Tag Archives: indian sculpture

Art of Gupta era : golden age of India

          The Gupta dynasty is an important dynasty which ruled ancient India between  4th century to 6th century. They have left amazing examples of their glorious reign which has been called the ‘Golden era’ of India’s history. During their rule art, sculpture, inventions, philosophy,mathematics and literature has flourished. The Kingdom was founded by Sri Gupta. Chandragupta I, Samudragupta and Chandragupta II were famous kings.

   Their art astonishes the onlooker and the serious art history student to this day.At Ajanta in Maharashtra are caves which have rock architecture along with painted walls and ceilings. A typical Gupta structure are chaitya halls and viharas  for Buddhist monks in the form of a monastery. The painted murals in the interiors of these caves are now world famous. Stone figures, terracotta reliefs have also been created during the Gupta period.  The Gandhara and Mathura schools reached greater heights during this period.

Padmapani, painting,Ajanta caves,Gupta period.

By Unknown – http://www.national-geographic.ru/ngm/200801/article_168/gallery_1394/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3411328

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Chaitya hall,Cave 19, Ajanta,Maharashtra.

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

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Shalabhanjika,terracotta,, 5th century, Gupta period,State Museum,Lucknow.

By Woudloper – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36096802

     They introduced new styles in architecture. In the 4th century the Mirpur Khas stupa was built having many arches. Another stupa Dhamek stupa at Sarnath is made of bricks. The Guptas made fine standing sculptural temples made from stone and brick. The  stone Dasavatara temple at Deogarh has superb carvings. Other temples include the brick Parvati temple at Nachna in Madhya Pradesh

File:Monastery around Dhamek stupa, Sarnath.jpg

Dhamek stupa,Sarnath.

By R. M. Calamar from Brooklyn, New York, USA (Saranath Uploaded by Ekabhishek) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

          Examples of Hindu art during the Gupta era are from the north central and north India. The temples built by the end of the fifth century had a well developed shikhara or superstructure. The Vishnu temple called the Dasavatara temple at Deogarh in Uttar Pradesh is from the early sixth century. The shikhara is not in a good state due to the ravages of time.

Dasavatara temple, Gupta period, Deogarh.

By byron aihara – originally posted to Flickr as deogarh01, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8617319

The temple faces west with an elaborate doorway. Floral motifs, Ganga and Yamuna are at the top left and right of the doorway. Above the entrance is Lord Vishnu as Anantasayana. Further, Nara and Narayana  depict the means through which moksa may be achieved and Gajendramoksa story is the final outcome and is on the north.

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Lintel,Gupta period, Dasavatara temple,Deogarh,Uttar Pradesh.

By Bob King [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Nara-Naryana panel, Dasavatara temple, Gupta period,Deogarh.

By Bob King – originally posted to Flickr as 2705_Narayana_Detailfk.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6964968

Nachna 1999 Parvati-Tempel.JPG

Parvati temple, Nachna, Madhya Pradesh.

By ArnoldBetten – Own work (Original text: eigenes Foto (Dia)), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25359563

       Vidisha was an important  art centre especially during the reign of Chandragupta II (380-415 A.D)  At Udayagiri a few km from Vidisha 20 rock cut caves are present. with inscriptions from his reign. Cave 6 at Udayagiri has a small camber with a rock cut verandah in front. The doorway has decorated pilasters,The goddesses Ganga and Yamuna are at the top of the pilasters. Two dwarapalas are at the sides of the doorway. The cave has Mahisarsuramardini on its facade, Ganesha  is adjacent to the left wall next to the facade. Vishnu is carved between the dwarapalas on the left and Ganesha, between the dwarapalas on the right and Durga. Cave 5 is the Varaha cave which has the representation of Varaha, the boar avatar of Lord Vishnu.

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Cave 6,Udayagiri,Madhya Pradesh.

By © Asitjain / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21676023

Udayagiri, Cave 6 Dvārapāla, Viṣṇu and Gaṇeśa.jpg

Cave 6, Udayagiri caves, Madhya Pradesh.

