Sikh History Sketches
Guru Tegh bahadur ji
Hind di chadar Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji was previously known as Tyag Mal. However upon displaying martial prowess on the battlefield, came to be known as Tegh Bahadur, at young age. Later he resigned to small house in Bakala, where he meditated until he was discovered by Makhan Shah, and took the Gurgaddi after Guru Hari krishan ji.
Young Guru Nanak Dev ji
Gurus always said everyone follows faith blindly without understanding. So they tried to instill understanding in everyone. To the Gurus, hindus, muslims, christians, now sikhs, everybody was the same, they are all ignorant of God. That’s how the prophets also saw the people. Jesus said on the cross, “forgive them, Father, for they don’t know”. To the Gurus, no religion was a hurdle. It was ignorance of God that was the hurdle. That’s why the Gurus always focused on ignorance rather than religion.
Guru Hari Krishan ji
In 1661, Guru Hari Krishan ji received the gurgaddi from his father Guru Hari Rai ji, after his passing.
Guru Hari Krishan ji came to be known as the Bal Guru, child guru. At the age of 8 he passed away due to smallpox. Gurudwara Bala Sahib stands on the location of his cremation.
In this sketch, he is wearing the classic 17th century Dumalla, along with kalgi, chola and mala. On his cheeks, flows curls of hair. This is a typical depiction of Guru Hari Krishan ji and even young Guru Gobind Singh ji that is seen in the paintings of their times.
Guru Arjun Dev ji with Bhai Gur Das ji
In this sketch Guru Arjun Dev ji, with his scribe Bhai Gur Das ji, compiles the poems and teachings of various Indian mystics.
After the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh ji’s sons, Guru Sahib having no heir to the Gurgaddi passed the torch back to the granth that was compiled by his great grandfather, Guru Arjun Dev ji. From that moment on, this compilation of teachings came to be known as the Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Nanak Dev ji – Flow with the Hukam
Guru Nanak Dev ji with Bhai Mardana ji and local villagers. In the spirit of my old painting of Guru Nanak Dev ji – Shabad Vichar
How can one realize the truth that all is impermanent?
By staying with the current of the eternal present moment one can recognize things for what they truly are.
What is the eternal present moment?
The eternal present moment cannot be stated, you can only be with it. But know that it is in the present moment in which things take form, in which living beings come to life, in which greatness is obtained, in which one becomes high or low, in which pleasure and pain is received. Everything is happening inside this eternal moment, there is nothing outside of it.
Baba Deep Singh ji
Baba Deep Singh ji sacrificed his life Hari Mandir Sahib, along with about 500 men he had gathered to defend the temple from Afghani invaders.
Other Faith Sketches
Shri Ram Chandra ji Blesses Hanuman ji
Even though he has no form or feature, Shri Ram is portrayed as the Chaturbhuj, four-armed Lord. He is seen holding a chakra and a mace. The chakra represents the wisdom and vision (su-darshan) that Ram is everywhere. The mace represents his rule over the universe, that everything happens by his command. In this sketch, he is blessing Hanuman ji and the stones and boulders, which were used to build a bridge to Lanka, Ravan’s kingdom.
In Ganapatya religion, the supreme God is seen as the remover of obstacles, the prime mover. He is portrayed with the head of an elephant since elephants are big, powerful beasts, able to move large objects, and transport them.
Narasimha Liberates Bhagat Prahalada
Ahankar (Ahan – I, Kar- Continous), the constant sense of self that sees itself as separate from everyone else, can neither be destroyed inside nor outside nor upside nor downside nor by man nor by animal nor by projectile nor by weapon nor by day nor by night. Ahankar can only be destroyed by Hari himself. In this sketch, the supreme being, Shri Hari takes the form of a Man-Lion to kill Harnakash, who is the respresentation of Ahankar, and liberates his devotee Prahlaad, who surrenders his self to him.
In Vaishnav religions, it is said that the supreme god, Narayan, who vibrates in the heart of all beings, assumed the form of a man-lion to destroy Hiranyakashup in order to save his devotee Prahlaad.
You have thousands of eyes and thousands of forms, however you are also without form as you are the source of all forms. You are the great giver, the source of sustenance of all beings.
In Shaiv religions, Mahakal is the personification of supreme formless god, as the ultimate death. He is also known as Shri Kaal (meaning death) and Shri Kharag (meaning double-edged, straight sword).
