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ELEMENTS

OF

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY
BY
T. A.

GOPINATHA RAO,

M.A.

SUPERINTENDENT OF ARCH/EOLOGY, TRAVANCORE STATE.

Published under the patronage of the Government of His Highness


the Maharaja of Travancore.

Vol.

I Part

I.

THE LAW PRINTING HOUSE


MOUNT ROAD
MADRAS
::

::

1914
All Rights Reserved.

PRINTED AT THE LAW PRINTING HOUSE,


MOUNT ROAD, MADRAS.

DEDICATED
WITH KIND PERMISSION

To

HIS HIGHNESS SIR RAMAVARMA.


Sri

Padmanabhadasa, Vanchipala, Kulasekhara

Kiritapati,

Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur,


Shamsher Jang, G.C.S.I., G.C.I. E.,

MAHARAJA OF TRAVANCORE.
Member

of the

Royal Asiatic Society, London,

Fellow of the Geographical Society, London,

Fellow of the Madras University, Officer de

L' Instruction Publique.

By
HIS HIGHNESS' S

HUMBLE SERVANT

THE AUTHOR.

PEEFACE.
The
the

tall spire
first

Hindu temple

of the

objects

to

arrest

is

one

of

the attention of the

observant foreigner and excite his curiosity as he

On

travels through India.

he meets with a number

going into the temple,


of

what may perhaps

appear to him to be grim and meaningless images,


in stone

and bronze and other materials, some with

two, others with four or more


variety of weapons

and other more

him on enquiry

or less curious

The man on the

articles in their hands.


tell

arms, holding a

spot

that one of those images

figure of Vishnu, the

may

is

the

god of protection, another

that of Siva, the god of destruction, and so on, about

the innumerable gods and goddesses

comprised

within the tolerant and all-inclusive fold of the

Hindu

religion.

Some such

than others of his kind,

is

foreigner,

more curious

sometimes tempted to

study these images somewhat carefully, find out


their

number and

characteristics,

legends relating to

and gather the

them from the PurSnas and


vu

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
from the learned natives

other sources, as also


of the

country well versed in their religious and

mythological

lore.

Then

out with his volume on the

at

Hindu

mythology and other kindred


most

fact are

of the

he

last

may come

gods, on

subjects.

Hindu

Such

in

books that have been written

hitherto by foreign authors on topics relating to

Hindu Iconography.
It is exactly
balg, the

two hundred years since Ziegen-

famous Danish missionary

of

Tranquebar,

wrote his work on the " Genealogy of the South


Indian Gods," with the aid of the information he
gathered from some people of the Tamil land.
the year 1785 the book

known

as

the Mythology and Customs of the

brought out by George Foster.

Pantheon

",

Hindus

Moore's "

with illustrations, was

In

" Sketches of

first

"

was

Hindu

printed in

1810, and then reprinted by Messrs. Higginbotham

& Co., of

Madras, in 1864, with notes from the pen

of the Eev.

Mythology

W.O. Simpson.
",

"Ancient and Hindu

a work written sympathetically and in

defence of the views of the Hindus,

with a large

number of extracts from the Puranas and other


Hindu scriptural sources, was thereafter brought
out by Col. Vans Kennedy in 1831. Another work

named
logy "

"

Hindu Mythowas published by John Dowson in 1879.


Classical Dictionary of

VUl

PEEFAOB.

The last among such works is W. J. Wilkins'


" Hindu Mythology ", illustrated with pictures,
and explained with reference

Puranas and

to the

other religious writings of the Hindus.

books dealing with

It will thus be seen that

Hindu images and Hindu mythology

are not alto-

gether wanting. Nevertheless, Fergusson,

who is an

eminent authority on Eastern and Indian architecture,

has justly remarked

" Whenever

" will seriously undertake to write

" sculpture

in India,

the history of

he will find the materials

" abundant and the sequence by no


" to follow
"

abundant

"

much

ideas regarding

must remain

branch

them and
;

it is

those

the

so entangled,

obtain any clear

difficult to

so, until

of

less tangible or

and have become

extremely

is

for this

but they are of

" satisfactory nature,


it

difficult

It cannot, however, be said that the

is different.

" enquiry also

'

means

but, with regard to mythology, the case

" materials are not

" that

any one

to be feared they

who

investigate the

subject will condescend to study the architecture


"

and sculpture

"

The

of the

country as well as

latter contain a

"contain
" subject

all
;

the

good

what

" give precision

is built

on the

to be steadied

and con-

or carved,

and substance
IX

II

books.

but they do not

available

information

and they require

" firmed by

deal,

its

to

which alone can

what

is

written

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
" It is

remarkable that, with

" activity in every

branch

all

the present day

of Sanskrit research,

" very httle has been done for the


" mythology,
" the

whole

which

is

so

illustration of

so intimately connected with

literature. It

would be a legitimate part

" of the duty of the Archaelogical Surveys to collect


" materials

"

on a systematic plan

and the production of illustrations has now become

" so easy

and inexpensive that photographs from

" original materials


" readily

satisfactory class

of

might

be published to supply this mostpressing

" desideratum.

" symbols
"

for this object

The
the

of

pantheon could

" delineations,

details of the

numerous

emblems and

divinities

also be collected, along

the

of

with the

by those familiar with such symbols.

" All this could easily be


" consequently

hoped

accomplished,

may

it

before

and

it

long

is

be

" attempted."
It

has to be said that the books by European

authors referred to above do not contain the infor-

mation, which

is

available in

works on Iconography

indigenous Sanskrit

nor do they give pictorial

representations of the sculptures that are actually

found in this vast country.

some
be well

of those

On

the other hand,

authors have given

understood

to be

Hindu mythology, and

in

their

what might

own

version

of

their descriptions of

PREFACE.

Hindu images, with

here

and there a pungent

remark about what they consider an uncouth representation or an immoral legend, they seem to have

cared to study neither the symbolism underlying


the mythical

stories

meaning

nor the

images illustrating them.

of

the

book on the model

suggested by Fergusson has indeed been a great


desideratum.

The

first

attempt to supply this want to some

made by

extent was

that

many-sided Bengali

scholar and author, Mr. Nagendranath Vasu, in his


interesting

volume on the Archaeological Survey

of

Mayarabhanja. Some years ago the idea occurred


to

me

that I might

the subject of

try to bring out a

Hindu Iconography

book on

to supply as far

as I could, the desideratum noted by Fergusson.

was

originally under the impression that

be done without

pressing

much

it

could

into service the

information contained in original Sanskrit works


of authority

on the subject, even

which I was not then

fully

of the existence of

aware.

Soon,

the

bewildering variety of images that were found in

and the same god convinced me

relation

to one

that to

get at the details of their

mythological

meaning and moral aim without the help of the


Sanskrit works bearing on them was almost an
impossible task.

Luckily, while touring in North


xi

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Travancore, I had on one occasion the good fortune

manuscript work entitled

to get hold of a small

Silparatna

and on deciphering

able difficulty, I found

yalam verse

it

small

came

my hands later

into

to be a synopsis in

fragmentary
on,

manuscript,

was found

Anisumadbheddga77ia.

Some

which

to be,

the colophons at the end of the chapters, an


csAled.

Mala-

the same name.

of a bigger treatise of

Another

with consider-

it

from

agama

years previously,

had purchased eight or nine works on Saivagama

but,

owing

to

the trouble to
this

want

of time, I

had not even taken

know what they

contained.

About

time I begaa to look into them, and what a

mine

wealth they revealed themselves to be

of

They contained chapter on chapter

of

minute

most Saiva images and

descriptions relating to

some Vaishnava images

My

as well.

more d,gamas and tantras resulted

to

search for

in the collection

number of them, which in fact belong to


From the materials
the various Hindu sects.

of a large
all

thus acquired, I began

first to

pick up merely the

descriptions of images, as they are given in them.

The agamas
topics

thus, I

generally

deal

with

than simple iconography.

went on improving

collection

of

at the

many

other

While engaged

same time

my

photographs of the sculptures and

castings representing the various


xu

Hindu

divinities.

PREFACE.
In the middle

of 1912, I

of writing out

images, and

actually began the task

a systematic

deities.

After having proceeded so

the chief difficulty in the

my

the

of

soon finished the description of a

number of minor

of

description

far, it

struck

me that

way of the accomplishment

undertaking was in securing the required

The work required

financial aid for its publication.

photo-mechanical reproductions of a large number


of images, the cost of

to scare

matter

me away

of fact, I

which alone was quite enough

should really have been compelled,

howsoever reluctantly, to abandon


object,

but

As a

from the undertaking.

for the

my

cherished

opportune help and encourage-

ment most generously

by the enlightened

offered

His Highness the Maharaja of

Q-overnment

of

Travancore.

The Dewan, Mr. Eajagopalaoharya,

readily perceived the

and promised

value of the undertaking,

to sanction the

the publication of the

amount required

work.

for

The sympathetic

attitude of this highly cultured gentleman at the

head

of

affairs

Travancore

in

stimulus and induced

vigour and
texts were

me

to

earnestness.

all

quickly

afforded a

new

work with redoubled

The

required

Sanskrit

gathered, but the growth of

the collection of the needed photographs did not

proceed

apace.

then approached the


xiii

Dewan

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
with the request that I should be permitted to
go out on

to places

tour

Mysore

also in the

to obtain

State,

The tour was sanctioned

these places not only enriched


collection, but

value
various

was

me.

to

and

my

the photo-

my visit

also of a very highly educative

me

enabled

It

iconographic

to

study

ing.

amateur kuowledge

of

frequently took pen

and occasionally

full-sized

the

emblems

and

symbols

photographing was impossible,

my

to

photographic

Wherever

directly from the sculptures themselves.

upon

in

State,

and the Bombay Presidencies and

the Madras

graphs.

the

outside

indented

there 1

drawing and paint-

and

ink sketches,

coloured drawings

of

mural paintings, although this latter work was


extremely tedious.
I

consider

High

Court,

many photographs

visits

from

my

friend, the

who

secured for

Vakil of

my work

as he could take during his

to various outside stations in the

Presidency
business,

on professional and

and thereby

considerably.

Mr.

well read scholar,


to

I received

Mr. M. K. Narayanasami Ayyar,

the Madras
as

a duty to refer here to the un-

which

stinted help
late

it

facilitated

other kinds

my

of

work very

Narayanasami Ayyar

was

and philosopher, and was


this work a learned article

critic

have contributed to

Madras

XIV

PEEFAOE.
on Devi-worship.

hand

of

however,

Unfortunately,

death deprived vae

on a sudden

all

the

of the

further help to which I had been looking forward


result is that this

work

has had to lose the advantage of an erudite

and

with high hope

and the

complete account

Devi-worship from the pen of

of

a profound scholar well versed in the Sakta and


other religious schools

known

to the sacred litera-

ture of the Hindus.

am

only too well aware of the several defects

which abound in
at the

this production of

mine, but

feel

same time somehow confident that scholars

will look

upon them indulgently by taking into con-

sideration the vastness of the material to be collect-

ed and digested, and also the fact that


duties in Travancore have
leave

little

time for

much

first

work

extra

attempt of

not profess to be anything

official

been so heavy as to

Moreover, I have to state that this

one respect the

my

like a

is

of this kind.

in

more than

its kind,

and does

complete presenta-

tion of the subject. I shall certainly consider myself

under the circumstances to be amply rewarded


this

humble work

of

simply breaking the

mine serves the purpose


ground

and

I take

of

induces abler

scholars to deal with the subject in a fuller and


satisfactory

if

more

manner.
this opportunity
XV

of again

expressing

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.

my
of

deep gratitude to the liberal Grovernment of

H. H. the Maharaja

Travancore

of

for

their

having made the publication of this work possible

and personally

Bahadur
for the

has

all

P.

am

highly indebted

Eajagopalacharya

to

m.a.,

Dewan

b.l.,

c.i.e.,

enlightened and encouraging interest he

along taken in the production of this work. I

cannot sufficiently thank Pandit V. Srinivasa Sastri,


Smritivisarada, but for whose willing co-operation

and unceasing industry


very

difficult for

best

thanks are

Sastri,

me

would indeed have been

it

My

to bring out this work.

due also

to

Pandit T. Ganapati

Curator of the Sanskrit Manuscripts Library,

Trivandram, for his readily helping

me

with

all

the

manuscripts I applied for from time to tiroe in


connection with this work. Mr. D. E. Bhandarkar,
M.A.,

Superintendent

Archaeology,

of

showed me great kindness

Circle,

Western

in lending

me

his

copy of Bupa-mandana, which seems to be a comparatively

have,

work on Hindu Iconography.


say that I cannot

in conclusion, to

ciently
to

late

my

express

my

respected master,

M. Eahgacharya,
Madras,

gratitude

for the

M.A., of

suffi-

and indebtedness

Eao Bahadur

Prof.

the Presidency College,

very great interest, which he has

throughout evinced in the work and the parental


care with

which

he

has guided

me

at every

PREFACE.
stage of

its

invaluable

He was

progress.

suggestions, and

failing source of

ever ready with his

was

inspiration

me

to

and encouragement.

