Sunday, December 4, 2016

Upcoming Kerala mural painting - Hari - cause of all causes

Upcoming Kerala mural painting - Gajendra varada - Hari - cause of all causes

Srimad Bhagavatam. Canto 8:
Chapter 3: Gajendra's Prayers of Surrender. Text 15

नमो नमस्तेऽखिलकारणाय
निष्कारणायाद्भुतकारणाय ।
सर्वागमाम्नायमहार्णवाय
नमोऽपवर्गाय परायणाय ॥१५॥



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nammazhwar - vakulabhushabhaskara

On the occation of ani anusham -  sriman-nAthamunikal thirunakshatram on 18th June 2016
Painting of Nammazhwar along with madhurakaviazhwar and nAtamunigal. Ramanujar is seen at azhwar's thiruvadi.

swami nammazhwar


  • Nammazhwar is depicted with upadesha mudrai in hand.
  • he is adorning the vakula pushpa maalai
  • with dwadasha urdhva-pundram and tapta shanka chakra laanchanam
  • also kaaramaaran kondai is depicted

  • madhurakavi azhwar is depicted with prapanna paaagai - a variant of kireeta adorned by prapannas
  • also madhurakaviazhwar is shown with taalapathram in hand - writing down the drAvida vEdAntha





  • nAthamunigal on the other side is depicted with araiyar kulla - a variant of prapanna paaagai
  • also naathamunigal has taalam in hands
  • ramanujar is decpited at the thiruvadi of azhwar
  • the thiruppuli - tintrini-vruksham - is depicted behind azhwar
  • atop the vruksham we have periya perumal along with a pair of parots.
  • thanks to Ramanujan Iyengar  & Sripuram Srikanth for their invaluable inputs 




Let us conclude with this sloka from parAnkushAshtakam:



नमज्जनस्य चित्तभित्तिभक्तिचित्रतूलिका
भवाहिवीर्यभञ्जने नरेन्द्रमन्त्रयन्त्रणा |
प्रपन्नलोककैरवप्रसन्नचारुचन्द्रिका
शठारिहस्तमुद्रिका हठात्करोतु मे मनः ||
पराङ्कुशाष्टकम् - 8





Monday, May 23, 2016

Shodasha-bahu-narasimha

On the aspicious occation of vaishaka-shukla-chaturdashi Sri Narasimha jayanthi on 20 May 2016 came this shodasha bAhu narasimha 

Shodasha-bahu-narasimha
As always sketch was started with prayers to the guruparampara of aacharyas and to lakshmi narasimha.
Listened to Sri Mukkur Swami;s upanyasam  on narasimha avatharam multiple times in the course of this painting.
Also Smt Vishaka Hari's - prahlada charitram - based on Tyagaraja's Geya Nataka Prahlada-Bhakthi-vijayam was an amazing add to anubhava.

Sri Narasimha Swarupa

Here are quotations from vishnu kosha of Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao wrt swarupa of narasimha,
Vishnudharmottara purana (3,78(2), 5-7) identifies Narasimha with the Sankarshana form of vishnu   "haris-sankarshanamshena narasimha-vapudharah"
हरिस्सङ्कर्षणांशेन नरसिंहवपुर्धरः
and explains that the demon Hiranyakashipu actually represents ignorance "hiranyakashipurdaityah tam ajnaanam vidur budhaah"
हिरण्यकशिपुर्दैत्यः तम् अज्ञानं विदुर्बुधाः
and that Narasimha destroys it  "sankarshanaatma bhagavaan ajnaanasya vinaashanah" 
          सङ्कर्शणात्मा भगवान् अज्ञानस्य विनाशनः
Sankarshana in the form of Naraismha destroys the sins of the world, arising from speech, mind and body  "vaangamaanasakaayasambhuutam trividham jagataam malam sadaa paatayati" 
          वाङ्मानसकायसंभूतं त्रिविधं जगतां मलं सदा पाटयति 
Naraismha's form in this text has been described as "destructive of all ignorance" "sarvaajnaana-vinaashini" सर्वाज्ञान विनाशिनी  

