Monthly Archives: January 2017

Surya in art : the God of light

         Surya is the Sun God or God of light. There are many myths about heavenly bodies. The worship of the Sun in very ancient.The Sun is worshipped in many cultures. The Rigveda has hymns dedicated to the Sun proclaiming it as the only God.The Puranas refer to sun as Aditya, son of sage Kashyapa and Aditi. Different names of Surya in ancient Indian literature include Aditya, Arka, Bhanu, Savitr, Pushan, Ravi, Martanda, Mitra and Vivasvan. Savitr refers to one that rises and sets, Aditya means one with splendour, Mitra refers to the Sun as friend of all mankind.  Pushan refers to Sun as illuminator that helped the devas defeat the asuras who use darknessThe term Arka is found more commonly in temple names of north India and in the eastern parts of India. The 13th century Konarak Temple in Odisha comprises of Kona and arka ; ie. Arka in the corner. 

     The Suryavamsha or solar dynasty of kings take its name from the God of light, the Sun. The Swastika, a Hindu symbol is believed to be solar in origin. It means to be and be well.  It indicates that though life is a bewildering maze,  the path of light runs through it.The mystic sound of Aum or Om can also  be linked to the Sun. It not only represents the solar fire but also the Trinity of Gods in Hinduism. The syllable is written inside a circle which represents the orb of the Sun.

         In art depictions Surya is shown as a dark-red man with three eyes and four arms, holding lotuses,riding a chariot drawn by seven horses, each depicting a day of the week. The seven horses are also named after the seven meters of Sanskrit prosody, Gayatri, Brihati, Ushnih, Jagati, Trishtubha, Anushtubha and Pankti. His charioteer is Arun, the dawn, brother of Garuda and has no legs. The Gayatri mantra is dedicated to the Sun.

     Hindu texts attribute different characteristics to Surya. The Brihatsamhita describes Surya having two hands, wearing a crown. The Vishnudharmottara  describes Surya with four hands, two with lotuses, a staff and a pen and palm leaf in the others. Two goddesses of dawn, Usha and Pratyusha flank him, shooting arrows, challenging darkness. The iconography of Surya varied over time; it has shown Greek , Persian influences.

           Surya is part of the navagraha or nine planets in the Hindu zodiac system. Hindu astrology is based on the Sun similar to the Greek system.   In yoga, the Surya namaskar is a salutation to the Sun, comprising of twelve different postures or asanas.

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Surya and the navagraha;nine planets,  Gupta period (4th to 6th century), Allahabad. 

By Joseph David Beglar [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:The Sun God Surya LACMA M.79.189.9 (1 of 2).jpg

Surya, copper alloy sculpture,late 8th century,Central Java, Indonesia,LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Surya, Pala period, 11th century .

By Gryffindor (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The most famous Surya temple in India  is the Konarak temple in Odisha. The temple architecture is built as a grand chariot with twelve wheels pulled by seven horses. Other sun temples include the one at Modhera, Gujarat, Arasavalli, Andhra Pradesh, Kanakaditya temple,Maharashtra,Galtaji’s temple, Jaipur,Kattarmal Surya mandir, Almora,Uttarakhand.

      The sun temple known as Jayaditya was constructed at Bharukaccha district (earlier known as Bharuch) in Gujarat by a Gurjar King, Jayabhatta II, the Gurjars being ardent sun-worshippers. Another temple Jaggaswami Surya temple at Bhinmal (now in Rajasthan)was also made in the medieval period.

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Surya deul, a sun temple in the shape of a chariot, 13th century,Konarak, Odisha.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43629

       Depicted below is the Surya Majapahit or The Sun of Majapahit ,the emblem commonly found in temples and ruins from Majapahit era (1293 – 1500s). Some scholars suggest that this sun disc was the royal emblem of Majapahit, probably  the coat of arms of Majapahit empire. The sun disk is stylised with carved rays of light; surrounded by eight Lokapala or dikpala gods, the eight Hindu gods that guarded eight cardinal points of the universe.

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Surya Majapahit, late 13th – 16th century,National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta.

By Gunkarta Gunawan Kartapranata – अपना काम, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6875314

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Surya,painting on a paper,1800.

