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Summoning the Great Goddess to the Aid of Her Earth Daughters

11 X 15 watercolor, 1984

spiritual trailblazers

the story of this painting



. . . a Sakta worshipper of the Goddess Gauri

elaborates the biform image of the goddess holding within her body

the dread intensity of the moonless night and the brilliance of the rising Sun.

Pupul Jayakar(1)

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The Story of this Painting

A mother lioness protecting her cub, ferocious, every hair standing on end, waiting. Someone you love is hurting and they're half way around the world. All I could do was pace and pant. Focusing my mind and breath, trying to see, to dream her reality, I realize my only offering is to paint, to create a circle of protection and place her in it. Kneeling, becoming the great mother of the night universe, I summon with my whole strength the wisdom to see the situation clearly. The matrikas arise before me, anthropomorphic embodiments of the seed syllables from which woman and form are born. This story and creation myth are sacred to the ground of mother India who had supported my recent journey.

There she is in the tree. Always I seem to place those in need of healing and protection in a tree. Strange perhaps, but even now in this distant place I softly remembered the park that was my world as a child. The trees were unique magnificent beings that held me in their upturned arms when no one else would. They stood gracefully poised to dance and sway in the wind, sending sweet warm aromatic caresses to sooth my brow. White bark, peeling black, rough, gummy, leaves, needles, my tactile capacity went wild. Cotton pods, cones, winged seeds spinning to the ground every season wonder and awe expanded my universe, my understanding. Spread eagle on the ground, my eyes tried to pierce the fragrant earth mysteries that the trees roots knew intimately, like they tried now to see into the unknown vistas of another's heart.

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Why should we two ever want to part?

Just as the leaf of the water rhubarb lives floating on the water.

We live as the great one and the little one.

As the owl opens his eyes all night to the moon,

we live on as the great one and little one.

This love between us goes back to the first


it cannot be annihilated.

Here is Kabir's idea: as the river gives itself

into the ocean,

what is inside me moves inside you.


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1. Jayakar, The Earthen Drum, p. 228

2. Kabir, The Kabir Book, p.56

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