Shodasha bAhu narasimha rUpa -  Iconography

 Dhayana of shodasha bahu narasimha as mentioned in Mantradevataaprakaashikaa (मन्त्रदेवताप्रकाषिकायाम्) (quoted from vishnunidhi)
.... "When one has to perform big deeds, one should medidate on Lord Narasimha who possesses sixteen hands. He is the master of the three worlds and he is adorned with all ornaments. His two hands are splitting(the body of hiranyakashipu) and the other two hands are extracting the entrails. One pair of hands carries a शङ्ख shanka(conch) and चक्र chakra(discus) while another carries a धनुस् dhanus(bow) and a बाण baana(arrow). Another pair of hands carries a खड्ग sword and a खेट  shield; another pair has a गदा  mace and a पद्म lotus; another pair of hands has a पाश  noose and a अङ्कुश  hook; still another holds in grip the head and knee of the enemy. Lord Narasimha possesses sixteen hands in this manner.".....
Various iconographic detials of Narasimha in various texts quoted in Vishnu kOsha:
  • body is that of a human being, but head is leonine
  • gakAnta nara rUpam mahAsimha atah para;
  • galAd adhastAn nara-rUpa-dhAri parata simhAnana-bhrt svarUpam
pAnaka-priya-naraismha




close up of narasimha


  • surrounded by thick and heavy manes resembling a circle of blame  sa-sATa-skandha-samAyukta, vishnu-dharmottara 3,78(2), 3: jvAlAmAlAkula-mukho jvAlA-kesara mandalah
  • his three eyes, which are large and round (vartule netre) emit sparks of fire (shesha samhita, 23, 19, tryakshair visphurantam) and glow like fire and sun put together (vishvaksena-samhita, 21,60, 'bibharti netrAni hutAShanArka prabhA~nchitAni')
  • body is crystal white, resembling a big mountain (vishvaksena-samhita 21,69, "shveta-parvata-sankAsham"), shuddha-sphatika-sankAsham) and shines like snow, jasmine flower or moon (ishvara samhita, 4,64, 'hima-kundendu-sannibha')
  • But it is inclosed by burning sparks of fire that emanate from the body itself (sAttvata-samhita, 12, 74, 'jvalad-agni=sphulingAbhis svadehotthAbhir Avrtam')
  • his eye-brows are knitted and twisted with fury (hayaShira-samhita 23, 15 'bhruvau hyAkunchitavakre')
  • the tounge is thrust out and is eager to lap up blood (lelihAna-jihvA)
  • A tall tapering and splindid crown (kirIta-mukuTojjvalam) adorns te head; and the form is richly bedecked with all ornaments


References

There were mainly two important references, firstly monolithic sculpture of ashta bhuja naraismha from thirukkurungudi.
Secondly, the aaradhya murthy of sri raghavenda mutt, sri shodasha bAhu narasimha.

Thirukkurungudi -
ashta bahu Narasimha Sculpture



Raghavendra Mutt Shodasha bahu naraismha

Though this shodasha bAhu naraismha of raghavendra mutt looks very similar to one painted, there are a lot of differences. This murthy carries ayudhas in 12 hands, while the one painting carries ayudhas in 10 hands. (two other hands holds in grip the head and knee of hiranyakashipu).

In Vishnu kosha Ramachandra rao mentions various shodasha bahu narasimhas, 
  1. vaikhAnasAgama, pAramEshvara samhitA (kriya, 23, 45-47) - weapons in all 16 hands!
  2. padma samhita (kriyA 17, 22-41) prescribes another set of weapons 
  3. parAshara samhita 25,10 mentions a standing form with 16 hands having three eyes and fierce fangs 

These days often people find it hard to differntiate between varaha and hayagriva, and here we are looking at multiple variants of a shodasha bahu Narasimha!..

Such suttle details amaze me regarding the preciseness of the dhayana shlokas & dhyana murthy, How precise the contemplation would have been!.. No wonder their dhyana was often fruitful.

