There is something in the vast complex of our racial psyche, from the austere, crystalline poetry of our Vedic forbears to the awesome pantheon of gods and demons, from the abstract metaphysics of Hindu thought to the threatening totems of the folk ritual, that bears its head against the wall of the Pseudoscience that our so-called intelligentsia has inherited from Modern Western culture. It is only when Indian painters tear asunder the false veil of Western progressivism that he will be able to make the "Numenous" image manifest and create art significant to us, and so to the world.
(J. Swaminathan, 'The New Promise', Lalit Kala Contemporary 40, March 1995, p. 20)
In the late 1960s, when Swaminathan began combining elements from nature in conceptual landscapes. Mountains, trees, rocks, and an archetypal bird defying gravity, juxtaposed against a pure expanse of color to induce meditative stillness, became the artist's obsession. He borrowed the term "numinous image" from Philip Rawson to speak about his 'para-natural', magical and mysterious space that is not obvious but is inherent everywhere.