I therefore respectfully beg to tender

my

most grateful thanks

has taken on

my

for

a never-

all

to

him here

the trouble he

behalf.

T. A. G.
Teiplicane, Madras.
September, 1914.

xvu
III

CONTENTS.
PAGES.
Preface

...

General Introduction

...

...

...

...

...

...

vii

xvii
59

32

Ganapati

..

...

...

...

36

67

Vishnu

...

...

...

...

69279

(a)

Dhruva-beras or Fixed Images

...

71

{b)

Dasavataras or the Ten Incarnations

(c)

Chaturvimsati-miirtayah

of certain technical terms.

Explanatory description

Vishnu

...

W) Minor Forms
Purusha,

of Vishriu

Kapila,

Dhanvantarin,

115

of

117223

...

...

...

...

225

...

245279

244

Yajfiamurti, Vyasa,

Dattatreya,

Hari-bara-

pitamaha, Vaikuritha, Trailokya-mohana


Ananta, Visvarupa, Lakshmi-Naraya^a,

Hayagriva, Adimurti, Jalasayin, Dharma,


Varadaraja,

Vithoba,

Rahganatha,

Jagannatha,

and Manmatha.
Ayudha-purushas
and
Garuda
Adityas, including the Nava-grahas

Devi:

...

Venkatesa,

Nara-Naraya^a,

...

...

281

...

297

...

325400

...

Srichakra, Devi, Durga, Nilakanthi, Kshemankari,

Harasiddhi, Eudramsa-Durga, Vana-Darga,

Agni-Durga,

Jaya-Durga,
XIX

296
323

...
...

Vindhyavasi

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
PAGES.
Durga,

Eipumari-Durga,

Mahishasura-

marddani or Katyayani, Ghandika, Nanda,


Nava-Durgas,
Bhadrakali,
Mahakali,

Amba, Ambika, Mangala,


Kalaratri,

Eambha,
palakas

Sarvamangala,

Uma,

Gaurl,

Lalita,

Parvati,

Totala, Tripura, the eight Dvaraof the

Gaurl temple, Bhutamata,

Yoganidra, Vama, Jyeshtha, Eaudri, Kali,


Kalavikarnika, Balavikarnika,
thani,

Balaprama-

Manonmani,
Eakta-Chamunda,

Sarvabhutadamani,

Varuril-Chamarida,
Sivaduti,

Yogesvari,

Bhau-avi,

Kshama,
Vijaya,

Siva,

Eiddhi,

Siddhi,

Dipti, Eati, Svefca,

Bhadra, Jaya,

Ghantakarni, Jayanti,

Kali,

Arundhati,

Tripura-

Bhairavl,

Kirti,

Surabhi,

Aparajita,

Diti,

Krishria,

Indrakshi, Annapiarna, Tulasidevi,

Asvarii-

dhadevi, Bhuvanesvari, Bala, Eajamatarigi,

Lakshmi,

Sri,

Mahalakshmi,

Bbumidevi,

Saraswati, Sapta-matrikas and Jyeshthadevi.

Appendix A

disposition

description of the plan


of

temple of seven a-yanlnas

Appendix

B A

and

of the

parivdradevatas in a Vishnu
detailed

...

description

...

of

145

the

Uttama-dasa-idla measure to be used in the

making
Appendix C

of

images

Sanskrit

...

...

7]

160

Texts relied upon for the

description of the images

XX

...

...

LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS.*
TO FACE PAGE.

PLATE
A.- -Yantras

A
Eama made
group

of

Salagramas and

an

salagrama.

11

...
and Sankaracharya, Kaladi
...
C- -Bust of Ohennakesava, Belur.
D.- -Vishnu bathing Kachohhapesvara, Conjee...
varam (A. S. M.)
E.- Sarabhamurti, Tribhuvanam (A. S. M.) ...

32

image

of

of a piece of

B.- -Saradadevi

P.-

-Trimurti with Siva as the

central

Tiruvottiyur.

36

43
45

figure,
...

45

Trimurti with Vishnu as the central figure,

Nagalapuram
I-

Weapons

held by images

Do.

II-

by images
IV- Headgears and ornaments of images
V- -Hand-poses of images
III- -Other objects held

VI- -Seats

of

images

VII- -Head-gears and hair knots


Do.
VIIIDo.
IX-

of

T, 8.

A = Trivandrain School

Madras.

A.

8.

Arts

images

A. 8.

Survey

45

...

...

...

...

12

...

14

...

18

...

28

...

29

...

32

M. Aroh^ologioal Survey
of Mysore;
A. 8. Bo =

Bombay A, 8. I = ArphEeological Survey of India


M.=India Museum. The photographs and dravyings whiohare not followed

Arohseologioal Survey of
I,

of

My = Arohologioal

of

...

by any

of the abbreviations given

above belong to the author's oolleotion.

XXI

HINDU ICONOGBAPHY.
PAGES.
Durga,

Mahishasura-

Eipumari-Durga,

marddani or Katyayani, Chandika, Nanda,


Nava-Durgas,
Mahakali,
Bhadrakali,

Amba, Ambika, Mangala,


Kalaratrl,

Eambha,

Lalita,

Sarvamangala,

Uma,

Gauri,

Parvati,

Totala, Tripura, the eight Dvara-

palakas of the Gauri temple, Bhutamata,


Yoganidra, Varna, Jyeshtha, Eaudri, Kali,
Kalavikarnika, Balavikarnika,

Balaprama-

Manonmani,
Sarvabhutadamani,
Varurii-Ghamunda,
Eakta-Charounda,

thani,

Yogas vari,

Sivaduti,

Bhairavi,

Kshama,
Vijaya,

Eiddhi,

Siddhi,

Dipti, Eati, Sveta,

Bhadra, Jaya,

Ghantakarni, Jayanti,

Kali,

Arundhati,

Tripura

Bhairavi,

Kirti,

Siva,

Surabhi,

Aparajita,

Diti,

Krishija,

Icdrakshi, AnDapiJirna, Tulasidevi,

Asvarii-

dhadevi, Bhuvanelvari, Bala, Eaiamatangi,

Lakshmi,

Sri,

Mahalakshmi,

Bhiimidevi,

Saraswati, Sapta-mafcrikas and Jyashthadevi.

Appendix A

disposition

description of the plan


of

temple of seven fwarore as

Appendix

B A

and

of the

parivaradevatds in a Vishnu
detailed

...

description

...

of

45

71

160

the

Uttama-dasa-tdla measure to be used in the

making
Appendix C

of

images

Sanskrit

...

...

Texts relied upon for the

description of the images

xs

...

...

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.*
TO PACE PAGE.

PLATE
A.

Yantras
image

of

A group of Salagramas and an


Rama made of a piece of salagrama.

Saradadevi and Saiikaracharya, Kaladi


Bust Chennakesava, BeMr.
D. Vishnu bathing Kachchhapesvara, Conjee-

B.

of

C.

varam

(A. S.

B. Sarabhamurti,
F.

Trimurti

M.)

Tribhuvanam

(A. S.

central

with Siva as the

Tiruvottiyur.

M.)

11

...

32

...

36

...

43

...

45

figure,
...

45

Trimurti with Viabnu as the central figure,

Nagalapuram
I

Weapons held by images

II

Do.

Other objects held by images


images
IV Headgears and ornaments
V Hand-poses images
images
VI Seats
images
VII Head-gears and hair knots
III

ot

of

of

...

45

...

...

...

...

12

...

14

...

18

...

28

VIII

Do.

...

29

IX

Do.

...

32

of

A = Tcivanclram School

M.

Arohreologioal Survey
Mysore; A. 8. Bo =
A. 8. I = Arohfeological Survey of India
Atohaeologioal Survey of Bombay
I, M,=India Museum. The photographs and drawings which are not followed
*

of

T. S.

Madras.

A.

8.

of

Arts

My = Arohseologioal

A, 8.

Survey

of

by any

ot the abbreviations given

above belong to the author's ooUeotion.

XXI

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
TO PACE PAGE.

PLATE

X Fig.

Unmatfea-uohohhishta-Ganapati, Ka-

1.

ladi.

49

"

Fig. 2. Kevala-Ganapati,

Tiivandram

XI Fig. 1. Laljshmi-Ganapati,

49

(T.S.A.).

Tenkasi (A.S.M.)...

53

Uchchhisbta-Ganapati, Kumbhakonam

do.
Nanjangodu
XIII Heramba-Ganapati, front view, Negapafcam

XI
XII

...

54

...

56

(A.S.M.) ...
1. Prasanna-Ganapati, P a 1 1 1 s varam
(A.S.M.)
...

57

(A. S. M.)

XIV
XV Fig.

XV Fig.

back view.

Do.

Trivaadram
XVI Nritta-Ganapati, Halebidu

XVII

53

Fig, 2.

Do.

2.

(T. S. A.)

58

...

58

...

59
80

MadhyamaYogastliaDakamurti, Mahabalipuram

XVIII Bhogastbaaakamurti, Madras Museum


...
XIX Adhama Bhogasfcbanakamiirti, Tiruvottiyfir.
.

XX Bhogasthaaakamurtii,
XXI Sfcbaaakamiirci,

(A. S. M.)

Tadpafcri

Mafchura

Museum

...

(A. S. I.)...

81

82
83

Between

pages 84 and 85

XXII

Bbogastbanakamurti, Madras

Museum

...

84-85

XXIII--MadhyamaBhogaathanakamiarti, Madras Museum


84-85

XXIV Yogasanamurti, Bagali (A.


XXV Bhogasanamiirti, Badami
XXVI Madhyama

S.

M.)

1.

2.

87
88

Bh6ga?anamurti,

Conjeevaram
Between pages 88 and 89

Do
XXVII
XXVIII Bbogasanamurti, Dadikkombu

XXIX Fig.
XXIX Fig,

...
...

Do.

Trivandram

Ellora
(A.

S.

...

M.)

(T. S. A.)

...
...

Yogasayanamiirti, Trivandram (T.S.A.)

XXX AdbamaVirasanamurti;
XXXI Madbyama

Aibole (A.S.Bo.)

Yogasayanamuirti,

puram

XXXII Madhyama

M ah aba

...

(I.M.)

90

90
88-89
91

D e o g a r h,
...

xxu

88-89

1 i-

...

Bhogasayanamiirti,

88-89

no

LIST OF ILLUSTEATIONS.
PLATE

TO FACE PAGE

XXXIII Madhyama

Yogasayanamurti,

Aihole,

(A.S.Bo.)

...

XXXIV Uttama

Bhogasayanamurti
putana (A.S.Bo.)
The ten Avataras of Vishnu

XXXV

XXXVI Varaha

panel,

(T.S.A.)

Mahabalipuram

XXXVII Bhuvarahamurthi, Badami


XXXVIII Varaha, Eajim, Raipur district,
Varaha, Nagalapuram

1,

XXXIX Fig.

(A.S.Bo.)

Museum (A,S
Madras Museum

Do. Calcutta

3,

XL

Do.

Lakshml-Narasimha,
XLI Fig. 1,
Museum

XLI Fig.

2,

XLI Fig.

3,

XLII
XLIII

Bo.)

i38

...

140

...

141

...

141

...

141

...

141

...

142
143

...

143

Lakshmi-Narasirhha Madras Mesum.


Kevala-Narasirnha, Halebidu
...

143

figure

of

XLV

Do,

XLVI

Do.

150

Kevala-Narasimha,

Badami

...

...

XLIV Sthau9a-Nara3iraba, Ellora

XLVIII

123

Madras

Varaha, Belur

Standing

XLVII

93

...

Phalodi, Jodhpur district,

Do.

2,

Marwar

...

CeD. Prov.,

(A.S.Bo.)

XXXIX Fig.
XXXIX Fig.

92

Eaja-

...

155

...

156

Dadikkombu (A.8.M.)
Do.

Madras
Do.
Tnvikrama, Rajim, Raipur

(A.S.M.)

Museum

...

157
158
159

Dt., Cen. Prov.,


...

169

XLIX

Do.

Mahabalipuram

...

170

Do.

Badami

...

172

LI

Do.

Ellora

...

174

Do.

Chatsu,

(A.S.Bo.)

LII Fig.

1,

Marwar
LII

Fig.

LII Fig.
LIII

Jaipur

Db.,
...

175

2,

Do.

Nagalapuram

...

175

3,

Do.

Belur

...

175

Do.

NuggehaHi (A.S.My.)

...

177

(A.S.Bo.)

xxui

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY,
TO FACE PAGE,

PLATE

LIV Eaghu-Eama,

Shermadevi, (A.S.M.)

LV

Do.

LVI

Do.

Eamesvaram, (A.S.M.)
Mahabalipuram

LVII

Do.

