Bija – The Sounds of the Chakras

Greetings from The Art Dungeon! Today’s post brings a new artwork for all my followers and subscribers. This one is called “Bija – The Sounds of the Chakras” and is the eighth edition in my ongoing “Buddha Sutra” Series.

This painting is a portrayal of the 7 “Bija mantras,” one corresponding to each of the 7 “chakras” or energy centers in the human body. The word “Bija” in Sanskrit literally means seed and is used metaphorically for the origin or starting point of all creation. In Buddhism, the term “Bija mantras” is used for mystical “seed syllables” contained within mantras. These are one syllable sounds which have no literal meaning, but connect to spiritual principles or energies. It is believed that these seeds could stimulate physical, emotional, and spiritual growth and metamorphosis.

The 7 Bija mantras, which have been hand-printed in the artwork, when chanted while meditating, help in awakening their corresponding chakras and balancing their energies. The 7 chakras themselves have been illustrated by their respective floral essences. The mantras and the flowers for the respective chakras are:

Muladhara (Root Chakra) – LAM; Poppy flower.

Svadisthana (Sacral Chakra) – VAM; Calla Lily.

Manipura (Solar Plexus Chakra) – RAM; Sunflower.

Anahata (Heart Chakra) – YAM; Rose.

Visuddha (Throat Chakra) – HAM; Tulip.

Ajna (Third Eye Chakra) – OM; Marigold.

Sahasrara (Crown Chakra) – OM; Lotus.

Each chakra is connected symbolically to their respective flowers, either due to the colour of the flower in direct correspondence to the colour of the chakra itself or by the structure of the flower in relation to the role and purpose of the chakra. In other words, while the color of the flower depicted in the artwork may not match that of its corresponding chakra, it will still be connected to it in terms of its characteristics relative to the chakra.

 It is said that the Bija mantras, when said out loud, activate the dormant power of the associated chakras and resonate with their energy, which purifies and harmonizes the body and mind, thus connecting us to cosmic energies, strengthening our spiritual powers and bringing on a state of awareness.  


The Big Reveal!!

Hey fellow art enthusiasts! As promised, here I am with the outcome of the little snippet I shared in last week’s post!! So, are you all ready for the big reveal? Here it is!

This is it!
The final artwork

This watercolor artwork is called Bo Tree – The Emblem of Enlightenment. It is a representation of the Bodhi Tree (Ficus religiosa), under which Siddharth Gautam, who later became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Buddhahood.

The Bodhi Tree is a principal religious symbol in Buddhism due to its prominence in the Buddha’s discovery of enlightenment, or total peace and happiness in the form of Nirvana, or the greater reality. “Bodhi” means awareness and Bodhi tree means the tree under which Buddha becomes fully aware of the noble truth of the universe.

Essentially the ‘tree of awakening,’ also known as the Bo Tree, in Pali it is known as the “bodhirukkha,” in Sanskrit the “bodhivka” and to botanists as Ficus religiosa. Given its close association with the attainment of Buddhahood, the tree has great symbolic significance.

This tree as depicted in the artwork represents the supreme knowledge acquired by the Buddha during his tireless meditation. It conveys the teachings and sermons he preached and passed on to his disciples and followers. These teachings are illustrated in the artwork in the Pali script and represented as scribbles in the canopy of the tree.  The tree reflects the capacity of every human being to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha in achieving the ultimate spiritual goal by letting go of the finite self through meditation and self-discipline. The heart-shaped leaves of the Bodhi tree symbolize peace and happiness developing in one’s heart during the journey towards Nirvana.

The Bodhi tree is the DNA of Buddha’s teachings, an emblem of peace and a reminder of the eventual prospect of enlightenment that lies within us all.  


Guess What’s On My Easel?

Hey folks! This week it’s going to be a short and sweet post. Working on a new project, albeit part of my ongoing “Buddha Sutra” series. Here’s a small snippet of what I am working on currently. Take a guess as to what it could be!

Do share what you think it is in the comments section below. Would love to hear your ideas. And yes! Look out for the final artwork which will be up soon!!


