Presentation on theme: "Introduction The world today is in the middle of a global economic meltdown. Clearly, the need of the hour is hope and positive energy. Art is a means."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction The world today is in the middle of a global economic meltdown. Clearly, the need of the hour is hope and positive energy. Art is a means of visual communications that transcends all barriers and is an effective vehicle for spreading global peace and stability. Buddhism is considered to be a religion that advocates global peace and harmony in all its various nuances. I would like to expand on the notion of the Buddhist goddesses and their influences in the field of art and uniting the world as a whole. I am a child of the Cosmos. The Universe is my realm and I am an intrinsic part of it. I have always been intrigued by the cosmic cycle of life and the Powers that be. My oeuvres are a manifestation of all that is around, from creation to procreation, to the final liberation. My creative expression is channelized through my emblematic figures, and therein unfolds the story of the Cosmos. And Buddhism as a religion is truly an inspiration.
The Indian Buddhist world abounds with goddesses voluptuous tree spirits, maternal nurturers, potent healers and protectors, transcendent wisdom figures, cosmic mothers of libration, and dancing female Buddhas. I will not take too much of your time by expanding on the fascinating history of these goddesses as they evolved through the early, Mahayana, and Tantric movements in India and found a place in the pantheons of Tibet and Nepal. The female deities of Buddhism are of many forms. There are Buddhas in female forms and goddesses who are bodhisattvas. There are also historical figures such as lineage founders, and they all can function as deities. There are also yidams and dharma protectors in a peaceful, semi-wrathful or wrathful form.
Early Buddhism saw the goddesses in the form of Prithvi (Mother Earth), Mayadevi, Yaksinis (Voluptuous, Magical nature spirits), Sri Lakshmi (symbolizing good fortune), Hariti (Goddess of Motherly love). Later there emerged Prajnaparamita (Luminous Mother of Perfect Wisdom), Parnasavari (Healing Goddess clothed in leaves), Marici (Lady of sunrise splendour), Sarasvati (the Divine Muse), Vasundhara (Lady Bountiful) and Usnisavijaya (Bestower of long life and immortality), amongst others. However, the best known of the female Buddhist deities is Tara. Tara is known in two forms, White and Green.
Yaksinis (Voluptuous, Magical nature spirits) by Seema Kohli.
Sararvasti (the Divine Muse) by Seema Kohli
Tara Goddess of loving kindness From the Hindu tradition emerges the Goddess Saraswati. In ancient times she was associated with a great river that was said to flow down from heaven, cleansing and fertilizing Earth. Her rituals took place on the banks of this river, in the cycle of the agricultural year. But since Earth herself is impermanent and tectonic changes have caused her river vanish. Saraswatis connection to water has since been transformed into a connection with the very life force of water itself. She has since appeared in the moving, vital waters of springs and brooks and falls everywhere. When you hear the rain whispering against your windowpane, it is the voice of Saraswati.
Saraswati by Seema Kohli
Saraswati by Seema Kohli
Just as in the classic tale of Siddhartha, the rivers of India have always been seen metaphorically as crossing from the world of ignorance or bondage to the far shore… the world of enlightenment or freedom. The traveler crossing here undergoes a spiritual transmigration from a state of samsaric confusion through purification to enlightenment. A font of inspiration, insight and wisdom, this goddess represents the highest levels of refinement and grace. She is intellect, poetry, science, music and the beauty of ritual. As an artist, I pay obeisance to her, for without her blessings, my creativity would not flourish. Ever since I remember, I have always been on the quest of the essence of relationships, with the Self, between the Self and the Inner Self, between the Inner Self and the Ultimate Soul.