By Zippymarmalade – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48503988

     Examples of Buddhist art at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh include the now world famous  Great stupa  which saw a lot of additions and modifications during the Gupta period,in the 5th century. A figure of Vajrapani capital near the northern gateway is at the Site Museum at Sanchi. Mahayana forms became prominent at this time. Cosmologically speaking, access to enlightenment is gained through the north. There are four Buddhas on all four sides. He is depicted in dhyana mudra, indicative of meditation.

File:Buddha Statue, Sanchi Stupa, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh.jpg

Buddha statue, Great Stupa, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh.

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

       During this time many new temples were added. At Sanchi is a temple called Temple 17 which is a well preserved small shrine. It has simple mandapa and a garbagriha. The temple has both Buddhist and Hindu architectural features.

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Temple 17, Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

By Ismoon (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

   Art at Mathura has flourished during the Kushana reign. which ended by the end of late third century. Many minor dynasties like the Nagas etc. took their place. The Nagas were defeated by Samudragupta and Mathura came under the Guptas. The Buddha images of Sarnath are carved in  sandstone from Chunar. The Buddha is shown standing, having a slender body, relaxed with fluid lines. The style is a combination of the north-western and Indian stylisation of the human form. The sculptures must have been originally painted ones. The Buddha is mostly in the abhaya posture with a slightly bent leg. By the third quarter of the fifth century Sarnath had developed into an important Buddhist centre. Lord Buddha had given his first sermon here.The hand is lower compared to the Kushana sculptures. The drapery or cloth is very close around the body. The expression is gentle with eyes downcast .The dharmachakra mudra is also seen in some sculptures..

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Standing Buddha, 5th century, Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh.

By Ismoon (talk) 11:48, 18 February 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Indian Museum Sculpture - Crowned Buddha, 5c, Sarnath (9217987833).jpg

Standing Buddha, 5th century,Sarnath,Indian Museum,Kolkata.

By Photo Dharma from Penang, Malaysia – 090 Crowned Buddha, 5c, Sarnath, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37232665

   The Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya which has been repaired many times is from the late Kushana or Gupta period. The original structure was built by Emperor Ashoka. At present the temple has a central shrine with a tall tower with four smaller shrines around it.

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Mahabodhi temple, Bodh Gaya.

By Bpilgrim (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

        Dated to the fifth century on the cliff-side are a series of caves excavated at Bamiyan in Afghanistan. At the end of the valley a tall 55m figure of Buddha and similar smaller Buddhas are located on the other side about a kilometre and half away.Smaller devotees accompany the Buddha figures. The large Buddha could be Vairocana and is believed to be  associated with the cult of Brhad Buddha influenced by Indian Mahayana Buddhism.

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Buddhas at Bamiyan, 5th century,Afghanistan.

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

At Bhitargaon is a well preserved structure of Gupta art from the first half of the fifth century. It is made of burnt bricks joined by mud mortar, the wall very thick. It is an east facing temple on a square jagati or plinth. There are niches on the exterior of the temple and the superstructure. There were many sculpted panels, many are now missing or partially destroyed. There are arches in the shrine and porch. Sculptures of this shrine have been similar to the ones at Ahichchattra in Uttar Pradesh, The Ganga and Yamuna figures originally were at the sides of a Shiva temple. Their costumes have tight bodices and heavy drapery. Their corresponding vahanas or vehicles, the makara and the tortoise are seen, also an attendant with  parasol.

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Goddess Ganga, Ahichchatra,Gupta period,National Museum, New Delhi.

By Miya.m (Miya.m’s file) [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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Lord Vishnu, 5th century, Mathura, State Museum, Lucknow,Uttar Pradesh.

By Woudloper – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36096800

 

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Mithuna (loving couple), terracotta,5th century. Honolulu Academy of Arts,USA.

By Wikipedia Loves Art participant “Department_of_Trife” [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
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Ramayana Scene,Gupta Art,Indian National Museum,New Delhi.

