Thursday, October 15, 2009

We all have a purpose

      "Sva-Dharma"     Mixed Media by Eliza Lynn Tobin
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the Bhagavad Gita, a famous mystical document from Indian literature that is just one small part of the epic Mahabharata. My (very) novice interpretation of The Bhagavad Gita is that it is basically a break in the action of the Mahabharata story, in which a enormous war is about to break out and the warrior Arjuna, appointed to heading it all off, suddenly becomes overwhelmed by the decision to make war on his own kinsman (even though he has every reason to). He is then advised by his charioteer, Krishna (who later reveals himself as the God Krishna himself) on all aspects of life, of decision making and taking action, of knowing what it is you are to do in this life. This conversation between Arjuna and Krishna makes up the poem that is the Bhagavad Gita. In the story, Arjuna really is taking on the role of every man and women ever faced with any sort of struggle (so basically all of us) and therefore Krishna's advice is to all of us. The Bhagavad Gita is a very complex story and I by no means am any expert on it's telling and really am a new student to it's teachings, but lately I've been thinking a lot about it and how it relates to the creative process. There is one particular concept that has always intrigued me and it is this idea that each of us has our very own Dharma (our Sva-Dharma), our very own purpose in life and it is our duty as humans to find out what that purpose is and to do it. No big deal right? Ha! Except that figuring out what that purpose is and having the guts to follow through with it is probably one of the hardest tasks that we beings face in our life time. And this is how I also think about the creative process, because it too urges us to know our purpose. It says to create and we follow suite by figuring out what it is we were meant to create and whether we know what we supposed to create or not, we as creative beings are expected to show up and start working (doing our duty) and then something is created. Yikes. It's a big subject. I showed up this week, knowing I was meant to paint and created this image of a very determined looking woman who knows her Sva-Dharma, her very own purpose in life. A sun appeared over her horizon and I glued on these words: "We all belong here under this one sun. We all have a purpose." And it just reminds me to keep showing up, even if I don't always know why. There is definitely a sense of surrender present in this creative process too, another concept in the Bhagavad Gita, but perhaps I'll save that rant for another day.

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1 comment:

americanepali said...

I like your comment, "And it just reminds me to keep showing up, even if I don't always know why." I think that is a beautiful image.

I read the Bhagavad Gita right before we went to India as part of a class I audited on Hindu texts. We read digestible English translation versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and as a final project I read the Bhagavad Gita, but I think I need to do it again. I didn't really appreciate it when I read it. At the time I enjoyed more the stories of the Ramayana and Mahabharata.I think I just didn't understand it, I tend to rush when I read anyway, and I think it is probably a text that needs a lot of time and reflection.

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