In the course of the journey, I discovered Hiranyagarbha (the Golden Womb) while contemplating on the Yajur Veda. This then became the central premise of my creation and finally my own existence. The creative process has been slow and enriching, akin to a spiritual experience and I have traversed and transcended boundaries, within and without. As an artist, delving into y Creative reservoir and tapping into my subconscious data has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience. The mundane was suddenly transformed into the new. It was alchemy of experience into colour and that I wanted to offer the Divine. Now let me expand on the best known of the female Buddhist deities --- Tara. In Sanskrit, the name Tara means Star, but she was also called She Who Brings Forth Life, The Great Compassionate Mother, and The Embodiment of Wisdom, and the Great Protectress. Tara is best known in two forms, White and Green.
Tara or Arya Tara, is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism who appears as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism.. She is known as the mother of liberation, and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. Before she was adopted by Buddhism, Tara was worshipped in Hinduism as a manifestation of the goddess Parvati. The feminine principle was not venerated in Buddhism until the fourth century CE, and Tara probably entered Buddhism around the sixth century CE. According to Buddhist tradition, Tara was born out of the tears of compassion of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. It is said that he wept as he looked upon the world of suffering beings, and his tears formed a lake in which a lotus sprung up. When the lotus opened, the goddess Tara was revealed. A similar tradition has White Tara born from the tears of Avalokiteshvaras left eye and the green Tara was born from a beam of blue light emanating from one of the eyes of Avalokiteshvara.
Green Tara by Seema Kohli
White Tara shines with the brightness of a thousand full autumn moons. Seated in a full lotus pose and with a slightly smiling countenance, her attention is focused inward. The strength of that transcendental inwardness produces a tremendous flowering of energies. In support of her promise to Avalokiteshvara to be aware and to help relieve the sufferings of beings, she is graced with seven eyes, on her hands and feet as well as well as the third eye on her forehead. With her two human-like eyes, she envisions the dualistic world of human beings and simultaneously sees the unity of ultimate reality that is symbolized by the third all-knowing eye. The Tibetan appreciation of human life is direct and simple. No matter how tough it gets, obtaining a human birth is ones only chance for enlightenment. Therefore, within this system, do whatever you can to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha, accumulate good fortune and work for your own and all sentient beings enlightenment. White Tara is an especially beloved resource appealed to for long life in general, but shes also seen a mother, who cares for her children.
White Tara The peaceful, compassionate White Tara gently protects and brings long life and peace. The more dynamic goddess, Green Tara is the Mother Earth, and a fierce goddess who overcomes obstacles, and saves us from physical and spiritual danger. Adopted by Buddhism, she became the most widely revered deity in the Tibetan pantheon. In Buddhist tradition, Tara is actually much greater than a goddess– she is a female Buddha, an enlightened one was has attained the highest wisdom, capability and compassion... One who can take human form and who remains in oneness with the every living thing.
Green Tara Green Tara, with her Half-open lotus, represents the night, and White Tara, with her lotus in full bloom, symbolizes the day. Green Tara embodies virtuous activity while White Tara displays serenity and grace. Together, the Green and White Taras symbolize the unending compassion of the goddess who labors day and night to relieve suffering. All schools of Tibetan Buddhism have a version of a hymn dedicated to the Twenty-one Taras. It has been chanted in monasteries and nunneries based on the lunar cycle ---and one night, caught out in the fury of a storm or the insanity of a battle, a practitioner remembered: Homage to you, who destroys malefic magical wheels With the sounds of TRAT and PHAT And tramples with right leg outstretched and left leg drawn in Dazzling amidst whirling flames This pays homage to the Seventh Tara, Unchallenged Furious Lady, who averts wars, lightning and hail storms by intoning trat and phat, which in Sanskrit means to tear and cut. These syllables avert lightning strikes and hailstorms and destroy the weapons of war.
As Green Tara she offers protection from all the unfortunate circumstances one can encounter within the samsaric world. As White Tara she expresses maternal compassion and offers healing to beings who are hurt or wounded, either physically or psychically. Goddess Tara is probably the oldest goddess who is still worshipped extensively in modern times. Tara originated as a Hindu goddess, the Mother Creator, representing the eternal life force that fuels all life. As a Buddhist deity, Taras realm extends beyond the walls of the treasury. Several of the 21 forms of Tara are golden : as Tara of the Perfections she guides her followers in generosity, joyous effort, mortality, patience, meditation, and the ability to calm negative impulses such as avarice, laziness and distraction; as Tara, Mother of the Buddha's, she can render lethal poisons harmless.