By Fotografía tomada por el Dr. Benjamín Preciado Centro de Estudios de Asia y África de El Colegio de México [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Mother Goddess,Gupta period.

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Dinar of Chandragupta II LACMA M.77.55.20 (1 of 3).jpg

Dinar of Chandragupta II,4th century.

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

 

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Mahabharata Scene, Gupta period,National Museum, New Delhi.

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

Sunga art of ancient India: some images

 

     The Sunga  dynasty was established by  Pushyamitra Sunga in 2nd century, around 185 B.C, in Magadha and extended up to Malwa. The last king was Devabhuti who ruled between 83 and 73 B.C. The Sunga dynasty has many contributions. They were patrons of art and knowledge. They were culturally more aligned to Hinduism. The Patanjali yoga-sutras and Mahabhasya were composed during this period.

     The Bharhut stupa at Madhya Pradesh  from the Mauryan times saw the railings reconstructed by the Sunga dynasty, many parts of it are presently at museums in India. Additions like the railings and modifications to the Great stupa at Sanchi ,Madhya Pradesh(which was built under King Ashoka of the Mauryas),  was also done under them. The decorations on the railings of the Bharhut stupa are ornate and depicted with yakshas, yakshis and Kubera, their leader. Medallions with floral patterns, busts of kings, Jataka tales and scenes from the life of the Buddha. The yakshas are depicted on the uprights. The art was executed over a period of time by different craftsmen and artisans from India. The style is a continuation of the Mauryan period. The human figures are seen wearing heavy and elaborate jewellery having metal beads. Though the early Sunga rulers were against Buddhism, Buddhist art flourished with the Mathura school.

     At Bhaja caves in Western Ghats was a Buddhist monastery for the monks to stay during the rainy months. The caves have  yaksha depictions on sides of the doorways, a deity on a chariot drawn by four horses etc. The railing at the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya has mythical animals on medallions used on it for decoration.

Yakshi. Bharhut, Satna, C. 2nd cent BC. Bhopal Museum.jpg

Medallion from the balustrade (vedika), Bharhut stupa, Bhopal Archaeological Museum, Madhya Pradesh.

By Ismoon (talk) 17:42, 10 February 2013 (UTC) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24580803

Balustrade and staircase, Great Stupa,Sanchi, Sunga period.

By Vivek Shrivastava – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29038176

       At Chandraketugarh in West Bengal, many archaeological finds of different historical periods have revealed some interesting statuettes and terracotta plaques from the Sunga period. Some are depicted below. As mentioned the figures are seen wearing elaborate jewellery and with elaborate head-dress.

Amourous royal couple Sunga 1st century BCE West Bengal.jpg

Amorous royal couple,1st century B.C, Chandaraketugarh,West Bengal.

By Uploadalt – Own work, photographed at the MET, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12572072

Chandraketugarth, epoca sunga, dea della fecondità, II-I sec. ac. 02.JPG

Fertility deity, 2nd -1st century B.C,Chandraketugarh, West Bengal.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22568769

Chandraketugarth, epoca sunga, dea della fecondità, II-I sec. ac. 01.JPG

Mother and child, 2nd-1st century B.C,Chandraketugarh,West Bengal.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22568766

KITLV 87926 - Unknown - Relief on the Bharhut stupa in British India - 1897.tif

Relief , Bharhut stupa,British India image, Madhya Pradesh.

By Unknown – Leiden University Library, KITLV, image 87926 Homepage media-kitlv.nl KITLV, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39953719

Yakshi on elephant.Bharhut.Bharat Kala Bhavan.jpg

Yakshi on elephant mount, red sandstone,Bharhut, 2nd century B.C, Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi.

By Ismoon (talk) 19:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24188082

SungaAtalante.JPG

Balustrade-holding yaksha, Sunga period, 2nd -1st century B.C, Musée Guimet,Paris.

By No machine-readable author provided. World Imaging assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=337076

Jetvan bharhut.JPG

Bharhut sculpture, 2nd-1st century B.C., British Library,U.K.

