With the small maquette of the Five-Faced Siva done, Natalie turned to the harder task of moulding the full sized murthi. Every step was exacting, even demanding. Imagine, for instance, how one puts five arms and shoulders together on one side, and making them look natural. It's impossible, but Natalie make it work. She went through one style and another. Now the hands, then months on the ornaments, now the all-important faces and their expressions, each different to convey Siva's powers and moods. Months of effort on the implements and the fingers of each hand, and working so that it looks equally natural from the side as from the front. Emails back and forth to Kauai. Hundreds of emails, with attachments, "Swami, does this shape of the hand look better? Or this one? Now about this?"
Natalie met technical challenges at every turn. Scanners. Printers. Mould makers. Meeting one, two more arose. Throughout she chanted sacred slokas and mantras. She studied our Insight section in the magazine, sensing that the more she understood Siva the better the sculpture would be. Day followed day, month followed month, with nary a day off. Finally, the moulds went to the foundry and the metal casting began.
Natalie shares her experience: "I got super charged midway through the sculpting process when Paramacharya Sadasivanathaswami and Sannyasin Yoginathaswami made a stop in Tucson to check my progress on the murti. Their inspired guidance called for another style of headband on each of the 5 faces that involved small protruding beads rather than the indented style of beads I had created, and between each lotus petal along the headband defining a tiny row of vertical beads ascending in size, adding small vertical lines on the crown's jata, and lastly, enhancing the detail on all of the 10 objects that represent Siva's powers, referencing a style on the Nataraja and Sivas of antiquity that the Swami's wanted me to capture.
"These decorative changes made it so much richer! By fixing the headbands, all the faces needed to be re-sculpted again! (due in part from the clay I was using which had become too soft from continuous use of smoothing additives, which had caused a slight breakdown in the clay integrity, rendering the clay more difficult to achieve the desired firmness required to hold the precise detail.)
"Yoginathaswami shared with me the sacred sloka for Sadasiva and I began chanting it to invoke the murti into the form. Performing aarti with the sloka made for a transcendent work environment. I felt Siva's presence even more profoundly enabling me to bring the murti into completion.
"One noticeable grace I received after completing the murti, was that every creative project I did benefitted from this experience: my drawing and painting became enhanced, I saw more, I perceived more, and I had more patience and compassion than ever before. I felt deeper with a heightened sense of my own soul power, enriched with an experience that went way beyond space and time."
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