MEDITATION is about finding one's path to enlightenment within a whirlwind of forces that affect all of us.
On the Artist's first trip to India alone, he was 19. He stayed with the monks at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamsala, India. While he was there, he studied Buddhist philosophy and thangka painting.
One day in philosophy, the lama (high monk) was teaching about the Four Noble Truths. After his lecture, he opened the floor to questions.
When it was Anand's turn, he said, "Lama, I've been listening to you speak for a couple of weeks now about meditation. I feel very fortunate to learn it from you here in this place where everything is peaceful and beautiful. But I come from New York, where there is a lot of violence and aggression and pollution, and all these things buzzing around all the time."
"How can someone like me find the space to meditate there? "
The lama was speaking through an interpreter, and the conversation passed back and forth for a few minutes while Anand was awaiting his answer. Eventually, the intepreter said;
"The lama says, 'You just shave your head and stay with us and we'll show you how.'"
Anand realized later that his question was a bit naive, since someone his age must have had to escape from the atrocities in Tibet under Chinese occupation. He must have seen his share of adversity.
Everyone has problems; your origin, ethnic background or social status doesn't matter; everyone has obstacles on the way to finding peace within.
This painting is about finding truth when all of life's difficulties are swarming around and biting and stinging you; it's about remaining centered amidst the adversities of life.
Because thangkas are designed to function as visual aids that help the viewer meditate on the content within them, they must conform to specific iconometric proportions and they must contain the correct iconographic symbols that have been established over time. Some thangkas, however, are made for the tourist trade and do not contain the correct measurements and symbolism. For this reason, such thangkas are just meant to be looked at as exotic oddities and they have no intrinsic value as meditational devices.
Over the medicine bowl commonly held in his left hand the Artist has painted a hornets' nest with the wasps leaving it and swarming around his head.
Hornets are the largest eusocial wasps, which means that there are some individuals within the group whose behavior (and sometimes anatomy) is modified for group defense, including altruistic self-sacrifice. The Buddha was known for his selfless concern for the welfare of others, and thus the hornets also embody Buddhist philosophical ideals.
In the pink lotus is the Artist's signature in Tibetan. It says; RAJIVE SADA ANAND 2007. Anand learned how to write it in Tibetan calligraphy from a monk on 2nd Avenue on the 12th of October of the same year.