Since time immemorial man has been looking for an ultimate answer to the question of creation.
There have been numerous attempts to answer the question and most of them come from a similar seed of thought. I find the stories told in Puranas quite fascinating. The two artworks BHU BHUVAH SVAHA and HIRANYAGARBHA illustrate the creation of Universe through these stories. The background of the artworks is a depiction of worn out fabric. It is a representation of ‘faith of a seeker’ that holds the answers to numerous questions through countless eons. The faith is challenged, ridiculed, ignored, redacted but in the end never fails to hold the precious knowledge intact. Each thread of the loosened weave is painted individually and the works are pure labour of love! The stories that I chose to portray and the way I shaped them in my works are purely personal choices and not rigid templates for viewer's interpretations.
BHU BHUVAH SVAHA
It is said that in the beginning, Vishnu conceives the Universe (Srishti) and a lotus emerges from his navel. The lotus seats Brahma who was chosen by Vishnu to architect the Universe. In a state of complete obliviousness Brahma seeks direction and thereafter upon enlightenment is commanded by Vishnu to start creation. Brahma starts by dividing the lotus seat into three parts - Bhu (physical realm), Bhuvah (astral realm) and Svaha (spiritual realm). After giving form to many aspects of the Universe, he finds that all his manifestations are not aiding the expansion of the Universe and hence he splits his body into two and creates the man (Manu) and his wife (Satrupa). I try to depict this magnum opus of a multidimensional story on a mere 2-d surface! The concentric circles loosely translate to the three realms with its center being Vishnu's navel. The two lotus buds emerging from the centre are the progenitors of the entire mankind - Manu and Satrupa.
Another version of the creation starts from the state of sleep and darkness. Then Swayambhu, the self manifested being arose and established a seed of creation. The seed turns into a golden womb - Hiranyagarbha. Swayambhu enters into the womb and becomes the germ of Brahma. After incubation, Brahma creates earth, sky and heaven. Brahma himself is called Hiranyagarbha as he emanates from the womb. Brahma is depicted with four heads overlooking the four directions. It is believed that the four vedas came into existence from his four heads. The vedas serve as the most revered and authentic compilation of the ultimate knowledge held in the cosmos. The artwork represents the golden womb in the shape of an egg in the center. The lotuses emerging out represent the four heads of Hiranyagarbha - the creator of the Universe!