Devotional pictures

1. Drawing devotional pictures as an expression of spiritual emotion

Spiritual emotion (bhāvis defined as having an intense awareness of the presence of God in one’s day-to-day life. Ordinarily, we are aware of only our own existence in every moment of the day. As our identity is engrained in our subconscious mind, we experience the world from only an individualistic standpoint. However, with regular spiritual practice a new awareness takes shape in our minds. Gradually we become aware of God’s presence in every situation. When we perform every act in life with an intense awareness of God, then this awareness is known as having spiritual emotion.

This article showcases a form of spiritual emotion displayed by Mrs Uma Ravichandra, or Umaka as she is fondly known as by her co-seekers of God. Umaka is a seeker from India, and due to her spiritual practice she is constantly in a state of spiritual emotion. Even though she has no formal training in art, she expresses her spiritual emotion by drawing various devotional pictures of herself in the presence of Lord Shrīkrushṇa. While drawing these pictures, her love for Shrikrushna is so intense that these pictures become alive with the Divine consciousness (Chaitanya) they contain. Accordingly these pictures have now become a storehouse that bestows upon the viewer the Bliss (Ānandof devotion to God.

There are various types of spiritual emotion. For example:

  • Vātsalyabhāv which means the spiritual emotion of maternal love. This is the kind of love that Shrikrushna’s mother had for Him.
  • Dāsyabhāv which means having the spiritual emotion of a servitor to God.
  • Sakhyabhāv which means having the spiritual emotion that God is a friend.

Umaka has bālakbhāv, which means the spiritual emotion of a child. With this type of spiritual emotion a seeker has innocence, purity and love for God just as a small child would have towards his or her parents. The predominant feeling is that, “I am a small child of God. God alone is my mother, father, sibling, friend and protector.” This is the sort of child-like spiritual emotion for Shrikrushna that Umaka’s mind was engrossed in. In this state of spiritual emotion, she began to think that she was a three-year-old child and she drew a range of pictures from this child-like but spiritually rich perspective.

‘A picture speaks a thousand words’, which means what is expressed in a thousand words can be expressed through a picture. Mrs Uma Ravichandran’s pictures of balakbhav with Shrikrushna have proved this proverb to some extent. I say ‘to some extent’ because even if thousands of words are used, the balakbhav in her pictures can never be described! In Spirituality words have 2% importance, 98% importance is given to experiencing what the words say.

– His Holiness Dr Athavale (14 Sep 2012)

2. Gallery of Devotional pictures

Suggestions on how to view the picture:

  • Before reading the explanation under each picture, allow your mind to dwell on the picture and let the Divine principle in the picture radiate within you and give you the personal message that God wants you to receive. Each picture is a personal invitation from God to develop an intimate and trusting relationship with Him, so our hearts can dwell in the power of surrendering oneself to God.
  • The three-year-old girl in each picture symbolises Umaka’s child-like feeling of love for the Divine and is referred to as ‘little Uma’.

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3. Important message behind displaying these devotional pictures

Devotion unto God is not complete unless our minds are captivated and intoxicated by His Divine sweetness. One perceives that each picture is a delicate flower of spiritual emotion offered at the Holy feet of Shrikrushna. As a result some people who view these spiritually elevating pictures may get drenched with devotion for Shrikrushna and be inspired to surrender at His Holy feet. Such pictures have the power to influence the intellectual aspect of society and change its manner of decision-making and thinking. Inspiring our readers to begin or continue with their spiritual practice is the objective behind publishing these pictures on this website.

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