Tanjore canvas, the fierce yet compassionate form of Goddess
Durga unfolds in all her splendour. Ashtabhuja, she
of the eight arms, wields her thunderous weapons with grace and might. Every
detail speaks to the tradition, and is layered with 24K gold, casting a divine
glow. Encased in a teakwood frame, it blends the earthly with the ethereal,
echoing India's rich heritage.
Here, the great Goddess Durga rides on a tiger (her divine mount) with a ferocious face, exposed teeth, sharp claws and a curved tail. The soft and gentle smile on her beautiful face depicts her extremely merciful nature towards the individual souls who follow path of Dharma, but her eight arms carrying different items and weapons represent her fury or rage toward those who try to exploit the material nature and go against dharma just for their sense gratification. Her four left hands hold a conch shell, a long trident, a bow and an arrow, and a lotus flower that represents purity. With her other four right hands, she holds a discus, a sword, a mace, while the lower hand is in protective Abhaya Mudra. These weapons await the Adharmees who are either envious of God or do not follow the path of the Absolute Truth which is the purpose of human life. Look how gracefully the Goddess is attired in a bright red saree, bedecked with several glittering ornaments on her fair-complexioned body, and her head adorned with a jeweled crown. The pure gold embellishment shines throughout this Tanjore painting and thus accentuates the look of the beautiful icon of Goddess Durga.
This is the
most powerful yet at the same time, calmest description of the Mother Goddess Durga who takes manifests in many forms to either kill the Adharmees, sustain the mother earth or destroy the material creation. She is a humble
servant and external energy of Lord Hari (Vishnu/Krishna) who also acts as Maya
Devi i.e. Illusory energy to test the jivas for their dedication to the Lord.
But those who fail to do so, get trapped into her play and thus lose the divine
connection with the Supreme and unfortunately have to remain in the cycle of
repeated birth, old age, disease, and death.
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