Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

Rishikesh is a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River. The river is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation. Temples and ashrams (centers for spiritual studies) line the eastern bank around Swarg Ashram, a traffic-free, alcohol-free and vegetarian enclave upstream from Rishikesh town.

What to say about Rishikesh. It’s raining and there are many tourists Indian and Israelis alike. There are many Ashrams and yoga classes, cooking classes, Ayurvedic massage and treatments. I was overwhelmed on my first day. Feel a little more settled today, did a pranayama and yoga class this morning and off to visit Himalyan Yog Ashram and a Swami Bhrahama Swaroponand in Swag Ashram. Maybe if the rain slows down!

Have walked all over and am ready to go to nature. Tomorrow I catch a 5am bus to Uttarkashi on my way up to the start of the Ganges.

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Goddess Green Tara - the sacred art form of Paubha

Goddess Green Tara - the sacred art form of Paubha

Green Tara is the female Buddha in Vajrayana,  a meditation deity worshipped to develop inner qualities and to understand buddhist teachings such as Karyna (compassion), metta (loving kindness) and shunyata (emptiness).

My month of painting at Simrik Atelier in old Kathmandu, Patan, Nepal will be to create, embody and complete a Pauhba of Green Tara/Saraswati.  In Nepal both Goddesses are often represented as one. The sacred art form of Paubha is a visual interpretation of the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies as practiced in the Vajrayana tradition. Ritualistic symbolism is used to depict gods and goddesses in their different postures, according to ancient text.  Once a viewer becomes aware of the symbolism each Paubha painting can be read like a text, aiding the practitioner in their meditation practice.

A Paubha is always painted for a spiritual reason and the painting process embraces painters spiritual contemplation and guidance from a learned master.  I will be under the guidance of Lok Chitrakar.

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Yab-yum - the inspiration

Yab-yum - the inspiration

This is my version of the Yab Yum inspired by Nepalese artist, Lok Chitrakar.  My version has Buddha and his consort inside the Shiva  Lingum.  In Nov 2017 I was inspired to paint and I finished this painting within a week and was then inspired to try another.  Green Tara was my next painting and whilst rough it took very little time and I found myself obsessed.  I knew I wanted to paint uninterrupted and that’s when I wrote to Lok Chitrakar in Feb 2018 and asked if I could visit his studio in Patan, Nepal in Oct 2018.  Several months later to my surprise he wrote back saying yes.  If I was prepared to paint 4-5 hours a day I would be welcome to complete a Pauhba using mineral paint on a cloth canvas over a month.  And so began the preparation.

The sacred art form of Paubha is a visual interpretation of the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies as practiced in the Vajrayana tradition. Ritualistic symbolism is used to depict gods and goddesses in their different postures, according to ancient text.  Once a viewer becomes aware of the symbolism each Paubha painting can be read like a text, aiding the practitioner in their meditation practice.

Simrik Atelier is an art school in Patan, Kathmandu, for painting Pauhbas (Newari painting). Simrik Atelier was founded by Paubha artist, Lok Chitrakar.  Lok Chitrakar is a self-taught Paubha artist that has been referred to as, “the Maker and Saver of Paubha.” Over the last 40 years, Lok Chitrakar has worked to keep Paubha art current.  


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Paubha Painting

Paubha Painting

A year ago I knew that I needed to take some time off to explore and refresh.  Long service leave well overdue as I have been running Yogababy full time since 2003.  I dreamed of 6 months leave, then practically it came down to 2 months.  

My life, like your yours, is about dreaming the future, using our creative imaginations to go beyond our everyday. One morning in 2017 I awoke to the Image of the Yab-yum. The Yab-yum is a common symbol in the Buddhist art of India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet. It represents the primordial union of wisdom and compassion, depicted as a male deity in union with his female consort.  

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