Padme – The Spiritual Bloom

Padme – The Spiritual Bloom

“Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.”

The lotus is one of the most revered and sacred symbols of Buddhism. It is this holy symbol that is the subject of today’s artwork tilted, “Padme – The Spiritual Bloom.”

The lotus represents spiritual awakening, purity, and rebirth as the act of emerging from muddy water symbolizes rising above the challenges and adversities of life and moving towards the light of wisdom. It also represents nonattachment, as it is rooted in mud (attachment and desire) but its flowers blossom on long stalks untarnished by the mud below (detachment).

Another important aspect of the lotus is that when it blossoms, it simultaneously plants a seed, representing the Buddhist concept of cause and effect, whereby the flower is symbolic of the cause and the seed-pod the effect.

The lotus serves as a reminder that all beings can attain enlightenment. Just as the blossom rises from the depths of murky ponds and lakes to bloom immaculately above the water’s surface, so can the human mind develop the virtues of the Buddha and transcend desire and attachment to reveal its essentially pure nature. It symbolizes the blooming of the soul from the filth of the physical world, eventually flourishing in the bright sunshine of enlightenment and attaining nirvana.

There are a variety of colors of the lotus associated with Buddhism. The pink lotus is the supreme one and is the true lotus of Buddha. It is for this reason that the Buddha in this artwork is depicted seated on a pink lotus, which indicates His enlightened and divine status.

 All symbolism associated with the lotus points towards finding spiritual meaning in life. We all are like lotus blooms in the universal pond, striving to realize our true potential.


“Ariya atthangika magga” – The Noble Eightfold Path

“There are no enlightened beings, only enlightened actions.”

Buddhism revolves around the principle of Dharma and encompasses various traditions, beliefs and practices of Lord Buddha. Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath to Kaundinya and four other scholars. In Isipatana of Sarnath, he preached about Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which includes Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.

It is these fundamental doctrines of Buddhism that have been displayed in the artwork shown below, the title of the artwork being, “Ariya atthangika magga” – The Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path is one of the principal teachings of Buddhism and is the fourth truth of the Four Noble Truths and regarded by Buddha as the medium to attain Enlightenment.

This artwork depicts the Noble Eightfold Path through the Dharma Wheel (Dharma Chakra), with its eight spokes representing the eight elements of the path, namely – right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration (or “samadhi”).

The four circles in the corners represent the Four Noble Truths, namely – The existence of suffering, its cause, its cessation and the path leading to its end. The path alluded to in the fourth truth is the Eightfold Path, which ultimately leads to enlightenment or Nirvana. This path is also depicted textually in the form of Tibetan manuscripts in the background of the artwork.

The Noble Eightfold Path is all about ending the suffering of life and achievement of self-awakening.  It enables us to overcome the “I” and attain harmony with the world around us. Being always awake and aware, is fundamental to a good life.


Panchamahabhuta – The Five Great Elements

AIR moves us

FIRE transforms us

WATER shapes us

EARTH heals us

SPACE awakens us

Earth, water, fire, air, and space are the five elemental energies that reside inside each one of us. It is these five elements that form the basis of this week’s watercolor artwork called Panchamahabhuta – The Five Great Elements. As in the title, these five elements are called “Panchamahabhuta” in Sanskrit and compose not only the universe, but the human body and mind.

The artwork

Each element represents a force of nature as well as a potential and quality of the human mind. The mind’s ability to serve as the ground for all experience is the quality of earth; its continuity and adaptability is water; its clarity and capacity to perceive is fire; its continuous movement is air and its unlimited emptiness is space.

These elements have been visually illustrated in the artwork along with corresponding text written in stylized calligraphy. Each element has also been represented as a Sanskrit syllable on prayer flags in synonymous colors.

We can discover our true potential by exploring and navigating through the terrain of these five elements that we are composed of. We can heal ourselves by acknowledging, aligning and connecting with these fundamental energies, thereby leading our lives with wisdom and grace.


Unalome – The Path of Life

Presenting the next watercolor installment in my “Buddha Sutra” Series – I call this one Unalome – The Path of Life.