By Beglar, Joseph David, 1875 – British Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25887679

File:Terracotta - Sunga Period - Showcase 10-16 - Prehistory and Terracotta Gallery - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-24 6316.JPG

Terracotta, Sunga Period,2nd -1st century B.C,  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:Male Playing Mridanga - Sunga Period - ACCN 57-4264 - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-24 6198.JPG

Man playing mridanga, Sunga 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:Winged female deity, Chandraketugarh, India, 2nd-1st century BC, terracotta, view 2 - Ethnological Museum, Berlin - DSC01685.JPG

Terracotta plaque,female deity, 2nd-1st century BC, Chandraketugarh, Ethnological Museum, Berlin.

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

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org
  • indianetzone.com

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

Sage Agastya : depictions in art

          Sage Agastya is a revered sage in Hinduism. He is believed to have lived for a very long time. Along with his wife Lopamudra , he has contributed hymns to the Rigveda. He is thought to be the father of the Tamil language, and the originator  of Agastyam, a grammatical text.Sage  Agastya is a culture hero in Tamil traditions and appears in many Tamil texts. Sage Agastya is revered in the  Vedas. He is also called Mana,Kalasaja,Kumbhaja,Maitravaruni and Kumbhayoni.

         Sage Agastya figures in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. He is a noted sage in the Puranas of Shaktism and Vaishnavism. He is found in ancient scuplture in Hindu temples across South Asia and the main guru in the  Javanese Agastyaparva. He has authored numerous Sanskrit texts like the Agastya Gita, a part of Varaha-purana,Agastya samhita, a part of Skanda-purana and Dvaidha-nirnaya tantra.

       Agastya is of mythical origin, not having a human father and mother. His birth happens due to a yajna done by Gods Varuna and Mitra. On seeing the extraordinarily beautiful apsara Urvashi, their semen falls into a pot from which sage Agastya is born.

      Agastya grows up to be an ascetic,educates himself and becomes a rishi or sage. He is called a brahmin because of his learning. Sage Agastya marries Lopamudra, princess of Vidarbha and have a son called Idmavaha who learns Vedic hymns while still in the womb.

      Sage Agastya is mentioned in all the four Vedas, and is a character in the Brahmanas,Arayankas,Upanishads and many Puranas.

File:Agastya statue in southern niche of Sambisari temple.jpg

Agastya statue ,Sambisari temple,9th century, Indonesia.

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

                   Sage Agastya is believed to have migrated from the north to the south. As per northern legends he has spread the knowledge of the Vedas and as per Southern accounts he is mentioned as having an important role in spreading irrigation, agriculture and inventing the Tamil language. He is the first siddhar, the accomplished master as per Tamil traditions. Some Buddhist texts also mention Sage Agastya. He also finds mention in the Jataka tales.

069 Siva Mahaguru Agastya, Cando Banon, Magelang, Central Java, 8-9th c (23122032859).jpg[

Agastya,  8-9th century,National Museum, Jakarta,Indonesia.

By Photo Dharma from Sadao, Thailand – 069 Siva Mahaguru Agastya, Cando Banon, Magelang, Central Java, 8-9th c, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50791536

      Sage Agastya is an important part of medieval inscriptions,temple relief and arts in Java, Indonesia. He is also found in Cambodia, Vietnam and other regions.

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Agastya, sculpture,12th century,Bihar.

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

073 Siva Mahaguru Agastya, Kediri, East Java, 12-13th c (23407506591).jpg

Agastya, 12-13th century, East Java,National Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia.

By Photo Dharma from Sadao, Thailand – 073 Siva Mahaguru Agastya, Kediri, East Java, 12-13th c, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50791540

          Sage Agastya finds mention in the Ramayana and his hermitage or ashram being on the banks of river Godavari. He lives with his wife in the Dandaka forest on the southern slopes of the Vindhya mountains. As per the Ramayana, Agastya is a brilliant sage who asked the Vindhya mountains to lower themselves so that Sun, Moon and living beings could easily pass over it. Lord  Rama praises Agastya as the great one who can do what gods find impossible.   He is also described as the sage who used his powers of dharma to kill demons Vatapi and Ilwala after they had killed 9,000 men. Sage Agastya along with his wife meet Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana and gives a divine bow and arrow/sword to them as a gift.