 Let us conclude with a mangala sloka on jvala narasimha by Sriivanshatakopa Sriisriinivaasa Yatiindra Mahaadeshikan(ahobila-maTam) [www.prapatti.com/slokas/slokasbyname.html : Navanaarasimha Mangalaashaasanam ]

हिरण्यस्तम्भसंभूतिप्रख्यात परमात्मने | 
प्रह्लादार्तिमुषे ज्वाला नारसिंहाय मङ्गळम् ||

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yogānandanṛsiṁha - योगानन्दनृसिंह

Let us contemplate on Yogānandanṛsiṁha

[ svāti nakṣatra - sthiravāsara - 23rd April 2016 ]

Final painting of nrusimha


Firstly the dhyana sloka :


अथ योगानन्दनृसिंहध्यानम् |  अथर्वणसारे
 - (श्रीमुम्मडि कृष्णराज ओडेयर् विरचितः - श्रीतत्वनिधिः - द्वितीयःसंपुटः - विष्णुनिधिः)

नित्यानन्दमयं निरञ्जनमजं निर्वाणसन्दायकं
निर्व्याजं निखिलक्षमादिसुगुणं नीरेजपत्रेक्षणम् |
जान्वोर्बद्धभुजं सुदर्शनदरात्युग्रायुधोद्यद्द्वयं

योगारूढनृसिंहमीशमनिशं ध्यायेत् त्रिणेत्रं हरिम् ||

Meditation on Yogānandanṛsiṁha | from atharvaṇasāra
 - (śrīmummaḍi kṛṣṇarāja oḍeyar viracitaḥ - śrītatvanidhiḥ - dvitīyaḥsaṁpuṭaḥ - viṣṇunidhiḥ)

nityānandamayaṁ nirañjanamajaṁ nirvāṇasandāyakaṁ
nirvyājaṁ nikhilakṣamādisuguṇaṁ nīrejapatrekṣaṇam |
jānvorbaddhabhujaṁ sudarśanadarātyugrāyudhodyaddvayaṁ
yogārūḍhanṛsiṁhamīśamaniśaṁ dhyāyet triṇetraṁ harim ||

I contemplate on śrīYogānandanṛsiṁha, hari with three eyes. He is in eternal bliss and free from any attachment; He is birthless and gives liberation; without any external reason he posses all good qualities like forgiveness/tolerance; his eyes are long like the lotus petals. his hands rest on his knees. His other two hands carry two fierce weapons viz., a conch and a discus called sudarśana.

About yoga form 


Initial sketch
There are many classifications of images(vigrahas) in Indian Iconography. Generally people confuse Yoga form as merely the cross-legged-setaed posture, but there are yoga forms of vishnu in standing, sitting or reclining variants as well.

Here's a extract from the book "Elements of HINDU ICONOGRAPHY" by TA Gopinath Rao :
In the case of Vaishnava images each of these three kinds of images is further divided into yoga, bhoga, vira and abhicharika varieties. These varieties of the standing, sitting and reclining images of vishnu are worshipped respectively by those who desire to attain yoga or spiritual self-realisation, bhoga or enjoyment and vira or military prowess.
specific to the yoga form :
Among the aspects of vishnu  the yoga form, be it standing, sitting or reclining, must be enshrined in a temple built far away from the bustle of village, on the banks of rivers, or at junction two or more rivers, on hill tops and in forest reccess. The reason of the choice of such place is quite patent. The worshipper of the yoga image has to be a yogi or one aspiring to become a yogi; He would certainly  desire to have a calm place for concentrating his thoughts on the object of his worship; and naturally the temple is intended for the conduct of worship by him has to be away from human habitations.

Temples where this image is Enshrined 


We can see that the shrines of yoga form of śrīnṛsiṁha is seen is many temples like AhobilamSholinghur(chozha-simha-puram/ghatikaachala) & Melukote(yadhugiri).
Most of these places are 
hill tops and in forest reccess as mentioend earlier.

