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Flower Design

Design: Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is almost as ubiquitous as Creosote in the Colorado/Sonoran Desert. Their silvery leaves are instantly recognizable and, in the spring, fragrant golden yellow flowers emerge filling out the round, bushy plant.

Encelia farinosa was an interesting flower design to conceptualize. First, most people recognize Brittlebush by the shape of the plant and the color of its leaves. But it’s hard to depict on a, say, small logo. Plus, it was a great opportunity to illustrate a compound flower with ray and disc flowers!

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Botanical Identification Flower Design

Design: Indigo Bush (Psorothamnus schottii)

The third botanical illustration features Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus schottii. This design was tricky in terms of color. It’s difficult to capture the blue-purple of the Indigo Bush flower. It’s even more difficult to print the color in CMYK! And depending on the paper, the colors appear either too dark or muddied.

Representing the androecium was also challenging (see our article on Indigo Bush details for a list of botanical terms). The artist was inspired by the lines of Erté in drawing the filaments.

Categories
Charcoal Studies Galleries

Pastel: Blue and Yellow

This particular piece stood out from the other charcoal/pastel studies because it featured the color blue. Once again, living in the desert has had a profound influence on the artist. The sky changes colors throughout the day—in the morning, the sky is bright and crisp. During the day, at the sun’s peak, the sky looks washed out, leaving a very hazy, light blue. In the evening, right before dusk, the sky turns a deep blue with streaks of yellow, orange, pink, purple, and red.

Pastel: Blue and Yellow is also our first successful attempt at digitizing analog art. This was made/drawn/created last summer with pastels on non-archival paper (on newsprint, actually). So by digitizing the art and reproducing it on acid-free paper with archival inks, it will last much, much, much longer!

And, for good measure the older picture.

Charcoal Studies 012
Charcoal Studies 012

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Saraswatī

Aim 004: Parallel Pen

Aiṃ, a bīja mantra for Saraswatī

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Language Saraswatī

Aim 003: Parallel Pen

Slant Pen Exercise 001 (aiṃ ऐँ)

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Saraswatī

Henna Motif

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Saraswatī

Pages from a Henna Coloring Book…

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Saraswatī

More of… Who?

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Saraswatī

Who? Saraswatī, that’s who!

Yā, or या, is the first word in the first three lines of the Saraswatī Vandana.  And it means “who”, it’s an interesting place to start, or continue, as the case may be.

Categories
Saraswatī

The Eternal Knot, an interpretation

“Modern Spatial Eternal Knot” is our modern eternal knot interpretation.

MODERN ETERNAL KNOT—DETAILS

“Modern Spatial Eternal Knot” is a modern take on the traditional eternal knot in Buddhist / Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. The “Modern Spatial Eternal Knot” features clean minimalist lines. It’s about simplicity—a reminder that doing with less is a good thing.

The eternal knot (endless knot) is one of the eight auspicious symbols. It has a few interpretations: the unending cycle of death and rebirth (Samsara), the dualistic nature of life, the wisdom of the Buddha, a union of wisdom and method (and wisdom and compassion), etc. The eternal knot is an old symbol, one that has existed in a number of cultures (e.g., Celtic knot, Chinese knot, etc.). But it’s as relevant today as it was way back then.

Here, the “Modern Spatial Eternal Knot” is printed on two types of paper. Select either premium photo paper or matte cotton rag paper. Epson’s Exhibition Fiber paper has a gorgeous texture (not entirely smooth, but not really textured) and produces a vivid print with a wide color gamut. It’s not glossy, but does have a satin sheen. Epson’s Hot Press smooth cotton rag is a thick paper (330 gsm) with a warmer tone. If you love the look and feel of smooth watercolor paper, this is for you! It’s not as white as the Exhibition Fiber (which is NOT super bright white) and the colors are more muted because the paper is completely matte. Both papers are gorgeous and we honestly cannot decide which one we prefer!

ABOUT THE MEDITATION ART COLLECTION

The Meditation Art collection is comprised of designs, calligraphy, and typography that serve as little reminders of practical mindfulness. Each design tells a story and when you gaze upon it, hopefully, it will bring you into the present moment. It is meant to inspire and facilitate development of awareness.

