Kannada Articleby: Dr Harsha Simha –
English Rendering by: M R Bhashyam
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The art which attracts the mind - Chitta – is Chitra Kala – the Art of portraying. When a noble soul looks at a scenic portrait, the mind attracted by the beauty of the environment enjoys the circumstances of portrayal. Because portraits (Chitras) attract a person's mind to the subject and create a taste (rasa) and make him savor the joy, they are called Chitras (art). Sculpture also accomplishes this effectively and hence even sculpture is called Chitra by the experts in this field.
The subject matter of a chitra is dependent on the artist. The senses, the mind and their moods create an impression on the artist's mind and his brush depicts these mental pictures. The mind of an observer following these chitras, is ultimately positioned at the same station as that of the artist. Knowing this secret, the sages of India have brought out through pictures and sculptures the secrets of nature, gods and demigods that they experienced in their deepest states of meditation. Constant viewing and watching of these pictures and sculptures, like penance, slowly and surely navigate the mind of the viewer to the same condition of the sages; it then makes him savor the joy experienced by them, ultimately leading him to the abode of the Lord at the root of creation, His unbounded Joy (aananada) and His rasa (ambrosia). The meaning of Shilpa (Sculpture) itself is Samadhi-the merger in the infinite. The posture, attitude, sight, beauty, the smile and countenance of the idols of the Lord, satiate and propel the mind towards the moorings of beauty, the merger and experience of the ultimate.
In temples, in addition to the idol of the main deity, there could be other idols, portraits, depicting nature's beauty, animals, birds and even mundane life. This is like when we embark on a tour of Jog falls, do we not enjoy the scenic beauty of the green jungles, food on the way and the journey itself? In addition to marveling the falls, we revel in other memories too. Similarly, though we enjoy the idol of the deity inside the Sanctus Sanctorum, we also enjoy the canvas of the grandeur of His creation along the way. We are allured by His Vibhuti (vastness). A noble soul enjoys the greenery of mother Nature's soothing jungle lap, her loftiness in mountains and hills, her vastness on the shores of her oceans and her brightness in the deep blue starry sky. As told by the illustrious Shri Ranga Mahaguru, "because the enigma of Lord's creation carries His imprint and signature, watching these, propels the mind towards Him, slowly but surely, without one being aware. The mind dives deep into silence and enjoys a tiny piece of the unbounded internal joy." From this view point, His entire creation is His portrait, His sculpture. He, the effulgent Lord, is the true Artist and is the ideal for every other artist. The Art of this universal Artist, who has created this cosmos is the basis for all art of our land Bhaarat.
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