An Exhibition on Durga in
Devasthanakala paper cutting art
by Ustad Kalakar Prabal Pramanik
Blue autumn sky adorned with fleecy white clouds, bright sunlight playing on
fresh green nature enlivened by monsoon rain, cheerful expectations of holidays, colourful
"Pandals", the rhythm of "Dhak" and gorgeous images of Devi family
admired by immense crowd of people in festive mood that is how Durga Puja appeared
to me in my childhood in Bengal.
Puja at the time of "Akal Bodhan" or "untimely invocation", which was
first started by Shri Ram to gain the blessings of Adya Shakti, the consciousness that
forms the basic element in supreme form of energy, has been accepted throughout the ages
through forms of worship in India with immense importance not only in "Sadhana",
but also in sociological, mythological and iconographic aspects.
"Sadhana" or constant and systematic endeavour for the attainment of certain
spiritual state in consciousness, is multidimensional in "Shakti Puja".
"Basic energy or Shakti" manifests as the eternal truth, even through the
changing forms of creation, existence and destruction in this universe.
The concept of Shakti, or the basic conscious energy, personified as female form is very
Even palaeolithic people were evidently making conscious enquiries in to the riddle of the
energy that is the basic force of birth, existence and destruction. Female forms
emphasizing on the fertility factor have been unearthed at many places of the world.
The acceptance of fertility as the basic force of existence allowed the female form to be
used as the personification of the basic conscious energy in nature.
This energy, in an all pervading manner it self is conscious as expressed through the
extensive nature in each and every aspect of this eternal universe.
In Vedas the reference of this concept is found in the "Devi Sukta" and
"Ratri Sukta" of "Rig Veda".
We must understand that the fully and completely conscious eternal energy,
"Chitrupini Mahamaya shakti" providing a metaphysical cause for the existence of
the physical entity is it self "nirakara" or absolutely abstract.
To allow a base for "the Sadhaka", wishing to gain an understanding of this
abstract formless conscious energy, certain functionary medium in his Yogic attempt is
envisioned. "The rupa" or form of Durga, an image personifying the all pervading
mother as the Goddess with limitless energy assuring the victory of good over evil, is
formed in Yogic meditation or "Dhyana".
For a "Sadhaka" going in the path of "Tantra" through the dominions of
the hidden that provide a base for the realm of the apparent, these forms are not
imaginary iconography, but forms that can be experienced in the "journey"
through meditation in the route of six "Chakra Bheda" (going through six basic
stages of Yogic levels) along the "Susumna" in cerebra-spinal nervous system in
his own body.
As an artist working in the iconographic rendering of the images of the Goddess. I had to
rely of the "Sloakas" of "Devipurana, the mythological scriptures about
this concept for description.
Through my visual imagery the complete form came in my Yogic meditation. Then the material
rendering was made with a great deal of dedication and devotion in my own way in a very
fluent manner through the unusual medium of paper cutting art, that has traditions
reaching back hundreds of years and require the ability to cutout complete intricate
composition without any drawing or tracing.
Each picture, displayed here is according to the description found in "Devi
Purana" yet a creation from the imagery visualised in meditation. So every piece of
art displayed here is a result of successful Yogic meditation and the skill to give this a
material rendering but I sincerely believe that I am only a tool in the hands of the
All Pervading "Mahamaya" allowing me Art as a Yogic medium of
"Sadhana" in my journey through eternity.
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