(T.SA.)

LVIII^Kriahna and Rukmini, Madras Museum

LIX
LX Fig.

Navanita-nrittamurti,

191

...

195

...

205
206

Madras

Museum

LX Fig.

193

...

Shermadevi, (A.S.M.),..

Do.
1,

189

...

...

206

...

Madras

Do.

2,

Museum

LXI Gana-Gopala,

Halebidu
Gana-Gopala, (T.
Do.
(A.

...

206

...

208
209

LXII Fig. 1.
S, A.)
...
LXII Fig. 2,
S. M.)
...
LXIII Madana-Gopala, Tenliasi
...
LXIV Kaliyahimardaka Krishna, Madras Museum.

209

LXV Govarddhana-dhara
(A. S.

LXVI
LXVIT Fig.
LXVII Fig.

2,

'

Halebidu

Balakrishna
Do.

LXVII Fig. 3, Vatapatrasayin


LXVIII Buddha, Borobudor, (Dr.

LXIX ChennakesavasvamiD,

LXX Fig.

1,

1,

2,

Beliir

Madhava, Belur

Hari-hara-pitamaha, Halebidu
Dattatreya
(A. S, Bo,;

LXXIII Dattatreya, Badami

LXXIV Hari-hara-pitamaha,

.'..

2U

...

214

...

215

...

215

...

215

A,K., Thcosophist).

LXX Fig. 2, Govinda, Belijr


LXX Fig. 3, Madhusiidana, Beliir
LXXI Fig. 1, Hari, Beliir
LXX I Fig. 2, Sri Krishna, BeliJr
LXXII Fig,
LXXII Fig.

Ajmere,

Museum
Badami

XXIV

221

...

228

...

229

...

229

...

229

...

231

...

231

...

252

...

252

...

254

Eajaputana
_

253

...

256

LXXV Vaikuritbanatha,

213

Nuggehalli,

My.)

Do,
1,

Krishna,

210

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
TO FACE PAGE.

PLATE

LXXVI Lak8bmi-Narayana, Beliir


LXXVII Hayagriva, Nuggehalli, (A.
LXXVIII-Adimurfci, Nuggehalli,

LXXIX .Talaaayin,

LXXX Fig.
LXXX Fig.

...

Halebidu
Do.

2,

261
262

...

(A. S. My.)

264

...

Varadaraja, (A. S.

1,

259

...

My.)

S.

My)

268
268

...

Dadikkombu, (A.S.M.),

LXXXI Vifchoba and Rukmabayi, Pandharipura


LXXXII Fig. 1, Manmatha and Rati, Halebidu,
Do.
Angur, (A.
LXXXII Fig. 2,
...

273

...

277

...

277

S.M.)

LXXXIII Fig.

Do,

1,

Nuggehalli

(A.S.My.)

LXXXIII Fig.

Manmatha, Tenkasi

2,

Do.
LXXXIV Garuda
l,Garuda,
Palur
LXXXV Fig.
Sudarsana-Chakra,
Fig.
LXXXV
'2,

LXXXV. A.

fA.S.M.)

and

Obverse

Do.

Badami

LXXXVI Surya, Gudimallam


LXXXVII Do. Meioheri
1,

Madras Museum
Do.

2,

Ellora,

3,

LXXXIX Surya,

XC Surya,
XCI Surya,
XCII S5rya,

278

...

287

...

288
288

...

...

291

...

312

...

311

...

313

{Gave temples of

India)

LXXXVIII Fig.

278

...

Reverse,

Dadikkombu, (A.S.M.)

LXXXVIII Fig.
LXXXVIII Fig.

...

...

313

Sarya, Rupnagar, (A. S. Bo.)

...

313

Ohitorgarh, (A. S. Bo.)

...

314

...

314

...

Ajmere, etc, (A.


Haveri, (A.

S.

Bo.)

Bo.)

Nuggehalli, (A. S, My.)

...

315
316

Madeyur

...

316

...

316

S.

XCIII Fig.

1.

Surya,

XCIII--Fig.

2.

Surya, Ajmere, (A. S. Bo.)

XOIV Fig. 1. Suryanarayana, Belur


XGIV Fig, 2. Surya, Madras Museum
XCV Torana of a Siirya temple, .Junagarh Museum,

(A. S. Bo.)

sxy
IV

...

316

...

316

...

317

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
TO FACE PAGE.

PLATE

XOVI The

Nava-Grahaa, Suryanarkoyil,

(A. S.

M.)

XOVII Sricbakra
XCVIII Do.

Hatha

...

323

...

330

...

331

...

341

...
Do. Mahabalipuram
...
Mahabalipuram
01 Durga panel, Mahabalipuram
...
Oil Fig. ]. Katyayani or Mahisbasura-marddani,
Madras Museum
...
Oil Fig. 2. Durga, Conjeevaram
OIII Katyayani or Mahisbasura-marddani, Gah-

341
342
343

XCIX Fig.
XOIX Fig.

Sringeri

Durga, Opakkur

1.

2.

C Durga,

344
344

gaikondasolapuram,

OIV

Do.

CV

(A. S.

M.)

BUora, (A.S.Bo.)

Mahabalipuram

Do.

OVI Standing

Bhadrakali,
turai, (A. S. M.)

CVII Fig,
CVII Fig.
CVIII Fig.

1.

figure

of

Do.

1. Parvatii,

Madras Museum
BUora

OVIII Fig. 2. AnnapiJrna, Trivandram,


OIX Sridevi, Mahabalipuram

(T

OX

Do. BUora, (A.

-Fig.

S. A.)

OXI Fig.

S. Bo.)

Lakshmi, Madeyijr

1.

2. Sridevi,

CXII KoUapnra

Trivandram, (T.S.A.)

Mahalakshmi
Gadag (A. S. Bo.)

CXIII. Sarasvati,
CXIV. Sarasvati, Garigaikondaaolapuram

CXV. Sarasvati,
OXVI.

Fig.

CXYI.Fig.
GXVII. Fig.
QXVII. Fig.

...

347

...

357

...

358

...

358
360

...

CXI

345
345

Tiruppalat-

Mahakali, Madeyiir

2.

...
...

...

360

...

372

...

373

...

37.3

...

373

...
...

375
377

(AS.M.)...

377

...

377

Bagali (A.S.M.)

1.

Sarasvati with a Vina, Halebidu

...

377

2.

Sarasvati dancing, Halebidu

...

377

1,

s'aradadevi,

Trivandram

...

378

2.

Varahi and Vaishnavi.

Tirunandi-

kkarai

CXYIII. Fig.

1.

The Saptamatvika Group, BUora


<cxvi

...

379

...

383

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PLATE

TO FACE PAGE.

GXVIIL Fig. 2. The Saptamakika Group, Belur


OXIX.
Do.
Kumbhakoriam.
CXX. Pifchaa Sapta-Matrikas
CXXI. Jyeshthadevi, Mylapore, Madras
...
...

...

ol'

CXXII.
OXXIII.

383
384

386
391

Do.

Madras Museum

...

394

Do.

Kumbhakonam

...

395

Vishnu temple with seven avaranas and the disposition


it.
To face page 9 of Appendix A.
Plate 1. App, B.
A figure of Vishnu drawn in acoordanoe with
the Mitotadasa-iaZa measure, To face page 9 of Appendix B.
Do.
Foot, palm and ear.
15 of Appendix B.
Plate 2. App. B.
Front and side view of a faoe Do. To face
Plate 3. App. B.

Plan

of a

of the parivdradevatds in

page 20 of Appendix B.

LIST OF

THE IMPORTANT WORKS CONSULTED.

Adityapurai.ia.

Hindu Pantheon by Moore.

Agnipurana.

Indrakshikalpa.

Ahii'budhnya-samhita.

Kamikagama.

Amsumadbhedagama.

Karariagama.

Anandalahari.

Kriyakramadyoti.

Amnaya

Kumaratantra.

MayurabhaSja by Nagendranabh Vasu.

Lakshana-samuchchaya

Arehseological Survey of

Lalitasahasranama with Bhaskararaya's commentary.

Bhagavata-purana.

Bhavdpanishad with the commentaty of Bhaskararaya,

Lihga-purana.

Mahalaksmlratnakosa.

Brahmanda-pura9a.
Brihad-Brahma-samhita.

Mabopanishad.
Maitreyyupanishad.
Mantramaharnava.
Matsyapurana.

Brihat-samhlta

Manasara.

Bhavishyat-puraria.

Bodhayanagrihya-sutras.

of

Varahamihira.

Brahma -purana.

Markandeya-purana.

Brahmavai varta purana.

Mayadipika.

Nalayiraprabandham (Tamil).

Charidlkalpa.

Chudamapi-nighantu
purusha (Tamil).

of

Narada-Pancharatra-samhita.

Mandala\

Narada-puraria.

Naradasamhita.

Devibhagavata.

Devimahatmya.

Nirukta of Yaska.

Divakara-nighantu

Nrisirhhaprasada.

of

Sendanar

Original Sanskrit Texts by Muir.

(Tamil).

Garuda-purana.

Padma -purana.

Hindu Mythology by Vans Ken-

Panoharatra.

nedy.

Pingala-nighantu (Tamil).

XXIX

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
EaiamaUngikalua'

Tanfcra-sara of Anandatirtha.

Ramayana

Tripurasundarikalpa.

Bupamatidana.

Tulasimahatmya.
Vamana-purana.

SaQdilyopanishad.

Satapatiha-Brahmana.

Vaikhanasagama.
Varaha-purana,

Sarabhatantra.

Vatulasuddhagama.

Saradatilaka.

Vayu-purana.

Sarva-siddhanta-sangraha.

Vicissitudes of

Saundaryalahari.

Saura-pura^a.

by Kunthe.
Vishnudharmottara,

Siddhanta-saravali.

Vishriu-purana.

Siddharthasamhita.

Vishriusaliasranama.

Silparatna.

Visvakarma-silpa.

Sivapurana.

Viitakhanda of Hemadri,
A work found along with the
manuscript of Silparatna and

Sattvata-samhiU.

Skanda-purana.
Sritatvanidhi.

Sudarsana-sataka.

Suprabhedagama.

whose name

Aryan

is

Civilization

unknown.

ADDENDA AND COERIGENDA.


The following were discovered shortly
printed

after

In the Karttari -hasta pose the arm


Karttari-liasta.

,,

the

so that the middle

is lifted

hand reaches

finger of the

,.,,..,

,,

hikka-sutra

the

to the height of
^ n
,
.,

are bent so as to meet near the middle of the

hand

the last or the smallest finger

is

and the
palm of the

ring-nnger

thumb
;

was

bhe book

also slightly bent

the

and the middle finger are stretched out and kept like
the legs of the lette r V. The palm of the hand faces the outside.
This pose of the hand is meant for holding the Mi'ikha, chakra
and other weapons.''
(See Pis. XX and XXII).

fore-finger

Chhannavira

is

an ornament which may be rightly called


double vajnopavHa. In this, two yajnopa..
,,
,,
vitas thrown one on each shoulder, pass
a

Chnannavira.

through the middle

of the chest,

where they are connected with

the urasshtra or the chest-band, and reach as far below as the

ydni or the public region, from which they turn to the back and

thence to the

Lakshmana on

shoulders.!
PI.

LV

and

(See
of

the

Varaha

figures

XXXI

of

in figure 1, PI.

Eama and
XXXIX).

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Page

X Line
XVI

^^

11

6.

For Arcbselogioal read Arohaeologioal.

1.

_,

14.

Omit of.
Omit handles.

Margin
of 3

13 Line
14_
,_

5.

14.

24.

For beads read hands.

For
For

PI. IV. Fig. 2 read fig. 9.

PI. V,

figs. 4,

15

3.

,,

For PL V,
figs. 1,

44

5 and

For
For

read

and

read PI, V,

6.

figs.

5 and 6 read

4,

2 and

saorificies

1,

figs.

PI.

V,

3.

read

sacrifices.

is.

i^or circuit read or circuit.

Omii colour.
For great rea(^ a great,
For back and front rearf. front and back.
For
Por

will read would.

would.

will reatZ

For mangoloid read mongoloid.


For case read the case.
For PI. rea(? Pis.
For from by which read from which.

For 15 read 115.


For extarcts read extracts.
For his read this.
OrttJi which are.
Substitute for in the da\- or in night, inside

house or out.
Pis.

XLIX,

L, LI.

For Trivikrama

krama panel

Line

248
249
249

Page 211
,,

,,

,,

,,

247

,,

,,

14,
3.

11.

f.n.5.

,,

f,n..'J.

For
For

Panel Stone

read Trivi-

Stone.

skillfully read skilfully.

circuit read cirouita,

For alloted read allotted.


For svana read savana.
For pratasvana rend pratassavana.
XXX 11

ADDENDA AND COEEIGENDA.


Page 249

Line

f.n.5.

For madhyandinasvanaread madhyandinasavana.

