How do you define the essence of Bhakti – in bronze !

Many before and many henceforth will attempt to describe the dancing form of Shiva – Nataraja. The concept of his dance has inspired many and many more are drawn to it by the craft of the master artists who immortalised the form, as they captured his swirling movement in solid mediums – be it stone or metal.

Today, we see but a sample of the masterly craft, of portraying emotions that will take reels of print to even to try to describe.

Thanks to arvind’s expert captures, we see the Lord of Dance, in all his finery, not in a Museum Showcase but as an object of worship. The infinite grace of the form, the power of the pose, the soothing gesture of the hands, bring a sublime calmness as your mind seeks out his gaze.

As you ponder on the manifest and the unmanifest, you loose track of time, before you realise that you are not alone. His consort Sivagami too stands there, awe struck, by her beloved’s pose.

The appreciative smile pushing up the cheek and the pride swelling in her chest, she stands in all her feminine charm.

That is not all, there is one more person in the composition.



Karaikkaal Ammaiyaar


We have seen many of her forms before in stone
, there are also a few museum exhibits of hers.

courtesy: From the Internet

The above bronzes while doing justice to the life story, lack a crucial ingredient. What made her unique was her Bakthi.

Bhakti or True devotion is more than just a state of mind, for it transcends existence. The primordial urge of any creation is to survive, not just to exist but to procreate. leave behind a progeny or maybe just make a ` dent’ in the universe. However, very few attain a state a state of total surrender to the supreme, where you stop seeking divine support to survive, to heal, to cure or just material richness or well being but instead submit in soul, spirit and beyond to become one with the supreme. Such a state of mind is so difficult to describe in words, the emotion of sheer bliss as you commune with the omnipotent. We can maybe comprehend the greatness of Karaikkal ammai with a ref from her 12th Tirumurai which condenses the essence of her bhakti in a stanza.

” I wish for the immortality of my love of you, for I do not wish for rebirth, however, if i were reborn, I want to be born again as your devotee, never forgetting you, and above all those wishes i pray for this wish – i want to see you dance to my joyful singing and that i want to witness seated at your beloved feet”

Now, take a look at the bronze.

The greatness of the craftsman to be able to capture the essence of that very emotion, of her going into rapture seeing her Lord Dance, the way her hands hold the cymbals – keeping beat while at the same time showing the appreciation, the uplifted face and the extended neck – showing her yearning, the face, the slightly flared nostrils showing the spontaneous outburst of emotion and the eyes, seemingly acknowledging the fulfillment of her wish.

That is Bhakti for you.

11 thoughts on “How do you define the essence of Bhakti – in bronze !

  1. ஆம், விஜய்.
    அத்புதமான பக்திபாவம் முக மண்டலத்தில் மிளிர்வது உண்மை !
    எந்த ஆலயத்தின் படிமம் என்பதையும் சொல்ல வேண்டும்

    தேவ்

  2. பிறவாமை வேண்டும். மறுபடி பிறந்தால் இதோ காரைக்காலம்மையின் பாதத்தின் அடியில் ஒரு இத்துனூண்டு இடமாவது கொடுத்து அருள் புரிய வேணும்!!

  3. அனபு விஐய்,
    அகத்தின் அழகு முகத்தில் தெரியும் என்பார்கள், அந்த அழகை உலோகத்திலும் உயிர் பெற செய்யும் என்பதை உலகம் எங்கும் காணும் வண்ணம்
    செய்த அன்பருக்கு எவ்விதத்தில் நன்றி சொல்வது.
    Ayyampet Balachandran

  4. I saw a sculpture of kAraikAl ammaiyAr in the museum in Polonaruwa, Sri Lanka. She was depicted as an old, ugly woman squatting with her cymbals (and singing) with an expression of rapture on her face. It was a very interesting.

  5. I saw a bronze(?) statue of kAraikkAl ammaiyAr in the museum in polonnaruwa (SL). A old, ugly woman, squatting on the floor in the middle of a chant, with her cymbals poised to clang. The rapture in her expression is unmissable. Lovely image. I am unable to find pics online.

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