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Posts Tagged ‘Krishnan ’

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.

location

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

miniature+sculpture
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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Friends, Its with great pleasure that we present to you our anniversary post. Exactly a year ago, urged on by friends and well wishers we embarked on this remarkable journey on uncharted ground. For us, it was a modest start but with lofty ambitions. Its been an eventful 365 days, not restricting to South India and temple art, we have traversed almost the whole of South East Asia, spanning Stone sculpture, Bronzes, Cave art, in the process compiling 150 bi lingual posts covering wide gamut of subjects,sharing a common goal - to spread art awareness.Its been a journey of learning and discovery to us and am sure to our loyal readers as well. Along the way, we met many interesting friends, many who contributed to the richness of this pioneering effort. In our small but significant way, we believe we have succeeded in instilling the love to appreciate sculpture in our readers by presenting them a unique perspective of temple art. A lot of work goes into these posts, sometimes months are spent in researching for the posts, waiting for freinds to share the right photos, the right angles, experts are consulted, rare books are sourced from good friends, the essence of all these are distilled and shared with you in a form that can be appreciated easily by all. As we step into our second year with all your wishes, blessings and support, we present to you another of our special posts.

This is one such post which starts off as a nonchalant conversation and blossoms into a beauty, while emphasizing the need for experts. While discussing with Vairam on the previous post, we discussed the iconography of two very similar looking bronzes. One a dancing Balakrishna and another a dancing Sambandhar. See this exhibit in Tanjore museum ( they are identified properly and exhibited side by side - thankfully - Picture courtesy Satheesh)

2 krishna and 1 sambandar - tanjore

To the untrained ( even many museums and sites are not clear) eye, both look very similar and are often mistaken for one another, or given both the titles to be on the safe side.

Take a look at these two bronzes. At first glance, they both seem the same.

Dancing-Balakrishna Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University
freer gallery sambandhar

But here comes the need for expert advise. Spurred by the doubt, we wrote to one of the foremost experts on bronzes today, Dr Nagaswamy, who replied to us sameday! That advise from the great man himself, who takes time to indulge and educate novices like us, is this post.

Lets look at the bronzes one more time,there seem some subtle differences especially with the pose of the right hand !

Dancing-Balakrishna Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University

We first look at this sculpture of dancing Balakrishna - the clues lie in his right chest. Do you notice the triangular Srivatsam mark just above the right chest !! refer the earlier post on the same. No doubts, its confirmed that this is Krishna. Notice how the right hand is facing the viewer - Abhaya hastam, offering protection to the devotee.

Now, lets see the other sculpture. ( Many thanks to Stuart Lee - the left hand - spectacular capture - from chennai museum and Sakthis for patiently assiting with the others from singapore asian civilisations museum )

sambandar sin musuem
chennai museum 3
watch the right hand

This is the more popular bronze, of Saint Sambandhar. The Chola kings were great patrons of Shiva,the very first verse of the Thevaram Hymns were sung by Sambandhar and aptly this sculpture depicts that scene.

According to legend, when Sambandhar was three years old his parents took him to the Shiva temple where Shiva and his consort Parvati appeared before the child.”parvathi fed her milk in a golden cup” . His father saw drops of milk on the child’s mouth and asked who had fed him, whereupon the boy pointed to the sky and responded with the song Thodudaya Seviyan - the first verse of the Tevaram.

Thodudaya seviyan song

the Lord has an ear on which a lady`s ear-jewel is worn.
He rides on a bull.
having worn a spotlessly pure white crescent moon of a single phase.
He smeared himself with the ash in the cremation ground which has the nature of a forest.
the thief who has captivated my mind
this person is really the great one who resides gladly in Piramapuram possessing greatness, where the Lord bestowed his grace on Piramaṉ who is seated in a (lotus) flower having petals, who bowed to him and worshiped him, in the distant past.

For a better understanding of this scene and to hear the verse being recited in this video capture.


Thodudaiya seviyan video
Now, that you have visualised the scene, think of how the sculptor showed this in bronze. And that is the clue to the identity of this bronze as well.

“The father asked who had fed him, whereupon the boy pointed to the sky”
Notice the right hand of the bronze. The index finger.

notice his lips,seems to be singing
notice the index finger

Let me get you the right photo angle to highlight this point of movement in chola sculpture.

study 22
study1
the movement of the index finger
watch the right hand

Notice that the index finer is at an angle and gives you a visual impression of being in the process of pointing upwards, its not yet finished traversing to the point of pointing vertically up. Such finesse in sculpting this image. Truly masterclass.

Here are some more splendid bronzes from Delhi Museum, Chennai museum, Freer Museum.

australia sambandar
madras musuem sambandhar
samabandhar pondicherry museum
sambandar bronze delhi national museum
sambandar tanjore museum2
sambandar tanjore musuem
sambandhar pudukkottai musuem

Now, from above its pretty clear to identify the bronzes

Auckland Museum

krishna auckland musuem

The srivatsam is quite visible, so its krishna

Hindu wisdom site

hinduswisdom site samabandar shown as krishna

This is clearly Sambandhar - as can be seen from the right hand and also the distinct ornamentation of similar bronzes.

Nice article on sculpture but..

The sketch below, while doesn’t show the srivatsam, the right hand index finger does points to the sky. So it should be Sambandhar as per reasoning above.

Bala krishna

we thank you all once again for your continued patronage of our site and we look forward to receiving more photos and information from your temple / museum visits.

We take this opportunity to wish all our supporters, well wishers and guides who have stood by us, motivated us and continue to inspire us to do more. The list is endless but our thanks rise from the bottom of our hearts individually to all of you.

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