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Transcendental Art by Lady Syamarani

Updated on August 20, 2012

Introduction

This lens is about the art of a very wonderful artist, Lady Syamarani. I have known about and loved her art for many years, but recently I have gotten to know her on a more personal level. Because I find her art to be transcendental and to have increased the quality of my life, and because the artist herself is such a serene, ladylike person, I have decided I must share it with you.

The word transcendental is apt. Why? What is the meaning of transcendental? That which transcends. Transcends what? This world as we know it. We know this world by our 6 senses - our sense of touch, taste, hearing, smelling, seeing, and the mind. This art by Syamarani goes straight to the heart. I know that sounds very cheesy but it is true. I have personally seen it.

When I travelled with the artist and sold her paintings, I personally witnessed people fall in love with this art. I witnessed them become emotional. I witnessed them speak about how their lives have changed for the better because of this art, and this woman. And I witnessed them order posters of her most famous paintings, without knowing anything about the paintings' content or the artist. I think these are miracles that were enacted because these paintings are transcendental. They go beyond.

If it's all too hippy-dippy for you, click away. But if you are intrigued, or want to see the beautiful artwork, or the woman and her teachers and her methods, please, keep reading.

Who is Syamarani?

I cannot tell you how much I love this lady. She is one of the sweetest people ever. She is very funny and very smart. Her memory is phenomenal.

She is always very humble about her art. Because she painted under the instructions of her spiritual teachers, she always gives credit to them and their potency and never any credit to herself. I think she is amazing in and of herself.

Syamarani dasi - or Jadurani - graduated from Music and Art High School in 1964. At New York City College she majored in art. She was somewhat of a hippie in the 60s, and according to her current book in progress, "I thought I was God."

When she met her spiritual mentor in 1966, she realized at once that she was not God. Her teacher, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, helped her to begin the process of learning who God is. He employed her in painting many spiritual art works for his many books, which he was translating from the ancient Sanskrit and gifting to the world. Many of Syamarani's old paintings can be seen in the books of Bhaktivedanta Swami, which he called "windows to the spiritual world."

She was given the spiritual name "Jadurani", meaning queen of the ancient Yadu dynasty, along with the suffix 'dasi', meaning servant. This is in relation to the philosophy of humility and servitude that is part of the gaudiya vaishnava tradition which Syamarani follows. Later she was given the name 'Syamarani', as inspired by Bhaktivedanta Swami in a dream to his spiritual successor, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. Her juniors call her "didi," a respectful term in India which means older sister or aunty.

Having painted over 200 paintings for the temples and books of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Syamarani went on to paint more for the books and temples of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana. She has also done paintings for magazines, bass reliefs for temples in India, and calendars of line drawings.

Her style combines East with West. She cites inspiration from Renaissance painters such as Raphael, as well as the Waterhouse school of art. From India, she is inspired by the Brijbasi Company and the artist Benarji.

You can find a fuller biography of the artist on her website, cited below. Her website hosts a gallery and information on how you can order her art work.

Seva Kunj Painting

This painting was requested by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja when he asked Syamarani didi, "Can you paint my heart?"

Pictured in this painting are the living embodiment of love, the goddess Radhika, and her loving consort, Sri Krishna. Krishna is often pushed to the wayside as yet another Hindu god, but really if you read his pastimes, he is also the embodiment of love, especially when he is with Radhika. Playful and sweet, always conquered by love, Krishna epitomizes his name, which means, "the all-attractive one."

Syamarani has depicted Radhika and Krishna sitting together in an intimate space. Joyous at seeing each other, they are weeping in emotion. Hidden in the greenery behind them are their dearmost friends, the young girls called manjaris, who intimately serve them and consider the divine couple their life and soul.

The original painting is hosted at Srila Narayana Maharaja's temple in Vrndavana, India, Sri Rupa Sanatana mandir. It is worshiped there, because in gaudiya vaishnavism, a picture is as good as the lord himself. Therefore this painting reveals the forms of Radhika and Krishna as they are, and isn't just a painting.

Syamarani didi has many stories about what it took her to paint this, and all the things going on in the painting. Much of her commentary on her artwork is featured on a CD called "Bhakti Art," which hosts all of her hundreds of paintings, along with commentaries on each.

