Reinterpreting Osho ‘isms’

From Pratiksha Apurv's desk Media Watch

An article by CSS Latha about Pratiksha Apurv’s paintings was published in the widely known monthly magazine ‘Society’ in India in their December 23, 2015 edition.


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Pratiksha Apurv, the niece of India’s most famous spiritual guru, Osho Rajneesh, features among the country’s elite artists. And, her works enjoy a worldwide patronage.

Her father Swami Vijay Bharti was Osho’s younger brother, and Osho’s favourite niece Pratiksha was given sannyas at the tender age of 11, which set her on her spiritual journey at the Osho ashram in Pune. “He used to tell me, ‘Just be yourself’, and this word held tremendous significance for me. In the true sense, Osho was an awakener, the Master, who gave me the glimpse of spiritual awakening,” says Pratiksha.

Pratiksha has seen the red carpet rolled for her in whatever she undertook, be it fashion design or works of art. This three-time National Award nominee was a well-known designer in the late ’80s when she took the fashion world by storm with her label Oshonik. Pratiksha has styled personalities like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Vinod Khanna, Amjad Ali Khan, Kapil Dev and Zakir Hussain, to name some.

Recalling memories from her stint as a designer, Pratiksha says, “Atal Bihari Vajpayee never liked colourful clothes. But, when I started designing for him, I insisted on different colours. I remember an incident on the eve of his first Independence Day speech as Prime Minister. I had designed two jackets for him — blue and beige. When I met him an evening before, I requested him to wear the blue jacket for his address from the Red Fort. But Vajpayee was reluctant and said he would prefer the beige one. But, the next morning when I switched on the TV, he was wearing the blue jacket and that was a turning point for him. He fell in love with the blue colour and started wearing not only blue, but various other colours in India and abroad after that.”

Fashion designing was creative but limiting, and Pratiksha started feeling confined. One fine day, she suddenly stopped it all. “Instead of going to the factory, I headed to a shop, bought canvas and colours and started painting. It was not pre-meditated; it just happened naturally and thus started a new medium of creativity which gives me inner fulfillment,” confesses Pratiksha.

“As a child, my first gift was a pack of sketch pens from Osho and he asked me to start painting,” she recalls fondly. Osho focused on living in all dimensions and an exposure to life in its totality. She continues, “As my uncle, he gave me colours and as a master, he helped me in sensitising me towards the beauty of creation. As my uncle, he gave me a Rolex watch and as a master, he gave watchfulness and introduced me to the dimension of timelessness.”

And, this philosophy is intrepidly projected on her canvas today. “It’s my humble effort to bring his vision on canvas. I am just trying to add hues to his alphabet,” she says. Many of Pratiksha’s paintings have tried to depict the message from the Upanishads, the Geeta and Kabir. She has tried to depict various elements, including the five senses, the five elements, the layers of consciousness, the gunas in humankind, the vision of Gautam Buddha, Krishna, Meera, the Zen Masters and Sufism. “My works are based on a wide range of subjects like rejoicing, trust, going beyond greed, aloneness, cosmic balance, inner journey, devotion, rhythm, transcendence, witnessing timelessness and totality,” she elucidates.

Pratiksha Apurv

Pratiksha’s studio at home is also her meditation room. This is because she believes that creativity stems from meditative energy. She listens to Osho’s discourses while painting. Among her voluminous collection, her five personal favourites are ‘Ultimate Consciousness’, ‘Beyond Senses’, ‘Beyond Psychology’, ‘Consciousness and Mind’ and ‘Individual Whole’, in that order.

The most debated teaching of Osho, ‘From sex to nirvana’, was also an inspired theme of her paintings. Traditionally, sex is perceived as an act of draining spiritual energies. Osho’s preaching was viewed as a dare that startled his contemporary spiritual thinkers and still does. Quiz Pratiksha on the controversy, and she has a clear perception. “Earlier, there was reservation about it because of our conditioning. We completely ruled out the fact that sexual energy can be transcended into spirituality. Osho is perhaps the first spiritual master to remind the society that the journey to super consciousness begins from sexual energy. It is the launch pad for super consciousness but many, who always treat sex as taboo, may get stuck at its physical aspect, not realising that the real message is meant for a journey towards super consciousness. I think people are now realising that sexual energy can be transformed into a spiritual hymn and that energy can be turned into a non-sexual one, triggering inner awakening,” she explains.

Interestingly, among the three paintings that were nominated for the National Award, her theme ‘Sex to Super Consciousness’ was the first to catch the eye, followed by ‘Cosmic Harmony’ and ‘Receptivity’.

Pratiksha’s solo exhibitions have been inaugurated by luminaries like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra Modi and Nita Ambani. “My first exhibition in 2007 was inaugurated by Vajapyeeji who saw all the paintings and told me publicly that I should ‘continue my sadhna,’” says Pratiksha, adding that the other celebrities too were taken in by the spiritual nature of her works.

Pratiksha’s paintings were also selected for the ‘Soul of Asia’ section of the 44th International Film Festival 2013 in Goa. The unique concept of an art gallery at a film festival saw an endless stream of celebrities like Majid Majidi, Atiq Rahimi, Golshifteh Farahani and Adoor Gopalakrishnan browsing through her works. Susan Sarandon, who also inaugurated the show, was all praise for Pratiksha’s talent, saying the paintings were the story of a seeker’s life.

Meanwhile, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has selected 34 of Pratiksha’s paintings to feature in its publication, titled, Indian Horizon. Now, Pratiksha is all set to showcase her next solo exhibition. Her creations are mystifying in visual appeal. Pratiksha’s art spotlights Osho’s teachings—revived, renewed and reinterpreted in the contemporary context, leading to spellbinding results.

Photographs by Vijay Singh 

Link to original article on Society

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