It was World Mental Health day on October 10, and we can all agree that this year has been tough in more ways than one. While mental health awareness has surely risen over the years, this uncertain phase has taught us that these issues could affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender or status.
If you are looking for answers, your search stops here. For in the Hindu culture, Lord Shiva teaches us the importance of self-control of the mind, body and spirit in order to live a long and successful life. He emphasised on the power of introspection and propagated the integration of meditation into daily life in order to gain control over stray thoughts that may plague our mental health.
Artist Karan Soni combined these two themes to create a piece that is not only contemporary in its outlook, but also universal in its appeal. The focus of this painting is a blue Shiva-like figure, who is in deep meditation and represents all human beings.
Soni drew from his personal experience of the power of Lord Shiva’s message to create this artwork. While going through a particularly dark period in his life, Soni turned to a Guru for help, who in turn asked him to worship Lord Shiva to end this negative phase. Soni religiously visited a Shiva temple near his house and paid his respects to the Lord by circling the Shiva Lingam numerous times daily.
This experience gave Soni an insight into his narrow way of looking at his problems. The circles he walked around the Shiva Lingam taught him to view each problem that comes his way with a 360° angle and refrain from just worrying about the worst-case scenario. This ‘1% perspective’ that Soni fell prey to finds a mention on the left-hand side of the painting and in the circle drawn on the right side. Soni also mentions the ‘lost time’ that we spend focusing on our anxieties and in our own head that will never come back.
The fragments that spout from the central figure’s mind represent anxious thoughts. Here, the fiery red represents worry, while the icy blue symbolises the diffusion of that worry. Soni gives the Shiva-like figure a celestial presence with the depiction of the universe and stars that surround him.
This vibrant painting is contemplative and represents human existence in the modern world accurately. The piece radiates positivity and if you choose to bring it home, will work as a reminder that there is a way to attain mental peace even in the most uncertain times.