I’ve just returned from my buying trip, which included my final stop in Indonesia where I found myself captivated by the rows of moss-covered stone statues amidst the thick air left behind by the previous night’s rain. I couldn’t help but fall in love with these beautiful sculptures every time I laid eyes on them, and my weakness for their allure led me to purchase not one but two 40-foot containers full of them. These exquisite stone statues are set to arrive just in time for the spring gardening season in April-May.
Nyoman and I have been collaborating since 2004. His exceptional talent is immediately apparent in the delicate and fluid lines he carves into his Buddha statues, as exemplified by the plump and content Buddha he’s currently holding. The expression on the statue’s face is unlike anything else you’ll find in the Indonesian market, and to top it off, the Buddha is even holding a cup of coffee!
As an art enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for artists who possess the ability to create something truly distinctive with a style that’s unmistakably their own.
For 19 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Wayan Sabur and his son. Whenever I step into their workshop, I’m always greeted by Wayan’s warm and welcoming smile, which reflects his joyous outlook on life. He takes each day as it comes and truly enjoys every moment.
Despite the different perception of time in Indonesia, I’ve often commissioned custom orders with Wayan, only to return the next year to find them partially completed.
One of his remarkable creations is a stunning Buddha standing on a blooming lotus. The intricate carving of the Buddha’s robes is exceptional, resembling the undulating waves of the ocean more than traditional cloth. This design is so unique that I always purchase every statue he creates in this style.
Artists like Wayan used to be more common in Indonesia, but their time is dwindling. Thankfully, his son is ready to continue his father’s legacy by carrying on his designs and artistry into the next generation.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Echo for around 15 years. He works at a stone workshop and is a true character, as evidenced by his mischievous grin and playful demeanor, as seen in the photo of him holding his dentures.
Echo is like a large feline in his approach to work – he only works when he needs money and takes days off to rest and relax when his pockets are full. His lifestyle has earned him the nickname “Sultan Echo” since he lives like a sultan, sleeping when he’s satisfied and only working when he has to.
Personally, I love his approach to life. What a fantastic way to live – enjoying the fruits of your labor and only working when necessary!
I have been wanting to go to the famous Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the Hindu temple of Prambanan since my backpacking days. I have seen the temples in Bagan, Burma, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia and this was the last piece to the 3 sacred, must-see, sights of South East Asia. Needless to say, I was not disappointed!
Wandering around Prambanan I was like a kid in a candy store. I started off in the furthest, least impressive temple. It is my philosophy when seeing temples to always start at the least impressive first and build your way to the most impressive. This way you don’t start off with amazing and then just get disappointed with seeing everything else. (I think the reverse is true with food. I always start with the best and work my way to the worst). I love the feeling of an abandoned ruin. Walking alone up the steps and through the narrow temple doors you feel like you are the first person to step foot into the temple for the past 500 years, Marco Polo made a discovery for the world. It is an amazing feeling that only lasts until some tourist in sneakers comes into your picture frame when you are looking for that perfect shot! But the feeling is there…you are an explorer!
I am a huge Pink Floyd fan. They have a famous live recording of them playing in the ruins of Pompei, Italy. Walking around Prambanan that first day I had the soundtrack to this playing in my mind…..I could literally hear Richard Wright belting out the crescendo in the epic song, Echoes as I climbed over the rocks and surveyed the temple!
The next day I woke up at 4 am to catch the sunrise peak over the horizon and bask in its light on the Buddhist temple of Borobudur. It was amazing! The whole complex is set up like a mandala (a Buddhist depiction of the universe) with a huge stupa in the middle with 18 huge stupas surrounding it. The stupas were enormous and impressive, each containing a Buddha statue inside the stupa. There were 4 levels to the temple, each containing a story from either the Buddha’s life or the Ramayana epic. The carvings were all absolute masterpieces.
It is an amazing thing when you get to experience something that you have been waiting for for over 25 years! It is good to know that there is still some adventure out there, you just have to get out there and discover it!
In the early centuries of the Common Era, sectarian strife was a major issue between the followers of Shiva and the followers of Vishnu. With the advent of Advaita or non-dualistic philosophy, the differences between these two sects and many others have been partially reconciled. The unity of the major god’s Shiva and Vishnu has become increasingly popular, and many temples now house the image of Hari-Hara.
