Item Code: EX61
Brass Sculpture8.5" X 5.5" X 3.5"
Price: $180.00 Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
In visual representations their forms being identically conceived distinguishing one from the other is quite difficult; it is only from some remote aspects, as her posture in this statue, that the identity of a Naga-kanya might be determined. Represented as invoking divine powers by making offerings and the face immersed into deep meditation : the known contexts from the life of the Naga-kanya Ulupi, besides her rich bejeweling : crown, ear-ornaments, ‘uttariya’ …suggestive of her royal status, the identity of the figure that the statue represents is determinable as Ulupi, the daughter of the serpent king Kauravya of Eravata clan, remotely in the line of Pannaga Nagas, a race of multi-hooded serpents. Firmly set on her own coils that her lower serpent part affords holding a conch in her folded hands Ulupi is commemorating ‘Mrat-sanjivini-mantra’ – the life-giving mystic hymn, obviously for restoring the life of Arjuna, the great Pandava and her husband, she twice revived, once for enabling him to keep his words that he had given to Yudhishthara, his eldest brother, and also marry her, and second time, when during Ashvamedha-yajna he was killed by Babhruvahana, his own son.
As the great epic has it, once Arjuna erringly entered into the palace of Yudhishthara, when the latter was with Draupadi, something he was not supposed to do. As punishment he was ordered to go on a yearlong pilgrimage and observe complete celibacy. One day when at Gangadwara he entered into the Ganges water for bath, someone from under the water caught his leg and dragged him into it. Arjuna soon discovered that one who did it was no other than Ulupi, the daughter of Nagaraja Kauravya. He was taken to Kauravya’s palace where she confessed that the moment she saw him she was enamoured by his beauty and could not restrain herself and prayed him to marry her. Arjuna was bound by the condition of a yearlong celibacy; he hence showed his inability to marry her. Ulupi, however, found a way. Arjuna was made to abandon this life. Ulupi then revived him by the mystic powers that the Nagas are endowed with. In his new birth Arjuna was free from the conditions of his prior birth. He hence married Ulupi, stayed with her for some time and they had a son Iravan by this marriage.
Later when Pandavas, after they had defeated Kauravas, held Ashvamedha-yajna, Arjuna was killed by his own son Babhruvahana. Suddenly Ulupi appeared. She set in meditation and began commemorating ‘mrat-sanjivini-mantra’. On her invocation a multitude of Nagas appeared and cured Arjuna of his swoon. When revived to life, Arjuna asked Ulupi why his own son killed him. Ulupi disclosed that it was for the good, for he was redeemed of the sin of his wrongful act of killing Bhishma from behind a Shikhandi for which he was cursed with hell by Ashtavasus and Gangadevi. On Ulupi’s prayer her father Kauravya had persuaded Ashtavasus for redeeming Arjuna of the curse. Ashtavasus reduced it to the effect that he would not go to hell if his own killed him. As suggests this incidence, Ulupi was not a being merely of water or earth but could travel across skies, and hence her figure has been conceived with a fairy’s wings.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.