Calligraphy & Madhubani with Ramayana

Immaculate faith can make mountains move,

Divine calligraphy can make rocks float.

My Ram Lila‘ is a cluster of five sister events happening concurrently in an online virtual world for eleven days — from 17 October to 27 October 2020. More related events are planned for the period ending 17 November 2020.

Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana was inscribed in 2008 (3.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005).

The programme has two sections: the first is ‘Rama Meditation’ that comprises of Pranayama techniques of ‘Ritual of Breathwork‘ and Aum chanting.

‘Calligraphy & Madhubani with Ramayana’ is the other section. It is oriented around writing calligraphically four lines in verse for each of the eleven postage stamps. These verses are curated from ‘Ramcharitmanas’. The set of eleven postage stamps (shown below) depicts the story of Ramayana progressively. Details on each stamp can be read here.

Notice the stamp number 8. It depicts the army of monkeys and bears, under the leadership of Nal and Neel, writing ‘Ram’ on stones that makes them float thus building a bridge across the ocean.

The session on meditation make participants immerse in devotion and creates an ambience to progress with the next session on using calligraphy and the art of Madhubani painting for writing 4 lines in verse for each of the 11 stamps.

DEV-NAGARI SCRIPT

Dev, like the Italian word Deo, is Sanskrit for divine and Nagari is for city. Dev-nagari means ‘abode of divine’. It is believed that divinity resides within the script itself. ‘Om’ is the first alphabet of the script and our Aum (Om) chanting beautifully builds a base for the pursuit and practice of divine calligraphy.

The ‘Maheshwara Sutra’ chant, composed by the great ancient grammarian Panini is nothing but chanting of the raw alphabets in rhythm with damaru. You may listen to it here (mp3 1 min 41 secs 1585 kb).

The mantras, especially beej (seed) mantra, are specific divine sounds wherein the phonetics, and not so much the literal meaning, carry the import.

MADHUBANI

Madhubani painting (Mithila painting) was traditionally created by the women of various communities in the Mithila region of India. It is specially practiced during various festivals like Durga Puja which is the last day of the first edition of this programme.

COURSE LEADERS

ALKAA KHANNA: A Corporate Communications expert , Alkaa is a self taught artist, and has been painting for the last forty years using various media in art for expressing life experiences gathering inspiration from nature, human life and emotion. She believes that art is meditation and helps a person to reach his innerself and be conscious. In her beautiful and inspiring art journey she has learnt and practised traditional Indian folk art like Madhubani, Tanjore, Kalamkaari, Miniatutes etc. She has conducted workshops and held exhibitions of her paintings in oils, acrylics, murals and stained glass. As an Artpreneur, her endeavour is to educate and motivate people to identify, explore their creative self and step into the beautiful world of Art.

ANILA SINHA SHARMA: A self-taught artist and calligrapher, Anila has been a telecom professional for more than two decades in various multinationals after a gold medal degree in engineering. Moving on from her corporate role, she works for disability empowerment and for preserving the living traditions through calligraphy and various folk art forms. Anila explores her love for handwriting and words by conducting carefully crafted calligraphy workshops and exhibitions and hand-writing letters. From winning school and college handwriting and calligraphy competitions to teaching handwriting, calligraphy and folk art, she is now interested in deeper research of the written word – the science, spirituality and connectedness of different scripts and folk art forms. As cofounders of Kalaa Cruise – an art and lettering venture, Alkaa and Anila are working to bring back the warmth of our writing traditions and folklore through calligraphy and folk art into our daily lives.

Tarun Kumar is supporting the programme.

PLAN

Participants will create one A4 (letter) sized art-work each day. It will be made up of the following elements –

  • Blank A4 sheet of paper (to be arranged by a participant
  • Madhubani border art
  • 4 lines in verse, from Ramcharitmanas, in fine writing
  • Two Sanskrit words in calligraphy
  • English title
  • Initials of a participant

11 DAYS PARTICIPANTS

Those who join for all eleven days will receive the following additionally.

  • 11 post card sized hand made paper, made in Haridwar using Ganga jal
  • 11 visiting card sized commercially available hand made paper with abstract water-colour art made in Haridwar using Ganga jal from 3 places – Gangotri, Har-ki-paidi in Haridwar, and and about 100 m away from AZIMVTH Ashram, the latter two collected on specific auspicious occasions.
  • A set of 11 stamps on Ramayana
  • The receipt with participant’s name of a token cash donation made at Har-ki-paidi in Haridwar.

The final art piece will look like as following. Over the eleven days, participants will create the complete set of 11 A4 sized art-works.

BENEFITS

Participants will receive the following benefits.

  • Learn breathing techniques, chanting, and listen to educative stories from Ramayana.
  • Learn the art of calligraphy for the Dev Nagari script.
  • Learn the art of Madhubani painting
  • Opportunity to celebrate Navratri, Dussehra, Durga Puja, Diwali, and related festivals in a very special way this year.

BONUS

A participant will have the opportunity to offer for sale her set of 11 A4 sized divine arts, created during this programme, via auction at AZIMVTH website and potentially recover not only the entire fee but also a mark-up. Hundred percent of the amount of the potential sale will go directly to the participant.

REQUIREMENTS

A participant requires the following items.

  • Computer / smart phone, internet connection, WhatsApp and Zoom apps.
  • A4 sized photocopy paper – 40 sheets
  • Better grade A4 sized white paper of thickness anywhere from 150 gsm to 300 gsm
  • Chisel pen or highlighter (each costs about Rs. 10) of colour red, orange, or maroon
  • Black micro-tip (0.3 and 0.8 grade) or gel pen
  • Sketch pens – red, orange, green, and black
  • Pencil, eraser, and sharpener
  • A transparent plastic scale/ruler – 12 inches/30 cm length

CERTIFICATE

Each participant will be conferred with an e-certificate; an example is shown below.

DATES & TIME

  • Dates: 17 October to 27 October 2020
  • Duration: 90 minutes between 2.30 pm and 4:30 pm IST
  • Participation levels: There are three options to participate. One can apply to join for full eleven days of first five days (17 to 21 October) or last 5 days (23 to27 October)
  • Location: Zoom, online virtual world

REGISTRATION FORM

Please complete and submit the following form.