Recorded on September 20, 2018 6:30-8PM PST
Out of respect for our group and our sacred space, please do not share this video with others outside of our class.
“Different types of Divine Forms & Images” excerpt from Chapter 1 of Indian Sculpture and Iconography by V. Ganapati Sthapati.
Suggested time: 15 minutes
The article addresses the use of abstraction in sacred art directly, but in the language of a specific lineage of artisans actually making images for ritual use. Although the categories he describes differ slightly from what I have taught in class, the principles of abstraction are fundamentally the same in terms of symbolically representing divinity.
Mr. Sthapati explains the three levels of abstraction in traditional sacred art, as described in the Shilpa Shastra (Sculptor’s Scriptures). This is an important article for several reasons: because it directly addresses the topic of this week’s class, because it is written by a master of a traditional art lineage (instead of a scholar), and because it is rare for this topic to be addressed directly. Most articles written by art, especially art of the dharma tradition, are by people who are not artists.
As a reminder, here are the instructions for the practice:
When you wake and see the sign, cultivate a sense of arriving in your body, in this location, in this time.
Imagine you are arriving completely free of any binding karma: free of fear, free of prejudice, free of attachments and aversions.
Use this yantra as a reminder to align, embody, and express Truth.
If It Feels Too Intense:
If for any reason you find that the practice feels too intense, or if your health or personal life becomes suddenly disrupted, feel free to modify the practice.
You can draw a ring of eight lotus petals around the triangle to make the virtue you are invoking more flowing, nourishing, expansive, and pure.
You can draw a square around the triangle to make the virtue you are invoking more stable, contained, and more concrete.
You can cease the practice and remove the yantra, save it with your other drawings.
Or you can destroy it: carefully burn it or place it in running water.
Or you can pray to one of the deities we’ve invoked for guidance. Or you can ask the deity to pause, ease, or end the practice for you.