Essence of Spirituality in Art

The development of art is an index of a society`s progress, its identifying characteristics and uniqueness in its culture. The distinctness of every culture finds expression in folk tales, mythology and philosophy; which in turn inspire art. In many ancient cultures everything was done religiously; being born, living and finally even dying. All great religious movements Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam gave rise to art; and art in turn helped spread these religions. Art as the expression of culture in a religion has the essence of spirituality in it; as religion is a step towards spirituality. The theme of an art is spiritual when it evokes sublime response, depth of recognition of oneness and is capable of transcendence of mind to a higher plane of consciousness.

The art finds expression in the form of painting, sculpture, music, song, dance, drama, speech or literature. The art in painting produces an experience of beauty, goodness, value and excellence; it invokes emotional intensity and raises the mind from the mundane life. Sculptures of different religious faiths invoke spirituality of the viewers. Music is a collection of sweet and soothing sounds vibrating and creating an aesthetic feeling that brings peace and solace to all humans. Indian music is a synthesis of countless forms bonded through spiritual flavour and essence. It encompasses spirit and matter, the human and divine realms. Music is a spiritual sadhana that uplifts the consciousness of man to the highest. It is not just a subtle fabric of tones and tunes, of fancy and dream; but is a dynamic spiritual expression. Song may be vocal or associated with music. The devotional songs relating to different manifestations of god and goddess invoke spirituality; stimulating consciousness of the Supreme. From a mere gesture expressing feelings to a sublime experience, from a source of amusement and pleasure to a means of spiritual uplift; dance is that divine thread which connects the individual with the universal. Even though all Indian art forms have a spiritual aspect, perhaps dance is the only form of art where the artist has the unique privilege of abhinaya expressing devotion and portraying deity as well. Drama portraying mythological scenes and characters activate the emotional and spiritual feelings of the audience. The religious and spiritual gurus express their knowledge and wisdom in their speech and discourse. The speech or discourse relating to religion and spirituality is very often documented in form of scripture. Literature relating to religion or spirituality is expressed by authors and poets through both prose and poetry forms. The poetic forms are often used as lyrics of devotional songs and prayers.

Whoever understands the spiritual value of the art; is able to experience the feelings, moods, flavour and essence of spirituality in art.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda

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About drmcpanda

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Qualification:M.B.B.S.,M.D. Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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13 Responses to Essence of Spirituality in Art

  1. Vinod Varma says:

    I find art to be a form of divine worship.
    Only a few may have skills and opportunity to master them but the value of a true art reaches out to many.
    Our heritage has effectively combined art into spirituality, making it more as an essential part of life (e.g. temple art ).
    Great to know that you are focusing your attention in combining art with spirituality.

  2. It’s really great Dr. Panda to have so much written about art from a doctor.

    The article is fantastic about the spiritual aspect of art, no doubt about that.

    Different forms of art are sciences of a different nature and are generated from ways of living in different environments. The needs, difficulties, habits, acts, rituals and all aspect of living in that environment get slowly transformed in to art, spirituality and religion.

    Every individual lives, contributes to this genesis which simmers ultimately to art.

    Art is refined expression of life in that atmosphere.

    Different cultures get an insight and ideas from cultural exchanges.

    Spirituality, Religion and God have a definite place in all cultures.

    Dance, e.g. is a great physical exercise, yoga in various positions, devotion sometimes when performed in a devotional way and above all a great tool in hands of a dancer to effect the viewers and audiences.

    Same is true of all forms of art.

  3. It’s a valuable article which relates art with spirituality.
    ‘Tandava’ dance of Lord Shiva is also an art.
    ‘Bhagabata’ is popular in Odisha as it is in poetic form.
    I have seen that art of RAMAYAN drawn on palace walls of king Orchha in Madhya Pradesh .As the king was unable to read Ramayan script ,he ordered to draw it.
    I think art in form of painting pictures,songs,music initially explored to link spirituality.
    Thanks a lot for your article.

  4. Very Nice Article….!

    We all are performing drama against our own character and no one can play best our role except ownself. So acting the act as a Doctor, Data Manager, Labourer, Driver, King, Soldier, Minister is not easy without spirituality & what is the same, we are playing it in our day to day life.

    Sometimes, it is observed that some failure persons telling: “ohhhhh I can`t do that; I can`t study Science; I can`t become a Doctor etc.”. But they don’t think that they don’t have the Essence of Spirituality in that particular Art or Role. So we all have to make ourself well trained or well prepared before choosing any role or art in life.

    I am the General Secretary of Orissa Thang-Ta Association; Thang-Ta is a Manipuri Dance & Tantrik Martial Arts. The artists perform the demonstration and sadhana through musical rhythm to cut a Vegetable through a Sharp Sword blindly and here we can accept the presentation of Dr. Panda described in the article of Essence of Spirituality in Art.

    I have founded the Ashi-Te-Do art & martial Arts which is the refined form of our Paika Akhada and we are following the same principle.

    Gyana Ranjan Mohanty

  5. Satya says:

    Classical art be in any form, music, dance, singing or painting works as the best ways of expressing one`s emotions; which otherwise may not have been developed leaving one`s personality lop-sided.

