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EAST OF EDEN

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***ALL ARTWORK AND SCRIPT COPYRIGHT: CHRISTOPHER TEMARES

 

 

 

 

Ahriman/Angra Manyu

Ahriman/ Angra Manyu:

Here is a rendering of the 'anti-god' Ahriman that I completed about a year ago that I hope you folks will appreciate. In this particular illustration, I borrowed from Assyrian iconography to better illustrate the image...the ancient Mesopotamian war god Rhimmon, who at that remote period, seems to have represented to the Persians the most appropriate symbol of 'evil' than any other. Are the linguistic similarities of any significance? The anti-god here is depicted being supported by a foreign goddess, perhaps Druj, while flanked by two gryphins which are evocative of the Assyrian god, Nisroch. He is seen emerging from the winged disk, a long established representation of power and sovereignty throughout the region at that time. Ahriman, in contrast to those forces if Nature which evoke the phenomenon of 'What Is', represents and articulates the cosmic condition of all that 'Is Not'. The original Devil in humanity's historical iconography.

Medium: ball point pen on 65 lb. paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indra Vajrapani:

As leader of the Daevas and ruler of the Heavens according to the Vedas of Hindu religion, Indra is the god of rain and thunderstorms. In His right hand, He wields the lightening bolt (Vajra) and rides the storm cloud in its manifestation as the elephant known as Airavata.
Indra is at once recognized as the supreme deity whose origins are cognate with the Indo-European pantheons which span as far back as ancient Mittani, the Hurrian speaking people of Northern Syria.
Various forms of Indra are present in the mythologies of the Zoroastrians, the Bactrians and even amongst the Jains and Buddhists. His influence is known as far as Bali, China, Korea and Japan.
In recent times, the worship of Indra in India has given way to the religion of Trimurti (Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva) and that of the goddess Kali.

Indra Vajrapani

 

 

 

 

Vishnu Garudasana

Vishnu Garudasana:

A recent working I just completed originally inspired by a 9th century Nepalese sculpture which decorates the Temple of Cangra Narayan(a). Here, MahaVishnu, preserver of the Cosmic Order, is seated upon His Vahana (vehicle), the anthropomorphic winged man-god, Garuda. Vishnu is one of the three triumvirate divinities including Brahma and Shiva who represent the three conditions of the Universe; Creation, Sustaining and Destruction. Vishnu may have been, at a very early time, a form of the Sun-god, but over time had evolved into the prime deity par excellence' alongside Shiva. His main purpose is in His capacity to re-manifest in the Universe in one of His many 'avatar' forms to wage battle against demons and asuras.

Medium: Sharpie marker, colored pencil and graphite on 20lb. paper.

 

 

 

 

 

Brahma:

Brahma is the first personality of the Hindu trinity with Vishnu and Shiva. He is essentially a creative force, father of god-forms and all sentient beings. Transcending Space and Time, the world universe is manifest darkness,...unknowable, shapeless, absolutely without form, sleeping.
Behold, the self-existing being, ‘He who never unfolded’ does so unfold the universe, becoming form in the concept of elements, scattering the shades and shadows which in turn, define the shape of elements.
‘Being’ appears spontaneously, his Self included in all creatures, yet remaining eternal and imperceivable, incomprehensible, except through ‘the spirit,’ subtle and without distinctions. The first thought produces the waters wherein Brahma deposits his seed, a golden egg, a sun in which he as him Self is thus born, as his own child, father of all worlds. The daughters of the waters, Nara, are his dwelling place, therefore he takes the name Narayana. From this ‘First Cause’, both Being and Not Being, comes the male, Brahma. Thought is the cause of primordial scission, the atmosphere existing between Heaven and Earth and the eight cardinal points upon the eternal abode of the waters. The spirit drawing from his Self, Being and Not Being, is now conscious and existing as a personality.
Also, the great principle of soul exists as do the five senses which experience the material universe.
From his Self, Brahma contemplates forth from his own immaculate substance a daughter, Sarasvati, this awakening his senses to the beauty of her manifestations...music, the arts, learning and all things pertaining to aesthetic wonder. She is a goddess of waters, mother of the Vedas, inventoress of Sanskrit. Upon each of her manifestations, Brahma fixes a loving gaze til at last his five faces thus emerge.
“Come”, he says, “let us beget all kinds of living beings, people, Suras and Asuras!” Upon seeing Brahma’s fifth face gazing at her towards the Heavens she extends her hand to him and offers him a flower. The two of them are wed, taking abode in the secret place in the universe for a hundred epocs.
The beginning and end of all creation is thus revealed, and within his Self, Brahma’s face towards the Heavens, he beholds the Lord Shiva, perhaps in an instant of divine reflection.
Shiva’s magnificent gaze staring back incinerates the fifth face of Brahma, and as a result, he is oft portrayed four faced (Caturanan).
The concept of Atman, the Self, is conducive to the understanding of consciousness as the sense of thinking, deriving from the root ‘to breathe’.
What is to become the absolute Spirit is first of all the cosmic Being whose personality is at once the husband and the bride, the sacrifice being Reality itSelf, the illusionary world of perceived forms.