 

Surya the sun deity driving in his chariot. Gouache drawing. Wellcome V0045217.jpg

Surya in his chariot. Gouache drawing, Wellcome images,U.K.

By http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/0c/0d/deb704e7d613fb4c804909c84193.jpgGallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0045217.html, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36661047

By unknown Poona artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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Surya,schist, Karnataka, 12th century,LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

          Surya is celebrated as a deity in Buddhist works of art and religious significance, such as the ancient works attributed to Emperor Ashoka. Surya is depicted in the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar. In some Buddhist artwork, his chariot is depicted as being drawn by four horses. The doors of Buddhist monasteries of Nepal show him, along with Chandra, the moon god, symbolically with Surya depicted as a red circle with rays. Shown below is a Surya mandala painting from Tibet,most probably from the 14th century.

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Surya mandala,painting on cloth,14th century, Nepal.

Kitaharasa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Painting below depicts Surya receiving worship from the multitudes;  Surya on his chariot surrounded by attendants with smaller figures at left in obeisance.

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Surya, Tanjore painting,19th Century. 

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Eight-fold screen painting of the Sun, moon and peach trees,19th century, South Korea.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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The Sun,painting, 1911.

Edvard Munch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Surya,illustration, 1925.

By Ramanarayanadatta astri – http://archive.org/details/mahabharata00ramauoft, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21169818

Boats under the fading sun at Key West,photograph,21st century, Florida,USA.

Source :www.goodfreephotos.com

 

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

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Vayu in art : God of the wind

      Vayu is the God of the wind. He has been depicted in art with splendour and grace. He is the father of Bhima, who played a major role in the epic Mahabharata. He is also known as Vata, Pavana and Prana. Because of the connection of air with the process of breathing he is also called the Deity of Life or Mukhya Vayu or Mukhya Prana.

     Pavan is a common Hindu name. Pavana played an important role in Anjana‘s begetting Hanuman as her child so Hanuman is also called Pavanaputra or Vayuputra or son of Vayu. He is also believed to have born in Kaliyuga as Madhavacharya  near Udipi in Karnataka in 1238 A.D. He propounded the philosophy of Dwaita vedanta. The Upanishads laud Vayu through different statements and illustrations of his greatness. 

    In the Buddhism of the Far East, Vayu is one of the twelve Devas, as guardian deities, who are found in or around Buddhist shrines.

         Shown below is a painting of the astadikpala Vayu. He is depicted with a crown and is four-armed and riding on his antelope vahana. In his upper two hands he carries a pennant and club . His lower two hands are held in abhayamudra  and varadamudra . He is accompanied by two attendants , one  with a club  and another with a parasol held high above him .

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Vayu with attendants, painting, 1820,South India, British Museum, U.K.

By Unknown – http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_image.aspx, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9882273

 

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Vayu, sculpture,Gokarneshwor Mahadev Temple, 16th century,Kathmandu, Nepal.

By Suraj Belbase (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Depicted below is Vayu, god of the wind and guardian of the north-west, riding on an antelope, his vahana. He is clad in royal garments, has a green complexion, and is two-armed. Over his right shoulder he carries a disc-pointed staff , and with his left hand he holds the reins.

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Vayu,painting, early 19th century,South India.

By Unknown (production) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Vayu, 19th cenyury , Tempera on mica, Tanjore, Chennai Museum, Tamil Nadu.

By Anonymous painting [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

References :

  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

Agni in art : God of fire

      Agni is the God of fire. He is an important vedic deity in Hinduism. He is revered as dwelling in evry house. He is considered a mediator between Godas and humans, so he is present at every important 0ccasion. He is mentioned as a son of Brahma. He is also said to be the child of Dyaus and Prithvi. He is also thought to be the son of Sage Kashyap and Aditi. Many hymns have  been dedicated to him. Fire is an important part of Hindu ceremonies like weddings; the saptapadi and part of Diwali as the diya or lamp. Agni is part of all pujas as aarti.

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Rangoli with lamps, Diwali, 21st century,Hyderabad.

