Iconography

Images and text from Ekabhumi Charles Ellik.  Previously published by Sounds True in The Bhakti Coloring Book (2018) and The Shakti Coloring Book (2015)

Mandala of the Divine Dance

Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are depicted at the center of a joyous group of dancing milkmaids (gopis). The figures are portrayed in a circular dance, known as the rās-līlā, which means “sweet act” or “divine dance.” This celebrated event took place during a full-moon nights, when the milkmaids of Vrindavan snuck away from their households to the forest when they heard Kṛṣṇa playing his flute.  There, they danced and engaged in love play throughout the night.  Esoterically, this long “night” is the Night of Brahmā, which lasts approximately four billion years! It is a metaphor for the dance of life and for the romantic nature of Bhakti yoga, wherein a devotee falls in ecstatic spiritual love with the deity.

Viśvarūpa: Universal Form

Viśvarūpa (Vish-vah-roo-pah) is wonder, awe, our most expansive mystical experience, shown in traditional artworks as a composite being representing all living beings considered as a whole.  His name literally means “Universal Form.”  This is the supreme soul manifesting all its forms and attributes simultaneously. It is one of the most popular subjects for sacred artists, one that challenges the imagination and allows for great creative freedom.

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