249

For fcritiyasvana read tritiyasavana.

For XXVII read LXXVII.


For Damhodhava read Dambhodbhava.
For Narayana to read Narayana are to.
For anxiously forward read anxiously
looking forward.

Omit of.
For latter read later.
For two other read other two.
For his read its.
For PL LXXXVI read PI. LXXXV-A.
For iconoclastic read iconoplastic.
For is more read is a more.
For suprabhedagama read Suprabhedagama.
For PI. LXXXVIII read PI. LXXXVII.
For
PI.

PI.

CIV

read PI.

XGVIII.
Sringari

For
read

XCIV.
Srichakara
Srichakra

and Pleti
and Plate

Srmgeri.

from below.

For central and read central

shrine and.

For of ten read often.


For of person read of the person.
Omit fuU-stop after desired.
Omit so.
For consort read consorts.
For Sita was read SIta is.
For conferor read conferrer.
For Markandeya read by Markandeya.

GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

THE

origin of

image worship in India appears

be very ancient and

known.

Many

believe

its

it

to be the result of the

followers of G-autama

Buddha adoring

and worshipping him

in the form of images

apotheosis after death.

to

causes are not exactly

their

master

on his

However, there are

indi-

among
Gautama

cations of the prevalence of image worship

the

Hindus long before the time

of

The employment of an external object


concentrate the mind upon in the act of medi-

Buddha.
to

tation in carrying on the practice of

India quite as old as Yoga

itself.

Yona

is

in

Patanjali defines

dliarana or fixity of attention as " the process of


fixing the

space."

mind on some

This process

is,

object well defined in


as

he says,

" of

two

kinds, in consequence of this defined space being


internal or external.

The

external object, defined

in space consists of the circle of the navel (the

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.

the

mind thereon

is

merely directing

There

to be there."

much

its

Yoga

of

is in this

older than the time of Patanjali.

pati Misra, a

fixing

existence

indeed ample evidence to

is

show that the practice

The

and so on.

nabhi-chaJira), the heart

country

Vachas-

commentator on Vyasadeva's Bhashya

on Patanjali's Yoga-Sutras, mentions a great sage

Hiranyagarbha as the founder

of the

Yoga

doctrine,

which, he adds, was simply improved upon and

promulgated by Patanjali, as evidenced by the use


of

the

word

anusasanavi

in

Patanjali's

aphorism Atlia yoganusasanam.

and

Hiranyagarbha

This

first

old sage

successor Varshaganya

his

Yajnavalkya are alluded to by Eamanuja and other


later teachers of

Vedanta

and Sahkara actually

quotes some Yoga aphorisms which are not found


in the

work

Patanjali, but look older than his

of

therefore clear that

image worship

time.

It

among

the Hindus was contemporaneous with,

is

development

not older than,

the

system, which, as

we have

the age of Patanjali,

of

seen, dates

who has been

the

if

Yoga

from before
assigned by

scholars on good evidence to the second century


before Christ.

system
because

is

There

is

no doubt that the Yoga

even older than the time of Buddha,

Buddha

himself

is

declared to have been

initiated into its practice in the earlier stages of

INTRODUCTION.
and truth

his search after enlightenment

may

be taken that this fact

tured representations of

and

it

evidenced by sculp-

is

Buddha

in the style of the

G-andhara school as an emaciated person almost


dying under the stress of the austerities he practised.*

Again, Panini, to

whom

certain

Orientalists

assign a date somewhere about the sixth century


before Christ, mentions in one of his grammatical

aphorisms

(v.

3,99) that "likenesses not to be sold

but used for the purpose

of livelihood

The word he

the termination han."

an image in a nearly preceding


is

pratihriti, the literal

thing
this

made

after

an

(v. 6,

do not take

uses to denote

96) aphorism

meaning whereof

original.

is

any-

Commentators on

aphorism understand these unsellable reproduc-

tions to be divine images.

Evidently then, there

were images of gods and goddesses in the days


Panini, which

of

were apparently not sold in the

bazaars, but were, nevertheless, used for the purpose


of

making a

living.

This would indicate that

the possessors of these images were able to utilise

them

as religious objects which were so sacred as

to justify the gift of

* See

fig.

61,

on

p.

alms

110

Arts in India and Ceylon,

to those

of V. A.

who owned and

Smith's History of Fine

HINDU lOONOGBAPHY.
exhibited them.

Finally, images of gods, as

they

laugh, cry, sing, dance, perspire, crack and so forth

mentioned in the Aclhliuta-Brahmana, which

are

the last of the six chapters

Brdhmana, a supplement
Bralimana*

of the

Shadvimsa-

Pancliavimha-

to the

As regards the existence

is

or otherwise of image

worship in the Vedic period in the history of India,

among European savants. Prof.


Max MuUer, {Chips from a German WorJcsJwp, I.

opinion

is

divided

answers the question,

35),

Did the Vedic Indians

'

make images of their gods,' in the negative. He


says, " The religion of the Veda knows no idols.
The worship of idols in India is a secondary formaa later degeneration

tion,

of

On

the other hand

hymns

clear references

worship of the ideal gods."


Dr. BoUenson finds in the

the more primitive

to images of the gods, {Joiirn. of the

Soc. xxii, 687,


of the

ff).

"From

the

Germ. Orient.

common

appellation

gods as divo naras, 'men of the sky',

or

simply naras (later?), 'men' and from the epithet


nripesas,

'

having the form

we may conclude
in

of

men', B. V.

that the Indians did not

imagination assign

human forms

to

iii,

4,

merely

their gods,

but also represented them in a sensible manner."

'

Macdonell's Sanskrit Literature,

p.

210.

INTRODUCTION.

Image worship seems


in the time of Yaska.
"

We

now
One mode of
are

to

have become

common

In his Nirulda he says,

to consider the forms of the gods.

representation in the

them resemble men;

they are praised and

for,

addressed as intelligent

hymn makes

They

beings.

are

also

celebrated with limbs such as those of men."

Later on Patanjali even gives in a casual

manner an idea as
commonly in use
"

What

to the
:

images which were then

he says in the Mahabhashya

about such likenesses as

Siva,

of

Skanda

and Visakha, which are known as Siva, Skauda and


Visakha, and not Sivaka, Skandaka andVisakhaka?"

In the Ramayana, we see mention


in

Lanka, (Bk. VI.

fact

of

temples

39, 21), clearly evidencing the

that there existed at least in S. India the

worship of images enshrined in temples.

Thus

there appears to be evidence enough to

image worship

suggest that

unknown even
likely that

was

Vedic Indian

to the

probably
;

and

it

not

seems

he was at least occasiouallj' worship-

ping his gods in the form of images, and continued


to

do so afterwards

to

image worship

Literature.

also.

to

Such

is

the evidence as

be found in early Sanskrit

It is desirable to direct our attention

to actual sculptures

and

to references

occurring in ancient inscriptions.

to

images

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
The

oldest piece of sculpture, in

distinctly

Hindu

known now,

in character,

is,

South India

as far as

it

From

the Lihga at Gudimallam.

is

the

features of the figure of Siva carved thereon in


half relief,
figure,

from the ornaments worked out on the

from the arrangement

of the

drapery, from

the battle-axe upon the shoulder, and


characteristics,

it

may

down

be put

many

to belong to

the period of Bhaurhat sculptures, that

second century before


piece of sculpture

is

other

to the

is,

This remarkable

Christ.

interesting in

two ways

it

at

once assures us of the exact nature of early Lihga


worship and also affords us a lower limit of time in
relation to the worship of Siva in the

Lihga.

From

this

that Lihga worship

form

of a

Lihga we may safely conclude


is

at

as old as the

least

2nd

century B.C.

Then

the

again,

stamhlia discovered
states

on a

Garnda-

Besnagar quite

recently,

inscription

in

that Heliodoros, the son of Dion, a

vata, who came from Taxila

in

Bhaga-

the reign of the

great king Antalkidas set up that Gamda-dliraja


in

honour

of

Vasudeva.

For

this king Antalkidas

various initial dates have been fixed, which range

from B.C. 175 to 135.

known
deva

inscription

and from

This

is

about the earhest

mentioning Vishnu as Vasu-

this

we

are in a position to assert

INTEODUCTION.
that the worship of Vasudeva in temples in India

cannot be later than the 2nd century B.C.

The

following are

some

the noteworthy

of

references to the iconographic aspect of the Vishnu


cult in inscriptions

The Udayagiri Cave inscrip-

dhala, son of Vishnudasa, grandson of

tion of

Chhagala and vassal


gupta

II,

of the

Gupta

king, Chandra-

dated the Gupta Bra 82 (A.D. 401-2),

records the dedication of a rock-out shrine to Vishnu.

The undated

inscription of the Bhitari stone pillar,

belonging to the reign of Skandagupta, mentions


that an image of the god Sarngin was set up and
a village
repairs to

was

allotted for

the lake

its

worship.

Certain

Sudarsana by the governor

Parnadatta's agent Chakrapalita

said to

is

have

been made in the Gupta year 138 (A.D. 457-8).

The same person also built a temple to Chakrabhrit (Vishnu). The Gahgdhar inscription of Visvakarma, dated A.D. 423-4, records that a person
built a

temple

and dug

for

Vishnu and the Sapta-Matrikas

a well for drinking water.

Iran stone

pillar inscription of the

time of Budhagupta, dated

Gupta Era 165 (A.D.

484-5), informs us that a

Maharaja Matrivishnu and

his

younger brother

Dhanyavishnu erected a dhvaja-stwmhha


Janarddana.

The Khoh

for the

god

copper-plates of Maharaja

Samkshobha dated G.E. 209 (A.D.

528-9), begins

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
with the famous

Bhagavate Vasudevaya

)uii)io

The

in inscriptions

tion of the reign of

of the

Om

',

Bhagavatas.

are similar references to the

following

Siva cult

mantra

twelve-lettered

'

Udayagiri Cave inscrip-

Chandragupta

Sambhu

records the

II,
;

while another

in Bilsad, belonging to the reign of

Kumaragupta,

excavation of a shrine for

and dated

G-.E.

96 (A.D. 415-6),

the erection of a

number

of

nriakes

mention

of

additional buildings

attached to the temple of Svami Mahasena.

The

by the inscriptions quoted

facts disclosed

above clearly show that the two Hindu cults

of

Siva and Vishnu were in an advanced condition in


the 5th century A.D., so as to indicate that they

must have had behind them many centuries

of

developement.
II.

The
of

objects worshipped by

Hindus

gods and goddesses, salagramas,

are images,

bana-Iingas,

yantras, certain animals and birds, certain holy


rivers,

tanks,

Besides these,
local

trees

and sepulchres

there are several

of

saints.

minor objects

of

importance and personal predilection, which

are also used as objects of worship.

The Hindu images

of

gods and goddesses are

broadly divisible into two classes as the Vaishnava

INTEODUCTION.
and the Saiva.

In this

classiiication

may

well be

included, for the sake of convenience, the images


of Devi,

Ganesa, and other such deities since they

according to the Puranas,

are,

manner
fact,

or other to

related in

Vishnu or Siva.

the goddesses associated with,

some

As a matter of
Vishnu and Siva

represent their various divine powers and energies.

The images

of gods

and goddesses

are worship-

ped by the Hindus not only in temples as public


places of worship but also in private households.

Since the regular worship of images requires attention to a great

many details

in respect of ceremonial

purity and piety, such worship

conducted in
rule

is

that

many
it

is

only occasionally

house-holds, even though the

should be conducted every day.

Every Hindu household possesses

its

own images

of the family deity {ishta-devatds Sind hda-clevatas)

and worship

is

offered

to

On

all

only occasionally.

them

in

many

families

other days a sdlagravia,

a hdna-linga, a sphaUha-lihga or some such small


object

is

worshipped, since nothing can be eaten

by a pious Hindu which has not been offered in


worship to his deity. A mlagrdnia is generally a
fiintified

Salagrama,

river

beautifully polished.

one

of the

ammonite

shell,

which
^

is
,

worn and thus rounded and


The river Gandaki, which is

well-known tributaries
9

of the

Ganges,

is

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
famous

Each

in India

for

deposits of salagramas.

its

of tliese lias a hole,

through which are

visible

several interior spiral grooves resembling the re-

presentation of the cliah'a or discus of Vishnu

and

these are in fact considered by the people to be the

naturally produced representations of the discus of

The salagrama

Vishnu.

upon

is

in consequence looked

Eemarkable

as a representative of Vishnu.

virtues are attributed to

often offered to

There are

some

treatises

and evaluation

of

it

and fabulous prices arc

particular specimens of

examination

on the subject

of the

salagramas

and there are

it.

also,

here and there, a few experts to be found even in


these days for estimating their value.
as well as

the disposition of

through the holes


of the

many

is

The number

the spirals visible

utilised in ascertaining

aspects and avataras of Vishnu a given

specimen represents and what the value


the worshipper.*

which

The Varaha-'purana

good or auspicious salagrama

of

it is

to

states that

ono which has a

is

chakra, which resembles a iiaga (cobra) reposing in a spiral


the spirals of the chakra in the salagrama should have in

them

delicate traceries running across them.

which are
efficacious,

of the size of

an amalaka

Salagramas may be

brownish black, green, white,


yellow or multicoloured.

fruit or smaller, are

of

the

red, blue,

They

Those salagramas

following

very

colours

dark brown, jet-black,

are said to belong respectively

10

PLATE

"Uf

A.

uy ly

mm

fl:

111

e
e
e

sn

i|^

:n

3 m
111

4T
f?t

5IT

3T

Uf

Jti

t^

jh

JTi

YantRAS.

group

of

salagramas and an image


piece of ialagidma.

