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All images on this blog are protected under the “Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike” Creative Commons License: Under no circumstances, can any of this work be used (in any way) without Attribution to the Original Source. And NONE of the images on this blog can be used commercially, or sold, in any form, without written permission from the author.

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गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुः
गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः
गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म
तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः

All art work on this blog is dedicated to Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda —  his teaching is the sole inspiration for my journey into likhita japa drawings.

Likhita Japa is a written form of meditating on God. लिखित (likhita) is a Sanskrit word meaning “document, “written paper,” or “handwriting” and जप (japa) means the recitation of the Lord’s name with devotion.

“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, head and heart is an artist.”
— St. Francis d’Assisi

In art school, we were drilled in exercises on learning “how to see” objects — how light was reflected, where an object sat in relationship to other objects in its environment, what shapes we saw, how to think about composition, etc. We had to learn to objectify and work objectively. Clearly these exercises were crucial to developing our drawing skills — and we were thrilled to learn how to see in a new way. But I was always left feeling somehow incomplete at the end of the day — my deeper desire and drive to create was just not satisfied. Something was missing. I felt there was a dialogue that needed to be discovered, but I couldn’t quite reach it. Eventually, I became disillusioned and gave up drawing and painting (for nearly two decades). I directed all my energy into humanitarian and political activities.

But no matter how hard I tried, I could never really give up the urge to create. It continued to gnaw at me in all facets of my life — whether I was rearranging furniture in the house, learning a new textile making technique, cooking, or doing fun activities with my kids. I even found the need to be creative in my volunteer work!

After many years of soul searching, it has become clear to me that I made a mistake in trying to abandon the “creative spirit.” I hadn’t just given up drawing during those years. Instead, I had been actively resisting a much greater presence. My comprehension was all wrong … and the bottom line is we don’t really create anything anyway — because it’s already been created! We just need to sharpen our inner vision to be able to see it. I’ve now come to understand that God is the true creative process. He is in (and behind) every thought and action. He is inseparable from the air we breathe, the thoughts we have, or even the marks we make on paper. We are only tools of His expression. This was my missing dialogue.

When I perform creative likhita japa, not only am I extremely focused on the image, but simultaneously (and more importantly,) I am focused on my love for God. With each pen stroke I am praising Him. And for the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I feel as though my tools (hands, eyes, mind and heart) are learning to work together.

This on-line journal was created to share some of my notes and ideas for creative likhita japa.

Please feel free to browse around and use anything on this blog — as long as it is for personal or classroom use only. Under no circumstances, can any of this work be reproduced or published, in any form, without written permission from the author (which, I guess, would be considered me by legal standards.) Whoosh — now that all the necessary formalities are said and done with …

I wish you much peace and happiness on a journey with likhita japa!

jq

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