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.
Bodhinatha's Latest Upadeshas: "The Difference in Practice of Theism and Monism" (September 3, 2014)
During a puja we're in Theism, to receive the blessings of the Deity. After a puja we can go within our self in meditation, giving up the idea of an external Deity, Monism. Monistic Theism: Advaita Ishvaravada. Advaita means the Monism; Ishvara means the Theism.
In Shum we use two words that relate to that: shumif and dimfi. First, perfect your Theism. Then become a monist. That's called Saiva Siddhanta; one leads to the other.