My favorite mandala book for 2012 contains not only some of the most beautiful simple mandalas I have ever seen, but also the true story about how they are created and mysteriously discovered by a French poet in India over twenty-five years ago. It reads like a combination Indiana Jones and Spiritual Quest adventure story.  It is titled Tantra Songs.

 

The mandalas shown in the book are as modern as abstract paintings of the twentieth century that are seen in art museums around the world.  But these are not created as art, instead they are created by present day anonymous artist spiritual seekers in Rajasthan who make them to awaken their higher consciousness.

 

This abstract art form began in the 17th century, where it was used to invoke the symbolic cosmology of Hindu Tantra. The art was copied over and over and evolved into its present day abstractions.

 

 

They are created on paper with tempera, gouache and watercolor and then pinned to the wall for meditation. Most are no larger than twelve inches. They are looked at for at least ten to twenty minutes while invoking a divine presence.

 

 

French poet Franck Andre Jamme first saw a catalogue from an exhibit of this kind of art, in Paris in 1970.  He searched for more information about them in numerous trips to India. In 1985 he decided to go to Rajasthan to look for the art and artists.  On this trip, while in India he was badly injured in a bus accident and had to be flown in a hammock like contraption to Paris where he spent years recovering.

 

 

After his recovery, upon the advice of his French doctor, he returned to India.  While there, a friend suggested he see an astrologer soothsayer.  The astrologer told him he had paid his dues to the goddess Shakti and he could continue his research on these paintings, find out their meaning and show them abroad.  But, the astrologer told him he would only be able to visit the tantrika families if he went alone or with someone he loved.  The astrologer then gave him two addresses to visit.

 

 

Those addresses started his now over twenty year journey to get to know the artist families, their meditation art, and to bring this art into the western world.

 

 

Tantra Song was published in 2012.  Although not all of the images are circular mandalas, they all have  a powerful presence.  The circular images are the ones that call to me. The book is  also available from Amazon.

 

 

This is one of four similar blue sky background yellow and black mandalas.

 

 

 

 

In the book, the author says: ” Some are black, some red, some brown, some yellow, some multi-colored, that’s true.  Yet if we had but one color to associate with them forever, it would be blue. Sky blue.  The blue of consciousness. Azure.”

 

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