A magnificent and giant statue of Siva in India (see the tiny man at the top of the stairs?)
Another magnificent Siva, this one the sixth and final master work of art by Pieter Weltevrede of Amsterdam, sent this morning. He asked for Palaniswami's take on it, and here is what Paramacharya wrote:
My reaction? You know what I think, but let me put inadequate words to it. First, thanks for placing the Agamic Mandala below Siva. It is an important and usually neglected one and bringing it forward like this will have an impact in the South Indian iconography world.
In all of the works, you have achieved an ambience people are calling "sacred space" these days, a sense of a Divine presence and energy. You are gifted, so may not know how very difficult this is to accomplish. It must flow not from technique but from intuition, from deep within. I have discovered that we can only create from what we are, and that you can call forth through your brushes an image that is sacred and full of shakti speaks of your own spiritual depth. Yes, I'm thrilled with the series and know when it reaches our magazine later this year it will be marveled at.
For details: thanks for the kundala (earrings) and the geometrical shapes and colors, a subtle but, for us, meaningful touch. The slightly tilted Siva and mandala are effective, surprisingly so for so little angle. The outstanding details have to be Siva's hair and implements (check out that pot of fire), the dancing nagas, the color swath through the center, breaking apart the Himalayas and the nascent Ganges below.
In fact, the waters dropping down like that surprised me, such a bold move, symbolically making Siva the Source of the Ganges (and thus the source of All and Everything), and dropping the viewer into a rock and water space below, nothing to support us but the unimaginable waterfall that crashes to Earth below us, bringing Life and Sustenance and Destruction all at once. Well done!
Here the five faces/powers/graces painted separately by Pieter.
Hindus believe there is one Truth, we just all don't agree on the name and nature of God. To compare Hinduism with other religions, you need to ask the orthodox practioners what their beliefs are. For example, one Christian minister explained that he believes we are fallen beings, not inherently good and need to be redeemed or face eternal Hell. Hinduism believes the opposite: we are divine beings with instinctive, intellectual and intuitive natures. Everyone will eventually become a spiritual being and attain God realization. That is about as far apart as we can get in beliefs. There is really no way that the two can be compared.