Mandala Art: Try this artistic craft for a spiritual odyssey of self-discovery and focus
Did you know that Mandala art is used as an aid to meditation? Here’s how well-known artist Mayank Aggarwal practises the art via webinars during the lockdown. The talented artist tells us why Mandala is needed during these times
Mayank Agarwal, 27, a practising Mandala artist is spending his lockdown hours sharing his love and devotion for the art, by conducting a series of webinars, teaching and disseminating the craft. From being invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, to being felicitated for propagating art in Delhi University, Mayank is also often invited for workshops, panel discussions and therapy sessions.
What is Mandala art?
Mandala Art is often used as an aid to meditation, as it is very relaxing and lets the person live in the moment. It is practised extensively in Hinduism and Buddhism with a set of intricate patterns made in a motion, usually circular. As back breaking as it may seem to make intricate patterns and symbols on paper, Mayank breaks down the complex art of Mandala making in easy steps on webinars on Zoom.
"At first people get intimidated when they see Mandala art, but they ease up and get amazed when I tell them that anyone - whether they know how to draw or not, can do it. I decode the seemingly complex art for them by demonstrating easy steps such as folding paper at an angle and using basic tools accessible from the junior school geometry box like scale, protractor, a compass and a pen. In fact, any pen even the easily available gel pen gives beautiful results. Once you get a hang of it, Mandala is a really simple and beautiful technique-based art form," says Mayank, who has shared his knowledge about the Mandala art-form with more than 1700 students till date.
Art during the lockdown
Mandala art is used as an aid to meditation
"Making a Mandala helps restore a person’s focus and I believe that by drawing one, the person is immersed into the art, in a meditative sort of way and that helps the maker develop patience and perseverance. These, I feel are much-needed traits that everyone can gain from during these stressful times,” he explains.
In fact, Mayank himself devotes a couple of hours per day in making a Mandala which often takes him about few days to complete. For him it is not the time taken but the end result of an alchemical design that makes the entire effort worth the rigour.
Where it began
Mandala is a technique-based art
Hailing from a small town near the Indo-Nepal border, Lakhimpur Kheri, Mayank found himself drawn towards art while completing his schooling in Nainital. "Even though it was a boys’ school, a lot of my juniors and classmates were practising this amazing art. I got inspired and started taking art seriously by learning the basics of art," say Mayank.
While his heart was inclined towards pursuing art, his family wanted a stable career for him. "It was only after coming to Delhi for my graduation that I realised I could very well manage both, just by managing my time better. So, in the mornings I attended my classes and evenings were reserved for practising art. Even if it meant I had to get less sleep at times,” reminisces Mayank.
Mayank does webinars on Mandala art during the lockdown
Today, he continues to work and ensures he makes time for his passion as well, just like his college days. He works as a Senior Consultant with KPMG, and utilises his weekends making and teaching art.
"I remember while I was conducting a Mandala class in Jaipur, a participant wanted her young daughter to learn the art form. At the age of five, Kamakshi Basandani became my youngest student, and put up an exhibition of her works and has gone to earn herself a record in the India Book of Records in 2018," shares Mayank, proudly.
While he is a focussed artist and a seasoned teacher it is almost an anomaly that his Instagram handle is @defocused_consultant where he uploads and shares his artworks.
Life comes a full circle
From being invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, to being felicitated for propagating art in Delhi University, to being called as a chief guest at one of the events conducted by a college which had once rejected his application for admission, Mayank keeps at it to take his art to wider audiences and bigger platform.
Mayank with his team at Bitwecan
Always looking to expand his horizons, the multi-faceted art lover is also a certified Therapeutic Art Life Coach, a skill that he uses in his work with the NGO Bit We Can. The NGO, that he also founded and works with his team for mental health, sexual abuse and sustainability through panel discussions, workshops and therapy sessions.
Given his vast repertoire of experiences, we quiz him about the probability of penning down his learnings at some point. Never say never, he says as he signs off.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)