Sometimes the sheer extent of geographical spread of our legends baffles me. The reliefs of Banteay Srei in Cambodia and Parambanan in Indonesia are such – veritable treasure troves. But once in a while, something very unique comes up, that makes you sit up and take notice. What we are seeing today is one such sculpture. This is from Banteay Srei complex – this follows the previous post of Kama vs Shiva which we saw deep in the hearts of Chola land – tanjore big temple – the illustrious capital of Raja Raja. It gives me great pleasure in presenting to you today the same legend depicted in Cambodia.
Lets analyse the panel in depth – shiva is seated on a high pedestal – a very regal presentation of Shiva, seated in an almost yogic stance – the spine straight, left arm on his thigh …he is looking down to his left – at Kama – who is taking his stance with his bow to discharge the arrow. Shiva’s right hand is holding a rosary but he seems to be giving it to the beautiful lady seated to the right. Below are three rows of various gods and demi gods, incl some animals.
How do we interpret this panel. This is most probably a composite panel – meaning unlike the chola version which comprised of individual scenes moving like a story board – this is just a single panel depicting the legend. Going from left to right ( of the panel) – Kama aims and discharges the arrow, shiva is woken up and looks at Kama in anger – but the impact of the arrow is strong, that he is giving up his life of austerity symbolised by the rosary to Parvathi and falling into wedlock !!!