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Archives by Month: January, 2011


The weekend has been buzz with news of youths exhibiting their skills in the various bull rings across Tamil Nadu - Jalikkattu as its more popularly known, has had a lot of coverage in the press during the recent years with animal rights activists and also public safety calls.

Madurai-alanganallur-jallikattu

( image courtesy - wiki)

While respecting their sentiments and also the age old traditions associated with this sport, we present to you an early ( Chola) sculpture depicting this sport and who else to play Matador than the Stud Krishna himself !! This is another miniature from Tirumalpuram.

location
miniature

Before we proceed with a closeup of the sculpture, some quick references. There are two such episodes that are referred to in the brave acts of Krishna ( his leela) - one is the taming of the bull Hastin and the other slaying of the demon Aritasura who took the form of a bull. After close inspection of the panel under question, we believe that it depicts more a taming than a slaying.

krishna+taming+bull

The story is a simple one. In brindavan, the abode of Krishna, among the cattle was a prize bull named Hastin. It was massive and had quite an attitude and temper. So it was always tied to a tree and it would go round and round in rage never allowing anyone to come near. If anyone did dare, he would scour the earth with his hoofs and horns and try to gore them.

Such was his display of aggression that once even the fearless Balarama was apprehensive of going near. Around this time, the youth of the village challenge Krishna to a bet - and Krishna accepts to tame Hastin and ride on him.

Krishna tries to take good care of the Bull, giving it choice feed to eat, yet his temper doesn’t improve and he cannot even go near. Finally Krishna takes his flute and plays such a wonderful tune, that the fierce bull is mesmerized and calms down to allow him to pet it and finally mount it and ride it.

On the contrary the story of Arishtasura is that Kamsan sends his assistant to kill Krishna. Arishta takes the form of a massive bull and charges at Krishna. Unperturbed Krishna caught him by his horns, threw him long and far. Then he picked him up like a wet cloth and twisted him, finally impaling him on his own horns !!

krishna+taming+bull

The point to note in the sculpture, is the majestic countenance of the bull, the slightly upturned charge of the head and the ease with which Krishna seems to be riding it !!

Thanks to Mrs Parvadha for help and Geetha Madam’s blogs for content http://sivamgss.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post.html
http://sivamgss.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post_10.html

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Friends, today we are going to see an interesting guest post - by Mrs. Parvadha Vardhini Murali Krishnan. She continues to amaze us with her talents and a recent addition is her wonderful blog Ponniyin selvi . One way it was the blog posts that made me seek her help to write about two very interesting miniature sculptures from Tirumalpuram ruined Vishnu temple. Her she goes..

I am a Chartered Accountant, living in Kuwait. Currently I am a fulltime homemaker. Just like many of our friends here, I was also impressed very much by the great novel Ponniyin Selvan written by Amarar Kalki. Out of interest, when I searched in the internet, I found the yahoo group Ponniyin Selvan Varalatru Peravai and joined in it. Through the group, I got introduced to many of our friends. Same way, I got introduced to this site “Poetry in Stone” and Mr. Vijay. From then on, I am a regular reader of this site.

Our friend Mr. Vijay sent me a photograph of a sculpture and asked me if I can do a guest post on it. I was very hesitant and I told him, I do not know about sculpture, what do I write? He said, let me send you the picture, have a look at it and then decide. But once I saw the picture of the sculpture I was very impressed. All of us like children; just imagine if the Lord Almighty is in the form of a child, as Krishna, who wouldn’t love him? Taking this as the willingness of Lord Krishna himself, I write this post.

tirumalpuram+temple

I am only going to say a story; a story well known to all of us. Yes, it is the story which comes to our mind seeing the sculpture.

