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  • Manju Sadarangani


Updated: Apr 4, 2021



12" X 12"

Acrylic & Silver Leaf on Canvas

(Completed in late November 2020)

Anuroop (अनुरूप) is analogous, similar.

We are working on a 40-day morning meditation at our Kundalini studio. I usually find this meditation (the Sudarshan chakra kriya) energizing and deeply uplifting. I was so stoked when the powerful Nandi announced she would be leading this meditation, taking us into the end of this year. This particular time however, this kriya has been startlingly difficult for me to get through.

The Sudarshan Chakra is Vishnu's powerful lethal weapon. It’s name is derived from two Sanskrit words – Su(सु - "good/auspicious")and Darshana (दर्शन "vision"). The 108-edged weapon represents the wheel of time, and the namesake Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful meditation which aims to cut through illusion. It has been studied and sharpens focus and alleviates endocrine stress.

This kriya is churning up all sorts of hitherto hidden emotions. I find myself having compassion and empathy for people and creatures I thought I loathe. I know this sounds lovely, but the kriya is also revealing un-anticipated loathing and anger towards people and things I have barely paid attention to in the past. I find myself quite irritated with myself at my inability to stay calm, which ups the ante on the agitation.

I have been surprised at these hidden emotions, the extremes of compassion and rage. When I observe these emotions, their common root is passion. For me, these passionate polarities are two sides of the same coin –things I once adored can eviscerate me.

This piece is an effort to sit with those contradictions, the ambiguities. The polarities of light and dark, the mixed passions churned up by symbols.

The Hamsa, the Hand of Fatima, the Hand of Miriam is one such resonating icon of the Levant and the Maghreb. I love that it represents universal protection to people who disagree on almost everything else. I detest that it has been mostly stripped bare of its organic feminine divinity and masculinized.

I found myself thinking about nations where love/hate with neighbors can cut in a way that feels far more vitriolic than an argument about resources and land. During my travels in Palestine and Israel, it always struck me (duh) how similar the language, the culture, the spices and tastes were. You only share this innocent observation with patriotic Israelis and Palestinians once. After you have been snarled at by both sides, you learn to bite your tongue. My harmless observation seemed to wound deeply. Symbols can irritate and bring up possessive anger, and they can unite to bring comfort. To sit with that similar polarity is the foundation of this piece.

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