Rama at the Hermatige of Sage Agastya.jpg

Rama at the hermitage of Sage Agastya,Chamba,18th century, Himachal Pradesh.

By Pahari School, Chamba kalam, Kangra idiom – http://www.goloka.com/docs/rama/rama_05.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18639298

Agastya giving Rama a sword.jpg

Agastya giving Rama a sword,illustration, Ramayana,19th century,Mewar,Rajasthan.

By Unknown – http://www.indianminiaturepaintings.co.uk/Marwar_Ramayana_Jatayu_24-41011.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21999538

        The story of Agastya is related in the Mahabharata. The tale  is narrated as a conversation between Vaisampayana and Lomasa in the Vana parva.He is described in the epic as a sage with enormous powers of ingestion and digestion. Agastya, once again, stops the Vindhya mountains from growing and lowers them and he kills the demons Vatapi and Ilvala much the same mythical way as in the Ramayana. The Vana Parva also describes the story of  Agastya and Lopamudra getting engaged and married. It also contains the mythical story of the war between Indra and Vritra, where all the demons hide in the sea, gods requesting Agastya for help, who then goes and drinks up the ocean to reveal the demons to the gods.

Agastya drinks the ocean.jpg

Agastya drinks the ocean,illustration,Mahabharata,20th century.

By Ramanarayanadatta astri – http://archive.org/details/mahabharata02ramauoft, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21230861

 

 

 

References :

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

Posted by:

Soma Ghosh

© author

Hanuman in art : some depictions

        Hanuman is Lord Rama’s greatest devotee,  is his chief support after his brother Lakshmana, in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He has been depicted in art;sculpture and paintings over the centuries.He is also mentioned in many ancient texts, including the Mahabharata,the Puranas and certain Jaina texts.Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the demon king Ravana to liberate his wife Sita.

     Hanuman is the son of Anjana and Kesari and also referred to as Pavanputra or son the the wind-God Vayu or Pavan who has played a role in his birth. Hanuman is known by many names; Anjaneya, Kesarinandan, Bajrang Bali, Jitendriyam, Marutinandan, Sankat mochan among others.

     Hanuman was born to Anjaneri mountain. His mother Anjana was an apsara who was born on earth owing to a curse. She was however freed from it after she gave birth to a son. As per the Ramayana of Valmiki his father Kesari was the son of Brihaspati and the King of a place named Sumeru. Anjana prayed for 12 long years to Lord Shiva for a child and Hanuman was the son they got.It is also believed that Hanuman is the incarnation or reflection of  Lord Shiva.

           Hanuman is also called the son of Vayu or Pavan. As per one version mentioned in the 16th century Bhavartha Ramayana by Eknath it is said that when Anjana was worshipping Shiva, the King  Dasaratha of Ayodhya was also performing Putrakama yagna in order to have children. As a result, he received some sacred payasam (sweet pudding)to be shared by his three wives, which led to the birth of Rama, Lakshmana and Bharata. However a kite was flying past and took away a fragment of the pudding and dropped it into the hands of Anjana while she was praying in a forest, and the wind God or Vayu facilitated this. It is also believed that by  Shiva’s direction, Vayu transferred his male energy to Anjana‘s womb. So Hanuman is also called Pavanputra or son of the Wind.

 

Image result for ramayana

Hanuman carrying the mountain of herbs,sculpture,10th century, Madhya Pradesh,LACMA,USA.

