Eternal Light

Eternal Light" is the title of the Aum painting  and was commissioned as part of   25thanniversary celebration for Ankur Temple,  and was dedicated to the astronauts of Columbia Shuttle disaster. A poster size copy of Eternal Light was donated to Astronaut Memorial Foundation (AMF), which is on display in the main hallway at Center for Space Education at Kennedy Space Center.



Read more about it on AMF Newsletter (The Astronauts Memorial Foundation )


A print of a painting created by artist Asha Parikh entitled Eternal Light has a permanent home in the hallway of the Center for Space Education (CSE). What began, in January 2003, as a commissioned art piece for the 25th anniversary of Ankur Gujarati Samaj, Parikh�s community cultural center and temple in Cincinnati, Ohio, evolved into spiritually-inspired art in honor of the Columbia astronauts.

Eternal Light
, original art by Asha Parikh, is a three-foot by four-foot mixed medium on canvas. The background of sky, clouds and rays are in acrylics. The AUM is three- dimensional in foam and crystal.

'When I was asked to create the painting, A UM, I had decided that my composition would be to suspend the symbol in the heavens. Towards the end of January, 2003, I was already in the midst of painting the skies (heavens). My mindset was then in the heavens and the painting was sacred and spiritual.

On February first, the Columbia tragedy took place and the painting now took a turn and became emotional as well, as I could not get the tragedy out of my mind,' explained Parikh. AUM is a Hindu symbol that denotes the first primal sound marking the big bang or creation of the universe. Its constant chanting is said to send vibrations generating cosmic energy, and it denotes the cycle of creation, preservation and destruction.

Her heart heavy with the thought of the death of Kalpana and the other Columbia astronauts, Parikh recalled the words of a song by poet Rabindranath Tagore, which began to haunt her: �In these heavens is my Salvation ... light ... O ... light.� Parikh does not know why the song came to her after 33 years, which is when she learned it as a student. �Perhaps it was God�s will. I called the painting Eternal Light and combined it with a quotation from the song by Tagore � �In these heavens is my Salvation ... light ... O ... light,�� said Parikh.

Parikh contacted the AMF shortly after the unveiling of Eternal Light and explained the meaning of the painting to the AMF president, Stephen Feldman. In June 2003, a poster-size print of Eternal Light was placed on display at the CSE. Additionally, Parikh sent all seven families of the Columbia astronauts a framed print of the artwork.

Inspired by the connection with the AMF, the Parikhs, � Asha and her husband, Vijay, � decided to sell a limited number of Eternal Light prints to raise funds for the AMF with the agreement of Ankur Gujarati Samaj, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Their objective for over six months was to collect a respectable amount for the AMF and donate it as a contribution from the Indian community on the one-year anniversary of the Columbia disaster. On February 4, the Parikhs presented a check for $11,107 to the AMF. Upon receiving the donation, Feldman said, �There were hundreds of items received by the Foundation after the Columbia tragedy, but the Eternal Light print was one of very few selected for display at the CSE as it was of a superior quality.� A permanent plaque at the National Space Mirror Memorial will be placed to recognize the donation.

Parikh said the fundraising will continue as long as possible. She also said that there were requests from South Africa for the prints, which were sent and fundraising took place in December 2003. All donations collected, after the cost of the prints and frames, will be sent to the AMF. Administrative costs for the project are less than two percent as all travel and related expenses are paid by the Parikhs. �The United States has offered us a great opportunity for economic and personal growth, and with this project, we give back in a small way to our adopted country,� said the Parikhs.

�We have a print of Eternal Light hanging in the hallway of the CSE, adjacent to a photo of Kalpana and Florida�s Governor Jeb Bush, and a second print in the boardroom of the AMF near photos of world- renowned astronauts. We are moved and honored by the support that Asha has show to the space program and the AMF,� said Feldman.For more information about Eternal Light, or to make a donation, please visit or contact

(Asha Devi (Singh) Parikh was born in Petermaritzburg, South Africa. After finishing high school, she went to India to study fine arts where she graduated from Visva Bharti University. This institution was established by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and is recognized as one of the finest art institutions in India. Asha returned to South Africa to teach oriental and western art. After her marriage in 1980, she immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio. Asha teaches art at local schools, and her artwork is exhibited in local art shows.)



AUM is a Hindu symbol which is (\) in this art work.


The Vedas ( Hindu scriptures ) says that the infinite ocean of consciousness was in solitude & silence. The desire for multiplicity was expressed in the form of 'Cosmic bang'. This cosmic sound was called 'Primeval Sound' .... AUM.

YOGA: The sound of A...U...M... is used in meditation where one can hear the vibrations in deepest silence of one�s self. The constant chanting of 'AUM' is said to send vibration generating cosmic energy & uniting with the great cosmic force or 'GOD'

SOUND: In the phenomenon of sound production AUM has all vowels & consonants, therefore, languages, rhythms & music are created from AUM. Without going in to the metaphysics or chemistry of the process, the cosmic energy created FIVE(5) basic elements, namely, Space, Air, Water, Fire & Earth.

A - Denotes the power of god to Create the universe. 'A' is the first letter of all languages.

U - Denotes the power to Preserve ( 'Oooooo.......' sound maintaining, preserving, sustaining)

M�Denotes the power to Destroy ( 'Mmmmm.......' sound closed signifying the quality of bringing something to an end.)

This is the infinite law ( cycle) of nature- Birth, Preservation & Destruction