By JimReeves on Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/joezach/285169752/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1552750

    Agni is found in south-east corners of Hindu temples. Agni as fire has been one of the five inert impermanent constituents Dhatus, along with space Akasa, water Ap, air, Vayu and earth,Prithvi. Agni is thought to exist on earth as fire, in atmosphere as lightning and in the sky as sun. This presence connects him as the messenger between Gods and humans in  Vedic thought.  Agni in his three forms, namely fire, lightning and the sun is symbolised by giving his icon three heads or three legs. He  is shown wearing a garland of fruits or flowers, symbolic of the offerings made into the fire.

     Agni is depicted as red skinned, riding a ram with a halo of flames emerging form his crown. he is sometimes shown bearded. He has a rosary in one hand and  an axe, torch, fan in others. Agni is also called saptajihva; one having seven tongues, one who consumes sacrifical butter rapidly. He emits seven rays of light from his body;the number seven also represents the colours of the rainbow in his form as the sun.

     The term Agni is part of Buddhist texts but not like that of  vedic God but in a metaphorical sense of inner heat; and appears as Agni-kumara in the theory of rebirth in Jainism. Agni is one of the fifty one Buddhist deities found in Tibetan Buddhism mandala for the Medicine Buddha.

     Goddess Swaha is Agni’s wife. Her name is pronounced with offerings such as butter and seeds poured into the fire during ceremonies.  Swaha is the daughter  of Daksha. She loves Agni  and marries him by impersonating the wives of the sapatarishis whom Agni is besotted to. She is one of the many divine mothers of Kartikeya or Skanda.

File:Karttikeya and Agni - Circa 1st Century CE - Katra Keshav Dev - ACCN 40-2883 - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-23 5717.JPG

Kartikeya and Agni, 1st Century, Government Museum, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Agni, sandstone sculpture, 10th century,Madhya Pradesh,Musée Guimet,Paris.

I, Sailko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Agni, wood carving, Wellcome images, U.K.

See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Agni,copper alloy sculpture,9th century, West Bengal, LACMA, USA.

By LACMA permission reads, “The Los Angeles County Museum of Public Art has released some 20,000 PD images of their collection” [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Agni , miniature painting, 18th century.

By Unknown – http://www.atributetohinduism.com/Hindu_Scriptures.htm – accessible 9. January 2013 as: http://web.archive.org/web/20060213050420/http://www.atributetohinduism.com/Hindu_Scriptures.htm , containing the picture at: http://web.archive.org/web/20060213050420im_/http://www.atributetohinduism.com/images/agni_god_of_fire.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=619526

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Agni with his consort Swaha, miniature painting,1800, British Museum, U.K.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Agni,1830,painting,Tamil Nadu, British Museum, U.K.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Agni, engraving by Charles Etienne Pierre, 19th century.

By Bardel, Louis Thomas (1804-p.1841) (after) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Below is shown an interesting depiction , a gouache painting on paper. Agni is on his ram mount and accompanied by two attendants. Agni is depicted with seven arms, two heads and three legs. He has seven fiery tongues with which he licks sacrificial butter. The attributes held in his hands included an axe and prayer beads.
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Agni with two attendants, painting, early 19th century.

By unknown Poona artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Agni as medicine Buddha,15th-century, Tibetan Buddhist art.

By Unknown – 5AF8TlDRx8MKDQ at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21908260

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Indra in art : Lord of the heavens

      Indra is a Vedic deity in Hinduism ,a guardian deity in Buddhism and also the king of the first heaven in Jainsim. He has been represented in sculpture and paintings. In Hindu mythology too he is the Lord of swarga or heaven. He has been highly mentioned in the Rigveda. Indra is the destroyer of Vritra who is against human happiness. Indra is not mentioned much in post-Vedic literature as he is known to disturb monks and sages who meditate because he thinks they will develop powers more than him.

   In Buddhism he is referred to as Shakra as someone paying homage to Buddha.He rules over the realm of devas with the samsara doctrine of Buddhism.In Jainism he is the king of Gods and a part of Jain rebirth cosmology. He is seen with his wife Indrani to celbrate auspicious moments with Jain tirthankaras.

