I like it when an artwork or an idea conceived without any specific context goes on to find a perfect context to fit in. It is rather post-emptive. A couple of years ago, I did this particular artwork of a woman’s face with a flower stemming out of her invitingly parted lips. In fact, it was my first digital work. It now forms the main image of a book cover that I have designed for an upcoming short novel.
The book ‘Celibate Lover’ is to be published under the banner of Global Content, LLC, a content creation company that I have co-founded and whose chief writer I am. This short novel by Dr. Bharat Thakkar is set in San Mateo, California, and tells the story of a rebellious young second generation Indian American man whose lifelong religious and cultural conditioning snaps something deeply inner. Excuse the unabashed promotion here but I have chosen to carry a brief excerpt from the novel:
Swami Raghu Vishwa had one favorite pastime when he went perambulating around the inner compound of his Siddhi Prapti Sansthan (The Institute for the Attainment of Siddhi). He liked to caress the flowers and leaves of wild anise that were abundant in his ashram at Bear Valley Trail in Napa, California. He told his followers that the touch of wild anise reminded him of “the glory of sentience.”
Vishwa was a slight but sharply defined figure who had mastered the art of beatific smile. At 76, he did not look much older than 50. However, at 50, he looked his age as the only photograph of his in his sparse office-cum-bedroom showed. He seemed to smile and laugh a lot. In the photograph, he smiled so wide that it seemed to spill out of the frame.
He came to America when he was 24 to expand the base of the institute, which was until then mainly restricted to a few ashrams in Haridwar and surrounding pre-Himalayan hills. Swami Sadhu Vishwa, the founder of the order, was already 86 when he found Vishwa as an 18-year-old roaming along the ghat of Har ki Pauri in 1956. Sadhu Vishwa saw in the joyful teenager a spirit that he said was like the rushing waters of the Ganga.
At 92, as he prepared to take Samadhi he told Raghu Vishwa, “The Sansthan needs to spread its message outside India. America is where you are needed. For India, my legacy alone is enough.”
Raghu Vishwa left for America a week after Sadhu Vishwa had “elevated himself to the ultimate destination of consciousness”. In simpler terms, Sadhu Vishwa had essentially starved himself to death. The running of the main ashram in Haridwar was entrusted to Swami Tapeshwar Vishwa with the clear instruction from Sadhu Vishwa that Raghu was his successor.
Copyright 2014 Dr. Bharat Thakkar