I have always had a soft spot for stained glass windows. Maybe its the way the sun shines through them and casts the illuminated images on the dark walls of the church. Maybe its the divine colours that can be found in them, the cobalt blues, the blood reds, the aquamarines, and the daffodil yellows.
Or perhaps the subjects depicted just take me away from the world for just a few moments. For all these reasons, contemplating a stained glass window in a quiet, darkened, mediaeval church is one of life’s small pleasures.
So imagine my no small pleasure when I was confronted with this beautiful new window at the top of the stairs of our London Radha-Krishna temple last Sunday. I had gone there to give a talk to the Sunday worshippers and the temple was already packed. But when I saw the window it took my breath away.
I knew it was coming because they’d told me and there was a hole in the wall for many weeks. I imagined it would be a nice piece of work because the entire temple is being refurbished to a good level, just suitable for a venue in the capital city. So I also imagined that the artist contracted to do the new window would do a nice job.
But I was very happy to see this with the sun streaming through it onto my face. Its different, artistically, than many devotees will be accustomed to, but I feel that adds to its charm. It breaks the mould of Radha Krishna art that we’ve become overly familiar with, and allows a different style to have some exposure.
The colours are bright and the decorative features enhance the basic picture of Krishna handing Radha a tambula. Framing the couple is the maha-mantra in Sanskrit at the bottom and top edges, and in English down the sides. The other panes allow some other pictorial symbols like flowers and swans to be incorporated within the design.