Krishnalal K Bhatt

Indian artist sees the thing itself either by sūkşma-dŗşti, the soul-sight, or by dhyāna, a spiritual union with the object studied in which the truth it expresses dawns on the mind by the process of revelation. This he transfers to canvas by letting his inspired and informed Will guide the pencil and the brush instead of using his intellect or merely technical means to find the best way of expression.

-Sri Aurobindo

Krishnalal K Bhatt was born on 1 July 1905 in Gujarat, probably in Ahmedabad.

He along with Jayantilal Parekh had studied painting at Shantiniketan under the watchful eye of the famous painter of the time, Nandlal Bose.

Once Nandlal-babu asked Krishnalal, “Do you see that tree standing over there?” He then told him to make a painting of it.

Krishnalal within a few hours was back with the replica of the painting. Seeing the beautiful painting, Nandlal-babu said, “I asked you to paint the picture of the tree standing over there. Have you observed it in the sun-light and moon-light? seen it standing there in the darkness and in full light? Have you observed it in Vasant and Grishma? in Varsha, Shishir and Hemant? [the sixth season in India is Sharad] Have you felt its mood in sorrow and in happiness, while standing throughout the year? Now, observe these and paint again!”

Such was the teacher! It is natural that the product also would be exceptional.

I myself learnt painting under the eye of Jayantilal-bhai, in 1957. We used to sit in the School courtyard and paint flowers, plants, trees, and different classes.

Krishnalal-ji joined Sri Aurobindo Ashram on 10 August 1933.

Among some of his great works under the watchful eye of the Mother are:

1) The breaking waves, a painting just behind the Mother’s Chair on the 1st floor of the Ashram.

2) Paintings all along the partition on the 1st floor of the Mother’s room.

3) The seven huge paintings done for the drama of 1st December 1956. The Mother herself had directed this drama. Parul-di, one of the aspirants, vividly remembers the way she herself showed her the movement. Each painting was of the size of the whole stage on the backdrop. Imagine the amount of physical work that must have been put into it! Besides you had to mount on a ladder.

Out of hundreds of dramas that I have seen and performed this is the best that I recollect till date!

4) The mural on the Villianur temple (is in bad shape)

5) On the request of the French government, Mother had asked Krishnalal to make 4 life-size paintings for the Mairie-hall. They were put up too! But today we don’t find them. May be, when the French left, they took them along.

6) He has hundreds of paintings and drawings, small and big, study of crows and animals. He along with his younger brother Vasudev built up the Studio of the Ashram.

7) His last work, though health failed him, was the Golconde mural.

“This Mural by Krishnalal is based on a vision of the Mother in which she saw herself seated in front of a great vastness where people were coming to her from all parts of the world. They were bringing their offerings to her and she was blessing them.”