UBrahma

 

 

 

 

 

 

UKrishna

Krishna:

The name Krishna literally means ‘The dark colored one’. Recognized as one of the most revered gods of Hinduism, He is a hero beloved in many aspects; as a prankish child, an amorous adolescent, a wise warrior whose lessons are the central theme of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’. Krishna seems to have had many origins… Aryan, Dravidian, and perhaps Mundaen. Therefore, no other divinity of the Hindu pantheon has exerted so much appeal, this god famed for His adoration of Humanity.

The eighth avatar of Vishnu was born at Mathura, between Delhi and Agra, the son of Devaki, a sister of the demon king Kamsa who had murdered each of her children as soon as they were born, since it had been prophesized one of these would assassinate him. To avoid Kamsa’s wrath, He was traded while still an embryo, for the exchange for a daughter of a humble cowherd.

According to texts, the goddess Earth asked the Lord Vishnu to liberate Her from the many demons who oppressed Her, and as a result Vishnu descended as the eighth child of Vasudeva, a relative of the demon king.

Krishna grew up amongst the herdsmen of Gokula, protecting them from the nefarious attacks of demons. Like any other child He was often troublesome, at times malicious. But His extraordinary strength and stark handsomeness made Him obviously unique, especially amongst the young milk maidens He was always so prone to come into contact with.

Krishna played the part of divine trickster, causing devotees to worship Himself instead of their own gods. As an amorous lover, His escapades were so many He was at task to multiply Himself when women left their villages to join Him in the moonlit countryside to participate in His ecstatic dances.

Forgetting their customary reserve and modesty, they left their work and houses as soon as they heard the hauntingly beautiful sound of His flute, the irresistible call to love which has made His name synonymous with joyful pleasure and eroticism.

The ‘Gita Govinda’ Song of the Herdsman, celebrates the many raptures of Krishna and the Vrindavana gopis as well as the lamentations of his favorite wife, Radha … ‘whose tears in the end bring back the faithless one, always smiling and always beloved.

As an adult, Krishna left the herdsmen and milkmaids, never to return. He killed a number of demons including Kamsa. In the famous war between the Pandavas and the Kurus, Krishna was the friend and advisor of Arjuna whose charioteer He had soon become. But, Arjuna hesitated to take part, deploring the senselessness of carnage and the futility of friends and relatives shedding blood.

Krishna reminds him of his caste, of entering heaven as a coward, and most importantly that the soul is eternal. All those on the battlefield have always existed and will never cease to exist. They can only be killed in appearance. In the end, both armies were destroyed but Krishna’s wisdom teachings are in this way revealed in the ‘Bhagavad-Gita’.

In the face of ruin, Krishna takes refuge in mediation. The vicious cycle of the universe continues. His task as Avatar has been fulfilled. While hunting in the forest, a clumsy archer mistakes Him for a deer and pierces meditating Krishna in the heel of His left foot, the only vulnerable spot on His body.

The hunter approached Him in despair, lamenting, but Krishna consoled him by telling him to fear nothing and not to grieve. And these words were the last He spoke on Earth. He illuminated and ascended to the gods. The Sun darkened and shadow fell upon the Earth.

Such is the gallant romance, the heroic chivalry and fatal human destiny of the existence of Vishnu’s most endeared incarnation, the epic of the immaculate god with a human heart.

