It is strongly believed and stated that in Mahabharata this form of art started as a leisure activity for gopis and milkmaids. These women used to engage themselves in this activity to ease the pain of separation from their beloved Krishna. The artistic and aesthetic rangoli patterns and designs used to help them deviate their minds and also refresh their mood. This truth behind the rangoli origin is beautifully and spiritually revealed in the Bhagvatha Purana. This continued for years in the same pattern, eventually transforming into a beautiful piece of art.
It is an honor to state that rangoli was later listed in the Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra as one of the 64 forms of art. After this listing many intellectuals, saints and preachers also started to explore their creative potential to get hands on this art form. Even the known avatar of Lord Vishnu, Gautam Buddha, was acclaimed to be the master of rangoli. Further to this, the aesthetic sense of rangoli and the techniques of rangoli making took the printed form in the ancient Sanskrit texts like Kadambari.
Surprisingly, this is not the only truth associated with the art form. However, there are many other legends as well that define the origin of rangoli. There is one legend revealed in the Chitra Lakshana, known to be the earliest thesis on Indian Paintings. According to this thesis, the art from originated as a floor painting drawn to please Lord Brahma. During that period of time, the king and his entire kingdom were under severe depression due to a loss of a noble soul. A high priest’s son was laid on the death bed with all hands up for prayers to seek blessings. Deeply touched and moved by the desire and intensity of prayers coupled with unity in the kingdom, Lord Brahma asked the king to draw a sketch of the boy on the floor. After the portrait was drawn, Lord pleasingly did breathe life into the painting.
Another one such legend associated is the artistic charm of God. It is believed that one day God extracted juice from a mango with a desire to use the juice to paint a portrait of a beautiful woman. It is also said that the painting was beautiful in a way that it had put all fairies, goddess and other heavenly maidens to disgrace. All that was showcased was a magical symphony with a perfect figure and a dash of expressive emotions. This in due course of time became an inspiration for other women and they started performing the art with a desire to express.
It is difficult to justify exactly from where this art form flourished but whatsoever each and every legend has its distinctive significance. It is possible that all the hidden truths merge with each other at some or the other phase of time. Maybe different corners of the country have experienced the birth of this art form at the same time or maybe all are just part of the inspiring journey the art form has experienced. Maybe all legends are attributed to different forms of rangoli and when combined they together create a complete list of legends of rangoli origin. Whatsoever may be the reason, but the fact remains that each and every legend of rangoli origin has its distinctive significance.