– Sandhya Regmi
(Founder President, BH Foundation)
(Published in TRN Friday Supplement on June 6, 2014)
Sir Edmund Hillary had extreme emotional attachment to Nepal, Nepalese, and the Himalayas. Hillary considered Sagarmatha as the holy shrine of Lord Shiva, so he believed that stepping on Mount Everest with their feet would amount to an act of disrespect to the holy land, so both Edmund and Tenzing Norgay bowed down their heads very low, soon after reaching the summit and planting Nepal’s ‘sun and moon’ embodied flag. I was moved and blown away emotionally while reading these lines, thinking how high and pious our Himalayas were considered by these climbers. The glorious Himalayas appeared to me an embodiment of spiritualism. I got inspired to celebrate the glory of the great Himalayas and thus plunged into the world of mountains with my colours and canvas. I literally felt as if I were travelling far away from the sufferings of materialistic word and reaching a spiritual world of utmost happiness and serenity.
The Great Himalayas series of my paintings are the measures of deep expressions of my extreme emotional attachment to my nation and its soil. Through them, I have literally poured out my sentiments of sincere love, affection, respect, and gratitude to my motherland. These paintings are ‘Gitanjali’ to my prideful country and the people. I have indeed got literally too nostalgic to paint my country’s most precious natural gift, the crowns of Nepal- that provide link between the earth and the heaven.
Through the series of my Himalaya paintings, I have sung the songs out of my patriotic heart, as in my patriotic poem ‘A Letter To My Motherland Nepal’. It is never in the house of God that our country lives, and sure never in the spreading scaffold, but in work illumined with songs of praise and hymns, in the open space and in the temples of our heart that our country lives. Our motherland is not an idol but honour, is faith and not festivity. Our country is not lost in labyrinth of aphorisms, of religion and philosophy; it is not lost in the bitter war of doctrines and dogmas. It dwells in the enlightenment of clean thoughts and lofty ideals, not in the magic wand of witchcraft of politics and diplomacy, but is alive in cordiality of wisdom and intelligence.
That blending of my patriotic feelings of dedication and devotion towards my country with my skills have produced some landscape masterpieces of Nepal. Sunset and full-moon night scenes are part of this series where I paint ‘Glorious Sunset Over Mt. Everest’, ‘Sunset Celebration In The Mountains’ and ‘Nuptse At Moonlit Night’. The attraction of the beautiful Pokhara has been painted entitled ‘The Fusion of Fishtail, Fewa & Flower’. With my inner eyes I see the mountains as charming Angels and love to name them as the 3 sisters: ‘Ganga’, ‘Jamuna’, and ‘Yamuna’. I see the accomplished Kanchanjangha as a source of enthusiasm and challenge in life. My poetic heart melts as the snow of the Himalayas and flows in the charismatic ‘Phoksomodo’ and ‘Tilicho’ – which I name ‘The Lake Of Ambrosia’ (‘Ammritkunda’).
I admit that at the tender age of 16, when I had to leave my country and go overseas for higher education and professional life, continuously living over two and a half decade-long stay abroad in “Paradesh” in isolation, my love for my land, culture, society, nation welled-up. Nepal rolled down the edges of my eyes, not tears for sure. It was not heart that pulsated, but Nepal deep inside my chest. While missing my home country, I continued to live in my own imaginative world of Himalayas, Yeti, and the Sherpas, the rivers and the lakes, and got literally lost in the virtual mists- growing even more nostalgic. Understandably, my deep rooted love for my nation coupled with the blissful moments I got deprived of while living abroad created such emotional waves in my life. I turned to the paintings for solace. I concede that it is only after painting the great Himalayas, my heart got filled with the heavenly nectar of the natural beauty helping me attain the sublime state of infinite happiness and peace.
Nature has ever since been our great teacher, a school of wisdom, an institute of knowledge, an university of understating and an academy of illumination. From untiring rivers and rivulets that flow ceaselessly onwards, we never cease to learn the mighty lesson of life that moves ahead constantly despite overwhelming setbacks. From upright hills above that never exhaust, we learn the lessons of watching with unyielding patience and unflagging determination. From snow-capped ridges which never cease to melt, we learn the lesson inexhaustible abundance that hides behind unspeakable benevolence of consciousness deep within. From abysmal recesses of cooing pine trees, imbue the sweetness that lies embedded in mass of persistence and strife. Smitten with buffets of snow-flakes and biting frost in winter, and shorn of their beauty, we learn from the cheerless trees enlivened and rejuvenated with lively fresh shoots in spring.
My paintings represent Nepal far across the globe as a piece of Shangrila directly fallen from Heaven to Earth. The pristine landscape, riverines, cascades of precious rocks, and pious snow capped mountains and the glorious environment take us to a spiritual world of supreme sense of happiness and natural relief far away from the ever-expanding anxiety and suffering of the materialistic world. And their inherent beauty attract people from all over the world, not only for mountain climbing and trekking but also for spreading the message of peace and plead for nature conservation.
As an Environmental Engineer, I endeavoured to create awareness on Environmental Preservation and Sustainability through my paintings. These paintings bring along with them the message that we have to safeguard these natural blessings. This demands protecting them from the threats of Global Warming and shielding them from detrimental effects of Climate Change. Unless we are to choose the path of self-destruction, we have irrevocable obligation to conserve the Mother Nature so that we could breathe and walk on clean, green mother earth and hand over the heavenly earth with uncompromised natural resources to our future generations.