Her head is set with a crown that befits Her heavenly status - it is ornate and made from gold, studded with emeralds and trimmed with three pink lotuses that are just about to bloom. The halo that surrounds Her head is in the form of the sun itself, albeit a solid grey colour that gives off rays of pristine light. From the colour of the moors behind Her, it seems that the sun may have set and the twilight is making way for the dusk. Zoom in on the Devi's face, wherein lies the beauty of the whole composition. A ferocious composure of countenance characterises that beauteous face, with the large bloodshot eyes and the awe-inspiring fangs that emerge from betwixt Her luscious lips. A third eye is to be found on Her vibhuti-smeared brow, on which sits a sliver of the silver moon.
Born to Kashyapa (a Vedic rishee) and Aditi (who is the heavenly mother-figure), He is sung about in the Rigveda. Samja, the daughter of Vishvakarma, is His wife, and He is the father of Manu, Yama, and Yami. It is from fragments of His superb glamour that the signature weapons of the other devas (the trishool of Shiva, the discus of Vishnu, and the lance of Karttikeya) have been fashioned. Understandably, He is the chief of the lords of the respective planets in the solar system. Having been somewhat replaced by the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva trinity in terms of importance, He is the chosen deity of worship during new-year festivities in Nepal and in the South. This sculpture of the chariot-borne Soorya is replete with the splendour expounded poetically in the oldest of the Vedas.
In this one-of-a-kind watercolour, She sits atop a delicate pink lotus in full bloom, Her tender foot rested on a lotuspad. Her figure is full and broad, adorned with ample golds and pearls and jewels. From beneath Her elaborate ruby- and emerald-studded gold crown emerges a sea of superbly curly, frizzy black tresses that seemingly have a life of their own. Note the glow of the third eye that suffuses the Devi's even temple.
Undulating hills, their verdant coat set off by the grace of the twilight sun, constitute the background, together with a couple of temple-like structures to the left of the painting.
Made from the popular medium of brass but with features as beauteous as if they were sculpted from bronze, the rest of the Sarasvati iconography is intact. She has the lithe form of a classical dancer, Her limbs bent in the most gracious of natya motions. An ornate crown as tall and slender as She is rests on Her brow. A dhoti of super-fine silk is draped navel downwards, while Her torso as well as arms and ankles are laden with layers of shringar fit for a heavenly deity. Apart from the veena in Her anterior hands, She holds a pothi and a rosary in the posterior hands. The sashes emerging from Her lotus-petalled halo spread about Her shoulders, while the ones descending from Her waist add balance to the composition. She is placed on a pedestal that has four layers featuring lotus petal engravings (alternate layers) and pistil-shaped carving (the topmost).
She sits on the floor in the fullness of her own company, probably putting together the bestu varas gifts for her mother- and sisters-in-law. The just-right afternoon light illuminates her workroom. On the rustic straw mat she is sitting on are her sewing supplies spread about her. Her legs are crossed, with one knee raised to support her wrists as the fingers motion dexterously through the embroidery. Zoom in on her hands to admire the lifelike beauty of her long, artisan fingers. She eyes her work with love, pleased with the way the embroidery is turning out. Her lashes are lowered in the direction of her hands, their sublime thickness setting off the beauty of her long nose and full mouth.
The priest is in traditional saffron and ivory clothing. The sindoori rug he stands on is strewn with petals from the flowers of offerings he has made to the mother of all rivers. On a raised platform are arranged the stuff of traditional Hindu offering and aarati - a conch, a handheld bell, a bunch of fresh moist marigolds, and some libation contained in a jar. More lamps are placed at the side, from the earthen diyas to the traditional Indian lampstick and the crackling dhunuchi letting out the auspicious smoke. Note how naturalistic is the portrayal of the flames dancing in the winds brought forth from the Ganga. A number of rickety wooden boats are parked near where the dhoti-clad priest stands offering his arati, which one could make out against the inky blue of the Ganga by zooming in. The same is separated from the all-encompassing darkness of the nightsky by a film of black paint that constitutes the Varanasi cityline.
While the lotuses in Her posterior arms and the anterior palm opened outward in blessing are typical of Lakshmi iconography, what sets this portrayal apart is the amrit kalash that She supports at the waist. Myth has it that She was born of the nectar of immortality produced during the all-important samudra manthan episode of the Bhagavata Purana. From the hand that blesses emerges a steady stream of coins that gathers in the ornate, spacious patra at Her feet. To see the patra so full, all heaped up, almost overflowing with wealth is enough to inspire the onlooker with devotion to Her. She stands on a freshly bloomed lotus, the layered petals of which are as tender as Her feet.
In this luxuriantly inlaid brass statue, the devi's celestial form has been portrayed with considerable precision. She is standing on an inverted lotus pedestal, which is typical of iconography of the east, but the richly coloured inlay of each petal and the complex work along the rim of the base render this one-of-a-kind. The intricacies of Her raiment are indicated by variation in the inlay. Her shringar is replete with generous proportions of gold - emerging from Her lobes, across Her gracious torso, dangling on Her arms and wrists and delicate ankles. Indeed She is the wife of Brahma Himself: Her realm (knowledge) is the precursor to His creative prowess. She strums with Her lovely hands an exquisite veena.
Her silvery fair complexion is highly characteristic of Her. She exudes a halo that shines behind Her shy tresses bunched up behind Her head. A towering crown, its sumptuous inlaid beauty in keeping with the rest of the murti, is balanced on top. The handsome features of Her face, Her divine brow exude superlative wisdom and bliss.
Email a Friend