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

        As a child Hanuman was fascinated with the sun and thought it was a ripe fruit. He tried to reach it to eat it and was stopped by the Vedic planet Rahu. However Hanuman beat Rahu who approached Indra for help. Indra threw his weapon Vajra at him and this hurt his jaw or Hanu, thus he also got his name, Hanuman. However Vayu, the wind-God got angry and withdrew which suffocated everyone. Indra had to remove the effect of his vajra and the devas revived Hanuman.

   Hanuman‘s role in the Ramayana is mentioned in Sundarakanda in the epic. Hanuman is also mentioned in the Mahabharata;he is Bhima’s brother.

File:Hanuman before Rama.jpg

Hanuman worshipping Lord Rama and Sita,painting, 17th century,Smithsonian collection,USA.

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

            Hanuman meets Lord Rama during his exile.With his brother Lakshmana, Rama is searching for his wife Sita who had been abducted by demon king,Ravana. Their search brings them to mountain Rishyamukha, where Sugriva, along with his followers  are hiding from his elder brother Vali.Sugriva sends Hanuman to ascertain their identities. Hanuman approaches Rama disguised as a brahmin. However he reveals his identity and falls at his feet. Hanuman then forges  friendship between Lord Rama and Sugriva; Rama helps Sugriva regain his honour and makes him the king of Kishkindha. Sugriva and his vanaras, most notably Hanuman, help Rama defeat Ravana at Lanka and liberate and reunite with his wife Sita.

    Many incidents take place  during the search for Sita . Hanuman reaches Lanka through air jumps and finds Sita in captivity in a garden, Hanuman reveals his identity to her, reassures her that Rama has been looking for her,  offers to carry her back to Rama, but she refuses his offer, saying it would be an insult to Rama as his honour is at stake. In order to reassure  Sita,  Hanuman gives her a ring that Rama  had sent through him.

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Hanuman being taken to Ravana,illustration,17th century,Mewar,Rajasthan.

By Maharaja of Jagat Singh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When Lakshmana is badly wounded during the battle against Indrajit, Hanuman is sent to fetch the sanjivani, a powerful life-restoring herb, from Dronagiri  in the Himalayas, to revive him.

File:Hanuman fetches the herb-bearing mountain, in a print from the Ravi Varma Press, 1910's.jpg

Hanuman with the mountain of herbs ,print,1910.

By Ravi Varma Press [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsHanumanImage result for ramayana

Hanuman visits Sita,bazaar art,early 20th century.

By bazaar art [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

              After his coronation after returning to Ayodhya following his victorious battle against demon king Ravana, Rama decides to reward all his well-wishers.  Hanuman approaches without wanting any reward. Rama embraces him warmly, declaring that he could never  repay Hanuman for the help a received from the  vanara army. Sita, however, insists that Hanuman deserved honour more than anyone else, and Sita gives him a necklace of precious stones which she herself was wearing. Hanuman tears it apart, and inspects each stone. Everyone asks why he is destroying the precious necklace. Hanuman says he was looking into the stones to make sure that Rama and Sita are in them, because if they are not, the necklace is of no value to him. People laugh at Hanuman, saying his reverence and love for Rama and Sita could not possibly be as deep as he says. To this, Hanuman tears his chest open, and everyone is astonished to see Lord Rama and Sita in his chest.

File:Pushpakviman.jpg

Pushpakviman, bazaar art,1910.

By Modern Litho Works, Bombay [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

      Hanuman is worshipped by many; by wrestlers for his strength.There are many temples of Hanuman, and his images are  installed at all temples where images of avatars of Lord Vishnu are present. His temples free the area of evils like the rakshasas or demons. He is believed to protect from accidents and his images are found on mountain roads.

     Many prayers, mantras are dedicated to Hanuman. These include  Hanuman Chalisa, Bajranga Baan, Maruti Strotam, Anjaneya Dandakam , Vadvanal Strotam, Hanuman Sathhika, Hanuman Bahuk, Hanuman Dwadesha, Bhimrupi Strotam, Sundara Kanda, Maruti Gayatri Mantra, Hanumansahasranam stotra , Ek-mukhi Hanuman Raksha Kavacham, Pancha-mukhi Hanuman Raksha Kavacham and Sapta-mukhi Hanuman Raksha Kavacham.

