A mole that adorns the chest of Vishnu – Srivatsam

Today we are going to see a bronze – not any bronze, but a spectacular Chola bronze. They are world famous for their beauty but its not just beauty that sets them apart. What is it in a Chola bronze that makes them so special?

Is it the craftsmanship, the artistic work, pleasing lines, attention to detail, expressions – no, its all of this put together plus something more. Maybe once you finish this post you will be able to understand what i am trying to convey.

To start with, lets take a look at the bronze, it stands in the Delhi Museum.

Vishnu – the protector. We have seen various forms of stone sculptures, but working in bronze, frees up the craftsmen to really pour out his heart. We have already seen in the earlier post on Bronze Umai of Singapore Museum, about the Lost wax method. But here is a beautiful verse from a unique Devotee, one who fell in love with the Lord, or rather who made the Lord fall in love with her!! Aandal
( A chance search yielded a ref to the verse in English

My beautiful lover, it is as if he has put clay around me and
poured molten metal into my heart.

and thanks to Sri Dhivakar we have the actual verse below)

The verse in transliterated Tamil with meanings below

mazhaiyE! mazhaiyE! maN puRam pUSi uLLAi ninRa
mezhugu URRinARpOl URRu nal vE’nkaTattuL ninRa
azhagap pirAnAr tammai en ne’njattu agappaDat
tazhuva ninRu ennai tagaittuk koNDu URRavum vallaiyE

Oh rainy clouds! like the clay which embraces the wax mold, which on being fried in the oven melts the wax, The azhagar of tiruvenkatam has embraced me outside, and is melting me inside out and destroying me. Wont you first unite me with Him so that I can embrace Him closely just as I am imagining in my mind, and then shower your rains.

The protector that he is, how does the craftsmen bring the benevolence and love in his face. A face that should be so radiant that it can charm every devotee.

Not only that, he is Alankara Priya. Meaning, loves being dressed up.

Now, we have seen the beauty, but the detailing ( hey i am coming to the topic just now)

Watch carefully. A test to your observation skills as usual.

Ok, a hint, watch closely, just above the right breast.

What is that. Not a barcode or a casting defect. Its the birth mark or mole of Vishnu. Read this sanskrit verse to know what it is ( thanks to Geetha Amma)

durdAntha daithya visikha ksahtha-pathrabhangam
veerasya tE VibudhanAyaka baahumadhyam |
SrIvathsa Kousthubha RamA VanamAlikAnkam
chinthAnubhUya labhathE charithArTathAm na: ||

Oh Dhaiva NaayakA! The unrighteous asurAs fight with You in battles and
wound Your chest with their arrows. You destroy them and yet bear the welt
originating from those arrows of the asurAs like a reminder of those
victorious battles. These arrow marks criss crossing each other on your chest
appear like a varNakkOlam (geometric patterns with different hues). On the
same Chest are seen the blue birth mark (maRu) celebrated as SrIvathsam,
he red gem known as Kousthubham, the wild flower garland revered as
VanamAlai (garland made up of wild flowers) and on top of every thing adorning
Your chest is golden-hued MahA LakshmI, who defines your auspicious
svabhAvam and Svaroopam. All of these special adornments on your chest shed
multiple reflections on the VarNakkOlam caused by the asurA’s arrows.
adiyEn’s mind enjoys the sevai of that valorous chest marked by so many
auspicious lakshaNams and considers itself as the most fortunate among all chethanams.

Now ladies and Gentlemen, thats how you enjoy a Chola Bronze.

8 thoughts on “A mole that adorns the chest of Vishnu – Srivatsam

  1. நன்றி சொல்லவேண்டியது திரு சடகோபன் அவர்களுக்கு. அருமையான பதிப்புக்குப் பாராட்டுகள் விஜய்.

  2. உங்களுடைய மௌன ரசிகர்களில் ஒருவன் நான். மிக அரிய பணியை அருமையாகச் செய்கிறீர்கள்.

    //மஹா விஷ்ணு, ஆபத்பாண்டவன்//ஆபத்பாந்தவன் என்று இருக்கவேண்டும். தட்டுப்பிழையோ?

  3. How interesting! I never thought of the Srivatsam as a mole — just as Shri living in Narayana’s heart,
    as Sita/Ram dwells in Hanuman’s heart. [perhaps where the latter got the idea for it?]
    Buddha has a tuft of hair there, Jaina Tirthankaras, a jewel.

  4. ‘அகலகில்லேன் இறையுமென அலர்மேல் மங்கையுரை மார்பா’ என்று நம்மாழ்வார் பாடியதைப் பார்த்துதான் இந்த சிலை வடித்தார்களோ என்னவோ.

    ஆண்டாள் எத்தனையோ புதிய செய்திகளை தன்னுடைய தமிழ்மூலம் நமக்குத் தெரிவித்தவள். இதில் இந்த மெழுகூற்றி வடிக்கும் முறையும் ஒன்று. மழையைப் பற்றி விஞ்ஞானமும் மெய்ஞ்ஞானமும் கலந்த பார்வையில் பாடப்பட்டதுதான் ‘ஆழிமழைக் கண்ணா’ திருப்பாவைப்பாடல்.
    ஆண்டாளுக்கு திருவேங்கடவன் வரம் கிடைத்தது என்றால், தமிழ்த்தாய்க்கு ஆண்டாள் மூலமாக வரம் கிடைத்தது. எத்தனை புதிய செய்திகளை வருங்கால மக்களுக்குத் தெரிவிக்க முடியுமோ, அத்தனையும் தன் பாட்டுக்கள் மூலம் ஆண்டாள் தெரிவித்துவிட்டாள்.

    அருமையான சிற்பம் இது விஜய்.. வாழ்த்துகள்!!


  5. I am grateful to you for I am enjoying South Indian Sculptures with your beastiful explanations. Incidentally Vishnu’s ears are too long and it is pierced making a big hole. Is it a Buddhist influence.

  6. we were all talking about six pack , but look at the beauty of vishnu, no six packs can match this beauty !!!

    enna vilai azhagae !!!

  7. Konerirajapuram natarajar also has ‘maru, hair cut mark in his leg. On abhishekam day you can see them. It is swayambu bronze icon.When Pandia king tried to test nataraja with (“OOLI”) chisel from the cut he bleed.

  8. Dear VJ,

    This is a wonderful caption and thankfully is accompanied by a full snap with the caption Vishnu Chola Bronze Delhi Museum.

    Can you pls. send me the link to this caption, because I would like to use it for some articles to which I contribute on the Wikipedia..

    I shall be so grateful.


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