Please Wait...

Maharana Ari Singh Paying Homage to Shrinathaji on Govardhana Puja

Maharana Ari Singh Paying Homage to Shrinathaji on Govardhana Puja

Maharana Ari Singh Paying Homage to Shrinathaji on Govardhana Puja

$345.00
Item Code: HL43
Specifications:
Water Color Painting on Paper
10.5 inch X 13.5 inch
As some of his contemporary miniatures record his real likeness the painting represents in all probabilities among others Maharana Ari Singh, a descendant of Sisodia dynasty, paying homage to Shrinathaji on the occasion of Govardhana puja – worship of Mount Govardhana performed as Annakuta, worship of the mound made of various foods, one of the two most significant festive occasions at Nathadwara, the Shrinathaji shrine, the other being Krishna-Janmashtami. The number of total festivals celebrated at Nathadwara is twenty-four. Maharana Ari Singh who ruled Mewar from 1762 to 1772, not as popular as other Sisodia rulers of Mewar, is the main among those serving the deity. Having usurped his nephew’s right to throne Ari Singh had annoyed many nobles and their confederation succeeded finally in 1772 in dethroning him. Maharana Ari Singh was a staunch devotee of Shrinathaji and personally attended all festive rituals at the Nathadwara. Ari Singh has been represented on the left of the deity as serving by blowing a ‘chanwara’- flywhisk.

The painting’s main theme is the image of Shrinathaji, an exact representation of the idol : its style, image-type, anthropomorphic features and anatomy, costume, ornamentation, subordinate imagery : Bal-Gopal, Krishna with mother Yashoda and sister Subhadra, with Radha and with Balarama, and even the background embellished using a typical Nathadwara ‘Pichhawai’, enshrining the sanctum at the Nathadwara temple some fifty-two kilometers from Udaipur in Rajasthan. The temple was built, and the image, enshrined in late seventeenth century. The Nathadwara ‘pitha’ – seat, one of the four major seats of Krishna’s Vaishnavism, the other being Vrindavana in Uttar Pradesh, Puri in Orissa and Dwarika in Gujarat, is dedicated to the Pushtimarga cult of Vallabhacharya, also known as Vallabha Sampradaya, he founded in early sixteenth century. The doctrine of Vallabhacharya perceived the deity as a living reality and propounded the cult of periodical service to replace cult of his formal worship.

As the tradition of faith has it, to have his shrine at Nathadwara was the great Lord’s own mandate. This image, now worshipped as Shrinathaji, enshrined initially the temple at Vrindavana. But, later considering the Islamic fanaticism of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb seeking to destroy all sacred idols the priest shifted it to a remote spot at Mount Govardhana. However, even there it was hardly secured. Hence, the image was taken from there, some legends contend that it was Vallabhacharya himself who re-emerged to take the image to safety, perhaps a legendary interpretation suggestive of a priest in the Vallabhacharya’s line and with Vallabhacharya’s commitment, and was brought to Rajasthan, the strong Hindu hold. When passing across the place that is now Nathadwara the wheels of the cart carrying the idol sunk axel deep into the mud and despite all efforts did not come out. The priest transporting the image concluded that the great Lord has chosen the place for his shrine and decided to installed the image there itself in an ordinary house which is still the character of Nathadwara shrine.

The image of Lord Krishna worshipped at Nathadwara is Govardhana-dhari – one holding Mount Govardhana on the little finger of his left hand, though the form of the mount is not manifest but only suggested by the hand’s gesture. Apart, the Bhagavata Purana contends that transforming himself into the Mount Govardhana Krishna had himself received offerings made during worship. Obviously, as against all other festivals Govardhana or Annakuta worship was the most significant ritual at Nathadwara. It is celebrated on the day next to Diwali, that is, first day of the second half of the month of Kartika, the eighth month under Indian calendar. The post-monsoon period Annakuta has obvious links with harvesting of Kharif crop. As is the established tradition, after the monsoon crop had been reaped, people of Brij performed Indra’s worship for expressing their gratitude to him for good rains and good crop. They collected a large amount of food-grain into a mound-like shape and offered it to Indra and used it only as Indra’s bounty. Krishna objected to it. He argued that cowherds’ true benefactors were mountains and forests and deserve to be worshipped. He hence initiated the worship of Mount Govardhana. After that the cult of Govardhana-puja continued but it was dedicated to Mount Govardhana, a manifest form of Krishna himself.

Besides the main deity icon rendered pursuing exact Nathadwara art idiom, the painting also portrays a number of icons in varying sizes, one that of Balarama, his elder brother, six solely of Krishna three of them being very tiny, and other three, with some female figures, Radha, mother Yashoda and sister Subhadra, his all images, and Balarama’s, wearing a two tiered crown. Besides, the painting also incorporates some symbolic icons of mother Yashoda and Subhadra in the form of orange Paisley type motifs, and six abstract forms of female figures, three on either side towards the bottom. Besides a number of laddus’ containing baskets laid in front of the image a mound-like looking pile of food-grains duly adorned with lotuses and laces of betel leaves define the ritual’s Annakuta character. Apart the main priest and the Maharana, the painting incorporates eight subordinate priests, four on either side.

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.

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Related Items