Carving Stone in Timeless Zone

Art Gallery

A slideshow of Dhyananand’s sculptures.

Dervish - marble - photo Tom Sundro Lewis
Return - marble - photo Tom Sundro Lewis
Deva - marble - photo Todd Roseman
The Drunken Monk - alabaster - photo Tom Sundro Lewis
The Dance - onyx - photo Tom Sundro Lewis
Untitled - alabaster - photo Tom Sundro Lewis
Smiling Buddha - plaster - photo Tom Sundro Lewis
The Beloved - marble
Not Two - alabaster - photo Todd Roseman

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After continually traveling to India and back, there was a wish to create something of beauty to give to the world in return for all the beauty I had seen and experienced, very much as a result of Osho’s presence in my life. I’d always wanted to carve stone and having taken lessons from the sculptor, Nirman, at the Commune in India, once I settled in the US again, I took up stone carving.

I suppose the feeling of doing something that’s been around for so long was an answer to a need for roots of some kind in a shifting world of the ‘latest thing’, plastics, shoddy goods, the complications of modern life, and the disappearing certainties of life while meditating. Stone carving is such an old and elemental skill. You work with rocks, a simple and direct connection with the earth. A stone is a hard piece of the crust, millions of years old, formed through unimaginable forces. The steel carving tools are made from iron, also coming from the earth’s crust. They are forged thru fire and great pressure. It has all the allure of The Lord of the Rings. Added to this is the great and romantic history of stone carving exemplified by: Michelangelo, Donatello, Phidias, the Egyptians, the Hindi and Buddhist sculptors. They turned stone into such beautiful objects, full of emotion, spirit, and rhythm. How uplifting it is to see these great works dedicated to humanity’s great stories.

I like to carve stone because of the very tactile hardness of it and the magic, it appears to me, of transforming something so intractable and ancient into something with form, beauty and spirit. I like the very mechanicalness of working stone, and the timeless zone one gets into when working it.

The sculptures are inspired largely by the stones themselves. The stone always suggests many possibilities, perhaps an idea and a form are born and then there is the great adventure of finding what the stone reveals in the carving and polishing. I am always learning. The themes that come up are mostly from my experiences, many of them from the communes, from Osho’s words, from the history of art, and nature. When completed, perhaps some story is suggested to the viewer, perhaps not.

I always loved to watch the people whirling at the commune in Pune. And I liked to whirl myself, in my own modest way. There was always such a feeling of egolessness about the ones whirling. It was a very clean energy phenomenon to me. The marble was quarried here in Colorado. I started it at a symposium that was held by a river, in the open woods, just near where the stone was quarried. 3 ft. (91cm) tall plus the black granite base.

I have been thinking of carving thin pieces for some time, to go against the concept of stone as a hard, durable, and heavy substance, to try to make it appear as though gravity had little hold on it. For me, there is an autumn aspect to the design on the stone, and it is in the shape of a leaf which returns each year, a symbol of the cycle of life. From a 12” (30.5 cm) marble tile.

An experiment to carve something small and quick, as a gift for my brother and his wife. Colorado marble, 9” (23 cm) tall.

The Drunken Monk
I was inspired by a Japanese wood sculpture that I saw of a monk who has had a glimpse of the divine and is awash in bliss. I loved the expression on the Monk’s face. So joyous. It was as if he were drunk on the Divine, as I have heard Osho say. The stone is mostly green, as Sufi monks’ robes are, and there is a certain falling, tumbling down to the shape of this side of the carving that suggests drunkenness. Alabaster from Utah. 20” (51 cm) tall.

The Dance
This is a piece of onyx I got from a friend. It is a very beautiful and difficult stone to carve. Each color is a different hardness, making smoothness across the surface a challenge. I wanted to put as much movement into the stone as I could and somehow suggest lifting off. I wanted to show the striations in the stone. Looking closely at this stone I can easily get lost in all the different color details and what they suggest. I am very pleased with the way this turned out. 15” (38 cm) tall, from Arizona.

This was an experiment in carving something quickly, without premeditation or too much alteration. So I carved with a pneumatic hammer and chisels, then sanded and polished it smooth. 15” (38 cm) long. Alabaster from Utah. It has the look of some of that part of the US.

Smiling Buddha
This was my response to the Laughing Buddha, Ho Tai statues that one sees. It was carved very non seriously out of a piece of plaster. 5” (13 cm) wide. I’ve cast it in bronze a few times.

The Beloved
This was carved as a commission from a friend. Grey marble. 12” (30.5 cm) tall.

Not Two
I was inspired by “Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing” (about what one should do when there is duality arising in oneself, to say ‘Not Two’.) This is Colorado alabaster from near Boulder. 20” (51 cm) long.


DhyananandDhyananand studied architecture, sculpture and photography in college in California. Leaving school, he went traveling and living in Europe. From there he went to see Osho and took sannyas in 1979. He worked in Osho’s communes doing many things. In the late 80s he worked with Meera at painting and Nirman at stone carving. The stone carving re-ignited an old interest and back in the USA he continued working with it. Dhyananand now lives and works in Boulder, Colorado with his beloved, Nirja.

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