[To face page XI.]

of

Eama made

of a

INTEODUCTION.
the river-goddess of the Gandaki requested Vishnu
to be born in her

womb,

and came to be born

to

which Vishnu acceded

in the river as salagramas.

common sight to find a large


collection of salagramas in many important temples,
It is a fairly

mathas and even

in monasteries called

They

old households.

are worshipped

vas and also by persons


persuasion

but

Agamic

the

by Vaishna-

Vaidik Saiva

the

of

in certain

and the

Saivas

Vira-Saivas do not worship them.

to

Narasimha, Vamana, Vasudeva, Samkarshana, Damodara

and

Aniruddha,

Sridhara.
to

Narayana,

Kshetra-Vaishnava

salagrdma with three chakras

Lakshmi-Narayana.

is

Fine spiralled ones grant

desires of the worshipper, whereas black ones

{Mrti)
sons.

white salagramas destroy

Sdlaqramas

of

blue,

sin,

of the auspicious salagramas,

all

the

would give fame

and yellow ones confer

colours

etc.,

wealth, while red bestows enjoyment

and

(?),

said to belong

grant peace

ibhoga).

Even

might be worshipped.

and
pieces

The

fol-

lowing specimens must be avoided badly mutilated, and rough


:

surfaced ones, thase having a large


scarred with

having too
spiral

(?),

many
many

big

lines,

of

chakras in a

having only one loop in the

or large spiralled, down-looking and

burnt ones, very red ones,

number

of holes or pits, or

porous, unusually large sized, those

spirals, or

mouthed

number

ill

line

looking ones, and those with

worshipping these brings only

misery to the worshipper.


11

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Bana-lin^as mostly consist of quartz and are

They

egg-shaped pebbles.
Bana-lingas.

cnbed
of

m
.

Trilochana Sivacharya

by Isvara and may be

are des-

^^

the Siddhanta-sardvali

" Banalingas are liked

in sizes ranging

from the

eighth of an ahgnla (inch) to one hasta (cubit).

They may be

of the colour of a xi'gQJamhu fruit, of

honey, of a black beetle, or of the touch-stone, or

may

be blue, deep-red or green.

also

be of the

They have
like

to

an egg

same colour

The
the

as

x>ltlm

hana-linga.

cow

be either like the teat of a

in shape,

should

or

and must be highly polished.

These hana-Jingas are said to be found in Amaresvara, on the

Mahendra mountain,

in Nepal, in the

Kanyatirtha and Asrama near the same place.


is

It

considered that each of these places contains a

crore of hana-lihgas,

and that there are three

crores of hana-lihgas in each of the following places


of

Saiva pilgrimage, namely, Srisaila, Liiigasaila

and Kaligarta.
Yantras

are

and

mystic

certain

magical

diagrams engraved upon metallic


Yantras,

plates,

sometimes drawn on

or,

paper, witli certain mystic letters in

These diagrams are supposed

to

protect the worshipper from

ills

ence of evil deities or evil


12

association.

have the power to


due to the

spirits,

influ-

and to bestow

INTRODUCTION.
on him happiness, wealth
from

liberation

and eventually even

Sometimes they

births.

worn

are

about the person of the worshipper in small cylindrical gold

or silver cases.

and the

of the yantras

Srichakra.
ijantra,

The most important

holiest

among them

is

the

(For an extensive treatment of this


" Srichakra ")

under

see

It

generally in very high esteem, but

is

is

held

especially

adored by the worshippers of Devi.

The

pious

Hindu

regards the

reverence due

cow with the

to a divine being

Cow.

him she is as dear as a


Worship is offered to her by some

and
goddess-mother.

Hindus

to

on

regularly

all

important occasions, she


as for instance,

is

On

Fridays.

certain

specially worshipped,

on the day following the Makara-

sahkranti in South India.

In North India, one

often sees cows being freely fed in front of temples

by

visitors going there

Hindu an avatara
the mythical all-bestowing cow of
to the pious

Among

Every cow

to worship.
of

is

Kamadhenu,

the god Indra.

brahmany kite,
the most sacred
and when a

the birds, Garuda, the


is

Birds.

pious
of these birds
offers

Hindu happens

hovering in the sky, he

obeisance to

very good omen,

if

it.

It

is

to

see

one

invariably

considered to be a

one of these birds happens to


13

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
be seen

when one goes about on any important

business.

Worship

is

also offered to holy rivers like the

Ganges, the Godavari, the Kaveri,


Sivers.

The Ganges

etc.

be holy throughout the year

in

considered to

even in the case

of

along her course

this river, certain specific places

and certain times

is

the year are held

very sacred; and bathing in the river in


times and places and doing fuja to her

is

be

to

those

esteemed

Various other rivers and even

very meritorious.

certain tanks are considered holy during particular

periods and on special occasions


river Kaveri in

South India

is

the

for instance,

especially worship-

ped in the month of Tula (October-November),

and pilgrims from various parts

of India

go to

Sanghamukha, which

Talakaveri, Srlrangam and

are holy places situated at the source, the middle

and the end respectively

of the river Kaveri.

similar manner, a large sacred tank at

In a

Kumbha-

konam, generally held in very great veneration,


considered

to

become

specially

sacred

once in twelve years

celebrated as the
in

North India

of

and this occasion

is

Mahamakha.
in

relation to

The various melas


sacred rivers

tanks correspond to the things described above.


14

the

month

occasion of the Maliha-naksJiatra in the

Magha

on

is

and

INTEODUCTION.
Tree worship

feature

in

The asvatiha

popular
Hinduism.
"^

Trees.

"^

(Ficus

tree

Buddhist

is

religiosa)

due to the fact

of

always

is

The sacredness

sacred to the Hindu.


to the

common

also

is

of this tree

Buddha having

obtained his religious enlightenment while meditating under

new-moon

On

it.

falls,

those mondays, on which the

circumambulations and offerings

made

of various things are

many Hindu women.

asvaWia

to the

temple has some particular tree which


to that temple

and goes by the name

viiJcsha or the tree

the

of

the place.

kadamba (nauclea kadamba)

vriksha

of

famous

the

temple at Madura

tree

by

In South India, each Siva

the

peculiar

is

of sthala-

For instance,

tree is the stliala-

Minakshi-Sundaresvara

jambu

tree is the sthala-

vriksha of the temple of Jambukesvara at Tiru-

The

vanaikkaval near Trichinopoly.

(ocimum basilicum)

is

held

in

tulasi plant

high esteem in

association with Vaishnavism, and regular pTija


daily offered to this plant in

even to-day.

The

and pleasing an

is

many Hindu homes

leaves of this plant are as sacred

offering to

Vishnu as those

of the

bael tree are to Siva.

Another object
Sepulchres of
saints,

of

adoration to the

^hc sepulchre

of

Hindu

saints.

is

Places

hallowed by the presence of such


15

HINDU ICONOGBAPHY.
me-

sepulchres, or associated otherwise with the

mory

of saints

sages, are venetrated all over the

For instance, the birth places

country.

racharya,

and

and

also

Eamanujacharya and

of

Sahka-

Madhvacharya,

the places where these

teachers

great

passed away, are held in high reverence by their

The temple

respective followers.

of the

famous

Vaishnava devotee Pundalik near Pandharipur


visited

by

all

who go

pilgrims

there

is

worship

to

Pandharinath, the tradition being that this god


appeared at Pandharipiir in response to the dutifulness and devotion of PundalD^.

Many

other minor objects, such as inscribed


stones and even ordinary bricks,

other objects.
etc.,

are also

worship occasionally.
serve

The conch

more than one purpose

But that variety

worship.
spirals

in
of

into objects of
shell

is

used to

the conduct

of

which has

its

it

running dextrally clockwise, when viewed

as springing

up from within

even worshipped.

and

as

and

specially valued

In

all

such, which

the object, whatever

be

any

made

these cases

is

it

deification,

may

able object, small or large,

object of worship.

is

Indeed, through the procebucb

of religious stiuctification

object,

made

it is

into

an

not the

worshipped in reality:

may

be,

is

understood to

represent the deity intended to be wort^hipped.


16

suit-

INTEODUCTION
III.

Images are divided into three

chala

classes, as

(moveable), acliala (immoveable),

^^^ chalacJiala (moveable-immove-

of images'.^*^"^

The
made

able).

are those

which

easily portable

meant
out,

of

festive

haliheras,

occasions,

monly known
and

permanently

is,

vlra

varieties

of

comand

stone

They
Dhruva-

called

sthanaha, asana

standing, sitting and reclining.

Vaishnava images each

and
the

of

and heavy images.

three kinds of images


blioga,

are

the central shrine.

beras are of three kinds

of

made

generally

are invariably large

In the case

purpose of

for the

parivaras, and for bathing

fixed in

and saijana, that

in

the mula-vigralias or dhnova-

as

are

and

employed

The immoveable images

respectively.

beras,

* are

services,

the

procession

in

and snapana-beras,
bali to

metal and are

of

the ittsava-beras are taken

relation to the daily


offering

images

these the hautulca-beras are

archana

for

on

are

moveable

is

of these

further divided into, yoga,

abhichttriJca

standing,

varieties.

sitting

These

and reclining

(^i^jrT^Rt^H^irt)

17

INTEODUCTION.
images

Vishnu are worshipped respectively by

of

who

those

desire to attain

realisation,

yoga or spiritual

self-

bhoga or enjoyment and vlra or military

prowess.

There

is

yet another classification of images

and

into three kinds as chitra, chitrardha

hhasa*
all

Chitra denotes images in the round with

their limbs completely

name

Chitrdirdlia is the

and chitrabhasa

relief,

cliitrU-

worked out and shown.

given to figures in half-

refers to

images painted on

walls and cloths, and such other suitable objects.

Moreover, an image sculptured fully in the

round

said to be vyaJcta or manifest

is

if it is

half

represented, say up

to the chest, as in the case of

the images on the

viuhha-lihga, and in

known

as Trimurti in

what

the Blephanta Cave,

it

is

is

called vijaMavyalxta or manifest-and-non-manifest

and objects

like

the lihga, the salagrdma, the bana-

linga, etc., are said to be

avyahta or non-manifest

form.

f%fr5=E^

II

The Tamil commentary on

runs as follows
^(dsd

ersbsD/r

^s)Tsi|L/i-li_^

which

ment

^^

is

is

^eiiiuiw.x^Lh ei^sm lditiu^^

Sl^^wQunek^

Quujir/rtp,

measurable by the six ways


called cliitram:

II

18

this passage

f^^fcT'T^

of

f^

'

that

measurefcJl^^prra-

INTRODUCTION.

The images

no gods other than Vishnu

of

They might

should be represented as recHuing.


all

be sculptured as standing or sitting

images

of

Vishnu alone could be

postures, standing, sitting

There

in all the three

reclining.

{raiulra

terrific

saumya) nature.

pacific {santa or

and

number

large

The images

weapons of war.

of

heads, and
skulls

class

first

'hands carrying

of terrific nature

have

round their

some cases adorned with human

The raudra form

and bones.

worshipped

or

long tusks and

also wide, circular eyes, flames of fire

are in

ugra),

or

The

always characterised by sharp,

nails,

but the

another classification of images

is still

based upon their

is

and

for the

the use of violence.

of

images are

attainment of objects requiring

The

sS,nta or

saumtja form of

images are peaceful looking in appearance, and are


worshipped

and

for

objects.

the attainment

Among

aims

of peaceful

the images of Vishnu, the

and

VisvarCipa, the Nrisiriaha, the Vatapatrasayin

Parasurama are considered

to be ugra-murtis

and

Siva as the destroyer of Kama, of the elephant


(G-ajaha-murti), of the tripuras, and of
to

be

terrific

terrific

in

nature and

Yama, has

appearance.

images are not meant to be

set

The
up in

temples in towns, but must always have their


temples invariably outside.
19

INTRODUCTION.