  Indra wields the thunderbolt known as Vajra, riding on his white elephant Airavata. The rainbow too is considered the visible symbol of his mighty bow. In Buddhism Airavata has three heads, an in Jainsim he is shown with five heads. His heaven is called Amaravati and pious mortals go there to be reborn again on earth.

High-relief of Indra, god of the firmament. Wellcome M0009457.jpg

Indra, wood relief, Wellcome images, U.K.

By http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/3b/8c/ee7781370ae8b76ea3397896b01e.jpgGallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0009457.html, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36340498

File:Chaitya Window - Indra - Circa 5th Century CE - Bhumara - Madhya Pradesh - Indian Museum - Kolkata 2013-04-10 7797.JPG

Indra, chaitya window, 5th Century, Bhumara, Madhya Pradesh, Indian Museum, Kolkata

Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Battle between Indra and Lord Krishna,painting,mid-19th century, ,Jaipur,Rajasthan.

By Unknown – http://www.saffronart.com/customauctions/PostWork.aspx?l=6680, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42871509

       This beautiful Jaipur painting above  portrays the grand finale in the fierce battle between Indra the God of heaven and Lord Krishna who was aided by Arjuna. Agni, the god of fire wanted to eat the Khandava forest. But Indra, the God of heaven stopped the process with torrential rain to protect a friend of his. Thus the battle between fire and rain continued. A tired Agni finally approached Krishna and Arjuna for help. A battle ensued between Indra and his supporters on one side and Krishna and Arjuna on the other. In this scene one can see a blue sky with thundering clouds. Indra is seated on Airavata with his allies seated on horses. All of them are seen making a humble retreat. They are surrounded by celestial beings seated in their respective chariots. Manama Daitya, a bare-bodied demon in a short tight lower vestment, stands with folded hands before Krishna and Arjuna. The vast, undulating landscape and the forest on fire add to the beauty.  The chariots also have very fine motifs. The main figures have been identified with inscriptions. On careful observation one can even see the pearl settings on the headgears of the charioteers, peacock feathers adorning Krishna’s crown and hair on the body of the demon, Manama Daitya. This Jaipur painting is one based on themes from the epic, Mahabharata. 

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Indra sculpture  in Indrasabha, cave no 32, Ellora, Maharashtra.

By J. Johnston [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra,Chennakeshava temple,13th century, Somanathapura, Karnataka.

By Hemanth M Y – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21133786

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Indra, painting,19th century, South India.

Autor: Unknown – http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=3080760&partid=1&searchText=indra&fromADBC=ad&toADBC=ad&numpages=10&images=on&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx&currentPage=1, Voľné dielo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9874867

          The Harivamsa , was a continuation of epic, Mahabharata. The Mughal emperor Akbar ordered it to be translated into Persian so that it could be read by non-Hindus. In this illustration to the text done in about 1590, Krishna sweeps down on the bird Garuda to triumph over Indra,  riding on his white elephant Airavata, watched by gods and other celestial beings. The swirling fabrics, billowing clouds, and the boat in the lower part of the scene, are all the result of the influence on Mughal court artists of European style  of painting. The original manuscript was dispersed and some pages were remounted for later albums, as here. The borders were probably added in Lucknow in the 18th century.

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Indra on Airavata ,Mughal painting, late 16th century.

By Unknown (production) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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 Indra on Airavata, Banteay Srei Temple,10th century,Cambodia.

By Anandajoti (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra and Indrani , sculpture, Musée des arts asiatiques, Nice, France.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France (Indra et Indrani (Musée des arts asiatiques, Nice)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra and Sachi riding the elephant Airavata, folio from a Panchakalyanaka (Five Auspicious Events in the Life of Jina Rishabhanatha [Adinatha]),17th century,painting, Amber, Rajasthan.

By Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Amber, South Asia (from LACMA [1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra on Airavata, Banteay Srei temple, 10th century,Cambodia.

By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France (Indra sur Airâvana (Banteay Srei, Angkor)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra paying homage to Krishna, folio from a Bhagavata Purana,1640,Malwa,  Madhya Pradesh.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra with Lord Vishnu,illustration,20th century.

