The sun has not yet risen. A devoted Indian wife and mother carefully cleans her doorstep. With intense concentration, she dips her finger into the rice flour and makes a series of pullis or dots upon the ground. With deft fingers, she draws bold lines, crafting mind-arresting patterns, the artform called kolam. The Goddess Mahalakshmi, out for Her morning walk, pauses to admire the selflessness, the concentrated effort and the artistry of Her devotee. With a benevolent smile, She enters the household and blesses it for yet another day. The occupants rise, stretch happily, filled with a beautiful sense of well being.

The kolam decorates the lives and houses of the South India community. It makes one’s heart happy to walk over a kolam in entering a house, and thus puts one in an elevated frame of mind when visiting friends and relatives. Especially at festival times, the streets are a joy to behold. In front of every house, as far as the eye can see, stretch lines of beautiful, intricate designs.

Some women acquire great expertise. Like magic, they make a fantastic, meaningful pattern appear. One could stand and gaze for a long time at these sacred designs, and no wonder, for they are indeed mandalas,geometric representations of forces and powers which cannot be perceived through the senses. They have their own spiritual reality.