Episode 4: Jainism and Art: Karma Doesn’t Shy Away
It is the law of karma to reward you according to your actions – irrespective of whether you are rich or poor, beautiful or ugly. Karma is like a boomerang. Whatever you give out, comes back to you – be it good or bad. Hence, we are advised to not be unkind, dishonest or full of deceit; and instead always speak, act, and think wisely and in good faith. The Kalpasutra describes the duties, virtues, faults and endeavours of a Sadhu, Sadhvi, Shravak and Shravika at length.
The fable of Mahavir Swami, the 24th Tirthankar, instructs the Sangha to act virtuously and create good karma and avoid acting nonvirtuously and thus control bad karma. As the legend goes, even Mahavir Swami was not spared by karma.
In this painting, the artist has used animalistic elements like lion, cobra, snakes, elephants, scorpion and symbolic elements like trees depicting jungles to showcase adversities as a result of bad karma. Two men are shown tormenting Mahavir Swami by poking iron rods into his ears – as a part of suffering owing to bad karma.
This striking indigo backdrop artwork is a fine blend of pictorial art and miniature art, wherein all the episodes are put together in one small paper, providing the viewer a glimpse of his life from one perspective, one image with multiple perspectives to understand, digest and learn.