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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

The Animated Avadhuta

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

This animated short is a bit of a mind-bender — but a tranquil, meditative one. It’s absolutely mesmerizing, Aum-like presence wanders through a labyrinth of fantastical illustrations bedded with sitar- and flute-playing and fused with narrated passages of ancient Vedantic wisdom such as this opening:

"Truly. You are the unchanging essence of everything. You are the unmoving unity. You are boundless freedom."

Avadhuta is a Sanskrit term that refers to a type of mystic who has surpassed his ego and is pure consciousness in human form. As such, he has little regard for social norms and etiquette, and "roams free like a child upon the face of the Earth." And this film tries to capture that quality of not being of this world while living in it.

The movie is based on single piece of artwork, a 20-foot-long illustration that was hand-drawn over a year’s time. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are “its backbone” and are connected with complex mazes. In the interstitial spaces, portraits of all types of characters and phrases and symbols like the all-seeing eye or the star of David.

This video, according to its creator, is “a creative attempt to synthesize the manifold patterns of mankind to the unified vision of emptiness as our real nature.” I’m not sure what it all means, but I find it a liberating ten minutes for interior contemplation and a beautiful object to observe.

Now if I could only find the source document illustration in high-res! And, if anybody would shed some more light on this topic, I’m all eyes and ears.