Paintings - Gallery 1 - All paintings copyrighted. Do not use without permission.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Jai Sri"Krishna tries to get the attention of his beloved Radhika, but she dismisses him."A Moonbeam of Astonishment"In order to visit his angry beloved, Krishna takes on a disguise as a woman and sings to her. He asks her to describe her love for him."Gaur Nitai" Copyright BBTDepicting the two saints who propagated the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra for deliverance"Krishna and Balarama Enter Mathura" Copyright BBTThe two divine brothers enter the kingdom of their enemy uncle, King Kamsa."Krsna Plays" Copyright BBTKrishna plays with his cowherd boy friends, imitating the forest animals."Maha Vishnu at the time of creation" Copyright BBTBeautiful creation story, showing Vishnu creating the universes by his breathing alone. Above, Krishna reigns supreme over even Vishnu."Vishnu" Copyright BBTThe god of maintenance and opulence"Gaura Nitai"Another rendition of the two god-saints, done later"Venu Gita"Sweet Krishna charms everyone with his flute-playing. Radhika watches him secretly from a grove, while his friends dance behind him with the cows, and his brother leaves the scene off to the left."Manini Radha"Separated from Krishna and upset with him at the same time, Radha weeps.
"Jai Sri"Krishna tries to get the attention of his beloved Radhika, but she dismisses him.
"Jai Sri" Krishna tries to get the attention of his beloved Radhika, but she dismisses him.
"A Moonbeam of Astonishment"In order to visit his angry beloved, Krishna takes on a disguise as a woman and sings to her. He asks her to describe her love for him.
"A Moonbeam of Astonishment" In order to visit his angry beloved, Krishna takes on a disguise as a woman and sings to her. He asks her to describe her love for him.
"Gaur Nitai" Copyright BBTDepicting the two saints who propagated the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra for deliverance
"Gaur Nitai" Copyright BBT Depicting the two saints who propagated the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra for deliverance
"Krishna and Balarama Enter Mathura" Copyright BBTThe two divine brothers enter the kingdom of their enemy uncle, King Kamsa.
"Krishna and Balarama Enter Mathura" Copyright BBT The two divine brothers enter the kingdom of their enemy uncle, King Kamsa.
"Krsna Plays" Copyright BBTKrishna plays with his cowherd boy friends, imitating the forest animals.
"Krsna Plays" Copyright BBT Krishna plays with his cowherd boy friends, imitating the forest animals.
"Maha Vishnu at the time of creation" Copyright BBTBeautiful creation story, showing Vishnu creating the universes by his breathing alone. Above, Krishna reigns supreme over even Vishnu.
"Maha Vishnu at the time of creation" Copyright BBT Beautiful creation story, showing Vishnu creating the universes by his breathing alone. Above, Krishna reigns supreme over even Vishnu.
"Vishnu" Copyright BBTThe god of maintenance and opulence
"Vishnu" Copyright BBT The god of maintenance and opulence
"Gaura Nitai"Another rendition of the two god-saints, done later
"Gaura Nitai" Another rendition of the two god-saints, done later
"Venu Gita"Sweet Krishna charms everyone with his flute-playing. Radhika watches him secretly from a grove, while his friends dance behind him with the cows, and his brother leaves the scene off to the left.
"Venu Gita" Sweet Krishna charms everyone with his flute-playing. Radhika watches him secretly from a grove, while his friends dance behind him with the cows, and his brother leaves the scene off to the left.
"Manini Radha"Separated from Krishna and upset with him at the same time, Radha weeps.
"Manini Radha" Separated from Krishna and upset with him at the same time, Radha weeps.

The artist at work

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Syamarani didi with her spiritual teacher, "Srila Gurudeva", Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana MaharajaDistributing the books of "Srila Prabhupada", Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, in the 1960s/70spainting in 2005Speaking from her spiritual teachers' booksSrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami looks at Syamarani didi's art
Syamarani didi with her spiritual teacher, "Srila Gurudeva", Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Syamarani didi with her spiritual teacher, "Srila Gurudeva", Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Distributing the books of "Srila Prabhupada", Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, in the 1960s/70s
Distributing the books of "Srila Prabhupada", Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, in the 1960s/70s
painting in 2005
painting in 2005
Speaking from her spiritual teachers' books
Speaking from her spiritual teachers' books
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami looks at Syamarani didi's art
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami looks at Syamarani didi's art

Follow her on YouTube!

http://www.youtube.com/user/Vasantidasi1

Videos

These videos feature interviews, artwork,the artist's spiritual teachers, their books, and glimpses of how sweet all these people are.

