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