Writes Bhagat Bedi, the painter:
These paintings are done in the style of a western, Italian painter Caravaggio. He was a master! A true genius! I was inspired from his work immensely and had been studying him for few years now, along with Rembrandt. He (and Rembrandt) had that ability to capture sad, tragic, meditative and contemplative moments really well. In his paintings there is death, there is depth and there is that no-thing element, the ability to send the viewer into the nirgun reality that very few painters are blessed with.
Even though I have been studying the writings of Guru Arjun Dev ji for years, I was particularly inspired by two shabads:
Sajanra mera sajanra nikat khaloira mera sajanra.
“Friend, my Friend, standing so near to me is my Friend!”
I really like the renditions sung by Bhai Harjinder Singh ji Srinagarwale. One day while I was listening to the shabads and contemplating Guru Sahib’s martyrdom, I saw Guru Sahib and the scene of his torture. My eyes teared up and I began crying. I saw a glimpse of Guru Sahib and how he saw his beloved Sajanra right next to him, and everywhere, and how he remained by His side until his departure. It was a very moving moment and I knew I had to paint it.
ਹਉ ਨਾ ਛੋਡਉ ਕੰਤ ਪਾਸਰਾ ॥
I shall never leave my Husband Lord’s side.
ਸਦਾ ਰੰਗੀਲਾ ਲਾਲੁ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਏਹੁ ਮਹਿੰਜਾ ਆਸਰਾ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
My Beloved Lover is always and forever beautiful. He is my hope and inspiration. ||1||Pause||
— Guru Arjan Dev Ji Raag Soohee Ang 761
ਨੈਣ ਅਲੋਇਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਅਤਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਗੂੜਾ ॥
With my eyes I have seen Him, sleeping upon the bed within each and every heart; my Beloved is the sweetest ambrosial nectar.
— Guru Arjan Dev Ji Raag Raamkalee Ang 924
So I just meditated on those shabads a lot while working on the painting. It kept me inspired and kept the vision of Guru Arjun Dev ji alive in my heart.