Art History Final Essay
May 1st, 2014
In the novel Seeing the Divine Image in India, Diana Eck’s interpretation of Darśan and the spirituality of Hinduism are quite extensive. Hinduism is a religion of great depth with many layers of symbolism, which are not always apparent to those who are unfamiliar with the religion. Hinduism places a lot of emphasis on the connection between nature and our five senses. A main part of Hinduism’s religious rituals is seeing one of the deities known as Darśan. It is important to be seen by deity and to see them. Darśan in the novel is directly defined as “seeing” and in the Hindu tradition there is a main focus on religious seeing or visual perception of the sacred. When Hindus make a pilgrimage to the temple or worship, they are going to say, “I am going for Darśan”(Eck 1998, 3). In the Hindu religion, there is an emphasis on presenting yourself to the deity and to embrace their image as they see you. As you behold their image it is an act of worship, and you gain a blessing from the divine. They express that seeing the deity more than just seeing, it is more like “sacred seeing”. Hindu worship is more than just prayers and offerings but more so the total religious worship of body and mind. Darśan involves more than just seeing the deity but worshippers receive Darśan from the locations they have occurred. Some worshippers walk or take transportation to where Darśan is held. Some locations are at the peak of Himalayas, the river of Ganga, or mystical places that have an association with gods and goddesses. Worshippers receive Darśan from spiritual people for example when Mahatma Gandhi travels through India people will stop to take his Darśan. Hindu worshippers have devoted themselves to the deity and fulfill their obligations by taking Darśan. 081216500The main way the deity and worshipper connect is through the eyes in a constant gaze. Indians believe that a constant gaze is shared through unblinking eyes. Many of...
References: Eck, Diana L.. Darśan: seeing the divine image in India. 3rd ed. New York:
Columbia University Press, 1998."Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History." Shiva as Lord of the Dance (Nataraja) [Tamil
Nadu, India] (1987.80.1). http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1987.80.1 (accessed May 14, 2014).
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