This wood-carving, endowed with the power to transcend the devotional mind beyond the cob-webs of this world into the realm of spiritual experience, represents the monkey god Hanuman, the protector in all adversities and from every enemy, however powerful, even a malady or death. Carved as seated in ‘padmasana – cross-legged posture, and palms laid upwards in his lap : a characteristic Yogic posture more common in Jain iconography, this image of the monkey god represents him as engaged in meditation. Though in mythical tradition, besides Shiva, Hanuman is the only other divinity who is revered as one who resorted to Yoga and meditation, the devotional mind that has fixed into it his image as the redeemer in crisis – one always engaged in an act, does not accept him in a Yogi’s posture.<p>
Though most humble always denying having any virtue or strength of his own but all his Master’s, in many moments of crisis when Rama felt helpless, or feigned to look like, Hanuman rose to the occasion and was his Master’s redeemer. Hanuman is worshipped across all theological lines in India – Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism, as the most potent redeemer in adversities. Millions across the world invoke him for redeeming them from difficulties and for protecting in crisis and from harms. The most often chanted hymn : ‘Ko nahin janat hai jag mein Kapi Sankat Mochan nama timharo’ – who knows not in the world, O Monkey God, redeemer in crisis is thy name, most aptly portrays the picture of Hanuman that millions across generations have and had in minds. Curiously, even Barak Obama, the President of America – the most powerful individual in the world, accepted not only that he revered Hanuman but also that he drew inspiration from him.<p>
Hanuman-Chalisa – the verse consisting of forty couplets, revered as one of the most powerful ‘mantras’ – hymns, commemorated across secretarial line, lauds him as one who abounds in him unfathomable knowledge, immeasurable virtues and unparalleled might, and further, that it is the lustre of his name that all three world illuminate. Unparalleled in might Hanuman frees from evil mind and inspires right understanding. An emissary of Rama he is the bridge between his devotees and his Master, and thus, a redeemer from worldliness as also from the cycle of birth and death. The most widely worshipped divinity in entire Hindu pantheon Hanuman has dedicated to him a far greater number of shrines than has even Rama, his master. Not merely his devotees or human beings in general enshrining a valley he protects its ascent and descent, enshrining a fort’s entrance he protects the fort, village-boundaries and every premise that he enshrines. The legendary courier of Sanjivini, the herb that saved Lakshmana’s life, merely by commemorating his name all ailments are cured.<p>
An excellent piece of art, rare in plasticity and modeling, and sublimity enshrining his entire being, the statue consists of three parts : an elevated platform composed of two units, each multi-tiered, the image of the monkey god as engaged in meditation, and the ‘prabhawali’ – fire-arch, along with an elaborately carved Shrimukha, its apex. The base unit of the platform consists of four mouldings, two of which are plain while the other two have been embellished with conventionalized lotus motifs. The platform’s upper unit also consists of conventionalized lotus motifs, though these are more elaborate and better defined. This towering seat enshrines the image of the monkey god seated in Yogic posture. The image of Hanuman comprises the centre and the focal point of the statue. His tail, larger in proportion to the rest of the image, has been delightfully coiled on his back. He is completely absorbed in meditation, perhaps commemorating the name of his master Rama, the Lord of all three worlds. Mace, his instrument by which he protects his devotee, lies opposite him. The ‘Prabhawali’, consisting of conventionalized lotus motifs and an elaborate Shrimukha on its top, that his image enshrines, rises over the base unit of the platform. In its unity the statue is simply outstanding.<p>
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.<p>
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South Indian Temple Wood Carving 35.0 inch x 20.0 inch x 6.5 inch 17.5 kg
Item Code: ZBN52
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