whose very nature is suffering...One should intently and seriously contemplate the meaning of this wheel...Once this happens, the wish to be free of this mindless suffering is spontaneous and constant"
Published in Nov 2002
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