By Nishtha Shukla May 2004 He is a painter in meditation. But he doesn’t especially sit for meditation or chanting mantras. Every time he is at work with his paintbrush and canvas, he experiences God. He is a painter in meditation. But he doesn’t especially sit for meditation or chanting mantras. Every time he is at work with his paintbrush and canvas, he experiences God. Meet Sidharth. Right from his early days at Dharamsala—where he was given this name by his guru and initiated as a lama—learning the Thangka painting technique, to creating images evoked by the verses of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Delhi-based painter remains a seeker. He doesn’t wear the maroon robes any more, but says: “I have not shed anything but the outer layer; I am still a Buddhist at heart. Though I love all the great scriptures, I relate with the Guru Granth Sahib the most. I see images sound chanting around me from this great piece of work,” says Sidharth, who started painting to earn a living, but life led him in a different direction. Says he: “I feel I have nowhere to go. Nowhere to reach. Nowhere to search. I am a fulfilled person in the sense that I firmly believe in the existence of the present. Here and now is my mantra.” Born Harjinder Singh in Punjab in 1956, Sidharth has experimented with various mediums. He started with oil and then watercolours and forayed into sculpture, finally settling on tempera using pigments from fruits, vegetables, barks, etc. “I felt comfortable with this style. For me, every colour speaks enabling me to know about the colour I am using. As Sant Ravidas said: Jaiso rang kusumah ka aiso yeh sansar, Mere Ramiyya rang majith ka, kahe Ravi Das chamar (The colour of Kusumah flower is like this world, and the sweet medder red of my beloved God, says Ravidas).” In the Heritage Address Book, produced by Swami Satish Satyarthi for Heritage as a tribute to Osho, Sidharth’s work gels well with Osho’s quotes. And the painter is content with the juxtaposition. “It is a privilege to be associated with Osho at any level. Being his follower myself, I am a happy soul. The idea for this book came from Satishji when he came across my work and found in it echoes of Osho’s philosophy. He selected some of my paintings for the address book. I enjoy a unique relationship with Satishji—of a great laughter.” Starting as a signboard painter, Sidharth has done many solo shows and worked abroad too. “If you ask me about how I feel about my work, I would say that I am being paid for my love of colours of God and meditation. I won’t remain a painter if I do not enjoy!” he exclaims. He is married and has a 3-year-old daughter. He says the word ‘struggle’ does not mean anything. “Whatever I am doing—I am chosen to do that.” Albeit, a process of learning can define his creative journey. In September, he will show his fresh work at Triveni in Delhi.
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