Raga Mandala

ragasvara Nov 15, 2019

Last  week I shared one of our design motifs, the Gond art approach. Design  is crucial to Raga Svara. Continuing with the visual design, we have  created another motif that can be found at many places within the Raga  experience, the Raga Mandala.

Mandala is  a Sanskrit term that means “circle”. It has a strong visual presence. Mandalas have significance in many religions originating in India  including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Along with the eastward spread  of Buddhism, mandala has traveled as far as Japan.

Traditionally  mandalas are circular and geometric with symmetric proportions and  circularity. They are signifiers of the completeness and interdependence  of life not only with our immediate “circles” of friends and family but  also to the infinite.

Last  year, I was in a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas. I was fortunate  to have been visiting at a time when the monks were involved in making a  large mandala in the monastery. Much later did I have the serendipitous  revelation that the monastery I visited goes by the same name as the  clan of the Buddha himself, the Shakya. I  am fascinated not so much by the final design as by the process of  making the mandala itself. It is a meditative experience both to make a  mandala and to witness one being made. Infact, the art of making  mandalas itself is used as “meditation in practice”. At The Northstar  School, we have devoted sometime to making mandalas as therapeutic and  creative practice, both with learners and educators.

For  the visual approach, our goal was to create a unifying motif that is  not only visually appealing but also signifies the spirit of Raga in  some ways. Raga Mandala retains the spirit of the mandala sans its  perfection. We believe that people visiting or staying at Raga have  their imperfections, their quirks, which make them, them. The task was  to ensure the representation of this uniqueness while maintaining the  visual strength of the mandala and also making it aesthetically appealing. Raga Mandala is key element of our design approach.

Soon,  I will be sharing the amalgamation of our two key motifs, the Gond art  and the Raga Mandala. I think we have established a truly unique design  approach, the Raga Aesthetic.

-Mohit Patel, Varsha Ritu, July 2019