Art and Meditation: Traditional Imagery and Contemporary Parallels as Seen Through Children’s Meditational Art
Madhu Khanna presents an experimental study of the universal symbols and colours experienced during meditation. In her seminal essay Art and Meditation: Traditional Imagery and Contemporary Parallels as Seen Through Children’s Meditational Art (1999), Khanna discusses the intention of her experiment to understand how tantric meditation can be measured or understood through visual representation.
The study took part in various schools, in which children from the ages of ten to eleven were drawing in pre-meditative states and post-meditative states. The studies below show similarities in the mandala symbols, tantric shapes (circle, square, triangle), and some chakra colours denoting the various states of consciousness the children encountered. Khanna was sure to include cross-cultural comparisons (experimenting with Sweden, Indian, Dutch and British children) to reinforce her point on the universal language of yogic vision and symbolism.
What is moving about this experiment is how this research can finally shed some light on the importance of tantric meditation and, particularly, how these motifs match the historical scriptures, which Ajit Mookerjee’s research in Yoga Art (1975) emphasises.
Fig 1: Art the Integral Image, page 139
Fig 2: Art the Integral Image, page 140
Fig 3: Art the Integral Image, page 141
Fig 4: Art the Integral Image, page 142