Those who break with tradition to indulge favor with Krishna may be taken to task, but Krishna offers salvation. In whatever way He touches, through love or war, He gives liberation to both friend and enemy.

Through the workings of art, music and literature He inspires His devotees to put forth, and through His charming and heroic qualities, He remains closer to humanity than do the others of His pantheon.

Vishnu’s eighth incarnation descending to Earth to liberate Her seems to combine material, …. or ‘ substantial’, qualities with a transcendent wisdom inspiring not only philosophical and theological reactions, but religious practices as well. For the first time, communion with the divine finds an expression free from the strict protocol of official doctrine.

This faculty of the spirit is most commonly termed ‘Bhakti’, meaning devotional attachment. The devotee of Krishna develops a relationship between oneself and the divine through the emotional experience, and not through rational thought or the performance of impersonal rites.

The flowering of the emotional Bhakti first appears in southern India in the middle of the first millennium with the songs and dances of ‘Alvars’, Immersed Ones, as they spread their music through the villages in homage to Vishnu and Shiva. This devotion is even now closely associated with art, music and dancing, full of the emotional flavor poetically expressed as ‘Rasa’. This denotes the aesthetic sensuality transposed into religious experience. Thus, Krishna is touched in such a way that He was touched by His many admirers during His lifetime. Much of the music of India indulges in this essence.

From yet another perspective not outside the Hindu path of understanding is that the life of Krishna and His relationships are allegorical, symbolizing the trials and tribulations of the Soul that is fain to find union with the divine, the Spirit being fleeting and capricious as it is. Some knew and sought Him as a son, some as a brother and friend, some as a lover and even as an enemy, … but all in the end receive His blessing and deliverance.

Tripurabhairavi:

Here is a pen and ink rendition of a 9th century bronze sculpture of the goddess, Bhairavi from Himachal Pradesh. Bhairavi, otherwise known as Baala, is the consort of Shiva Bhairava. She is 'the fierce and terrifying' aspect of the Devi and is, consequentially, indistinguishable from the goddess, Kali.
In her relentless battle against the Asurim, She is recognized as manifestations of Parvati and Durga.
In this particular representation, She is astride the human personification of Nandi, the vahana of Shiva.
Female adepts of Kundalini Tantra who have been initiated to a particular degree are reckoned to be beyond the fear of death, and thus have achieved the state of 'Bhairavi', meaning 'Awesome' or 'Terror Inspiring'.

Tripurabhairavi

UBudevL
UBuddha
UBudevR

Green Tara

Green Tara;

Born of a tear of the All-Compassionate Avalokitesvara, which symbolizes sublimated passion. Her lower right hand makes the gesture of 'vara mudra,' a formality of charity.

Kwannon:

This is the second depiction of Kwannon. This one, however, has been rendered via medium 20" X 15" illustrator board with graphite.

Here's a drawing I just finished titled 'Kwannon'. Kwannon is the Japanese god (or sometimes goddess) of mercy and is known in China as Kuan-Yin. Kwannon, or Kuan-Yin, derives from the Indian Avalokiteshvara. It is reckoned that as a Bosatsu, or Bodhisattava (a future manifestation of Buddha), Kwannon was born from a ray of light which emerged from the Buddha Amitabha.
This work was inspired by a 12th century wood sculpture, although the 'halo' is of a Tibetan type that I decided would help to accentuate a more majestic effect.

Medium: Graphite on 65lb. bond paper.

Kwannon

Teachin Buddha

Teaching Buddha:

Inspired by a 9th century work of the T'ang period from Bezeklik, Chinese Turkestan. The abstract linear style, however, is reminiscent of the Northern Wei Dynasty which resembles the Romanesque of Europe, but is most commonly found in the sculptures rendered by pious craftsmen and monks which decorate the cave sites at Yun-Kang and Lung-men. The intricate design on the halo is characteristic of works from the mid 5th century Mathura Gupta period.

Medium: Sharpie marker, colored pencil and pastel on wood. 32 and 3/16ths X 12". Because of the original coat of white gloss paint on the wood, this was a very difficult medium to work with and I loathe ever trying it again. It undoubtably contributed to the 'serenity' of the effect, but painstaking measures will have to be taken in order to preserve the subtle hues.

 
Tengu

 

 

 

 

 

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