One of my constant endeavors in my Art Practice revolves around interpreting man’s multiple theories on Creationism. I believe Vishnu’s Cosmic Dream Sleep, Anantashayanam, corresponds to the most widely accepted scientific theory of Creation, the Big Bang and the Big Contraction…creation and destruction.
Hindu creation myths say this is not the first universe. After each old universe is destroyed nothing is left but a vast ocean. Floating on this ocean, resting on the great snake Ananta, is Lord Vishnu. A lotus flower springs from his navel and from this comes Lord Brahma. And from Lord Brahma comes all creation. It’s a story of ceaseless, continuous creation, of the incredibly Big Bang of Creation. This Art Video project attempts to represent this cosmology myth, its striking focus on (a) the endlessly recycling periods of time, and (b) the notion of continuing decline.
The cosmic sleep of Vishnu invites us to consider creation from the perspective of time, the unfolding of the past into the present and the present into the future. The cosmos may have been created and destroyed, but it represents only one turn in the perpetual “wheel of time”. After a 100 years in the life of Brahma, (= just over 311 trillion human years), the entire process repeats itself, endlessly.
Conclusion: The very idea of a sudden expansion out of nothingness into an ever-growing space and mass is proof of the vastness of knowledge left to be discovered.
The film is a live-action animated film shot on blue screen, with my own illustrations animated onto the live one-shot action. It starts with the toes and feet of Lord Vishnu, pans up, and reveals his consort Lakshmi, and how a lotus flower grows out of his navel, to bloom; and the appearance of Lord Brahma. The cosmic egg of creation appears and all the universe is created with a sudden Big Bang. Cosmoses move around and evil forces appear, Madhu & Kaitabha. Lakshmi warns Vishnu of this. He has all along been blissfully sleeping on the gently rocking multi-coiled serpent Ananta. Vishnu destroys the demons, and resumes his sleep; the universe is peaceful. Then the great Crunch happens and after another implosion, nothingness remains. Text explains this concept briefly. Then out of this nothingness, the cycle starts again, with Vishnu’s toes appearing again.
Directed by Murali Raman (India)