HAMSA: Himalayan Academy’s
Museum of Spiritual Art

For over five decades, the monks at Kauai’s Hindu Monastery in Hawaii have been commissioning and collecting works of art. These find expression in Himalayan Academy’s many publications, books, apps and web projects, including articles for Hinduism Today. For decades this burgeoning treasure trove was barely searchable and largely unavailable. That changed a few years ago with the original release of HAMSA, the Himalayan Academy Museum of Spiritual Art website. In 2020, the site was rebuilt for a more user-friendly experience and bolstered with even more art. 

Maniam Selvan

Indian spiritual art has no equal in the world for scope, quantity, devotion and philosophical significance. Among the thousands of images available, you will find here are rare masterpieces, sacred Hindu symbols, illustrated alphabets, decorative borders, educational depictions of Deities, culture, philosophy, legend, children’s stories and more. While much of this work was commissioned by Himalayan Academy, you’ll find other treasures too, such as the lifetime work of celebrated artist Sundaram Rajam, which includes over 900 paintings.

Every piece of artwork found on HAMSA is available to you for free, for personal projects and/or in service to dharma. Just click on an image to see the larger size and drag it to your desktop or save it to your phone. But for any commercial use, written permission must be obtained from the copyright holder, Himalayan Academy, by writing to: contact@hindu.org. To get an image at its original resolution, or if you would like to add something to the collection, you can contact appdev@hindu.org.

You can easily explore the site’s content by collection, artist or by invoking the site’s advanced search function

The artwork of HAMSA is searchable in several ways. You can search by artist, by collection (such as “background patterns” or “line art”), or by using the “Advanced Search” function to explore by tag, title and description. 

In Sanskrit, hamsa names the Indian goose (Anser indicus) or a swan, and represents the Ultimate Reality and the spiritually pure soul. The flight of the hamsa symbolizes moksha—the release from samsara, the cycle of birth, death and rebirth, which then commences our soul’s continued evolution in the inner worlds. An apt name for a resource that possesses so much philosophical and artistic beauty. Here is the URL: himalayanacademy.com/hamsa