Yantra Paintings from India

India changes everyone, so they say. In 2012, I spent three months in India and Nepal, working as an artist in residence at Sanskriti Kendra outside New Delhi, and traveling and absorbing the colors, chaos and devotional way of life that infuses this extraordinary land. 

I was deeply touched by the infusion of devotional life into the everyday affairs of business and family. It’s not uncommon to see a man in a business suit, or a woman working in the fields wearing the tikka paste of a temple blessing, and there is a great tolerance (at least on the surface) of other religions. 

These Yantras of Devi paintings were created on silk in India during my artist residency at Sanskriti Kendra.  Each yantra is a representation of the mystic symbols of Durga and the 10 Mahavidyas or ‘Wisdom Goddesses’ from the Hindu and Tantric traditions (Sanskrit: maha means great, vidya means knowledge or wisdom). 

They relate to the 10 incarnations of Devi, Shakti or the Divine Mother, in which she appeared in different forms before the God Shiva. Each personality represents a spectrum of divine femininity, from terrifying at one end to ravishingly beautiful at the other. 

Yantras are still used in worship today along with their accompanying mantras (invocations) to call forth the Goddess.

The creation of each new yantra is seen as a consecration of metaphysical space with its own power field, and as such they are seen as a representation of the Divine Mother herself.

Kamala, detail, painting on silk