AHMEDABAD: Om, considered the first sound inHindu cosmology, is held dear by Hindus and Indians as a holy word and beginning of mantras in Vedas and other religious scriptures. In ancient times, when Indian culture went overseas and influenced neighbouring regions, Om, also travelled to those areas and assumed an identity of its own depending on the local script and interpretation of religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism which used it as sacred.
It was this transformation and usage that attracted Bhavna Maru, a 53-year-old artist, based in Rome, Italy. Maru, an Ahmedabad native, is holding a three-day exhibition on Om’s various manifestations across the world at CN Institute of Fine Arts, from Thursday.
“I left India with my husband in 2000, and moved to the Netherlands. There I started taking a keen interest in oriental languages and art and started calligraphy and ikebana. While I had roots in spiritual knowledge in childhood and adulthood, I started finding a similar theme and ethos when I learnt Mandarin and Japanese. I then travelled widely across Asian countries and came across the many forms of Om, universally used as a good omen,” she said.
Her exhibition has Om in 78 languages such as Tibetan, Dongkha, Ume, Chinese, Limbu, Lao, Burmese, Sarada, Thai, Mongolian, Brahmi, Khmer and Sinhali along with most Indian languages. She said that the exhibition will also go to Russia later this year.