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Krishna is a mischievous boy. Even though he was in a flourishing house of Nandagopa, with the pots and vessels filled with butter, he always went to others’ house to eat them. The ladies of Gokulam complained about this to Yasodha. Yasodha got furious. Seeing that she’s angry, Krishna wouldn’t come in front of her. Then she calls him with affection, saying that she would feed him with milk. And when he came nearby, she caught hold of him and tied him with a rope to a mortar. Since he was tied in his belly with the rope, he’s called as Damodhara (Thambu + Udharan)

adhirum kadal niRa vaNNanai Aychchi
madhuramulaiyUtti vanjsiththu vaiththu
padhaRappadAmE pazhandhAm pAl Arththa
udharam irundhavA kANIrE
oLivaLaiyIr vandhu kANIrE

(Periyazhwar Thirumozhi – Mudhar pathu – Irandam Thirumozhi – Verse 9)

Yasodha who called Krishna, the mischievous boy like the waves of the ocean, and who was of the same colour of the sea, saying that she would feed him with sweet milk, tied him with an old rope found nearby. See the beauty of Krishna’s belly which has a scar due to tying him with the rope. Oh maiden, who are wearing the twinkling bangles, come over and see the beauty of Krishna’s belly with a scar.

Guess Children will always be children and parents will always be parents. Lets take a look at the depiction in stone now.

krishna+tied+to+ural

Now, we go to act 2. What happened next. Yasodha after tying him in a mortar went inside the house. Krishna was silent for a while. But then, he couldn’t stay quiet anymore. He pulled the mortar and came out of the house. He got an idea to come out of the rope. He saw two big Arjuna trees outside his house. He thought to himself, If only I go in between these trees, then the mortar cannot come to the other side and the rope will get cut on its own and then I can be freed. So, he pulled the mortar and went in between the trees and pulled the mortar with all his strength! But amazingly, the two Arjuna trees, unable to withstand the strength of Krishna, fell on the ground. And two Devakumaras emerged from the fallen trees.

NalakUbara and MaNigriiva were the Devakumaras; they were the sons of Kubera. Out of pride on the matchless prosperity they had, they went to a pond along with Kandharva ladies to play in the water. The sage Naradha, was passing the way. Seeing the sage, the Kandharva ladies were scared and immediately wore their robes and saluted him. Whereas the sons of Kubera, since they had drunk extremely and out of pride, neither did they notice the presence of the sage Naradha nor did they bother to wear their robes. The sage grew angry on their activities and cursed them to become Arjuna trees in the earth. The sons of Kubera realized their position and apologized to the sage and requested for the way out of the curse. Naradha took pity on them and said that when Lord Narayana takes the incarnation of Krishna, their curse will end and they can return to their abodes.

Krishna, knowing all this, pushed the trees to the ground and released the sons of Kubera out of their curse. Nalakoopa and Manikreeva, prayed to the Lord and returned to their abodes.

perumAvuralil piNippuNdirundhu ang
kirumAmarudham iRuththavippiLLai
kurumAmaNippUN kulAvith thigazhum
thirumArvirundhavA kANIrE
seeyizhaiyIr vandhu kANIrE .

(Periyazhwar Thirumozhi – Mudhar pathu – Irandam Thirumozhi – Verse 10)

Tied by Yasodha on to a mortar, due to his mischievous activities, Krishna crawled between the two huge Arjuna trees and broke them. Oh Ladies wearing bright jewels, come and see the radiant chest of Krishna which has Lakshmi, Kowsthubam and the Tulsi Mala adorned.

Arunagiri Nathar, in his Thirupughazh recites as

parivoduma kizhnthi Rainju maruthidaitha vazhnthu ninRa
paramapatha naNpa ranpin marukOnE

He, as a child, crawled in between the Arjuna trees that worshiped Him with love and ecstasy; He is the great friendly Lord residing in the blissful heaven; and You are the love-filled nephew of that Lord VishNu!

Look at the beautiful Krishna who is tethered to the mortar and is pulling it. Also look at the sons of Kubera, Nalakoopa and Manikreeva, who stood as Arjuna trees and were relieved out of their curse.

Look at the beauty of the miniature sculptures which narrates the divine stories for us. The fun in spotting these beauties.

tirumalpuram+temple
tirumalpuram
tirumalpuram+location

Try to decipher them

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size

That’s the size and see how the trees have been depicting with faces at the bottom.

do+you+notice+a+face
krishna+destroying+2+tree demons
notice+the+face

Weren’t the Silpis so great that they could bring such creativity in such a restrained space and continue to impart divinity in their work!

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