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DECEMBER 2001 Contents
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ROZALIA RADHIKA PRIYA
- a spiritual activist
Paris was an important turning point in her career. This was not merely the place where she was introduced to the world of art. It was here that she became a Krishna devotee. She recalls the time she went to the Radhakrishna temple in Paris and got her first darshan of Krishna. It was a revelation. She was looking for that "expression of divinity in art" and she found it right there. It also marked the beginning of a change in her. She stayed with the Krishna devotees in Paris, became a vegetarian and learnt the Bhagvatam.
She came to India and visited Mathura, Vrindavan and Nathadwara. Her first visit was in 1981, and she became a regular visitor to the country thereafter. Then, in 1991, she decided to settle in India for good.
Rozalia now divides her time between Mathura, Vrindavan and Nathadwara though stays in Udaipur, which she calls her Karambhoomi and where she has a permanent exhibition at the Gangaur Haveli Museum.
But understanding Krishna for Rozalia meant going back to her first love---art and capturing the Lord on canvas. Since she came to India, she has tried to master the style unique to the Nathadwara School. This is indicated in her collection of paintings based on the devotional hymn Nadhuraashtakam composed by Sri Vallabhacharya, the 16th century philosopher.
She has mostly concentrated on illustrations of Sanskrit poems and epics. She has read most Sanskrit works in their English translations though she has now mastered the language. Her studio in Udaipur is a virtual treasure of her unique style of painting and is testimony to her immense devotion in Lord Krishna.
Besides, working with artists in Udaipur she has travelled extensively to all destinations of Lord Krishna to study his various Bhavs. In Nathadwara she came in contact with noted painters Reva Shankar Sharma and Ghanshyam Sharma, who seeing her devotion to Lord Krishna, readily agreed to make her their disciple. She stayed there for six years learning from the gurus.
In her pursuit to explore the various facets of religion particularly those related to Lord Krishna she went to Bali, Malaysia and Paris to learn more about Hindu religion. She also worked for the Indira Gandhi National Centre For Culture helping in developing a full-length multi-media project on Geeta Govinda.
Rozalia recently set up Saraswati Academy in Udaipur, where she plans to teach her divine art to children. She has also a school in Budapest, called the Ancient Art Foundation which will function on the same lines. In addition to these she has also started working on her new project, which will be Yamuna Yantra, inspired by the ancient scripture, Garga Samhita.
Now an acclaimed artist, Rozalia feels that her quest for the true meaning of art is still at a nascent stage. Art, she says, does not merely consist in ‘putting colour in a painting. " It has a deeper purpose, and that is to put across the message of God."
Rozalia combines in herself the qualities of Western tradition and Indian values. The fact is she is now acknowledged an artist and spiritualist in the Indian tradition. This is why she is being invited at various conferences to reinvent spiritualism amongst people.
For the moment her hands are full. Her work carries her across the country and abroad, plus the added pressures of running two schools in as diverse places as Hungary and India.
As for the future, life as a Krishna devotee and as an artist will be period of learning for Rozalia. She has strong reasons for being a Krishna devotee. Many years back she read in the Bhagwatpurana that Krishna would come back to win back his devotees. That was the cue for her. " I told myself that Krishna is calling me and I’m not even listening," says she.
As anyone who knows Rozalia will bear out, now the call of Sri Nathaji has been heard.
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