By Ramanarayanadatta astri (http://archive.org/details/mahabharata06ramauoft) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Indra on Airavata, his elephant,sculpture,12th century, Halebidu, Karnataka.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ankurp;Image by Ankur P.

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Indra conveying Jina Rishabhanatha (Adinatha) on Airavata, early 19th century,folio from a Bhaktamara Stotra (Hymn of the Immortal Devotee),LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Varuna in art : Lord of the waters

Varuna is an important Vedic God in Hinduism. In the puranas he appears as the God of the oceans. He is believed to have many horses. His vehicle is monster-fish makara. It has the head of a deer, legs of an antelope and the body and tail of a fish. Varuna is the regent of the west. He is worshipped by all fishermen before they venture out into the sea.

Varuna is thus the Hindu God of water and also the god of law of the underwater world. His consort is Varuni.

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Varuna with Varuni, basalt, 8th century,Karnataka,Prince of Wales Museum (now CSMVS), Mumbai.

By AKS.9955 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

      Depicted below is a painting of blue-skinned Varuna, the dikpala of the West. He is shown riding on his makara vahana and is depicted four-armed with a lasso in each of the two upper hands; the lower ones are held in abhayamudra and varadamudra. In front of him walks an attendant with a club while behind is shown another attendant holding a parasol high above the god’s head.

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Varuna on his vehicle makara,painting, 1820, South India.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
File:Varuna, the God of Waters LACMA M.72.4.2 (1 of 3).jpg

Varuna on makara, Bundi painting, 17th century,Rajasthan.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lord Rama was faced with the dilemma on how to cross the ocean to reach Lanka where his abducted wife was held captive by Ravana. He perfroms a penance to Varuna for three days and three nights. However Varuna does not respond. Lord Rama gets very angry and starts hurling arrows at the ocean killing the creatures in it. and burning up the waters. The Vanaras, ie. the monkeys and his brother Lakshmana are both petrified.  Lord Rama is about to use his Brahamastra when Varuna rises from the oceans. He starts pleading with Lord Rama to direct his arrows to a demonic race that lives at the heart of the ocean. The arrows kill the demons and Varuna promises to keep the oceans still for Lord Rama’s army to pass through.

File:Rama-Varuna.jpg

Varuna pleading with Lord Rama angered at the turbulent sea ,19th century, Raja Ravi Varma.

Raja Ravi Varma [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Kubera in art : regent of wealth

          Kubera is the God of wealth as per Hindu mythology. He is the Dikpala or regent of the North and protector of the world. He is plump and adorned with jewels carrying a pot of money and a club. He is the God-king of the semi divine yakshas. He is the Lord of the rakshasas,guhyakas,kinnaras, mayurajas and nararajas.He acquired the status of a deva only in the Puranas and Hindu epics.  Kubera has been assimilated in Buddhism and Jainism. Kubera is seen with a mongoose in Buddhist depictions. He is called Saravanbhuti in Jainism and Vaisravana or Jambhala in Buddhism.

      Kubera is first mentioned in the Atharvaveda and the Sthapatha Brahmana, chief of evil spirits. In Manusmriti he is lokpala, protector of the world. The Mahabharata mentions him as the son of Prajapati Pulastya and his wife Idavida. However the puranas mention him as son of Vishrava and Ilavida, daughter of Sage Bharadwaja.

     Kubera is mostly seen as a dwarf having a big belly. He is believed to have three legs, one yellow eye and adorned with jewels.He is sometimes depicted riding a man.The description of deformities like the broken teeth, three legs, three heads and four arms appear only in the later Puranic texts. Kubera holds a mace, a  pomegranate or a money bag in his hand. The Vishnudharmottara-purana describes his complexion as that of the lotus leaves. He is the embodiment of artha or wealth and glory.He wears an armour and a necklace down to his large belly. He is riding a man, has a beard and moustache with his face inclined to the left.The said purana mentions two tusks to be protruding from his mouth and his wife Riddhi is seated on his lap with her right hand holding a ratnapatra or a jewel-container. The Agnipurana states that Kubera should be in temples seated on a goat, holding a club.In Jainism Kubera has a nectar pot in his hand and is depicted as a drunkard.

