“Whatever speaketh the animals, the fish and the birds, other than Hari they speak of no one else.”
– Guru Arjun Dev ji (Guru Granth Sahib, 262)
This painting developed over time as the result of reading Guru Arjun Dev ji’s bani and feeling the emotions expressed therein. I was moved to tears by the love Guru Maharaj expressed for Akal Purakh Sahib so I just had to create this portrait of my Gurudev.
ਹਉ ਨਾ ਛੋਡਉ ਕੰਤ ਪਾਸਰਾ ॥ ਸਦਾ ਰੰਗੀਲਾ ਲਾਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਏਹੁ ਮਹਿੰਜਾ ਆਸਰਾ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
I will never leave the intimacy of my Husband God. My Beloved Lover is always and forever colourful. He is my vital support. ||1||Pause||
– Guru Arjun Dev Ji, 761
ਨੈਣ ਅਲੋਇਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਗੂੜਾ ॥
With my eyes I have seen him, resting within each and every heart; my Beloved is the sweetest ambrosia.
– Guru Arjun Dev Ji, 924
ਹਮਰੀ ਗਣਤ ਨ ਗਣੀਆ ਕਾਈ ਅਪਣਾ ਬਿਰਦੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ॥
He did not count any accounts of my past actions, after seeing my current nature.
ਹਾਥ ਦੇਇ ਰਾਖੇ ਕਰਿ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਸਦਾ ਸਦਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਮਾਣਿ ॥੧॥
He gave me his hand, saved me, and made me his own; forever and ever, I am enjoying happiness.
– Guru Arjun Dev ji, 619
I found myself listening to these shabads over and over as I painted. They filled me up with joy, peace and inspiration.
ਸਭ ਦਿਨਸੁ ਰੈਣਿ ਗੁਣ ਉਚਰੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਉਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੁ ॥
All day and night I chant the qualities of Hari, and in my heart, I become focused on the name of Hari, Hari, Hari.
ਸਭੁ ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਮਨੁ ਖਿੜਿਆ ਹਰਿਆ ਬਾਗੁ ॥
Meditating on Hari, my body and mind are totally rejuvenated, and the garden of my mind has blossoms forth in lush abundance.
– Guru Ramdas ji, 849
Inspired by Guru Ram Das ji’s hymn, I painted a lush, flowering, garden, with free-flowing birds, as a metaphor for the state of Guru Arjun Dev ji’s mind.
Each element of the garden and each article that Guru Arjun Dev ji is wearing, has spiritual significance and is a symbol of spiritual ideas and of hymns from Guru Granth Sahib.