I Was Most Impressed With A Painting In The Palace

by Bhaktin Rita

Last weekend I met a nice couple from Columbus, Ohio. They had just visited Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. They were completely awed by the artwork and craftsmanship, and by the rose garden and lotus pond. The Palace tour guide recommended that they visit the temple.

I pointed to the stained glass ceiling and explained that it was hand-made by devotees. I explained that the devotees has trimmed the feathers for the peacocks, and assembled the plumes by hand. They were extremely impressed by the hand-woven tapestries all around the temple room. They came back to the temple room to see the hand-carved teak wood chariot. And of course, they took so many pictures of the beautiful Deities!

I took them to Govinda’s Snack Bar to see the four large hand-made glass pictures. The lady owns a store which features glass art work, so she and her husband appreciated those pictures very much. In fact, her husband even expressed his appreciation for the frames – he found them to be works of art in their own right!

They told me over and over that they will return to New Vrindaban, so that they can take their time and really look around. Because they were so excited, I told them there is an ISKCON center in Columbus, and asked whether they would like to be put in contact with that center. I told them that although I do not know what kind of art work they have there, I am sure that they organize beautiful festivals. They agreed and gave me their contact information.

A devotee in Columbus e-mailed them and informed them that the center does in fact have some beautiful artwork, and they are welcome to stop by anytime.

Because this couple had expressed interest only in the handiwork and artwork in New Vrindaban, I was very pleasantly surprised to receive the following message today: “I was most impressed with a painting in the palace that depicted the full cycle of life..embryo to skeleton. It was a black and white, sepia tones perhaps. Our guide explained that it was striving to convey the shedding of our physical self and the realization of our spiritual self . . or something along those lines. Do you know which painting I’m referring to? I’ve googled every last thing I can think of and can’t find it anywhere. Help?”

I e-mailed her back and explained that the painting is showing that the body is merely a temporary covering for the soul, just as our clothes are a covering for the body. This is consistent with the Christian saying that “the body is a vessel.” Although the body changes, the soul never changes. Most importantly, we are the soul, not the body.

Furthermore, I invited her to visit the Detroit temple, which is practically an art gallery, later this month when she visits that city. And last but not least, the devotee in Columbus is giving her a copy of “Beyond Birth & Death,” which has this painting on the cover.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.

Reader Comments

Yes, that samsara photo is a great aid to understanding our condition.