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Jeevan Chakra



A pregnant widow holds a funerary urn containing her husband’s ashes and bones, to be immersed in the river after cremation. The artist has chosen to paint entirely using a knife rather than a paintbrush to create a special kind of dark tension. He has incorporated shroud cloth in the canvas for the widow’s white saree, which is prescribed by scripture for Hindu widows who are required by orthodoxy to abstain from all joy and sensory pleasures for the rest of their lives. The images of a father’s unborn child and his ashes juxtapose notions of the beginning and end of life, with the woman herself subject to existing in suspended animation, neither alive to joy, nor dead to pain. This somber scene is positioned with a verse from the Bhagavad Gita illustrating the Hindu view of birth and death as repetitive cycles, ie., “jeevan chakra”. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 | Shloka 22 Vaasaamsi jeernaani yathha vihaaya navaani grihnaati naro paraani Tathaa shareeraani vihaaya jeernaanyanyaani samyaati navaani dehi Just as a person casts away worn out clothes to wear new ones, so too does the soul cast off its worn out body to enter a new one


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