Among
be

the aspects of Vishnu the yuga form,

standing,

it

or

sitting

enslirined in

must be
away from the

reclining,

a temple built

far

bustle of the village, on the banks of rivers, or at

the junction of two or more rivers, on

The reason
The worshipper
patent.

in forest recesses.

places

is

hill

quite

such

of the

yoga

image has to be a yvgi or one aspiring


a yogi

tops and

of the choice of

become

to

he would certainly desire to have a calm

place for concentrating his thoughts ou the object of


his worship

and naturally the temple intended

him has

the conduct of worship by

human

The hhoga form

habitations.

for

to be away from
is

the form

best fitted to have the temple therefore constructed

within

towns and

be the giver of

villages,

all

and has therefore


to

by

all

sorts of

conditions of

form which

it

happiness to

to

conceived to

is

its

worshippers

worshipped and prayed

be

men and women belonging

life.

is

as

The

v'tra

form

of

to all

Vishnu,

conceived to be capable of giving

physical power, prowess and strength to conquer

enemies,

may have

inside or outside

The

the temple for

towns and

ahliicharika form

it

built either

villages.

which

is

worshipped

for the

purpose of inflicting defeat and death on

enemies

is

to be set

looked upon as inauspicious and

up

for

is unfit

worship in temples built in towns


20

INTRODUCTION.
and

villages. Therefore, forests,

and other such places

tracts, fortresses

cribed as being

mountains, marshy
are pres-

for the construction of

fit

temples

to enshrine this aspect of Vishnu, [vcvia giri jala

rasldmnte satrudinuiakhe).

(large

IV
Various kinds

of places are prescribed for

building of temples to the several gods

forms

of central

shrines are also

the

different

described in the

agamas^' as suitable for different

deities,

according

as their posture is standing, seated or reclining.

Temples might be

built near tanks, rivers, at

junction of two or more rivers, on the sea-

the

on the tops

shore, in villages,

and

foot,

in

places where great

The temple

live.

of hills

of

and

at their

and good men

Siva might be constructed in

the north-east, north-north-east or east-north-east


*The words dgama and tantra

work

as

slightly

synonymous

strictly speaking

from a tantra. The former

five subjects,

vidya, the

are

is

used throughout this

an dgama

differs

but

said to deal with twenty-

such as the nature of the Brahman, Brahma-

names

of the different tantras, creation

tion of the world, etc.

The

and destruc-

latter treats of only seven out of

the twenty- five subjects dealt with in the dgamas.

times the word ydmala

is

used as synonymous with

and tantra; and a ydmala deals with only


twenty-five subjects in the dgamas.

21

five

Some-

dgama

out of the

INTKODUCTION.
corner of a village

that of Vishnu, in the west

of Surya, in the east

west

of the village

Durga, in the south

of

the north-west.

of

and facing the

Subrahmanya,

The Sapta-Matrikas

in

or Mother-

goddesses with Vinayaka are to be set up in the

north near the fort walls, on the edge of the sur-

rounding moat facing the north side


is

to be set

up on the banks

Jyeshthadevi

of tanks.

Different sorts of vlvianas or

domed

central

shrines are mentioned in the aga)iias and tantras.

Some

them

of

are square

or

ground plan, while others are

circular {vritta) in

rectangular

(sama-cltatarasra)

(ai/atasra)

oval (vrittatjata).

or

Of

these the square and circular varieties are prescribed


for enshrining the

and standing

sitting

while the rectangular

deities,

figures

and the

of

elliptical

varieties

are naturally reserved for the reclining

images

Vishnu.

of

The sayana form

of

Vishnu may

facing any cardinal point.

temple

faces the north, the

must be

to the east

must be placed

head
if it

of

If

have

its

the temple

the reclining image

faces the south, the head

to the west

in temples facing east

and west, the head must be to the south. This


means that in cases, in which the temples face the
north,

the south,

or

the

east,

reclining figure of the deity


22

is

the

head

to the left

of

the

of the

INTEODUCTION.
worshipper

and only in the case

the west, the head of the deity

of

is

temples facing

"to the

right of

the worshipper.
V.
It

has been pointed out that the worship of the


different aspects of the diety, as the

The

effects

yoga, bJioga, vlra and abhicharika,

of

worshippinif the
different deities,

intended to enable the worship-

is

per
ends.

When

to

achieve

the diety

certain

in the

is

desired

sayana or the

reclining attitude, the worship thereof

is

said

to

produce different results to the worshipper according as the head of the image
or east or west.

is

in the north or south

the head

If

worship grants peace {sanfidam)

produces plenty {pushthidam)

if

victory (jayadam)
results.

The

and

daily

in public temples is

of

removes

Worship

the

in

it

south,

in the north, ahliicharika

worship offered

to

Vishnu

regarded as leading to the

The

Indra gives plenty to the people.

The

worship of
children

in the west,

if

place.

the

increase of

worship

if

the east, the

in

is

in
all

population

in

the

Subrabmanya and Chamunda keeps


sound health while that
physical

ailments,

offered to

a beautiful body.

Kama bestows on

and

of

Surya
mental.

the worshipper

Ganesa always vouchsafes


23

his

INTRODUCTION.
votaries freedom from hindrances in their under-

The worship

Uma

Duroa and

while

takings,

Lakshmi

of

wealth

brings

and

and the power

in enabling one to secure learning

The Saptamatrikas grant

wealth and happiness.

Siva

of granting, according to the

may

results that

victorj'.

while that of Sarasvati results

destroys poverty,

speech.

grant

is

of

their worshippers

said to be capable

KamiJuigama,

be expected of

all

the

the various

all

gods.

Again the ugra and the Sanfamurf is

upon

or f^iva are looked

Vishnu

of

as granting different results

according to the position in which their temples


are constructed in the village.
of

a god

up

set

is

for

worship in the

village will soon be ruined

south-east, the

immoral
crowds

in the

if

will

if

of

if

jected to

demons

south, ghosts and

in the west,

and

all

the

if

in

in

the

population will dwindle through

the

bad conduct

the people

in

the

the place will become

mental unhappiness, bad

conduct and mournfulness will arise


west,

east,

up

set

it is

cause trouble to the people

south-west,
sickness

women

the ugra form

If

if

will

if

in the north-

become rampant among

in the north, they will

sorts of affliction.

It

is

be sub-

only in the

north-east that the ugra forms of gods

may

be

enshrined harmlessly so as to grant prosperity and

INTRODUCTION.
abundance
image

The

of children.

setting up of an ugra

in the midst of a village is strictly prohiIf there

bited.

happens to be a raudra-murti in a

kantamnrti should be set up before

village, a

counteract the evil

effects, or at least a

it

tank must

Such things go

be dug in front of the temple.

to

to

pacify the terrific gods.

A
middle
ness,

kantamurti

may

Such a murfi grants happi-

of a village.

long

life,

well have its temple in the

sound health to the people and

victory and prosperity to the king of the country.

Varahamihira, the great Indian astronomer,


states that the pratishtha of the various gods should

be through

the

hands

of

persons of

peculiarily suited to the diety that

Thus, a Vaishnava

to be

image should be

temples by a Bhagavata

mana who

is

the caste

set

set

up

up.
in

that of Siva, by a Brah-

wears the hliasma

the

Maga Brahmanas

should be employed for the setting up of the image

Brahmanas should be employed for the


and Jainas and Bauddhas
inatishtha of Brahma
should set up the images of Jina and Buddha
of

Surya

respectively

those

who worship

the Matri-mandala

should alone be employed for the setting up of the

Saptamatrikas.

25

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
VI.

who

the Hindu, the omnipresent God,

To

is

the father of the universe, appears

Hindu

to reside in everything, as

point

in

the loving heart of the devotee as

images.

and stones.

in stocks

may

much

or

may

His God

not be conceived as anthropomorphic

the form of the conception depends upon the stage


of

of

advancement

man

who has

within

temple or
those,

himself, there

any divine image

who have

are prescribed,

is

for

To

Supreme Brahno need


worship

and mental modes

and rules

of various

in relation to conduct.

particular.*

the

wisdom.

of

any

but to

not attained this height of realisa-

prescribe image worship to


in

spiritual

realised

tion, various physical

down

worshipper in the culture

knowledge and

divine

a yogin,

of the

of

worship

kinds are laid

The Hindu

sastras

weak unevolved persons

The Jahala-upanishad

distinctly

asserts that the yogin perceives Siva in his heart,

and that images are meant

ffra^

STfrTTT

f^T^o'Tr

Chhalari's

charya's Tantra-sdra.

26

for ignorant

men.f

commentary on Madhva-

INTEODUCTION.
Again, the worship of images,

and is not therefore

re-births

who

yogin,

desires to

it

is said,

brings on

to be resorted to

free himself

Accordingly, the images of the

by the

from them.*

Hindu gods and

goddesses are representations of the various conceptions of divine attributes.

thought

It is plain that the

made manifest and

of thinkers is

tised

by various means, such as speech,

and

sculptural

representations,

symbols.

All these

history of

humanity

the level of

and

means have been

concrepictorial

signs

and

utilised in the

down to
the common man and lifting him up
for bringing divinity

gradually to the sublime height of true divine reali-

This

sation.

done.

hands

is

indeed what the seers of India have

Sculpturally
in

it

may

be said, the

number

an image represents the number

of

of attri-

butes belonging to the deity, and their nature

is

denoted by the ayudha held in the hand or by the

The larger the number of


more numerous are the attributes

pose maintained by

hands,

the

conceived

and the

it.

image with many hands

is

considered to be tamasic in character. Similarly, the


less the

number

gunas conceived

of
;

hands, the less numerous are the

and the image may thus be made

27

INTEODUCTION.
to approach as nearly as possible the description of

the attributeless Brahiuaii.

Even

in

image worship

there are thus different grades of evolution.

An

image, therefore, has to be understood to be a

symbol meant

to

keep before the eye of the worship-

per certain attributes of the deity he undertakes to

worship and upon which he desires to concentrate


his thoughts.
It

may

well be said that images are to the

Hindu worshipper what diagrams are to the geometrician.


To the latter, an ill-drawn free-hand
circle serves the same purpose in his demonstration
as a neat

compass-drawn

Hindu even an
according
serves the

image,

ill-shaped image,

to the directions given

same

but one
in

to the

made

his sastras

object as a very artistically executed

provided

it

with dastraic rules.

made in strict conformity


Hindu worshippers of images

is

ignore beauty passively; and


artistic

Similarly,

circle.

this negligence

merit on their part has tended

to

of

make

the sculptor very often a careless worker.

Thus, the standpoint from which the Hindu


views the images of his gods and goddesses
very

largely

from

that

of

the

Greek.

differs

While

symboUsm has been the essential feature of Hindu


sculpture, the Hindu artist was not averse to secure
beauty in his images. As a matter of fact every

INTRODUCTION.

Agama and Tantra


making the images

upon the necessity

insists

is

entirely to the incapacity of the artist.

Hindu

When

as beautiful as possible.

they happen to be ill-made, the fault

of

attributable

Neither the

ideal of art nor the injunction given in the

written authorities of the Hindus

is

responsible for

ugliness.

VII.

The

foregoing remarks lead us naturally to


look at the probable causes of

the

decadence of the iconoplastic art in

Decadence of
Indian Art and

its causes.

India.

arts

There
of

is

no doubt that the

sculpture

and

painting

amount

of perfection in ancient India,

which could stand

comparison with what was

attained an

The Indian

attained in other civilised countries.


artist

was not wanting

in originality

the handling of his subjects

and vigour

in

he was also true to

nature, and in his representations of animals and


birds he

is

often unsurpassed.

In the early period

of the history of Indian art, the imagination of the


artist

was not

tied

became the bane


sculptor

down by mechanical
of art in later times.

was guided by

his

own

rules,

which

The

early

observation and

imagination, and dealt with his subjects with a


freedom, which

made him
29

able

to produce

very

HINDU IGONOGEAPHY.
pleasing results.

He

had an eye

well as for the humourous,

for the beautiful as

and he always gave

free

scope to the display of his powers, although he never


forgot the religious motive behind his workmanship.

The

first

this natural

cause that brought about a change in

and progressive state

Indian art was

of

the entrance of Tantric ideas into the worship of the

Hindus as well

The

as the Buddhists.

various

aspects of a divine being thus

came

sented by various heads, and

various attributes

by

The sculpturing

various hands.

its

complicated conceptions
ordinary

human

its

to be repre-

beings

form

the

in

such

of
of

extra-

and

with several heads

hands was always attended with a certain amount


unavoidable unnaturalness and clumsiness.
all art,

the Indian iconoplastic art

judged from the standpoint of

who cannot

its

is

Like

also has to be

motive.

To

those,

appreciate this motive, the very ideal of

the art remains hidden and inexplicable.

sequence

of

The con-

that such critics can pronounce their

opinions only on the technical details of the artist's

workmanship, but can never grasp the soul

The mediaeval

art.

wanting

period

in really noble

of sculpture in spite of

of

Indian art

and strikingly

many

of these

of
is

his

not

artistic pieces

having more

arms and more heads than ordinary man has.


