Interview with Guruji Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy on Vedic Art and his paintings







Question
Kindly let us know what Vedic Painting is and what does it reveal?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
Vedic painting is something that a Vedic artist visualises while meditating upon Vedic Mantras.

Question
How old is Vedic form of painting?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
Vedic form of painting is as old as the Veda itself. We don’t have the paintings of Vedic era unlike Vedas; it is because the Vedas were carried over from era to era by Sruti (memories) but could it be possible to carry over paintings by Sruti? I am telling this presumably- Think, if High spiritual knowledge as Vedas were told in that era, how profound and grand could have been other fields of knowledge like “art” then?

Question
How Vedic paintings are unique their way?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
Since the time when painting started we began studying and following the objects of visible material world like mountains, rivers, trees, creepers and so on for creating our paintings. We tried to get almost exact impression of the visible world through our paintings. But slowly when camera was invented we easily got nearly alike pictures and thereby emphasis on studying the nature diminished. Then we tried to grasp and perceive the concepts of nature to bring about a finer perceptive creation. Then slowly came out art movements of impressionism, modern, ultra modern etc. But Vedic art is completely different from all other art forms and is also very rare. It is because the persons studying Vedas and grasping the Vedic Mantras(Verses) are rare; so also the persons who meditate upon the Vedic verses and who are capable of expressing the visualisation. Here the artist portrays something that is very subtle in nature which is never seen through eyes. Yantras are derived from Vedic Mantras. These are also art. You see, the form of atom is figured; we draw Yantras and all these are very subtle form of art. Vedic paintings are unique because they display the elusive most spiritual experiences of the artist.

Question
Do you ever select the subject of your painting?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
No, subjects of Vedic art can’t be chosen. It can’t be derived through sheer imagination. I try only to capture on canvas what I visualise during meditation. But so many things remain unexpressed as I fail to picturise the visualisation in total.

Question
Sir, why? Do the spiritual experiences fade away from memory after sometime?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
Not exactly. Even now those experiences are fresh in my mind. But you think even a camera can’t capture the accurate picture of a tree. There is no alike of God’s creation.

Question
How would an onlooker see and perceive Vedic paintings?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
Regardless of the onlookers’ ignorance about Vedic Mantras and visualizations these paintings magnetically attract them. They get mesmerised while glancing at the pictures. These paintings work as Mantras. As Mantras applied on a person have effects, Vedic paintings also have effect on a person. These kinds of pictures can also be subjected for meditating. 

Question
Sir in your “Mahakali” painting “Pattachitra” style of figuring has been used. Do you often use this classical art form in your painting? And do you think that classical form of art is more suitable to depict spiritual concepts?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
Yes, classical form of art better describes the spiritual concepts. But In Vedic paintings there is no such specific art form to be based upon. In Mahakali painting I have used Odishi style of sketching. It is because “Mahakali” means complete non existence and is an integration of voluminous powers. Mahakali is described to be meditating and being naked; it means that there is no such ଅନ୍ନମୟ food-full, ପ୍ରାଣମୟ vital-full, ମନମୟ emotion-full, ସୁଖମୟ bliss-full, ବିଜ୍ଞାନମୟ wisdom-full, ଆତ୍ମାମୟ soul-full, ପରମାତ୍ମାମୟ Supreme soul-full bodies in case of Mahakali. In meditation she is a great force of various energies and is not perceived. So to describe her in painting I have used Pattachitra sketching form. It is very much symbolic.

Question
Sir, please give us a brief idea about how you got into Vedic art in your painting career?

Sri Sudhansu Sekhara Satapathy
First I started painting on Srimad Bhagabata. I did 18 paintings on 18 contros. Then I did paintings on Raaga and Raagini(Indian classical music form). Gradually it got finer and finer. Then I started painting on Sri Aurobindo’s “Savitri”. Simultaneously I was meditating on Vedic Mantras and also getting visualizations. After completing 72 paintings on Savitri I thought of capturing my visualizations of Vedic Mantras on canvas and started working on that.

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