The iconographical depiction of Hari-Hara or Shankara-Narayana combines the two deities, Shiva and Vishnu, into a single body. The icon itself is aesthetically pleasing; however, the underlying philosophy is even more beautiful.
The Hindu trinity is comprised of Brahma, the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the dissolver. Brahma represents the creation of the universe, this world, and everything within it. There is no way to refuse that the creation of all that surrounds us, as well as ourselves, is astonishing. Therefore Brahma does not find himself to be the subject of sectarian division. The argument instead revolves around the relative greatness of Vishnu, the guardian of Brahma’s creation versus Shiva, the one capable of destroying the entire creation and providing a blank canvas for Brahma to begin again.
When looking at the descriptions of Shiva and Vishnu according to various texts, it is interesting to see the juxtaposition between them. Vishnu, who represents the Sattvic Guna is depicted as cloudy black in color, while Shiva who represents the Tamasic Guna is depicted as crystalline white. If that is not confusing enough, Vishnu who is responsible for the protection of the world is depicted as lounging on the back of a snake in the depths of the ocean while Shiva who is responsible for various culminations, one of which being sleep, is depicted as ever-awake and deep in contemplation.
While perplexing at first, the hidden symbolism is very significant. Vishnu is described to be the color of a dark rain cloud. In this context, he is associated with water, which is appropriate because water is the basic necessity of survival. Only with water can plants grow to be later used for food, lumber, and clothing. Shiva is described to be the color of ash. From his third-eye emanates a ferocious fire. Fire is the basic element that causes destruction and stimulates renewal. After burning anything, the result is white ash, which represents the transient nature of life. The cycle of life can also be understood in the context of this symbolism. Vishnu resides in the bottom of the ocean while Shiva resides at the top of the Himalayas. This shows how man starts at the very bottom and is nurtured by Vishnu, then as he gains knowledge, prosperity, and energy (think Saraswathi, Lakshmi, and Parvathi!) he soars to the heights of this world and will eventually receive Moksha, another culmination granted by Shiva.
While this is only a drop in the vast ocean of symbolism and philosophy regarding these two major deities, it is an introduction to understanding the profound beauty behind the sculpture of Hari Hara. On the right stands Shiva, clad in tiger skins and yielding the ax that cuts our ties to this universe. On the left stands Vishnu clad in silk garments and yielding the conch that signals the victory of good and the mace that represents the power of the mind and body. Together on a single pedestal they stand and reassure us that our good qualities will be preserved and our bad qualities destroyed.
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu
“Beautiful goddess seated on a chariot, delighted by songs on lustful elephants, bedecked with lotuses, pearls and gems, lustrous as fire, radiant as gold, resplendent as the sun, calm as the moon, mistress of cows and horses – take away poverty and misfortune, bring joy, riches, harvest and children.”
According to Hindu beliefs the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth, fortune, luxury, power, prosperity, generosity and embodiment of beauty. She is also the consort of Lord Vishnu and is believed to give strength to the Lord himself. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to relieve all her devotees from all sorrows related to money. Padma, Padma Priya, Padmamaladhara devi, Kamala, Padmamukhi, Padmakshi, Jalaja, Madhavi, Padmahasta, Padmasundari, Kalyani, Vishnupriya, Ulkavahini and Vaishnavi are some of the names in which She is worshiped. She is also known as Jaganmaatha (“Mother of the Universe”).
You can find an innumerable number of slokas in praise of Goddess Lakshmi. Here, are some of them:
It is believed that the continuous chanting of this mantra will bring gain and prosperity in life.
2. The mantra that includes 9 names of Mahalakshmi:
“Om Mahalakshmi Namahae Om Gaja Lakshmi Namahae Om Jaya Lakshmi Namahae Om Thana Lakshmi Namahae Om Santana Lakshmi Namahae Om Seetha Lakshmi Namahae Om Thaireya Lakshmi Namahae Om Thannya Lakshmi Namahae Om Vidya Lakshmi Namahae Om Maha Vishu Mahalakshmi Namahae“
Chanting this mantra will bring youth, beauty, happiness and riches to you, which will make a great difference in life.
