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Photo copyright Veena Shivanna

Rangoli _ traditional Indian art In front of the house is one of the sacred and age old secret phenomena of Intention. It is really an age old secret never got passed to current generation.  other day I saw an young lady drawing a film star in front of the house and I asked her “are you an artist?” She replied back telling me that that is a new age Rangoli. I felt bad for young lady, Not because of her drawing which in-fact was very good, But her understanding of this art. I thought of sharing few secrets behind it.

Rangoli is originated from two words Rang which means colors and Holi which means celebration. So Rangoli is an artistic celebration of colors. If some of you are science students then you may recall your early lessons in physics that all colors originate from white light. That’s why prayers to light or Sun god is one of the most important prayers you offer in your daily life in Indian tradition. Sandhya-vandana (twilight zone prayer) was nothing but to remind that all colors lead to just one color and that is white color. Similarly beneath all emotions, thoughts, feelings, reactions – there is deep stillness always available to you. That is the true nature of you. Light is a mystic significance of cosmic stillness available to you beneath all colors of emotions.

Coming back Rangoli; it is nothing but spiritual distribution of colors. If you look back at the designs of the Rangoli then you can see most of them used to maintain Symmetry in their design. Which means left and right side of the Rangoli always used to look similar. It is same like yin and yang symbol, or swastika or Egyptian symbols where symmetry is important. Worldwide in all religions symmetric designs are symbol of prosperity, luck and growth. Interestingly most of this Rangoli designs used to be rounded edges unlike sharp edges. IN Indian temples in it’s center piece (garbha) always maintains symmetry. Quite a number of Rangoli designs were inspired by Shapes of flowers, coconut, Indian idols, nature etc. Temple designs at the periphery of temples across India significantly influence Rangoli border designs. Dots which can be extremely attentive creation are important part of Rangoli creation. that’s why Indians keep Tilak or dot on their forehead. Because it is also known as spot of Attention ( pituitary gland) .

Typically Rangoli is always drawn at the early sunrise by house lady. In early tradition the leading lady or the mother of the house used to lay Rangoli immediately after taking bath & prayer. Rangoli’s were drawn first thing after taking bath, Over a period of time it just passed to any young lady at home( mostly younger ones as the older ones got lazy! J. Rangoli creators immediate physical make up was that of cleaning, fragrant, and tranquility.

Before I talk about Rangoli Intention, I need to tell you a practice from Amazon jungles. In Amazon jungle there is a African tribe which draws art similar to Rangoli in middle of the forest after praying for nearly half a day. Animals in the forest invariably get attracted to this Art and Tribesman wait near the art patiently for the animal to kill it and use it as their food. This tribe never hunts for animals but they make animals come to them through rituals of art.

Rangoli had exactly similar science behind it for different reasons. While creating Rangoli, Ladies used to sing sacred mantras and used to believe that this will guard them from evil forces. While creating Rangoli intention energy behind this creation is of welfare of the family. When you create intention spot it is capable of changing you thoughts. That’s why temples, churches and mosques were created – to basically create energy centers which can aid your inner growth. Similarly -when you visit church or temple, or when you visit graveyard, or when you visit hospital – your feelings and emotions in each of the places are so different because of the pool of energy available to you in each of these places.

Whenever you enter a house with Rangoli, then colors would bring tranquility to you as early Rangoli’s only had colors from powders which were used in prayers. Turmeric, kumkum which were used in Rangoli drawings are used as decorating items to idols. These colors used to bring certain tranquility in you as they used remind you of temples.

The rounded designs of the Rangoli used to kind of bring down energy levels in you. Do a small experiment – keep a sharp pencil in front of your eyes close to middle of your eyes. Keep it as close as possible and stare at it without blinking, then you feel like your eyes are getting sucked. Try the same thing with rounded object and you will not feel the same. Energy always leaves shaper sides. It is not accidental that Meditators across the world use hand to bless, because your fingers are the energy dissipating centers. That’s why you touch someone on head with your hand because hands dissipate energy and at the same time head point absorbs energy. Irrespective of which religion you belong to this head and hand blessings are common. In reality this is energy transferring mechanisms.

Symmetry of the Rangoli brings undivided attention. In other words the moment you pass thru Rangoli you are disconnected from the past and future. You are forced to remain in present. If you are entering a house then you feel good to enter a house and if you are leaving a house then come you out in a good mood. Rangoli is subtle art of influencing you to stillness. In marriages, Deity festivals, Religious celebrations, Rangoli plays very important role in India. I

Rangoli is really not a mechanical or ornamental phenomenon. It is science of creating energy pool. You need to go thru certain ritual of bath, mantras, Intention to create a Rangoli. For old Brahmin ladies of south India this is the most important ritual of their lives. In Mexico (Don Juan – Castaneda) science drawing as attractive of energy centers are practiced intensively. Across the world Tattoos on bodies have significant influence on bodies.

Rangoli is the origin of spirituality thru art in India. Much before Leonardo DaVinci’s of the world created magic with their symbols and drawings, Mystics in India left indelible mark in every home about art and spirituality. If you all have read recent blockbuster novel from Dan brown on Da vinici code then you realize the science behind symbols as well.

This topic is so vast – I can write at least 100 pages on it but I hate writing so I am sharing glimpse of mystic science. I’ll definitely cover couple of Occult practices associated with Rangoli some other time. Occult practices and Rangoli have very complimentary in nature. Let’s keep it for another day.


Interesting links on Rangoli : http://bellurramki18.wordpress.com

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