Saturday, April 9, 2011

7 Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art

Calendar art is often a window to a culture's soul. 

Note: since I first wrote this and other reviews of Devdutt Pattanaik's books, I have gained a better understanding of Hindu texts and scriptures. I believe Devdutt Pattanaik's writings are influenced heavily by western frameworks and agendas on the one hand, and introduce subtle and sometimes outright distortions in the interpretation of these texts. A small sample of the kinds of outright errors and distortions that would shame any scholar of Hinduism can be found in this blog post.
I therefore do not recommend any of Devdutt Pattanaik's books that I have reviewed on my blog. - Abhinav, Nov 3, 2017.

Hindu mythology, imagery, and customs come alive in posters and calendars. This book does a tremendous job of explaining this sometimes seemingly gaudy art.

This book is a tremendously rich source of Hindu calendar art. Every other page contains an illustration or a reproduction of Hindu art, while the facing page contains the narrative and explanation. Thus you have hundreds of reproductions and a ready reckoner of what that art means.

Selections from the book:
Empathy is sorely lacking in modern times. Everything is judged. Everything is measured. All thoughts are expected to be legitimized through fact and evidence and mathematics and science. But many things in life cannot be explained with logic, least of all life, death, and God. What happens after death. Who knows? Different cultures have different answers. Each is a subjective truth. Each is, therefore, a myth, a story, a belief. [page 7]

All plants grow and change over time but some more than others. At one extreme is the banyan tree. It has a long life, and, while it provides shade, it does not feed human beings. At the other extreme are grass and grain - they have very short lives and they provide no shade, but they provide food. The former represents the unchanging truth ... the latter represents the changing truth. In Hindu rituals related to childbirth and marriage, one finds a lot of importance being given to grain and grass and to the banyan tree. [page 69]

© 2010, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.