Meaning: Oh Goddess you are the one who is worshiped in all the three worlds, Oh Kamala, Oh Consort of Lord Vishnu, Oh Consort of Krishna, If only you are stable, And abide by me forever. Oh Kamala, Oh unstable one, Oh Lakshmi, Oh Goddess who moves everything, Oh Goddess of prosperity, Oh Darling of Hari, Oh Padma, Oh goddess who lives in lotus, Oh Goddess who is pleasant, Oh Goddess who is exalted, Oh Goddess of wealth, Oh Goddess who holds a lotus.
If these twelve names of Lakshmi are read and worshipped, Lakshmi would be stable and he (who chants) would be with wife and son. Thus ends the Dakshina Lakshmi Stotram.
The following mantras are believed to bring good fortune, prosperity, and harmony to the life of the devotees who recite them.
E: Lakshmi Mantra to bring fortune and prosperity to enterprises
“Om Shring Hring Kling Tribhuvan Mahalakshmyai Asmaakam Daaridray Naashay Prachur Dhan Dehi Dehi Kling Hring Shring Om Om Shring Hring Kling Aing Saung Om Hring Ka A Ee La Hring Ha Sa Ka Ha La Hring Sakal Hring Saung Aing Kling Hring Shring Om Om Hring Shring Kreeng Shring Kreeng Kling Shring Mahaalakshmi Mam Grihe Dhanam Pooray Pooray Chintaayai Dooray Dooray Swaha Om Sarvabaadhaa Vinirmukto, Dhan Dhaanyah Sutaanvitah Manushyo Matprasaaden Bhavishyati Na Sanshayah Om“
Vishnu is a part of the trinity and plays the role of the creator. He has taken ten incarnations to save the planet and the good people from the hands of evils or demons. There are many mantras to please Lord Vishnu.
Vishnu’s preserving, restoring, and protecting powers have been manifested in the world in a series of ten earthly incarnations known as avatars. The avatars arrive either to prevent a great evil or to effect good upon the earth. Nine are said to have descended already: three in nonhuman form, one in hybrid form and five in human form. The most important are Rama, fearless upholder of the law of dharma and Krishna, youthful hero of the Bhagavad Gita Vishnu’s final avatar is expected to arrive at a time when the earth is at the end of its present cycle, with the purpose of destroying the world and subsequently recreating it.
Vaishnavites, one of the largest Hindu groups, are the devotees of Vishnu as Ishvara, the Supreme Being, worshipped in the forms of his manifestations or incarnations. Because of his pervasive presence, images as the focus of worship are of great importance, as are temple architecture and carving.
1. Mukti (Liberation) mantra:
This twelve letter mantra is also known as the liberation mantras as it is believed to relieve the person who is chanting this mantra from all the hardships of life.
“Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya”
Meaning: I bow to the Lord who lives in the hearts of all.
2. Shree Vishnu Mantra:
It is otherwise known as the shaanta-kaaram mantra. It is one of the most powerful mantra used to praise Lord Vishnu and his incarnations, which helped to restore peace and happiness.
Meaning: I sing praising the Lord Vishnu Shaanta – He who has the peace Kaaram- demeanor and visage shayanam — He who sleeps and reposes bhujaga– on the serpents padma– He who has a lotus shaped naabham– Navel He who is the master and lord Suresham– of all the gods
I pray to the Lord Vishnu. dhaaram –He who holds the vishwaa– universe in his hands. sadrasham –He whose vision exceeds gagana– beyond all the skies varanam — He whose color and visage is megha– changeable like the clouds shubh– he who is filled with goodness aangam– in every part of his body.
I sing praise to the Lord Vishnu. kaantam — He who is the husband lakshmi– of the goddess of wealth He whose eyes (nayanam) are surreal kamala– like a lotus flower agamyam– he who yogis yearn to reach dhyaana– through meditation
I sing praises (vande-) to the Lord Vishnu (-vishnum) He who removes (-haram) all our fears (-bhaya) bhava– due to our inborn nature And he who is the master (-naatham) of the entire (-sarva) universe and creation (-lokaika).
3. Narayana Mantra:
Simple, yet powerful mantra to please the preserver, Lord Vishnu.
“Om Namo Narayanaya“
Meaning: I bow before the Almighty.
