Stories behind the artwork: Life and the actor

Krishna is known for leela, the attitude of playfulness towards life. In this, the realized being does not abstain from life realizing its falseness rather embraces it and plays it like an actor. The difference being he does not associate the temporary joys and sorrows with his identity anymore. Yet he plays those parts passionately celebrating the colours and emotions. At the depth of his consciousness, he is the calm, silent observer to the act.

Size: 36″ X 48″

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas

Year: 2016

Status: Available


Price: Rs. 1,50,000

Additional shipping cost: Would vary depending on location. Once the postal address is sent, the cost can be informed.

Shipping information: It is not additionally framed yet. The canvas is on its wooden structure. It can be easily removed and rolled to dispatch or couriered along with its structural frame, whichever way preferred.


Weight: 2.5 kgs


Approximate time of completion: About 1 month passively and actively being involved.


See other AVAILABLE artworks


It came from a general observation within me, that the more you observe yourself you start to become separate from the doer. Then there a “self” that observes and there is a “self” that acts. When these two parts are un-identified, mind and emotions are held as belonging to “self”. It appears as if these are the driving factors. The more the separation happens one realizes that to associate or not associate is merely a choice.

Clouds and sky

I realized that thoughts and emotions are like the clouds and the self is the sky which is  beneath these changes. But this realization appeared like a seed, just as a glimpse which has not established its consistency yet and became a rooted tree. I just started to realize that separation within me. It became something that I could feel. Practising it in totality was still a long way ahead but just realizing it within me was also an awakening. That is the first time the difference between the words “sukh” and “ananda” became realized. “Sukh” (happiness) is conditional and impermanent. It thrives on external source. It is the cloud. “Ananda” (bliss) is a state within, independent of the external conditions, the sky itself.

When I realized this, it allowed me to see Krishna in a much closer way. I realized that’s what “leela” is, when one has separated the two completely and realizes this life is nothing but an act. Having realized that, one can either renounce this illusion or decide to play along. Krishna stands for the willingness to play.

I wanted to create a painting to represent this.

The inspiration behind

The festival of Holi is associated with Krishna. And the moment I began to connect the two through this new realization I found so many ways to link them. However, when Krishna playing with the Gopis is enacted now two things are forgotten:

1. There is an observer too. Without that this play is incomplete. I feel that part has become eroded with time and we now associate “leela” only with the superficial playfulness without establishing the deep self within. And when that most important part gets left behind, the festival is bound to lead to harassments and teasings becoming the central theme.

2. The women/gopis symbolically stand for “prakriti”, the moods and nature adopted by  the individual/soul (purush). This “purush” has nothing to do with male or female body. It can refer to a female being in body as well, who is the purush (individual) in soul and has prakriti (nature).

Wanting to have monogamous or polygamous relationship is a personal choice and one should be able to go for either with honesty. But Krishna does not need to become an excuse to support or deny any of that act in the society.


I wanted to show holi being celebrated to represent a play of colours (emotions, moods and thoughts). Krishna is playing along and is the musician himself to enhance that dance.

Stories before completion

This was my first canvas after I finished working on the previous series “ONE”. After my exhibitions of the earlier series, I started to feel empty. I felt everything that I had to give, I had given. There is nothing more for me to produce. The feeling of emptiness lasted for long. And then gradually out of that emptiness and despair another ground started to be formed taking me to the next level revealing more to me that was unseen.

Even while I worked on this, the ground was still forming and not yet ready. There were moments of attachments and detachments that kept influencing. One moment I would believe in it. After a few days I would no more be able to relate to the concept that I myself was representing. Continuing in that state would make it false, influencing the choice of colours and representations not coming from the core of me. Therefore, I paused on those days and stayed away from it.

Work in Progress

The challenge I faced was, one artwork taking me so long to complete, how can I remain in that state of realization for that entire duration to do justice to it? It is usually fleeting. As a solution, sometimes even when I didn’t feel it in my being I still pushed myself to continue painting hoping that’s how it will come back to me.

Then, going through a lot of hide and seek, it started to become more and more consistent with time.

This showed to me that the act of painting too is actually a play of “purush” and “prakriti”. Sometimes you identify with the “purush” and “prakriti” then seems meaningless, even through your paintings. Why am I doing this? What am I trying to achieve? This has no meaning. Life has no meaning. This causes lack of trust and enthusiasm to keep you going.

Sometimes, you connect with “prakriti”. You are then full of enthusiasm to paint and create. You want to add meaning to life for yourself and others as a way of gratefulness. You may enthusiastically wake up with a brush in your hand but “purush” might not be in the state to be revealed. Then all you are left with are brushes, paints and canvas and no source providing energy.

I realized, one has to practise to keep the presence of both without conflict to become Krishna. Krishna consciousness: that’s what it means. It can be practised through meditation or through observation of life.

Through my experience of this fleeting concept, I realized, it can be practised through painting too. That’s when art can become a play. That’s when play can become a yoga.


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