RTA-RITU - An Exhibition on Cosmic Order and Cycle of Seasons
Firmly fixed are the foundations of rta shining in beauty, manifold are
its beauteous forms.
blue print for cosmic harmony
inflexible yet all merciful decrees of divine
form of universal reason
law of righteousness
The Exhibition on Rta-Ritu: Cosmic Order & Cycle of Seasons is the fifth presentation by IGNCA on viewing fundamental concepts on universal themes that cut across diverse cultures. The four previous exhibitions were on Space, Kham, Form, Akara, Time, Kala and The Five Elements, Prakriti.
The concept of Rta, originates in the Rigveda (10.85; 4.23, 9-12; 10.190). In the Vedic vision the universe is not conceived as a haphazard mass of elements and events, but is an ordered whole, in which each part inheres the whole and the whole is balanced by its parts. The ordering principle of nature, the inflexible law of harmony, the universal cosmic flow which gives to everything from the vast galaxies, down to the nucleus of an atom, their nature and course, is Rta. Rta then, is observable everywhere.
governs the movement of the heavenly bodies, Rta commands the shift and
play of the seasons, Ritu; and it is Rta which guides the repeated round
of birth, growth and decay of all life-forms. Rta lives in each human
being as the pulsation of the heart-beat and the innumerable rhythms that
principle of Rta is not unique to India. Parallel concepts are found in
all the ancient civilizations of the world. Chinese culture describes it
as the principle of Tao, Islamic
thought as the principle of Haqq,
Greco-Roman culture as Logos and
the Buddhists as Dhamma. In all
cultures the concept is unanimously accepted as a blue-print of Cosmic
Harmony. Furthermore, this all-inclusive principle of cosmic harmony and
human order pervades all the aspects of life: the natural world, the human
world, the social world of every day community life, the moral world, as
also, the realm of arts, creativity and architecture. Rta is also embodied
in the ecological principle of inter-dependence, balance and
interrelationship of all life. The seasonal cycles or Ritu Chakra through
spring-time and harvest, are grounded in the principle of harmony and
universal order; it is Rta which sustains the eco-balance of nature.
Humans do not stand apart from nature but are a part of the larger cosmic
flow. This integral bond between humans and nature became a basis for the
seasonal celebrations, stimulated with prayers, incantations and sacred
performances. The construction of sacred ritual practices and the
participation in secular celebrations, are ways to mirror a larger cosmic
order as it is conceived by that people. While Rta denotes order, its
opposite manifestation is Anrta, disorder. These two mutually dependent
principles form two sides of a single cosmic process.
across interdisciplinary divides, the exhibition presents a multifaceted
vision of Rta. As in the previous years, the exhibition was complemented
by an interdisciplinary seminar on Rta: Order and Chaos. The seminar
brought together physicists, scientists, philosophers, indologists,
scholars of the humanities, artists and poets. The encounter brought to
light that various viewpoints are not contradictory but are complementary
to one another.
but, at all-embracing law through the realms of the sky. Unbroken its
stretched and over the earth’s immensity.
Aristotle Rhetorich 1373-b
know now that non-equilibrium, the flow of matter and energy, may be a
source of order. We have a feeling of great intellectural excitement: we
begin to have a glimpse of the road that leads from being to becoming.
Prigogine and lsabelle Stengers
cosmos, from the stars to the smallest crystal, is a system in the sense
that each one reflects the homogeneity of the principal order; the
universe is woven of necessity and liberty, of mathematical rigour and
musical play, or geometry and poetry.
Copyright IGNCA© 1999