4. The Ultimate mantra:
This mantra depicts about the avatars of Lord Vishnu, He has taken to save the world from evils.
Meaning: I Meditate on Sri Vishnu, Who is Wearing White Clothes, Who is All-Pervading, Who is Bright in Appearance like the Moon and who is Having Four Hands. He is having a Compassionate and Gracious Face, Let us meditate on Him to Ward of all impediments.
7. Vishnu Sahasranama:
This prayer contains the 108 names of the Lord Vishnu and is believed to relieve people from all sin and sufferings.
Om Vishnave Namah Om Lakshmi Pathaye Namah Om Krishnaya Namah Om Vaikuntaaya Namah Om Garuda Dhvajaya Namah Om Parah Brahmane Namah Om Jagannathaya Namah Om Vaasudevaya Namah Om Trivikramaya Namah Om Dhydhyaanthakaaya Namah Om Madhuribhave Namah Om Dhaarshyavahaaya Namah Om Sanaadhanaaya Namah Om Narayanaya Namah Om Padmanabhaya Namah Om Hrishikeshaya Namah Om Sudhapradhaya Namah Om Haraye Namah Om Pundarikakshaya Namah Om Siddhidhikarthre Namah Om Paraathparaya Namah Om Vanamaline Namah Om Yagnaroopaya Namah Om Chakrapanye Namah Om Gadhadhraya Namah Om Upendraya Namah Om Keshavaya Namah Om Hamsaaya Namah Om SamudraMadhanaya Namah Om Haraye Namah Om Govindaya Namah Om Prahmajankaya Namah Om KaitabasuraMardhanaya Namah Om Sridharaya Namah Om Kaamajakaaya Namah Om Seshaya Namah Om Chadhurbhujaya Namah Om Paanchajanyadharaaya Namah Om SriMathe Namah Om Shaarangapanaye Namah Om Janardhanaya Namah Om Pitambharadharaya Namah Om Devaya Namah Om SuryaChandraVilochanaya Namah Om MatsyaRoopaya Namah Om Kurmathanave Namah Om Krodharoopaya Namah Om Nrukesarine Namah Om Vaamanaaya Namah Om Bhaargavaaya Namah Om Raamaya Namah Om Haline Namah Om Kalkine Namah Om Hayaananaaya Namah Om Viswambaraya Namah Om Simsumaaraya Namah Om Srikharaaya Namah Om Kapilaaya Namah Om Dhruvaaya Namah Om Dattatreyaya Namah Om Achyutaya Namah Om Anantaaya Namah Om Mukundhaaya Namah Om Dhidhivaamanaaya Namah Om Dhanvantraye Namah Om Srinivasaya Namah Om Pradyumnaya Namah Om Purushothamaya Namah Om Srivathkausthubhadhraaya Namah Om Muraradhaye Namah Om Adhoshjaaya Namah Om Rushabhaya Namah Om MohanaroopaDharine Namah Om Sangarshanaaya Namah Om Prithave Namah Om Sheerabdhisaayene Namah Om Bhoodhathmane Namah Om Anirudhaaya Namah Om Bhakthavatsalaaya Namah Om Naraaya Namah Om GajendraVaradaaya Namah Om Thridhamne Namah Om Bhoothabhavanaaya Namah Om Svetavaasdhavyaaya Namah Om SuryamandalaMadhyakaaya Namah Om SanakathiMunithyeyaaya Namah Om Bhagavathe Namah Om SankaraPriyaya Namah Om Neelakanthaya Namah Om Tharakaanthaaya Namah Om Vedathmane Namah Om Bhadhraayanaaya Namah Om BhagirathiJanmaBhoomiPaadaPadmaaya Namah Om Stham Prabhave Namah Om Svabhave Namah Om Vibhave Namah Om KanakaShyamaaya Namah Om Jagadhkaaranaaya Namah Om Avyayaaya Namah Om Buddhavadharaaya Namah Om Shaanthathmane Namah Om Krisoth Namah Om Leelamaanusha Vigrahaaya Namah Om Damodharaaya Namah Om Viraataroopaaya Namah Om Bhoodhabhavyabhavath Prabhave Namah Om Aadi Devaaya Namah Om Deva Devaaya Namah Om Prahladha Paripalakhaya Namah Om shree parama visnu devaya namaha
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