It

is

well

known

that even
30

in

Europe the old

INTRODUCTION.

many uncommon and

mythological art presents

unnatural combination of strange elements.


justification

motive

and the

combinations

these

of

The
their

in

is

which exhibits them can

art

certainly be artistic. It has to be granted, however,

that

it is

far

from easy

for

such art to be really

artistic.

The second and the most potent cause

that

has injuriously affected Indian iconoplastic art


the hard and fast rules laid

and the Tantras


is

for the

down

making

no doubt that the authors

of the

amount

human

figure studied in general


of this

portions

and measurements

human

beauty of the

and

they naturally laid

of the

There

Agamas devoted

of attention to the

sequence

Agamas

of images.

a large

and organs

in the

is

as a con-

down

the pro-

of the various limbs

body.

The

belief

that

these measurements ought not to be disregarded

under any circumstance came into vogue


recognition of the authority of the

Tantras.

The

artist

much

on

Agamas and

in

the

thus became handicapped, and

had no freedom

his imagination

later

of action.

Not

scope could be given to the display of the

genius of the

although there

artist,
is

an

under any

Ayama

rule to the effect that

" the artist should fashion the

could."
31

circumstances,

image as best as he

INTRODUCTION.

With

temple building activity of


with

Hindu kingdoms, the


the Hindus ceased and

the decline of the

the sculpturing of

to a very large extent,

it,

Hindu images also ceased. The orthodox school


of sculptors, who followed the Agamic instructions,
has very nearly died out. The modern set of stone
masons

South India manufacture stone images

in

of very

inferior

workmanship (See

Northern India there


rules

and whether

or to other causes,

due to want

of

Kajaputana,

Bombay

Presidency have been

Central

Eadha,

modern marble

able to

of

images

Vishnu and Lakshmi,

of
of

prob-

all

and

India

recent times a realistic style of sculpture

the

Agamic

has produced certain salutory

ability,

of

In

knowledge

Influenced by Western Art in

results.

B.).

a disregard of the

is

it is

it

PI.

adopt

the
in

and some

Krishna and

Ganesa and

other gods and goddesses offered in the bazaars for

very pleasing

sale, are

artistic

in

reality.

a few of

Freedom

for

them

are even

the display

of

thought and feeling through art constitutes the very


life of all

art

be treated as

and the

art of

an exception.

image-making cannot

It is not that the

Hindu

does not desire that the images of his gods and

goddesses should be sculptured beautifully


will

but he

not easily tolerate any glaring departure from

the rules laid

down

authoritatively in his Sastras.


32

PLATE

B.

a
P

ic3

-a

c3

J4
c3

[To face page 32. J

INTRODUCTION.
VIII.
If

one studies the sculpture

from the

of India

cannot

historic point of view, he


to notice that there

have been

Stages in the

evolution

f6a?^Tof"the

fail

variouTperiods!*

different

of the art here

To

as elsewhere.

be able to assign a given piece of sculpture to the


particular stage of its evolution,

know with some amount


All the earlier specimens
free

and

later

realistic

sculptures.

of sculpture are in general

from the cramping influence

and are notably

necessary to

accuracy the various

of

the earlier

peculiarities of

it is

of artificial rules,

a desire

on the part of

the artist to copy nature as faithfully as possible,


is

plainly

in

visible

though

studies, the bust,

formed,

is

not

stiff

contours as in the later speci-

and severe

in

its

As

in

later

mens.

fully

human

In his

work.

his

workmanship, the chest does

not end abruptly, and the abdomen begins making

There

sharp angles with the former.

merging in

marked

of the

line of

is

gentle

one into the other without any

demarcation between them

outline of the whole of the body

curved brackets placed at a

is like

little

the

two gently

distance from

each other with their concave opening side turned

outwards and resembles more or


of the face of a cow.

Whereas,
33

less

the outline

in later sculptures,

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
we

body to be the outUne

see the outline of the

the thistle

flower

the

lower

of

portion

circular

abdomen beginning abruptly and

represents the

with a severe and unpleasant angle at both sides

from where the thorax ends.


the nose

In the

that they are not

artificial in

The

face itself

line in the earlier art,

The

while

disproportionately

it

is

oval in the later

and the chin

eyes are less

noticeably round in out-

is

specimens of sculpture

is

shown somewhat prominently, although


than what

smaller in proportion

accurate

somewhat

rather short and the lips are

is

thicker than in the later ones.

long.

earlier faces,

art.

In the

is

invariably
it is

really

demanded by

sculpture, the nose

later

is

simply a long triangular pyramid attached by one


of

its

sides

upwards.
that

it is

to

the

face with the apex

awkwardly attached

It is so

turned

to the face

mark ofi the sculpture to


The sharp upper edge running

alone enough to

be quite modern.

throughout the length

the

of

nose, the

acutely

pointed tip at one of the junctions of three edges


in the clear-cut tetrahedron

making up the

nose,

the broad wings and the single point at which the

nose ends at the top, are

works

of the

later

all

period.

sculptured with severe and

example, the

muscles of
34

very peculiar to the

The limbs

are also

abrupt outlines; for

the

upper part

of the

INTEODUOTION.
chest iu male figures are so modelled as to protrude
in relief with their margins rising

the general surface of the chest.

abruptly from

The

folds in the

abdomen are also worked out in a very artificial


manner which is at once stifi and unpleasing in
effect.

In the early sculptures the arrangement


the drapery
folds

is

and creases are

the dress

shown

is

and natural.

very effective

and on the person

One cannot deny

delicately

that there

down
which

a certain

is

conventionality in the arrangement

even in the early sculptures

mode

of the

The

worked out and

to flow freely
of the figures

of

the sides
it

clothes.

amount

of

of the folds

but the conventional

formation and disposal of the folds in

the specimens of later workmanship

is

very strik-

In the later sculptures, the heavy

ingly artificial.

central folds of the under-garment descend in a

sharp conical form

down

to the ankles,

protrudes somewhat

part ending in a point which

forward.

The

smaller

folds

are

represented as

running across the thighs and the


are

marked by a couple

lines slightly

descent

cloth

worn

forelegs,

and

deep-cut equi-distant

curved from above to indicate their

downwards.

there flows

of

the lower

down

On

each side of the figure

a portion of the end of another

as a girdle,

which end spreads out in


35

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
the form of a fan (see the

figs,

on

XXXV

PI.

The Uncs representing the minor

LV.)

and

folds in

the drapery of the figures of the mediaeval period


are

artificial

less

than those

and

less

unpleasant in effect

of a still later period.

Viewing broadly the conditions and characteristics of

Hindu

there are four


different

sculpture,

it

what Mr. V. A. Smith


of the early

well be said that

different schools representing four

regions of India.

The second

may

school

is

first

comprises

Mathura

calls the

school.

represented by the sculptures

Chalukyas

of the Pallavas of

The

of

Badami and

Kanchi.

All

also

by those

the three groups

comprisedwithin these two schools are marked by


the

same

and elegance

characteristics of simplicity

combined with much natural realism.


Indian sculptures

The South

corresponding to

of a later period

the re-established dominancy of the Cholas and

Pandyas
style,

with

are but the continuations of the Pallava

and may therefore be classed conveniently


it.

The

third school of Indian sculpture

the later Chalukya-Hoysala school, which

guished from the other schools by


florid style of

its

is

is

distin-

extremely

ornamentation and delicate tracery

in details (See PI.

C).

In this school convention

naturally holds a dominant place

and we notice a

striking similarity between figures representing the


36

PLATE

C.

a
a
o
00

n
a

^^ raff^ iil^E^S?
:_.gat

*4

To

face page 36.]

INTEODUCTION.
same

they

may

of the

country

subjects, although

different

kinds

and distant parts

of

ornamentation,

may

posture and grouping

clothing,

The

closely the

ornamentation and grouping,

by the sculptures
is

of Bengal,

at once recognised

in

the same

head-gear,

be observed in the same

subjects in a uniform manner.

which resembles

found

be

fourth school,

third in
is

respect of

chiefly represented

Assam and

Orissa.

It

by the human figures therein

possessing round faces, in which are set two oblique


eyes,

a broad forehead, a pair of thin lips and a

small chin (see figures

To

XCIII).*

these

modern sculptures
Presidency

LXXII and

PI.

2,

may

are,

in marble found in the

and elsewhere,

and

also

Bombay
new

the

Madras Presidency.

however, of a miscellaneous character

and are too incongruous


school.

PI.

be added the improved

characterless sculptures of the

They

2,

to

form anything

All the images, the 'photographs of

like

which

are reproduced in this volume, are assignable to

one or other

of

the

first

three

schools

above

mentioned, the Bengal, Assam and Orissa school


being referred to only very occasionally.

'^

We

ara informed by Mr. Abanindranafch Tagore that

this sort of face is

Mod. Eeview

for

known

Bengal as

in

March, 1914,

p.

37

261).

of the

pan type

(See

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
IX.
It is

an interesting phenomenon to note that

what may

there are vicissitudes in

be Called the fortune of images as

Vicissitudes in
the
Mstory of
gods,

objects of worship.

As time passes

on certain images somehow cease

and their worship

be popular

to

discarded.

Similarly,

takes place and images

and

unknown

time they

in

The

famous.

A.D.j

an

be

to

images are often

too

become popular and

object

is

worship.

of

fact that in the

of

is

of

Sri,

are

first

Durga and
still

popular;

almost completely forgotten

once an important goddess

chapter

set

the 9th Century

to

those

Of these the two

but the last one


as

fame

three important goddess-images of

are seen

Jyeshtha.

to religious

also

New

(from the 5th

earlier times

eventually

the contrary process

become quite famous.


up,

is

That Jyeshtha was


is

evidenced by the

Bodhayana-grihya-sutras a whole

devoted to the description of the worship

this goddess,

and that the Srivaishnava Saint,

Tondar-adippodi, complains in one of his Tamil

hymns

that people were

veneration

upon

in his days wasting their

Jyeshthadevi,

Supreme God Vishnu, the


gifts.

greatest giver of

The Jyeshthadevi group

large

female figure

in

38

ignoring

the

all

the

good

of three figures

middle

with

INTEODUGTION.
male

bull-headed

on the right and a good

figure

looking female figure on the


is

now

of the

often thrown

temple compound

occupy

suffered to

uncared

left

This

away

(see

when

and,

rarely

old place in the temple,

its

and no worship

for

CXXI),

PI.

as lumber in some corner

the case in S. India

is

left

it is

offered to

is

is

it.

N. India also the

in

it

goddess does not appear to be treated any better.

She appears

to be worshipped in Bengal, Orissa

and certain other parts

of

India by low caste people

under the name Sitaladevi or the goddess

pox

there

is

an image

of hers in the

temple in Bombay, and

women

occasions by the

Another instance

of

is

of small-

Bhulesvar

worshipped on certain

there.

such a vicissitude

may be

noticed in the case of the images of the Varaha


(boar)

and Nrisimha (man-lion) incarnations

Vishnu.
figures of

the

Almost

the early

all

Varaha and Nrisimha


to be

set

up

set

up

in

to the west of the

shrine even in Siva temples.

an image
is

temples have the

them

Tantras and Agamas require the figure

Nrisimha

of

As

found in a niche on the west

vimana

of

central

a matter of fact

Kevala or the Yoga form

shrine or the

of

of

of

Narasimha

the central

in all old temples

Separate

temples built and dedicated wholly to Narasimha

and Varaha

in

the

palmy days
39

of the

Chalukyas

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
of

Badami and

no one hears

the Pallavas of Conjeevaram.

in these days of the pratishtlia

But
of

new image of Nrisimha or Varaha anywhere. In


a large number of the older temples Varaha
and Nrisimha are even now worshipped, but in
the

South

of

India their popularity has

considerably waned.
belief in

^lgra

In the case of Nrisimha the

modern times has been that

murti, will,

if

very

he, being

an

not properly worshipped in

due form, burn down villages or otherwise cause

harm to the people.


The worship of Kartikeya

common

or

Visakha

South India, where the god

in

is

known

is

may

name

of

Subrahmanya.

well be said that there

is

not a village in South

generally by the

India

does

but

It

not possess a shrine for this

To the Hindus of Northern India


known only in name. Nowhere in the

favorite deity.
this

god

north

is

is

he worshipped by decent people, and no

Hindu snmahgali (married woman)

goes

temple of Kartikeya in Central India.


Kartikeya

is

to

Because

not worshipped in North India at the

we cannot argue that his worship was


always unknown in those regions. In fact we
come across the figures of this deity in the rock
present day,

temples at Elephanta and Bllora, in Orissa and


certain

other

parts

of

40

the

country.

Probably

INTRODUCTION.

Subrahmanya was

regularly worshipped in Central

and Northern India.


