Jayadeva wanted to channelise his talent in painting to visually translate spiritual works
Legend has it that the Soundaryalahari was given to Adi Shankara by God Shiva and on the way it was snatched by Nandi and torn into two halves, one of which Nandi kept. When Adi Shankara went back to Shiva and told him what happened, God asked him to write the second half, which is what is today, known as the Soundaryalahari.
The first half, comprising 41 shlokas, is considered to be the Anandalahari. The whole poem is written in praise of the Devi or the feminine primordial cosmic energy.
Hunasagahalli Jayadeva, in a first, has brought these shlokas to life by creating 41 paintings to depict each shlokha. Jayadeva then collated his paintings into a book, which he has self-published, calling it the Sri Soundaryalahari-1 Anandalahari in Visuals. Jayadeva also accompanies each shloka with a trilingual translation.
Dr.Gururaj Karajagi, Chairman, Academy for Creative Teaching, shares the story of the Soundaryalahari in his foreword for the book.
“My father was a philosopher and teacher and my childhood was filled with discussions on philosophy, from the life of Adi Shankara to the Upanishads. So when I realised I could paint, I though why not make visuals on these thoughts,” says Jayadeva, a retired art teacher. He has previously painted on sections of the Upanishads, recently exhibited at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. “The Anandalahari talks about self-realisation through the yogic chakras, in order to realise universal parenthood,” says Jayadeva.
And the universal parenthood, as he shows in the painting of the first shloka, is the union of Shiva and Shakti, primordial cosmic energies that are responsible (according to Vedic scriptures) for the creation of the universe.
The painting depicts the Indian trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva who are considered responsible for the creation, preservation and destruction (transformation) of the universe. The painting shows Brahma and Vishnu bowing down to the image of another Shiva (seen here with his consort Shakti) pouring forth blessings, while a third Shiva established seated near the trinity is shown deep in meditation. “The three figures depict the trinity in this yuga (age). After the cosmic dissolution when this world cycle ends, there will be another trinity. But Shiva-Shakti, being universal consciousness are eternal, and will once again, recreate the world. That is the meaning of the first shloka,” explains Jayadeva, who began working on the sketches in 2006 finally completing his work in 2013.
“The book is a prayer rendered to the celestial parenthood for the protection of the universe. The book also shows how anybody can become self-realised. I have tried to incorporate the main ideas of the book through the visuals for everybody to understand,” he explains.
In one of the images, of the Devi (as Sri Devi Tripurasundari), she is shown carrying a bow, arrows, a noose and a goad, as a representation of the law of karma.
“The book also signifies the importance of inner peace. Just a thought of the divine, brings mental peace. Once we are peaceful, we can then go and bring peace to others. In this philosophy it is believed that we should be able to live in the world, at the same time realise our true nature. That is the message here.”
Jayadeva is now working on a book depicting the shlokas of the second part of the Soundaryalahari.
Sri Soundaryalahari-1 Anandalahari in Visuals is available for Rs. 375 at the Sapna Book House, Gandhinagar; Vedanta Book House, Chamarajpet and Ankita Pustaka, Gandhi Bazar. For details, contact 944879750.