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Kubera,schist, 10th century,Karnataka,,LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It is belived that Kubera once looked at Lord Shiva and Parvati with jealousy and lost one of his eyes. Parvati turned this eye yellow. He is called Bhutesha; Lord of spirits like Shiva.  Kubera usually is drawn by spirits or men ;nara, so is called Nara-vahana.

File:India, khajuraho, kubera, dio della prosperità, XII sec.JPG

Kubera, 12th century,Khajuraho, Historisches Museum, Bern.

By Sailko (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Jambhala,sandstone,11th century, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh,  Asian Art Museum, San Francisco,USA.

By A Gude – originally posted to Flickr as Jambhala, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8684001

   Kubera‘s city alaka is the richest of all celestial areas. the puranas say that he was in possession of Lanka but could not retain it as it had been built for the rakshasas by Viswakarma and they had deserted it out of fear of Lord Vishnu. A rakshaka Sumala sent his daughter to seduce Kubera’s father. She managed to marry him and had four sons of whom Ravana was the eldest. Ravana had obtained a boon of invincibility from Lord Shiva after severe austerities. He drove away his half-brother Kubera from Lanka and seized his car Pushpak (given to him by Lord Brahma). It is said Lord Rama gave it back to its owner, Kubera after defeating Ravana.

 

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Kubera,Chennakesava temple, Somanathapura, 13th century,Karnataka.

Image by Nagarjun Kandukuru ;www.flickr.com/photos/nagarjun

Image result for kubera

Kubera, 12th century,Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram, Tamil Nadu.

By Hariharan Arunachalam ( NIC ) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Kubera, bronze,12th century,Tibet, Fitchburg Art Museum, USA

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Kubera 1842.jpg

Kubera, illustration, 1842.
By E. A. Rodrigues [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Kubera, northeast India, 11th century AD, Pala Period, bronze with silver and copper inlay - Fitchburg Art Museum - DSC08845.JPG

Kubera, bronze with silver and copper inlay,North-east India, 11th century , Pala art,  Fitchburg Art Museum,USA.

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Gandharvas in art : musicians of heaven

       Gandharvas are the musicians of Lord Indra’s heaven as per Hindu mythology. They are male nature spirits, partners of the apsaras.  They could be part animal, usually a bird or horse. They act as messengers between Gods and humans. Gandharvas are mentioned in the Mahabharata as singers and musicians to the devas (Gods) and as warriors with the yakshas. They are given different parentage like Brahma, Sage Kashyap, Arishta etc.

 

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Gandharvas worshipping a shivalinga ,Sunga Period 1st t0 2nd century B.C , Government Museum, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

File:Apsara Gandharva Dancer Pedestal Tra Kieu.jpg

 Apsara dancer and a gandharva musician, 10th century Cham art, Vietnam.

By DoktorMax at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

File:Gandharva in Dancing Pose - Mediaeval Period - Magorra - ACCN 76-7 - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-23 5449.JPG

Gandharvas dancing,sculpture,medieval period, Government Museum, Mathura. 

Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Jagat 22-77.jpg

 Sculpture of Apsaras and Gandharvas,  15th cenutry, Jagat Mandir,Dwarka, Gujarat.

By Michael Gunther (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Tumbaru is the best among the Gandharvas or celestial musicians. He is the son of Sage Kashyap and his wife Pradha. As per the Bhagavata-purana Sage Narada is his teacher.He sings the glories of Lord Vishnu along with him.He performs in the courts of Kubera and Indra and leads the gandharvas in their singing. In the image below one can see him as  horse-headed and wearing  a magnificent angavastram decorated with  floral design. He is seen with acrown, with two arms and holding a veena. Gandharva Tumbaru appears many times in the Mahabharata.

Tumbara.jpg

 

 Gandharva Tumbara, painting, South India,1816.

By Unknown – http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=3080775&partid=1&output=Places%2f!!%2fOR%2f!!%2f41119%2f!%2f41119-2-20%2f!%2fPainted+in+South+India%2f!%2f%2f!!%2f%2f!!!%2f&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database%2fadvanced_search.aspx&currentPage=1&numpages=10, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9876241

 

 

References :

  • Epics, myths and legends of India/Thomas, P, Bombay : D.B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author