This month’s photo-feature showcases a few photographs taken at the iconic Sun Temple in Modhera, Gujarat. These images are not of the main temple, but rather of a few ‘ruins’ placed at a few places in the temple complex, particularly near the small Archaeology museum that is located on the site.
Looking through the photographs from our visit made us recall the sublime experience of being in that majestic temple, taking in silently the grandeur as well as the delicate beauty of that architectural and sculptural marvel, imagining the splendour and magnificence of this place when this would have been a ‘living’ temple about a thousand years ago.
But after sorting through the photographs of the main temple area, we were equally struck by a few additional photographs which seemed to be whispering a little story. After a bit of photo-editing the story started to become more audible. At least that is how we felt.
These are the images you see here.
The story we heard was about India’s ceaseless creative spirit. But this was no ordinary urge to create. This was an inexhaustible vitality that constantly sought to express the deepest spiritual truth of life, and combined with a powerful intelligence reached for the harmony which was the hallmark of the spirit and rhythm of ancient Indian culture.
We hope you will be able to hear this story too.
All photographs and photo-editing by Suhas Mehra. Introductory text and quotes selection by Beloo Mehra.
“[A]n ingrained and dominant spirituality, an inexhaustible vital creativeness and gust of life and, mediating between them, a powerful, penetrating and scrupulous intelligence combined of the rational, ethical and aesthetic mind each at a high intensity of action, created the harmony of the ancient Indian culture.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Renaissance in India, CWSA, Vol. 20, p. 10)
“[India] has been creating abundantly and incessantly, lavishly, with an inexhaustible manysidedness, republics and kingdoms and empires, philosophies and cosmogonies and sciences and creeds and arts and poems and all kinds of monuments, palaces and temples and public works, communities and societies and religious orders, laws and codes and rituals, physical sciences, psychic sciences, systems of Yoga, systems of politics and administration, arts spiritual, arts worldly, trades, industries, fine crafts,—the list is endless and in each item there is almost a plethora of activity. She creates and creates and is not satisfied and is not tired; she will not have an end of it, seems hardly to need a space for rest, a time for inertia and lying fallow.” (ibid, pp. 7-8)
“[I]n art it is not the head that dominates, it is the feeling for beauty.” (The Mother, CWM, Vol. 5, p. 332)
“The long tradition of her architecture, sculpture and painting speaks for itself, even in what survives after all the ruin of stormy centuries: whatever judgment may be formed of it by the narrower school of Western aesthetics,— and at least its fineness of execution and workmanship cannot be denied, nor the power with which it renders the Indian mind,—it testifies at least to a continuous creative activity. And creation is proof of life and great creation of greatness of life.” (Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 20, p. 245)
“Validity of human knowledge is not dependent on physical science alone. Physical science is only one side of knowledge. The poet’s and the mystic’s and the artist’s experience have equal validity.” (Sri Aurobindo, Evening Talks, compiled by A. B. Purani, p. 84)
“If we would understand the essential spirit of Indian civilisation, we must go back to its first formative period, the early epoch of the Veda and the Upanishads, its heroic creative seed-time. If we would study the fixed forms of its spirit and discern the thing it eventually realised as the basic rhythm of its life, we must look with an observing eye at the later middle period of the Shastras and the classic writings, the age of philosophy and science, legislation and political and social theory and many-sided critical thought, religious fixation, art, sculpture, painting, architecture. If we would discover the limitations, the points at which it stopped short and failed to develop its whole or its true spirit, we must observe closely the unhappy disclosures of its period of decline. If, finally, we would discover the directions it is likely to follow in its transformation, we must try to fathom what lies beneath the still confused movements of its crisis of renascence. None of these can indeed be cut clean apart from each other; for what developed in one period is already forecast and begun in the preceding age: but still on a certain large and imprecise scale we can make these distinctions and they are necessary for a discerning analytic view.” (Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, Vol. 20, pp. 169-170)
For more photo-features on this blog, click HERE.
Linking this with ABC Wednesday, C: C is for create