Amulette Rajasthan 2.jpg

Hanuman, silver amulet,early 20th century,Rajasthan.

By Vassil – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1877418

File:Hanuman showing Rama in His heart 2.jpg

Hanuman showing Lord Rama in his chest,oleograph,1945.

By Anant Shivaji Desai, Ravi Varma Press (http://www.barodaart.com/oleographs-ramayana.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

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

Posted by:

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

 

 

 

Yaksha-yakshi depictions : benevolent spirits

             Yaksha and Yakshi are nature spirits. They are usually benevolent mythical beings; and attendees of Kubera, the Lord of Yakshas and Yakshis.They have been depicted in sculpture,paintings and illustrations in India and few countries of Asia. They find place in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythology.

   In Hinduism Yakshas have a dual personality.They could be benevolent and friendly or could be offensive like a rakshasa or demon. Yakshas are believed to be protectors of forests and villages. Yakshas are depicted as strong warriors or as stout,short figures with a big belly. In contrast Yakshis are projected as very beautiful with gentle faces, full hips, rounded breasts and slender waists.The thirty six yakshis who grant desires mentioned in the Uddamareshwara tantra are Vichitra, Hamsi,Shankhini,Kapalini ,Mahendri,Vishala among others.

    In Buddhist lore, Yakshas are the attendants of Vaisravana. They are the twelve generals who guard Bhaisajyaguru, the Medicine Buddha. They are a main part of the folklore of Thailand and are guardian deities in their temples-gates, the dwarapalas. The yakshis became salabhanjikas holding on to a  ashoka tree-branch or a flowering tree depicted majorly at the gates of many Buddhist monuments and Hindu temples. They were associated with fertility and prosperity.

      In Jainsim the Yakshas  and Yakshis are guardian duties around the jinas. Over time they have come to be woshipped too. There are twenty four yakshas in Jainism. Gomukha,Trimukha,Mahayaksha,Yakshanayaka,Tamburu,Kusuma,Dharanendra,Matanga,Vijaya, Ajita,Gomedh among others. The twenty four yakshis include Chakreswari,Ambika,Manasi, Jaya among others.

Yaksha Vyala, sculpture,1st century B.C,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

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Yakshi,plaque,terracotta, 3-2nd century B.C, Bengal.

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

File:Yaksha Carrying Human Figure and Mudgar - 2nd Century BCE - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-24 6090.JPG

Yaksha depiction carrying human being,2nd century B.C,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:Yakshi - Railing Pillar - 2nd Century CE - Sand Stone - Mathura - Indian Museum - Kolkata 2012-11-16 1962.JPG

Yakshi,sandstone,2nd century,Mathura, 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

Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum Dhubela Exhibit Item (5).JPG

Yaksha Gomedh with Ambika,sculpture,11th century,Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum, Dhubela, Madhya Pradesh.

By Sagar Das, Rosehub – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45605239

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Yaksha Gomukha with his consort,sandstone,Gurjara Pratiharas, 8th century, North India.

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

File:Nswag, india, madhya pradesh, stele con yaksha-yakshini e jinas, XI sec..JPG

Yaksha-yakshi,sculpture,11th century, Madhya Pradesh.

I, Sailko [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Yaksha,,Angkor Wat,12th century,Cambodia.

By Tsui (Own work) [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

 

File:Yaksha General Anila - Google Art Project.jpg

Yaksha Anila, painting on cloth, 15th century,Tibet.

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

Kalpasutra manuscript,15th century,pigment on paper, second image depicts birth of Mahavira watched over by goat headed Yaksha,Naigamesha.

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

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Yaksha Thotsakan,Thai Ramakien depiction,mural,18th century,Wat Phra Kaew,Bangkok,Thailand.

By Heinrich Damm (User:Hdamm, Hdamm at de.wikipedia.org) (Own work (Own photo)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), 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

 

 

 

References :

  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author