Yellow Tara by Seema Kohli The most widely known forms of Tara are: Green Tara, known as the Buddha of enlightened activity White Tara, also known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity; also known as The Wish- fulfilling Wheel,or Cintachakra Red Tara, of fierce aspect associated with magnetizing all good things Black Tara, associated with power. Yellow Tara, associated with wealth and prosperity Blue Tara, associated with transmutation of anger Cittamani Tara, a form of Tara widely practiced at the level of Highest Yoga Tantra portrayed as green and often conflated with Green Tara. Khadiravani Tara (Tara of the teak forest), who appeared to Nagarjuna in the Khadiravani foest of South India and who is sometimes referred to as the 22 nd Tara
Tara of the Teak Forests by Seema Kohli
Blue Tara – Goddess of Liberation As Tara, Proclaiming the Sound of Hum, she fulfils her vow to the monks, who, legend tells us, assumed shed want to become a man to reach enlightenment : she gathers beings from whatever realms she can and out of her infinite compassion draws them forth to bliss without exception. There is even a tara with a wrathful frown, the Tara who crushes Maras, or embodiments of evil which obstruct those attempting to practice dharma. There is no conflict in the idea that she can be at the same time golden, glorious, and wrathful; a goddess and a mother, furious and lovingly empathic. Tara also embodies many of the qualities of feminine principle. She is known as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion. She is the source, the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion and relief from bad karma as existence. She engenders, nourishes, smile at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children.
Buddha In seventh-century Tibet, Tara was believed to be incarnated in every pious woman. She especially came to be associated with two historical wives of the first Buddhist king of Tibet, Srong-brtsan-sgam-po(d.649). His wife from imperial China was said to be an incarnation of White Tara, while the kings Nepalese wife was an incarnation of Green Tara. It may be that the desire to regard both these pious woman as incarnation of Tara led to the concept of the goddesss green and white forms. The lotus is a recurring motif in my creations and symbolizes purity, hope and awakening of the mind, body and soul. Buddhism is a life- transforming philosophy that compels one to introspect and soul-search and thereby through ones own human revolution brings about a chain reaction in society and the world at large. The message of the Buddha is one of equanimity, but one based on a foundation of love, compassion and joy---qualities shared with many a Goddess. Just like Buddhism is a platform for peace and global harmony, through my oeuvres dart I too would like to be a harbinger of peace and use my art to spread the message of peace and love all around the world. It is time that we all took a step towards this cause and I would like my art to speak the language of global peace.
Shakyamuni Buddha We may rarely have so dramatic a need for Taras help, but caught in your personal malestorm, does it not feel as if you must fulfill at least twenty-one different functions, all of them equally important, equally demanding, equally relevant to somebody elses happiness ? But thankfully Tara is approachable. She is a Buddha. Whenever you call upon her, she is there. Remembering her motivation to act for the benefit of all beings, whenever you feel overwhelmed by the demands made upon you, perhaps you can allow yourself to concentrate on her image. She radiates the strength to be of help. She is known as the One who protects from Fears. Often a sense of being overwhelmed comes from doubting our ability to meet our own and others expectations. Doubt is considered a kind of fear, and Tara of the Rosewood Forest responds to quiet that fear, to instill confidence.
Buddhism has transformed my way of life. The lotus within me has bloomed and flowered, emitting fragrances of creativity that have consumed my canvas and rendered it a cosmic creation. As a meditative practice, my powers of concentration have increased manifold, thereby making it easier for me to paint for hours without any distraction. I have come to understand my roots, my purpose and my Being. I have learned to set aside time for Me, so as to be able to introspect and understand who I am. All this would not have been possible without the influence of Buddhism in my life and my art.