Also available on instagam – https://www.instagram.com/p/Ckgd1bdP2lF/

The Unalome is both a Buddhist and a Hindu spiritual symbol. It represents the path to freedom or enlightenment, or in simpler terms, your life’s path. The sign consists of three parts: the spiral, the swirl, and the dots at the end.

The spirals represent the twists and turns in life. With these ups and downs and unexpected encounters, one becomes more and more aware. The spiral represents the state before one spiritually awakens.  After the spiral comes the swirl, which gets smaller and smaller and turns into a straight line. When you are aware of your thoughts, you have more focus and clarity and the road becomes less winding. The straight line is the moment of enlightenment or peace and harmony. When one gets out of the swirl, he or she suddenly see everything very clearly. Like a straight line. The road is pure, that’s where one is free and reaches enlightenment. The dots represent death, or the moment we fade into nothing. They also represent the uncertainty of life.

The lotus flower symbolizes how we can overcome all the obstacles on our journey to enlightenment and flourish. The Buddha is shown seated on a Lotus flower with a compass forming His halo. This symbolizes the path navigated by the compass of meditation towards freedom and enlightenment which can be achieved by harmonizing the 7 chakras depicted in the artwork. The trees represent growth and progress thereafter.

The Buddhist Unalome is a visual metaphor for the journey towards enlightenment. It inspires us to carve out our own path, which is unique to each one of us. Even though the journey as well as the path is uniquely different for each one of us, ultimately, the destination is the same – liberation.


Buddha Dharma – The Discipline of the Dharma

“A disciplined mind brings happiness.” – Gautam Buddha.

Reviving my blog and my art after a prolonged creative block. Today’s post is about my artwork titled Buddha Dharma – The Discipline of the Buddha, which is a sequel to the story of the Buddha and a continuation of my “Buddha Sutra” Series.  Here’s an image of the artwork I have created:

The making of the artwork – https://www.instagram.com/p/CjaGde-rKXc/

Over his lifetime, the Buddha preached a wide range of teachings that were collectively known as the Dharma or Buddhadharma. This watercolor artwork depicts not only the doctrines, disciplines, and teachings of Dharma but also the historical heritage and legacy associated with it. Dharma has been symbolized in the painting by the powerful Sanskrit mantra – “Om Mani Padme Hum.” This mantra, within which every one of the Buddha’s teachings is believed to reside, has been illustrated in the halo surrounding the Buddha’s face on the left as well as inside the “Dharma Chakra” or Dharma Wheel on the right.  Also depicted within the Dharma wheel is the “Ashtamangala” or the Eight Auspicious Symbols in Buddhism. These symbols, which are also teaching tools, include: the conch, endless knot, pair of golden fish, lotus, parasol, vase of jewels, Dharmachakra and victory banner. The various hand mudras associated with Buddhism have also been depicted within the Dharma Wheel.

The historical heritage of Buddhism has been illustrated in the form of Buddhist monuments of the likes of the Sanchi Stupa, the Mahaparinirvana Temple, the Mahabodhi temple, the Dhamekh Stupa, the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and some other monestaries and temples.

The Buddha’s teachings encompass the nature of the mind, the true nature of reality in the form of the existence and acknowledgement of suffering, the path to ending suffering, and finally the possibility of achieving nirvana through meditation and detachment.


Buddha Charita – The Life of Buddha

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

The Buddha introduced into the world a philosophy which helped mankind navigate through his suffering. The life he led and the experiences that made him confront suffering also guided him to his final destination – the attainment of enlightenment. Buddha symbolizes a path to liberation and detachment from the triviality of the material world.

The most well-known historical account about the Buddha is the story of his life. It is this divine narrative that has become the inspiration for my latest artwork titled “Buddha Charita”, which is also the culmination of my new series – “Buddha Sutra”. Here’s an image of the artwork I have created:

Buddha Charita

Link to a video clipping of the painting – https://www.instagram.com/p/CdSddp6JL2k/

This watercolor artwork is a visual narrative linking several events in the life of the Buddha from his days as Prince Siddhartha Gautama, his confrontation with suffering, his quest for a path towards the cessation of this suffering and his final liberation in the form of his “awakening”.

