Lord Shiva destroys evil and protects the good. In this Tanjore-style painting, he is at his most tranquil, with the eyes displaying a gentle smile. The serpent on his head coils thrice around the matted locks, before raising its hood. The three coils represent the past, present, and future. Shiva is eternal and is beyond the control of time. The matted locks indicate a powerful mind, which can capture all knowledge within it. The crescent moon on the side of the head is symbolic of the waxing and waning of the moon, or the flow (living) and ebb (dying) of life. The third eye in the center of the forehead remains closed, for when open, the powerful rays emanating from it, cause destruction.
Goddess Parvathi takes on various hues while donning her diverse avatars. Here, she is Kali, the dark-complexioned one. Kali is not just a destroyer, but a strong mother figures too. She is the embodiment of shakti and motherly love. Kartikeya on her lap, and the elephant-headed Ganesh on Shiva’s lap, are the two sons. Paying obeisance to the whole family, are Nandi, the mount of Lord Shiva, as well as, his disciples/followers. The seven sages are amongst his disciples.
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