    Along with art, a form of outdoor sports helps in developing the kinesthetic intelligence; and so yoga postures develop the strength both mentally and physically.

    Hence in our daily life it’s important, we strike balance in the right and left hemisphere of brain and art is the best form of culturing the emotional aspect of human mind.

  6. Susantakumar Panigrahi says:

    Essence of Spirituality in Art with the theme ‘Spiritual value of the art’ is one of the best articles in your blog.

    In fact the ability to express thoughts through Art certainly follows some natural principles and provides special inner feeling of happiness and contentment.

    India is a land of diversity. Thus the exposure of art in India has greatly influenced the tradition and culture of the different regions.
    However it is only India which is famous for her glorious heritage and became an example of unique customs and styles in all aspects i.e. music, dance, painting, sculptures, architecture.
    Thus I am proud to be an INDIAN.

    Yours lovingly
    Susanta

  7. Chandra Kumar Panda says:

    Sir,
    Namaskar.
    The article is a valuable lesson to the mankind.
    As per ‘Evolutional Theory’ man who lives in the society, being a social animal is developing phase by phase since time immemorial.
    The development of Art is definitely an index of Society’s progress and the development of Spirituality is an unique feature of Art.
    Unlike the pragmatic people, there are others who rely on the presence and supreme power of Spirituality;who really enjoy in the world i.e. with peace in body & mind.
    Yours Sincerely
    Chandra Kumar Panda

  8. V.Nageswara Rao says:

    Respected Sir,

    This article ‘Essence of Spirituality in Art’ is definitely one of the excellent articles in your blog.

    The Article contains many good learnings for any human being, not just for an artist.

    There are different modes of art, but every art must contain some amount of inner feelings; I feel that is nothing but Spirituality.

    I hope that you might have visualized that during the period of Smt. Aparajita Sarangi, IAS, Commissioner of Bhubaneswar Muncipal Corporation, she made awared the people of Odisha and our Country about the Traditions, Culture,Importance Places, Poets,Eminent Persons, Forests, Animals, Birds, Handy Crafts, Freedom Fighters, different varities of Art & Artists and many more things about Odisha through very attractive, colourful Wall Paintings displayed in all the important places of Bhubaneswar which were appreciated by many more. In the same form, cultrure and traditions of Odisha are displayed through wall paintings in many District Headquarters of the State of Odisha.

    After reading your article, I strongly believe that because of Spirituality only this type of art happened to make awared millions of people about many more things & different kinds of art of Odisha.

    Widespread of this article can be more useful for learning by the people about the spiritual aspect of art.

    With Regards,

    Nageswar

  9. Art of Myth says:

    The article explores various connections between the art and spirituality.

  10. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    Art in Spirituality is a component for Human existence in continuity to develop excellency & be refined to be more proximity to God in contrast to counter component Science. Both jointly account for past, present, & future of human civilization. Without knowledge of Art and Science, one is moron & paralysed; can`t touch the spirituality. Spirituality is the essence of life .Then what is the role of Art for spirituality: It is to know and feel the essence of spirituality at individual level by excellent painting, dancing, singing, sculpture, even architecture to connect with God. Thus an artful man of past is an index for present to continue culture to future with application of modern device that is science. Hence Art & Science are not parallel, rather a duet to each other’s for Spiritual fervour; and involves whole human society with full revolution; for example initiative like ‘Art of Living’ taken up by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Adhyatmic Guru) transfer all such to Divinity. As such I understand Art is the function of body guided by mind whereas Science is of mind guided by intellect to show skill & experiment respectively. But at the end consciousness becomes more powerful to make null & void of action of Art & Science and takes shelter into silence and crabs the path of Divinity as in case of empty vessel sounds much. Hence be empty, be ecstasy, reach divinity. Be aware; art is reflection & science is refraction.

    So I end with a Dictum as follows:
    Don’t become a cloud in sky; rather become a wave in ocean;
    Be a lamp in dark and remember you are the sustainer of creation.

    Thanking you
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh Odisha

  11. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,

    You have described good connection of spirituality in art.In various regions of our country the “lok katha”, the “lok geet” are based on the ancient cultures of that region. The classical dance “odishi” of our state, every form of the dance is based and devoted to lord “Jagannath”. So every art whether it is in the form of dancing, painting or music has a deep connection to spiritual aspect.

  12. Ellora caves, spanning the period between the 5th and 11th Century A.D. comprise Buddhist monasteries and temples of the Hindu and Jain faiths which are the product of three religious systems-Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism containing elaborate carvings of gods and goddesses and remarkable memorials of the three great faiths they represent.

    Visited Ellora situated in District Aurangabad Maharashtra India on November 19, 2010. You may read the article and responses on Memorials of Religious Faiths in Architectural Designs and Sculptures in Ellora Caves published in Yoga and Spirituality.

  13. V Chandra Sekhar says:

    Namaste Dr.Pandaji,
    It was very interesting to understand thro’ your article that art,dance & music could also be utilised to spread the theme of spirituality.

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