The first embodiment of the Buddha as the royal Prince Siddhartha has been represented in the right-hand corner of the artwork by an image of him, resplendent with royalty. This is followed by the next stage in his life, where he comes across the sight of a decrepit old man, a sick man, and a corpse which have all been portrayed one below the other in the artwork. These sights changed the perspective of the prince and opened his eyes to all the suffering that accompanies life. Also depicted in the painting, is the image of an ascetic that Gautama encountered, who had learned to seek out spiritual solace in the midst of these worldly miseries and sorrows. Determined to find the same enlightenment, Gautama turned towards the path of renunciation.

After exploring asceticism, or restraint from all physical needs and desires, he discovered meditation and used the practice as a path toward enlightenment. This led to the third stage in the life of Siddhartha, which is displayed in the artwork as the central image of the Buddha, “the awakened one”. The tree on the extreme left of the painting represents the sacred Bodhi tree or the fig tree (Ficus religiosa) under which the Buddha meditated and finally reached the highest state of enlightenment or “nirvana,” which simply means “awakening”.

In addition to the figurative representation of the Buddha himself, his teachings have also been represented in the artwork through iconographic symbols of the likes of the Lotus flower and the Dharma Wheel. Other icons displayed in the artwork include various Buddhist monuments like pagodas and stupas, specifically the Sanchi Stupa, which is considered to be the most sacred monument of Buddhism, as it represents and displays various Buddhist ideals.  

Through this artwork, I wish to honour Buddha’s life, for it is a reminder of the basic Buddhist principles that form the stepping stones to a higher spiritual level.  It is these principles that serve as a source of strength in the grief-stricken world. It is my attempt to convey the philosophy of Buddha by reflecting on his life’s experiences and pledging to practice inward reflection to overcome sorrows, just as he did.  

My first Solo Art Exhibit


Hey guys!!

I know I have been off the radar for a long time but I have a valid reason for that! The last few months have been extremely busy and exhilarating ones for me and I am super excited to share with you all that I recently had the pleasure of holding my very first solo art exhibition!

It was an incredibly challenging yet invigorating experience for me and nothing I have ever done before can match the thrill of seeing a gallery full of my work. Seeing my pieces on display in a radiant, well-lit space gave me a feeling of elation like none other. I never imagined it would feel so out of the world!

My artworks were on display at Dys Art Gallery, Siripuram Junction in Visakhapatnam from 15 April to 21 April 2022. The exhibit titled “Dragons and Beyond” was launched on the 15th of April 2022 and showcased a collection of 26 original works in all, which have been inspired by various muses, including my all-time favorite, the dragon.

Many of the artworks on display are works from earlier years while others are more recent as I wanted to put up a good mix from the past as well as the present. Most of my works belong to the genre of conceptual art and constitute my way of expressing not just what I feel and believe in, but also sharing the joy and pleasure I get from painting.

As mentioned earlier, the exhibit featured 26 original works for display as well as sale, ranging from small-scale paintings to medium sized ones. I had showcased three different series, namely the Dragon Series, the Navrasas series and the Lockdown Saga series.

Each piece in the collection has its own story to tell and a message to convey. It is my sincere endeavor and attempt not only to emote through my work, but also to send out a social message through my art. I hope my viewers can feel through my paintings what I feel and comprehend the deeper meaning behind each and every piece every time they look at one.

I also had the honor and privilege of being featured in the newspaper, The Hindu, along with my work. Sharing an image of the article and a few snapshots of the collection as well as the show.

The last few months leading up to this solo show have been a roller coaster ride, one full of mixed emotions and ups and downs, but in all, it has been a fabulous learning experience in terms of fine-tuning my creative process and growing as an artist.  This was a life-time opportunity for me, a golden one at that and has been a long time coming. In fact, it’s been a life-long dream, and to see my dream becoming a reality is absolutely thrilling! I am grateful to the gallerists, Ms. Gladys Rathi and Mr. Krishna Rathi for providing me with this opportunity and special thanks to my dear husband for discovering this place..couldn’t have done it without you!

Thanks for stopping by and see you next time!