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Three Aspects of the Absolute
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The first emanation of the universe into form is known as bliss-form Nath (anand murtivan nath).

The next stage in the creation of the cosmos consists of vast waters, which are depicted flowing from the body of the perfected being (siddha) known as Jalandharnath.

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

Three Aspects of the Absolute

Creation begins with the limitless and eternal Absolute, according to the Naths, a sectarian order associated with hatha yoga. A mesmerizing painting represents the origins of existence as a shimmering field of gold (left). Its successive emanations (center and right) into consciousness and form are perfected Nath yogis, covered in ash and clad in saffron. Through yogic practice, Naths transform their physical bodies into subtle matter and merge with the luminous Absolute. Many yoga traditions define enlightenment as the recognition that the Self and the Absolute are one and the same.

The Nath Charit was written and illustrated at the court of Maharaja Man Singh of Jodhpur (reigned 1803–43), a devotee of the Naths. The manuscript is monumental in size.
Although the concept of the Absolute is central to many Hindu traditions, it is rarely represented. The radically abstract gold field seen here was an innovation of the Jodhpur atelier.

Three Aspects of the Absolute
folio 1 from the Nath Charit
India, Rajasthan, Jodhpur
1823 (Samvat 1880)
Opaque watercolor, gold, and tin alloy on paper
Mehrangarh Museum Trust RJS 2399

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