Other subtle details of this painting 


close up of the face 


  • In aagama shashtras śrīnṛsiṁha is prescribed to be enshrined in hill tops forests etc or amdist sudharshana chakra. As per this rule, most of the south indian vaishnava temples have a nṛsiṁha amdist sudarshana. I have also added a shadkonam to represent sudharshana
    • The shadkona(hexagram) which is the symbolism for sudharshana(in agama) happens to be symbolism of Anahata Chakra(heart) as well.
  • Srivatsam is marked in right chest of nrusimha which is the pheeta of srimahalakshmi.
  • He is also adorned with kausthubha maNi. This maNi represents the yogi who is so dear to him.  Reminds of Krishna's words in Bhagavad gItA - jñānī tvātmaiva me matam
    भगवद गीता  -- "ज्ञानी त्वात्मैव मे मतम् "  


close view of his lotus feet and padmasana 

  • Also we have a aasana padma in which Nrusimha is seated(8petal).
  • To depict his ugra(raudra) sharp nails, sharp teeth, etc are also captured.
  • All typical ornamets and garments in indian iconography are also used to decorate him.
    (ornamets - kirIta, makara kundala, graivEyaka, hAra, kEyUra, kataka, srivatsa, kausthubha, nUpura,etc
    garments - udara-bandhana, mukthA-dhAma, bAhya-dhAma, kaichiguna, yOga-paTa etc)


योगानन्दनृसिंह


This painting is A3 size - water+poster paint +ink on paper.
Comments and feedback are welcome.

Let us conclude with a mangala sloka on योगानन्दनृसिंह by Sriivanshatakopa Sriisriinivaasa Yatiindra Mahaadeshikan(ahobila-maTam)
[www.prapatti.com/slokas/slokasbyname.htmlNavanaarasimha Mangalaashaasanam ]

चतुरानन-चेतोब्ज-चित्रभानुस्वरूपिणे |
वेदाद्रि-गह्वरस्थाय योगानन्दाय मङ्गलम् ||
caturānana-cetobja-citrabhānusvarūpiṇe |
vedādri-gahvarasthāya yogānandāya maṅgalam ||

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sriman Narayana - Kerala mural painting

SrimanNarayana श्रीमन् नारायण !

Here's a painting of SrimanNarayana in traditional kerala mural painting style - keralIya sOpAna chitrakalA shaili (केरलीय सोपानचित्रकला)

A painting of Srimannarayana surrounded by devathas, rushis, bhaktas and bhagavathas

Few aspects of the traditional Indian art system is documented here with this art as an example.
  • Art begins on a auspicious day - this one began on shravana-dwadashi on 6th March 2016.
     
  • Started by contemplating the deity of Sriman Narayana - Vishnu - with following dhyana sloka

    सशङ्खचक्रं सकिरीटकुण्डलं सपीतवस्त्रं सरसीरुहेक्षणम् । सहारवक्षःस्थलशोभिकौस्तुभं नमामि विष्णुं शिरसा चतुर्भुजम् ।।
  • The murthy is sketched with shanka, chakra, gadhaa and padma in four hands resembling the guruvAtapurESha also known as guruvayurappan
     
  • The basic sketch is sketched in navatAla(नवताल) proportions.
    (similar to 8 head proportion for humans,
    this 9 head proportion is prescribed for uttama purusha & god in shilpa shashtrams)

Initial rough sketch on 6th March 2016 -
श्रवणनक्षत्रम्(विष्णुनक्षत्र) - द्वदशीतिथि
  • Usually ancient paintings have other devathas surrounding the central diety.
    So wanted to try something similar around this vishnu.

