Samsara – The Cosmic Tree

69″ x 67″

Mixed Media on Canvas

The inverted tree, Ashwattha (Ficus Religiosa), is a metaphor used in Bhagavad Gita to explain the meaning of life and illustrate the vastness of the Universe.The verse you see by the branch on the top right, is the inspiration for the painting. If you step a few feet back, you will notice that the tree spans many realms (known as Lokams). Satya Lokam, the realm of absolute Truth, is at the very top, followed by thirteen other planes of existence. They are labeled on the sides of the painting in Sanskrit.

All living beings inhabit this tree on a branch of their own, in an assigned form, for the duration of a life span. The position of the branch on the tree is determined by the laws of Karma. At the end of a life time, the soul/energy moves back into the trunk and is transported up to the roots to Satya Loka where a new body and a new branch to inhabit is created. And the cycle continues.

Bhuloka, the Earth, is the realm in the middle, where the decisions made during a life time of a human being, has the most impact. Branches pointing upward show that the soul has an elevated status, aspiring to reach higher realms. Whereas, the ones that point downward could indicate otherwise. The realms below are the artist’s interpretation of how bad decisions we make as a human race would affect the planet we inhabit.

This tree has no beginning. It has no end. It is not rooted anywhere. It has no form that you can perceive. It is indestructible. Detachment is the only weapon at your disposal to remove your branch and break free.  (Srimad Bhagavad Gita 15.3,4)