Like our other collections, the purpose of these fine art prints is to surround yourself with art and beauty. We all know life is stressful. So anything that helps you to relax and recharge is a good thing.

Categories
Saraswatī

Aim 001: Antique Treatment

Thoughts on Aim…

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Galleries Saraswatī

8 Interesting facts about the aim bija mantra

New to the aim bija mantra? Then, welcome!

If you’re familiar with auṁ (Sanskrit:ॐ, more commonly written as om), the 800-pound gorilla of bija mantras (aka beej mantra or seed syllable), think of the aim bija mantra as aum’s little sister.

So, what exactly is a bija mantra?

Why is it important?

And what is the aim bija mantra?

A good place to start is with eight (8) interesting facts about the aim bija mantra.

1. Aim bija mantra—what is a bija mantra?

Aim is one of a number of bija mantras. First of all, what is a bija mantra? A bija mantra is a monosyllabic mantra, as opposed to longer mantras such as the Gayatri mantra. The word bija, in Sanskrit, means seed, therefore it is also known as a seed mantra or seed syllable. But what is a bija mantra? In Hindu philosophy:

Certain sounds which cannot be translated into a literal meaning but have the power to create great transformative growth and expansion in humans at the physical, emotional and spiritual levels are known as “Bija” or Seed Mantras.

~ from The Transformative Powers of ‘Bija Mantra’ Meditation

Understanding a little about the Vedic culture and language, i.e., the foundations of Hindu philosophy and Sanskrit (which is way beyond the scope of this article) helps. But, suffice it to say, “the Vedic language is based upon an earlier more primordial language of seed (bija) mantras.”  Hence, bija mantras are tools for expanding and widening “one’s mind by utilizing the power of sound vibrations.

Are you familiar with the chakras? Then you know that seed mantras are associated with each of the seven chakras. When a seed mantra is said out loud,

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~ From wikipedia

And yet another association is with deities. Which leads us to number 2.

2. How to pronounce Aim?

As A-U-M is to om, so too A-I-M is to aim. If you say it really slow, it sounds like ah-ee-mm (like ah-ooh-mm for om). But when you say it quickly, it sounds like “I’m” (where the “m” becomes nasal). Then why is it sometimes written as aing?

Well… it’s more problematic for non-Sanskrit speakers as it is a different means of transliteration. An easy analogy, for me at least, is the difference between Peking and Beijing:

  • They both refer to the same word
  • In Chinese, there is only one pronunciation (no Chinese speaker pronounces it with a “p”)
  • But, depending on the source, you see it written both ways

Clear as mud?

Don’t worry. While proper pronunciation is nice, above all else, it’s your intent that’s important. Especially when reciting mantras in the beginning. Don’t let the player haters fool you.

3. Aim: the Saraswati mantra

In typical Hindu fashion, each goddess has her associated seed mantra. The aim bija mantra is associated with Saraswati, goddess of the arts, literature, music, learning, knowledge, and wisdom, for starters. She who dispels darkness and ignorance.

Modern day Saraswati Saraswatī सरस्वती
Modern day Saraswati Saraswatī सरस्वती

Saraswati is a personal favorite here at The Lazy Beetle. A goodly amount of our articles and designs center around Saraswati, who is just plain awesome no matter what your religion or beliefs. Consequently, if you stick around, or check back, you’ll see more and more Saraswati (and Saraswati mantras) popping up throughout The Lazy Beetle.

4. Aim bija mantra—the energy of sound

The aim bija mantra is one of the Shakti mantras. Shakti is the “primordial cosmic energy” representing “the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe.” Shakti mantras are used to create, sustain or dissolve various forms, patterns and forces within us.  At the deepest level, Shakti mantras “arouse and support the Yoga Shakti or inner power of Yoga within us.” The prime shakti bija mantras are:

  • Om bija mantra, pranic energy
  • Aim bija mantra, energy of sound
  • Hrim bija mantra, solar energy
  • Shrim bija mantra, lunar energy
  • Krim bija mantra, electric energy
  • Klim bija mantra, magnetic energy
  • Hum bija mantra, power of fire
  • Hlim bija mantra, power to stop
  • Strim bija mantra, power to stabilize
  • Trim bija mantra, power to transcend

This leads us to number 5—what does this mean for the practitioner?

