Sri Chinmoy was a prolific artist focusing mainly on acrylics and drawings. He called his artwork “Jharna-Kala”, which is Bengali for “fountain-art”. The name reflects the spontaneous and effortless nature of his artistic creations, which came from an inner meditative flow. His abstract paintings often reflect themes of harmony and peace, but when painting, Sri Chinmoy said he did not use his mind to think but followed an inner inspiration.
“I try to make my heart a receptive instrument so that God, the Supreme Artist, can paint in and through me.”
Sri Chinmoy began painting on 19 November 1974, whilst staying in a hotel in Ottawa, Canada. He received no formal artistic training and soon developed his own unique style. Sri Chinmoy painted rapidly and spontaneously with a meditative attitude.
“Usually when I draw, I try to be in a contemplative mood — in a prayerful, soulful consciousness — and I do not talk.”
His mystical, often abstract works of art, vary from miniatures to murals, and include a multiplicity of styles and techniques. His intuitive approach to painting could lead to periods of tremendous intensity. Eleven months after he began his art journey, he completed his first 100,000 paintings and on 16 November 1975, he painted a remarkable 16,031 paintings in one 24-hour period.
Sri Chinmoy’s artworks have been exhibited in over 20 countries around the world, in galleries such as the Caroussel du Louvre in Paris, and distinguished buildings such as the United Nations Secretariat in New York and the parliament buildings of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Ukraine.
In December 1991, during a visit to Malta, Sri Chinmoy began a new series of drawings, which he entitled “Dream-Freedom Peace-Birds” or “Soul-Birds”. Sri Chinmoy said these simple, free-form drawings of birds represent and encapsulate the freedom and aspiration of the human soul. Over the next 16 years, Sri Chinmoy drew millions of these Soul-Birds, reaching over 15 million by 2007.
Writing on the significance of these Soul-Birds, Sri Chinmoy wrote:
“These birds represent unity in multiplicity. Here we have 70,000 birds. Each bird is different, but when you look at them, you feel unity. As soon as we think of the bird-consciousness, it is one. The bird-consciousness represents the consciousness of our soul’s inner freedom.”