Between those two phases of the same Vishnu incarnation lies a long phase of transition. The work of art you see on this page seeks to capture the Lord in the midst of that metamorphosis. He spent those years traversing the subcontinent, leading the life of an austere sadhu. He lived in the wilderness and amongst people but not with them; He stopped on His travels, but did not stay anywhere; and in keeping with the precepts of hathayoga, He mortified the flesh (tapah) by seeking as little extrinsic nourishment (in terms of food, etc) as scarcely kept His boat floating.
Which explains the highly pronounced bone structure. The sharp lines where the flesh sinks into the abdominal socket and stretches taught over the girdle. The super-slender limbs gathered in the perfect padmasana. Note the solid halo framing the face with the sunken, half-shut eyes; and the pedestal carved with the images of homage-paying ascetics.
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