The dumroo beats – dug dug dug dug – along with loud gongs, in his presence. A necklace of severed bloody heads glorifies his neck. The lustrous crescent moon in his top knot shines bright. His frighteningly large teeth drip with blood and his long red tongue vibrates as he roars a thunderous roar.
He is usually portrayed with four arms. However since I am not using any erasers for these sketches, I’ll probably transform that 5th arm into something else.
Here’s a quick sketch of Ganpati, which means – Ganesh, the father of all devotees. Unlike my previous sketches, I wanted to see what Ganesh ji would look like with a “topknot and beard”.
In the Ganapatya religions, the supreme God is seen as the remover of obstacles, the prime mover. He is portrayed with the head of an elephant with a trunk and tusks. Since elephants are big, powerful beasts, able to move large objects, and transport them, the elephant became a symbol, a representation for the characteristics of the Supreme Being and his qualities.
Krishan ji Playing Flute
In Vaishnav religions, the One Krishna is the God of Gods, he is the spirit inside of us. Our inner Atma is Shri Krishna and enlightenment comes from recognizing this secret, to see Krishna inside.
Krishan ji Playing Flute
I wanted to improve upon the previous sketch and draw Krishan ji again.
Lord Ram – Unshorn Hair
Nau Nidh Khatri asks, “Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the helper of poor, tell me, why have you kept Kesh, unshorn hair?”
Hearing this Guru Ji said, “You have studied many Shastra, many religious texts. You have spent your life listening and reciting the Shastra, yet you have not come to realize the answer”
Guru ji continued, “Adorning Kesh, long hair, is to keep this Dharam, this tradition alive, which was started by Sanak, Sanatan, Sanandan, Sanatkumar, and others. In the land of Bharat dwells a great country, here keeping Kesh, hair unshorn, is an important part of our Dharma.”
Hanuman ji Portrait
A page from my 2012 sketchbook. My father said that it was the most pleasing (pyari) drawing he’d ever seen of Hanuman ji. Last year, a couple months after my dad passed away, I started a painting from this sketch.
“You possess the essence of Ram; you always remain the servant of the Raghu King! Those who sing your praises obtain Ram; their suffering is eliminated in each birth! In the end, they enter the kingdom of Ram; and wherever they take birth they are known as the devotees of Hari!”
Ram rasayan tumhre pasa; sada raho Raghupati ke dasa. Tumhre bhajan Ram ko pavai; janm janm ke dukh bisravai. Ant kaal Raghupatipur jaie; jahan janm Hari bhakt kahaie.
Hanuman Chalisa, by Bhagat Tulsidas ji. Translation by Bhagat Singh.
Hanuman Ji Meditating
This painting of Hanuman ji, from 2013, was inspired by the species of Indian monkeys named after him, known as ‘Hanuman Langur’.
Black skin gets a lot of bad rep in India, even though one of God’s epithets is “dark-skinned one”. So even though most people associate the image of Hanuman ji with ‘Rhesus Monkeys’, I thought it would be interesting to see Hanuman ji with the facial characteristics of the ‘Hanuman Langur’, with black-skin and white fur.
Hominid Hanuman ji
This is a recent sketch I did of Hanuman ji. This earthy version was inspired by early human species which are known as hominids (in Latin). This is why Hanuman ji is holding a wooden club in this sketch.
I imagined – what if Ram Chandra ji had encountered early hominids in the forests, who he then made an alliances with? What if hanuman ji was one of the last remaining early humans in India? if so what would he look like?
Furious Hanuman ji
Hanuman was furious! When surrounded by warriors, he planted his feet firmly on the ground, and defeated all of them! That is why he was known as Hanuman!
ਹਾਗੜਦੰਗ ਹਨੂ ਕਾਗੜਦੰਗ ਕੋਪਾ ॥ ਬਾਗੜਦੰਗ ਬੀਰਾਨ ਮੋ ਪਾਵ ਰੋਪਾ ॥ ਸਾਗੜਦੰਗ ਸੂਰੰ ਹਾਗੜਦੰਗ ਹਾਰੇ ॥ ਤਾਗੜਦੰਗ ਤੈਕੈ ਹਨੂ ਤਉ ਪੁਕਾਰੇ ॥੫੭੯॥
हागड़दंग हनू कागड़दंग कोपा ॥ बागड़दंग बीरान मो पाव रोपा ॥ सागड़दंग सूरं हागड़दंग हारे ॥ तागड़दंग तैकै हनू तउ पुकारे ॥५७९॥
– Ram Avtaar, Chaubis Avtaar by Kavi Shyam ji? Translation by Bhagat Singh