mother goddess is Ananta-Rupini, one who has boundless forms. However,
according to the celestial events she empowers, Hinduism provides her with a
name and a discernible form, so that the devotee can begin to comprehend
Ma-Shakti’s divine aura. Among her innumerable forms is- Uma, the enchantress
of the great yogi- Shiva. Shiva represents the passive, male energy and Uma is
his counterpart, the active, and female. When Shiva enters into deep meditation
and the interplay of female-male energies is stopped, the world order faces the
danger of an imbalance. This is when the great-goddess, Mahadevi takes the form
of Uma or Bhogashakti, bringing Shiva out of his meditation, towards the
process of Creation.
The Sixty-Four Yoginis are the lesser-known forms of the Goddess Shakti in art and religion. Variously portrayed as malevolent goddesses, deities of tantric rituals, and yoginis of flesh and blood, they are seen as the sixty-four forms of the goddess and the sixty-four embraces of Shiva and Shakti. Abandoned temples, stretching from Banda in Uttar Pradesh to Bolangir in Odisha, once witnessed the evolution of the mysterious cult of these goddesses. Shrouded in secrecy, knowledge about them is, to date, closely guarded by the tantric Acaryas.
Sixty-Four Yoginis: Cult, Icons, and Goddesses deciphers the complex forms of the Yoginis by engaging with the subject historically, aesthetically, theologically, and anthropologically; identifies the Yoginis of the temple, of the Puranas, of the tantric texts, of folklore and finally of the Yogini Kaula; and examines the different layers of the complex phenomena based on rigorous fieldwork in the hitherto untraversed terrains where the Yoginis have their abode. The book offers valuable insights for researchers in the fields of religion, myth, culture, history and gender studies. The text of this handsomely produced volume is supplemented with a rich collection of photographs.
With his legendary flute in hand, the Supreme Lord Krishna stands cast in bronze, his graceful pose with his legs crossed acting as a hallmark to the elaborate carvings of the Hoysala architecture.
In the form of Venugopal, Lord Krishna becomes the protector of cows and the owner of the flute Venu. His face is at utter peace and serenity as he plays his flute, harmonious notes pleasing to the ears. He is decked with ornaments that shine beatifically. When he resided in Braj, he often dallied with the gopis and his favourite Radha, playing melodious tunes for them. Such was his rasleela. It all began when one star studded night, gopis awoke in their houses hearing the sound of Krishna’s flute. It was so charming that they cleverly sneaked away from their homes. When they reached the forest, they found a big clearing where Krishna joyfully played away, blowing life through the hollow body of the flute just as he blew life into the gopis with his music. They began dancing at the tunes, surrounding him as he stood in the middle. Radha accompanied him in the middle, dancing closest to him. Krishna stretched time to last for a kalpa (4.23 billion years approximately) and enjoyed their company.
A delicately embellished Ganesha Tanjore painting. Housed within a temple of ruby-studded gold, the Lord is seated against a pale crimson background. From the pleats of His amber-coloured dhoti to the crown on His head and the adornment on the rest of His form, these details have been executed in gold-layered gessowork.
Solid gold embellishment defines the archway above the seated figure, the templetop, and the pillars on either side. From the throne of the Lord to the necklace around His vahana’s neck and the platters of fruit and sweetmeats in the foreground, the artisan’s handiwork is truly admirable in its precision.
A series of lotuses barely about to bloom graces the archway. The colour is decidedly pale, like the complexion of Ganesha’s body and the nightskies in the background. This is characteristic of the art of Thanjavur because the idea is to gather focus on the pure gold sections. The same have been studded with red and green stones that emulate the glamour of rubies and emeralds.
black border on a striking maroon shade, this Tanchoi silk saree from Banaras
is one of those clothing pieces whose story is as interesting as its designs.
beautiful and soft Tanchoi silk which has become one of the most popular
fabrics in traditional Indian women’s wear, according to a legend, travelled
from China to India in the 19th century, thanks to three Gujrati
weaver brothers. After learning the art of this brocade, the brothers came back
and named the craft after themselves, Tan (Gujrati Tran, meaning three), and
their Chinese master Choi. Once the production of Tanchoi silk started, this
smooth fabric never looked back.
maroon-black Tanchoi saree appears symmetrically gorgeous due to its
Herringbone weave. The border and the endpiece are magnificently adorned with
the traditional Indian booti work- done by using fine gold threads by the
expert weavers of Banaras.
Tara, the mother of all enlightened beings, is one who helps people cross over Samsara, the mindless cycle of birth and rebirth till they attain Nirvana. The loving female deity has devoted all her life to the ones who are suffering and vows to remain in Samsara until every soul has achieved Nirvana. Green tara’s, skin color i.e Green, symbolizes the element of wood and calls for renewal, empathy, adaptability, and progress.
Amoghasiddhi is one of the five spiritual vectors of the Buddha’s divine personality (tathagata). He is the Buddha of perfect practice leading up to consummate accomplishment or ‘siddhi’ (‘amogha’ stands for that which goes not in vain). The thangka that you see on this page depicts Amoghasiddhi in the seated-contemplative stance of padmasana, complemented by the mudras of His hands.
This Amoghasiddhi thangka is in keeping with the Nevari style of painting. The most striking feature of Nevari art is the bold colour palette predominated by crimson and ochre. Then there are the soft, expressive, elongated features, especially the eyes and the digits of hands and feet. Finally, the ample jewellery on each one of the figures on this canvas is another hallmark of Nevari aesthetics.
The near-perfect symmetry of the canvas makes this painting a marvel to look at. Standing Buddhas with a long, lithe physique on either side of Amoghasiddhi; dynamic seated figures along the upper third of the canvas; and a row of seated-contemplative Buddhist figures below the many-hued lotus throne.
An ornate murti of the tribhanga murari. This roopa (form) of Lord Krishna is the most inimitable, in addition to being the subject of popular devotional imagination. The word ‘tribhanga’ is a portmanteau of ‘tri’, which means three, and ‘bhanga’, which means bent. It refers to the stance of the standing deity, whose body juts out at three different junctures namely the shoulders, the hips, and the ankles. The word ‘murari’ means one who plays the flute, which is indispensable to the personality and iconography of Krishna.
royalty, effortlessness, all the elements women want in their perfect women’s
wear clothing, is bundled up in this Apricot-wash Chikankari saree, from the
city of Nawabs- Lucknow.
On a fabric
shade that is extremely pleasing to the eyes, the craftsmen have stitched
beautiful ethnic patterns- paisleys, flowers, leaves, and vines. The charm of
Chikankari can be best witnessed on this saree’s pallu or endpiece- where
embroidered patterns have given the loveliest end to this artwork of a textile.
The epithet Bhogashakti refers to a specific stance of Devi Uma. On the pistil of an upturned lotus flower, poised upon a high plinth with multiple tiers, She sits with Her legs gathered in lalitasana. Her torso leans gently to the left, the left arm against the seat beneath Her supporting Her regla frame. The right hand is raised as if She holds between Her fingers a seductive lotus bloom.
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