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गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म
तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः
All art work on this blog is dedicated to Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda — his teaching is the sole inspiration for my journey into likhita japa drawings.
Likhita Japa is a written form of meditating on God. लिखित (likhita) is a Sanskrit word meaning “document, “written paper,” or “handwriting” and जप (japa) means the recitation of the Lord’s name with devotion.
“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, head and heart is an artist.”
— St. Francis d’Assisi
In art school, we were drilled in exercises on learning “how to see” objects — how light was reflected, where an object sat in relationship to other objects in its environment, what shapes we saw, how to think about composition, etc. We had to learn to objectify and work objectively. Clearly these exercises were crucial to developing our drawing skills — and we were thrilled to learn how to see in a new way. But I was always left feeling somehow incomplete at the end of the day — my deeper desire and drive to create was just not satisfied. Something was missing. I felt there was a dialogue that needed to be discovered, but I couldn’t quite reach it. Eventually, I became disillusioned and gave up drawing and painting (for nearly two decades).
After many years of soul searching, it has become clear to me that I made a mistake in trying to abandon the “creative spirit.” I didn’t just give up drawing, I actively resisted a much greater presence. And to top if off, my comprehension was all wrong, because we don’t really create anything — it’s already been created … we simply need to sharpen our inner vision to be able to see it.
I’ve now come to understand that Brahma/God/The Eternal Wisdom is the creative process. He is in (and behind) every thought and action. He is inseparable from the air we breathe, the thoughts we have, or even the marks we make on paper. We are merely tools of His expression. And for the first time in my life, when I perform likhita japa, I can honestly say that I feel as though my tools (hands, eyes, mind and heart) are learning to work together.
This on-line journal was created to share some of my notes and ideas for creative likhita japa.
Please feel free to browse around and use anything on this blog — as long as it is for personal or classroom use only. Under no circumstances, can any of this work be reproduced or published, in any form, without written permission from the author (which, I guess, would be considered me by legal standards.) Whoosh — now that all the necessary formalities are said and done with …
I wish you much peace and happiness on a journey with likhita japa!