    यं ब्रह्मा वरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुत: स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यै: स्तवै- र्वेदै: साङ्गपदक्रमोपनिषदैर्गायन्ति यं सामगा:।
    ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा पश्यन्ति यं योगिनो- यस्तानं न विदु: सुरासुरगणा देवाय तस्मै नम:।।

    Namaskaram to that God is worshiped by Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Rudra, and the Maruts, 
    who is praised with divine hymns, Vedas with their Angas and in the Pada and Krama methods and by the Upanishads whom the Sama-chanters sing, whom Yogis see with their minds absorbed in Him through meditation, and whose end the Devas and Asuras know not.
Added more devathas around vishnu
  • Subsequently, added rushis around - viz nArada & thumburu and shuka & vyAsa
     
  • Was listening to "endarO mahAnubhAvulu-andariki vandanamulu" - kriti by Tyagaraja
    Decided to add more bhAgavathAs = bhagavad-bhaktas into the scene
     
  • Thus came prahlāda, dhruva, kuchela, gajendra, garuda, hanuman, gopikas, the cows and calves, the squirrel which performed its little mite in service of SriRama, etc

Completed the sketch with final details - and start of painting
  • In sOpAna chitrakala, the colors are applied in coats  yellow, red, green, blue, black  - in order
First coat of yellow color
Red and great coat

finally blue :)
  • The skin tones, proportions, expressions, etc of these characters describe the qualities which are beyond the retinal perception. This is one of the core aspects of stylistic indian art.
    For us, art is something which elevates us beyond this material perception!
     
  • The qualities of the character which the artist(kalAkAra) perceives is coded into the art using this framework.
    (It is more like the swara-system of the vEdas - with which the bhAva of mantra as seen by the mantra drashtas is captured)

black outline starting
  • This process of sketching and painting took around 28 days for me (since i'm doing this part time), and again on a shravana nakshatra, but this time with ekadashi tithi, on 3rd April 2016, the painting is completed by his grace.
     
  • Completion of the paitning is done by drawing the eyes of the main deity.
    It is called "nEthrOnmIlanam" - which literally means to "open the eyes"
    Traditionally this is done by the teacher.
    In my case I sought teacher's permission & did it myself.
     
  • Here's a video of my teacher doing the same to a similar painting


finished painting - 3rd April 2016
References :
  • paintings from north kerala temples,
  • paintings from mattancherry palace, 
  • paintings of my teacher sasi edawarad,
  • vishnunidhi-shritatvanidhi, vishnukosha, 
  • knowledge which has been passed on by the rushi parampara..
Comments and feedback are welcome.

॥ सर्वं श्री कृष्णार्पणमस्तु ॥

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Guruvayupuresha - Rough Sketch



Guruvayupuresha 
"tam-adbhutam bAlakam-ambujekShaNaM caturbhujam shanka-gadAdyudhAyudhaM" 

Poster paint on paper - rough painting


Initial small reference sketch was done on Janmashtami 

Madanagopala - मदनगोपाल - practice sketch

पाञ्चरात्रे
रक्तवर्णो दशभुजः सर्वालङ्कारभूषितः |  
शङ्खचक्रगदापद्मपाशाङ्कुशसुमाशुगान् ||
इक्षुकोदन्डमन्याभ्यां वादयन् वेणुमादरात् |
षोडशच्छदपद्मस्थषट्कोणोपरि संस्थितः ||
स्वरपत्रस्थगोपीभिरादरादीक्षितोSवतात् |
गोपालो मदनाख्योSयं मन्दस्मितमुखाम्बुजः ||
मदनगोपाल practice sketch.
  • standing amidst a 16 petal lotus
  • atop shadchakra - 6 cornered shape
  • 10hands - shanka, chakra, gadaa, padma, paasha, ankusha, sumaashugaa:(flower arrows), ikshukodhanda(sugarcane bow), and playing flute with other two hands.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sri Venu Gopala - Kerala mural painting


First attempt of kerala mural painting(सांप्रदायिक-केरलीय-सोपान-चित्रकला)
under the guidance of Sasi Edavarad

कृष्णो रक्षतु नो जगत्त्रयगुरुः कृष्णं नमस्याम्यहम्
कृष्णेनामरशत्रवो विनिहताः कृष्णाय तस्मै नमः।
कृष्णादेव समुत्थितं जगदिदं कृष्णस्य दासोऽस्म्यहम्
कृष्णे तिष्ठति सर्वमेतदखिलं हे कृष्ण रक्षस्व माम्॥
-- मुकुन्दमालास्तोत्रात्