5. What does Aim invoke and what does it mean for the practitioner?

Because aim is associated with the goddess Saraswati, chanting aim aids us in learning, art, expression and communication. Because it represents the energy of sound, in Ayurveda, it strengthens the voice and the vocal chords.

In David Frawley’s book Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, “aim is also the mantra of the guru and helps us access all higher knowledge.” Thus, we can use it to:

  • Invoke wisdom and understanding
  • Motivate, to direct and to strengthen our will-power
  • Orient us toward whatever it is we seek
  • Increase concentration of our mind to awaken our higher intelligence
  • *And, imho, it really helps in getting things done that need getting done

In essence, chanting aim is a good thing; a very, very good thing.

Outside meditation with aim bija mantra
The aim bija mantra serves as a little reminder

6. The feminine counterpart of om (aum)

As Om is the unmanifest and expansive aspect of primal sound, Aim is the manifest or directed form. As Om is the supreme Purusha or cosmic masculine form, Aim is Adya Shakti, the supreme Shakti or cosmic feminine force.

~ from Satya.dk

The aim bija mantra is a standalone mantra, but aim, like om, is also used in other mantras. And since it represents the feminine, we find the mantra aim in many different mantras to the Goddess or Divine Mother.

7. The aim bija mantra is the second most common one word mantra after om/aum…

…according to Mr. David Frawley in his book Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound. We don’t make this up folks.

8. Aim with chandrabindu

Lastly, we have the chandrabindu. Now here’s where it gets a little challenging. Nailing down chandrabindu, is like going down a rabbit hole. (The rabbit hole is a common theme at The Lazy Beetle…) Some aim seed mantras contain the chandrabindu while others do not. So, what’s the deal? Is one correct and the other one incorrect?

Aim bija mantra with chandrabindu detail
Aim bija mantra with chandrabindu detail

Again, first things first. What is a chandrabindu? Chandrabindu (“moon dot” in Sanskrit,◌̐ ) is “a diacritic sign with the form of a dot inside the lower half of a circle.” (Not to be confused with the popular Bengali band Chandrabindoo.)

Here’s where we take a little dive into Sanskrit grammar. To understand chandrabindu, we must first begin with the concept of anusvāra. Anusvāra means after-sound. In modern day Devanāgarī, it appears as a dot over the syllable, e.g,. ta त vs taṃ तं. In Roman script, we use an m with an underdot (ṃ); or some times an overdot (ṁ, as in auṁ). Next, there is the anunāsika (‘from the nose’). When “n” or “m” follow a vowel, the “n” or “m” becomes silent and causes the preceding vowel to become nasal. The anunāsika is indicated with chandrabindu in Devanāgarī: la ल vs lṃ लँ. In modern languages, such as Hindi, the anusvāra and anunāsika are used interchangeably, but the anunāsika is used with seed syllables so as to add symbolism. (See Visible Mantra and Wikipedia.)

And there you have it folks—chandrabindu for extra symbolism. Thus, to answer the original question, both forms are correct (thank you Hinduism).

Conclusion

Thus concludes our journey of the aim bija mantra. Hopefully, you have a slightly better understanding of the aim bija mantra and bija mantras in general.

We leave with one final thought. For all mantras, it’s your intent that matters. Stay in the present moment, be mindful, and have fun. Because, in the end, that’s what counts.

More…

The aim bija mantra featured in this article is available for sale on Etsy.com.

Last updated: 08.27.2016Save

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Galleries Saraswatī

Slate hexagon pattern

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Saraswatī

Simple Mehendi Droplet

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Language Saraswatī

Who?

The first word of the Saraswati Vandana, simple and unadorned. When doing becomes too hot, or strained, thankfully, there is letting, or allowing, to cool the fever