Related websites

www.purebhakti.com

http://srimatisyamaranidevidasi

.blogspot.com/

Paintings - Gallery 2 - All paintings copyrighted to Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
"Krsna Instructs Brahma"Krishna's enchanted flute gives Lord Brahma the mystic potency to populate the earth during the time of creation"The Cycle of Birth and Death"Reincarnation and karma explained visually in a beautiful painting that shows that the human birth is highest and should be taken advantage of through spiritual exploration."Mother Yashoda and Krishna""Krishna swallows the forest fire"Krishna, master of mystics, swallows a forest fire that threatens his friends"Sankirtana"The saint, Sri Chaitanya, who is the combined form of Radha and Krishna, sings the holy Hare Krishna mantra with his associates. He is the supreme person in disguise as a saint.old picture of artist from the Back to Godhead magazine"Krishna"Krishna and his brother Balarama fight their enemiesThe cowherd maidens of Vrndavana village glorify Krishna's mystical pastimes
"Krsna Instructs Brahma"Krishna's enchanted flute gives Lord Brahma the mystic potency to populate the earth during the time of creation
"Krsna Instructs Brahma" Krishna's enchanted flute gives Lord Brahma the mystic potency to populate the earth during the time of creation
"The Cycle of Birth and Death"Reincarnation and karma explained visually in a beautiful painting that shows that the human birth is highest and should be taken advantage of through spiritual exploration.
"The Cycle of Birth and Death" Reincarnation and karma explained visually in a beautiful painting that shows that the human birth is highest and should be taken advantage of through spiritual exploration.
"Mother Yashoda and Krishna"
"Mother Yashoda and Krishna"
"Krishna swallows the forest fire"Krishna, master of mystics, swallows a forest fire that threatens his friends
"Krishna swallows the forest fire" Krishna, master of mystics, swallows a forest fire that threatens his friends
"Sankirtana"The saint, Sri Chaitanya, who is the combined form of Radha and Krishna, sings the holy Hare Krishna mantra with his associates. He is the supreme person in disguise as a saint.
"Sankirtana" The saint, Sri Chaitanya, who is the combined form of Radha and Krishna, sings the holy Hare Krishna mantra with his associates. He is the supreme person in disguise as a saint.
old picture of artist from the Back to Godhead magazine
old picture of artist from the Back to Godhead magazine
"Krishna"
"Krishna"
Krishna and his brother Balarama fight their enemies
Krishna and his brother Balarama fight their enemies
The cowherd maidens of Vrndavana village glorify Krishna's mystical pastimes
The cowherd maidens of Vrndavana village glorify Krishna's mystical pastimes

Please share your thoughts!

What do you think of Syamarani didi's art? Which is your favorite?

Please be sure to check out her website!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Haribol, dandavats, how nice to hear from you! I love to hear of other people's stories with Syamarani didi. She is such a wonderful soul, and she enlivens the Krsna consciousness of everyone around her. I love to hear her stories of Srila Prabhupada. I want to give her your pranamns, but you are only listed as "J", and she wouldn't know you by that lone. can we get a full name, or something easier? You sound like you're from Hawaii, maybe she'll know you by "J" and Hawaii?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Aloha, I too love Syamarani and her art work. We became instant friends years ago in the Miami Temple. She lived the across the hall from each other. I too love art, so we had a common bond. Her love for Srila Prabhupada was unending. I am so blessed to have know her. She has become a master painter and preacher. I humbly send my respect and love to her. I can not think of Krsna, without thinking of Syamarani at the same time. Eternal love always, J.

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      writercb1 5 years ago from United States

      @anonymous: hare Krsna didi! Dandavat pranamans! I think it is so wonderful that you got to paint under the direction of Syamarani didi. Her service for Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada and her sweet mood are so, so inspiring! It is certainly Gurudeva's mercy to have her with us. jai radhe!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hare Krsna, Syamarani didi, is an inspiration for me I have a lot of respect and affection for her. She has helped me so much with my service to Srila Gurudeva and with out her teaching me how to paint I would not of had any service at all. Thank you. Gurudeva's mercy that Syamarani didi is here with us. hari Priya dasi NZ

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