The UPANISHADS (c.1000-500 BCE)
A manuscript of the Isa Upanishad
A medieval vision of how the Upanishads were taught: two sages converse in a forest, both wearing sacred threads, as the older instructs the younger
In the "Amar Chitra Katha" version of some classic tales from the Upanishads, Agni is entirely anthromorphic
"Amar Chitra Katha" versions of the Upanishads tend to be simplified and "pietized" when compared to the original texts: elements of cantankerousness, rivalry, and seeming irrationality are removed
The mind-driver guiding and restraining the sense-horses, so that the chariot of the self can be controlled-- a classic Upanishadic image
OM was originally an entirely abstract concept; the whole of the Mandukya Upanishad is devoted to explaining it
Nowadays OM is often combined with images of various deities
Especially suitable for depiction within an OM is Ganesh, with his round contours; his trunk also offers artistic possibilities
My own favorite OM image-- a strikingly imaginative modern batik
OM has proved so influential that it is also the beginning syllable of the most important modern Tibetan Buddhist mantra

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