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The regalia cult, widely associated with votive iconography of deities, and artist's own reverence for Baba Nanak who was a saint of exceptional heights, characterises his portrayal. His figure has been consecrated on a golden throne against a royal bolster. Bala with 'morachhala' attends upon him like a 'chawri'-bearer. The artist has added a gold rimmed green halo with his figure. The floor has laid on it a colourful carpet. The parapet painted with gold looks like an ivory structure. The total atmosphere with a vibrant yet cool golden background and an auspicious banana plant bears a serene and sublime look. This might be artist's vision of his seat at Kartarpura on Rabi's banks. Baba Nanak is holding in his left hand a 'pothi' and in his right a 'simarani' and seems to be reciting some hymn from it. Bhai Mardana is accompanying him on his 'rabab'.
Nanak was born in 1469 at Bhoe-ki-Talwandi, now Nanakana Sahib, in Pakistan. As predicted at his birth, Nanak had spiritual inclination right from his childhood. When eighteen, his strained father married him and in due course his wife bore to him two sons, but despite he showed little interest in worldly things. For a job his sister took him to Sultanpur, but he met there instead Mardana, a rabab player. Now Nanak sang and Mardana played on his rabab and every corner and square began rebounding with their music.
When thirty, Nanak had His realisation and was an Enlightened one. He realised that for an ordinary man His 'nam' was ultimate, as it is only through His name that one knows Him. He hence propounded the devotional path of 'Nam-simarana' and underlined the significance of 'sravana' (listening), 'pad-sewana' (feet-worship), 'archana' (offering), 'vandana' (prayer), 'das-bhava' (submission) 'maitri-bhava' (friendship) and 'atma-nivedana' (eradication of ego). Nanak perceived God as 'Akal Purukh', the Timeless Being, who was 'Sat', 'Karta' and 'Saibhanga', the true One, never born, yet ever present. Nanak traveled from one place to other and preached the significance of 'nam-simaran'. His ideal was 'Na koi Hindu, na Musalman', that is, all created ones have but one father, the 'Karta Purukh', and all are hence brethren.
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.
Of Related Interest:
Guru Nanak, with Bhai Mardana Singing (Miniature Painting)
Guru Nanak, The First Sikh Guru. (15 April 1469 22 September 1539) (Miniature Painting)
Guru Nanak Dev, First Sikh Guru (Miniature Painting)
Guru Nanak (Silver Pendant)
Thus Spake Guru Nanak (Paperback Book)
Guru Nanak (Comic Book)
The Three Gurus (Comic Book)
Piety and Splendour Sikh Heritage in Art (Hardcover Book)