Another such instance
asYogesamurti, that

This figure

is,

is

the form of Vishnu

Vishnu in the yoga

attitude.

found in the famous temple at

is

Badarinath on the Himalayas, and replicas

now

are even

One such

in a few places such as Srirahgam.

replica

was discovered recently

in the Bellary district of the

Otherwise the worship

change in Hindu
images

at Bagali

Madras Presidency.
form

of this

instances given are enough to

of

of it

is

The

rare.

show the trend

of

faith in the matter of the choice

for popular worship.

X.

New
^

JPnlo*'"''

and

their images are also seen to

come

into existence from time to

deities

* '^''^

time.

This

is

due generally to two

or three causes.

One

the apotheosis of saints and acharijas.

we

of these

In

S.

is

India

many images representand Vaishnava saints who are known to

find in various temples

ing Saiva

history as having been great centres of light and

leading in their respective faiths.

For instance,

Siruttondar was a contemporary of the Pallava

king Narasimhavarman, having in fact been one of


his

generals.

Tirujnanasambandha and
41

Vagisa

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
(Appar) were also contemporaries of this king. All
these three are canonised and their images are seen
in all

any

such Siva temples as can lay any claim to

sort of

larly,

importance in the Tamil land.

there are

images

saints enshrined in

South India.

Vaishnava
numerous Vishnu temples in

Moreover, temples and shrines are

erected for dcharyas like Sahkara and

and

for other

Simi-

historical

of

minor gurus

Eamanuja,

Vedantadesika

also like

and Manavalamamuni.

In

the bed of the river

Bhima

is

the pretty temple of

near Pandharipur

the famous sage and devotee

Pundalik, to

whom

god Krishna appeared at that place in the form of

Purandhara

Vitthala

response to his prayers.

more or

Pundalika-Varada

or

Images

less of local interest in

like

most

in

these are

cases,

and not

found in the common pantheon of the Hindus.


The S. Indian Saiva and Vaishnava saints may be
said to be practically

unknown

the Santa-sangha of N. India

is

in

N. India, and

indeed

little

under-

stood in S. India.

The

fanciful rendering of the

names

important places has sometimes given

god and his image.

known
of

to ancient

Kachchi.

ram dedicated

rise to

new

For instance, Kanchipura

Tamil

There

of certain

is

literature

now

under the name

temple in Conjeeva-

to Siva as Kachchiyappeavara,
42

is

which

PLATE

D.

Vishnu bathing Kachchhapesvara

[To face page 43.]

Stone

Conjeevaram.

INTEODUCTION.

name

is

literal

meaning

name

of the

'

of the

god

is

Tamil form

correct

the

of the

god Kachchiyappa

'

the Isvara set up by Kachchiyappa.'

hapa

The

Sanskritised into Kachohhapesvara.

But

Jcachch-

the Sanskrit word for the tortoise

is

Kachohhapesvara, the Lord

of the Tortoise,

or

'

and

must be

Siva as worshipped by Vishnu in his Kurmavatara


or tortoise-incarnation. This linguistic fancifulness

has been perpetuated in sculpture, and an image

embodying

this fancy is set

up under a

praJcara of the temple (See PI. D.).

comer into

this ancient temple

is,

are not able to say

This new-

however, entire-

and even the pujaris

ly forgotten,

tree in the

in the

what that piece

temple

of sculpture

really represents.

A similar

occurrence

may

be seen in relation

names Chidambaresvara and Chitsabhesa.


These names have also come into vogue as the result

to the

of the

The
this

Sanskritisation of a distinctly Tamil word.

name of the place


god now stands was

old

in

which the temple

of

Tillai or Tillai-vanam.

In Tillaivanam, there was evidently a temple


small proportions,
small temple.

called

When

came the family


Gradually

or

the

the god of this temple be-

deity of the Chola kings,

temple began to receive


'

Chirrambalam

of

much

the small temple


43

the

royal consideration.
'

grew

in isize

by the

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
by successive kings,

addition,

mmidapas and

gopuras,

retained the

old

name

of

and

much

Chittambalam

as

Appar and

easily Sanskritised

which again was paraphrased


Linga worshipped

fore the

There

as Chidakasa.

quite

There-

in this temple is con-

or ether.

diJcasa

in

the hands of such Sanskri-

Tamil names, and that

tisers of

Chitsabha.

The

into the form

is

origin of this form

is

borne in

mind.

means a

hall

sabha.

Thus

The word ambalam

which

is

made
name is

easily

the previous modification of the

if

general-

yet another modification which Chirram-

is

balam underwent

out,

pro-

Chidambaram,

the element

ceived to represent

is

became

this

form into

in

is

by the

also

The popular

and

It

Chirrambalam by Tiru-

nunciation of this word Chirrambalam


ly

still it

Chirrambalam,

Sundaramurti.

later

praMras and

and so on

tanks,

in fact praised in song as

jnanasambandha

of

in

Tamil

translatable in Sanskrit as

arose Chitsabha,

became Chitsabhesa, that

is,

and the god therein

the Lord of the Mind-

Thus the two names Chidambaresvara and


Chitsabhesa came into existence thus also must

hall.

have arisen the association


of the

of

the sphatika-lmga

temple with these names.


has often created

Sectarian prejudice

images.

A very

good example of this


44

may

new

be seen

PLATE

F.

INTEODUCTION.
in the creation of Sarabhamarti as a manifestation

have taken place with a view

of Siva, considered to

man-Hon

to curb the ferocity of Narasimha, the

incarnation of Vishnu.

we may
bird

so call

and

it, is

beast.

is

an image

if

a curious combination of man,

(See PI. E.)

Another example
the case of what

This avatara of ^iva,

is

of this

known

tendency

seen in

is

as EkapadamSrti.

This

of Siva represented as the chief deity

having on either side the figures of Vishnu and

Brahma

projecting from him.

to symbolise the idea that the

Universe

is

is

meant

Supreme Grod

of the

This group

Siva and that from

both Vishnu and Brahma.


to this Saiva view,

Him

have evolved

In opposition evidently

and with an equally strong

Pauranic authority on their

side,

the Vaishnavas

have similarly represented the Supreme God as

Vishnu with Brahma and Siva proceeding from

Him.

(See PI. F).

Often in the Puranas Siva

said to

is

paid homage to Vishnu and equally often


said to

have paid homage to Siva.

instance

is

An

Vishnu

interesting

the story of Vishnu offering redemption

to Siva from the sin of Brahmahatyd, or


killing.

is

have

similar Saiva instance

is

Brahmin-

the story of

iva being pleased with the devotion of Vishnu and

bestowing on him in appreciation of that devotion


45

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Images representing

the discus or the chakra.

these events are found in more than one temple


the image of Siva as Vishnvanugrahamurti, that
as Siva, pleased with

him

may

the chakra,

Vishnu and presenting

is,

to

be seen in the sculptures of

the Kailasanathasvamin temple at Kanchi.

XI.

may

It

be seen that the


of

UniversaUty of
the rules of Tantras

andAgamas.

Vishnu

same

sculptured, with the

is

and the same group-

details,

members

ing of the

constituting

whether

theme,

the

Trivikramavatara

image

the

happens to be found in Madras in the South, in

Bombay

in the

West

The only

East.

images

belonging

country

is

or in Bengal in the North-

difference
to

the

various

in

the

parts of

the

in the outline of the features

Varahamihira

says

and the

The Brihat Samhitd-

details of ornamentation.
of

observable

desd.nurupabhushana-

veshalankara-murtibhih karya

pratima

yuktd sannihitd vriddhida bhavati-

lakshana-

This means

that the ornamentation and clothing and beautification

of

the images

should be

worked out in

accordance with the usage in the country in which


the images are made.
the rules laid

down

Images made according

in the Bastras,
*6

when

set

up

to
in

INTEODUOTION.
the neighbourhood, bestow prosperity and progress.
It is thus required that the

features

and the

tion should be

outUne

details of clothing

made

to vary

of the faces

and

and ornamenta-

from place to place

according to local usage. In other respects no variation

was allowed

or encouraged.

It

cannot be seen

that there has been in any part of India any

canon

of art other

Agamas and

than the rules prescribed in the

the Tantras.

observable everywhere

arrangement, say,
ing to a subject,
in

the

general

new

From

the uniformity

throughout India in the

of the individual figures

it is

belong-

clear that the rules laid

down

Agamas and Tantras have had a very


application.
The same rules having been

obeyed everywhere in the matter of making images,


it

is

no wonder that the same

produced by

artists

belonging to

country in so far as the art

down by

results
all

have been

parts of the

apt to be bound

is

rules.

XII.
In

going

through

the descriptions of

various images,

the

as given in this

ce^in^cu1iptu?e

volume, the reader will come upon

Slerstandinfof

^ few

*^|tg."*^*"P*'^^

sculptures of two different parts of

instances,

in

which

the

the country differ in some import47

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Taking the images

ant details.
Si5rya, for

down

sun-god

of the

Agamas

example, we find that the

lay

the rule that the two hands of this deity

should hold two lotuses, going up to the height of


the shoulders.

and parts

In the sculptures

Bengal, Orissa

of

we meet with images,

of Central India,

wherein the hands of Sarya are at the level of the


waist, while the lotuses are

made

to reach the

In other instances the

height of the shoulders.

hands themselves are invariably raised up


level of the

to the

This appears to be due

shoulders.

to a difference in opinion with regard to the inter-

Agamas and

pretation of certain passages in the

other allied works. In this case,

is

it

clear

that

some sculptors understood the passage as referring


to the hands being raised up to the shoulders, while
others took

lotuses.

cation

it

of

as referring to

number

texts are

of

the

of other instances in exemplifi-

sculptures arising from

in

differences

differences in the

the position

interpretation

drawn attention

of

to in the

the original

body

of this

treatise.

XIII.

The

materials

recommended

for the

Materials employed for making images.

in the

making of images

agamas

are wood,

stone, precious gems, metals, earth

and

also

^.

a combination of two or

48

INTRODUCTION,
more

of the

aforesaid

materials.

precious

Tiie

stones enumerated in the againas for the purpose


of

making images

are sphatiha (crystal),

padmara-

ga, vajra (diamonds), vaidurija (cat's eye),


(coral), pi/s/ii/a,

and ratna

vidnima

Of these, spha-

(ruby).

tika is said to be of

two kinds, the sunja-kanta and

the chandrakanta.

Another authority adds

kadi-sarkara
of

which

is

(a

preparation the

Almost

the materials noted above.


beras, that

is,

the images

stone.

or Jaina),

happen

instance

The

is

figure of

the large

Arcot

of

to be generally

wood

in the temple

made

of

of

such principal

the

most famous

Jaganuatha

of

(Hindu,

of Puri.

Trivikrama in the central shrine

Vishnu temple

district,

the dhniva-

temples,

There are a few instances

images being made

all

(ivory) to

up permanently in

set

the central shrines of Indian

Bauddha

chief ingredient

and dauta

the lime-stone)

brick,

(South

at Tirukkoyilur,

Madras Presidency),

is

also

of

made

of

wood. Brick and mortar or kadi-sarkara images are


also occasionally

met with

in several

temples

in

the famous temples at Srlraiigam andTrivandram

(Anantasayanam), the main


understood to be

employed
material

m
is

the

of

central images

this kind,

making

of

Meial

is

dhntva-beras

are

rarely
;

this

almost exclusively used for casting

utsava, snapana and hali images.


49

Instances are

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
noti

unknown

in

which precious gems are employed

The palace

as material for images.

Theebaw
large

Burmah

of

is

said to have contained a

The

ruby image of Buddha.

Chidambaram has

king

of the

temple

a sphatiJca-lioiga which

at

about

is

nine inches in height and has a pindika (base)


of as

many

inches in diameter.

In regard to bronze images,

believed by

it is

some that India could not have known the cire


perdue method of making metal images earlier than
about the tenth century A.D., and that India must

have therefore borrowed

it

from Europe.

That the

wax moulds is much older


in India can be shown in more ways than one.
Taking first literature, we meet in it statements
art of casting metals in

like the following .''lohajatve

agniitard)-lkritaiitu yati

vastrena sodhayet sarvam

dosJiam tyaktva tu silpina

images have
first
all

to be

madhuchchhishtam

which means

that,

if

wax must

cast in metal, the

be melted and poured (out of the mould) and

removed with

defects

chap. 11,

v. 41).

SiiprabJiedaqaiaa

cloth.

{Karanagama,

Again, verse 21, chap. 34 of the


runs thus

mrnimayaiii

yadi-

karyacltcluxlichliTilan-tatra prakalpayet lohajancha


i

viseshena inadhFuJtoJihishtma nuiidtavi

made

of

metal or wood) must be inserted

(in

the image
(of

i&

required to be

60

>

that

is,

if

earth, rods

them)

if

of

INTBODUCTION.
metals,

must

it

be

first

prepared

well

in

wax.

Lastly, the fourteenth patala of the Vishnu-fiamhita

has

this

iiklifamaylm-archain

lohe

mrida vritam-sii varnadlnt

liarayitva

samhodliya

vidravyd,h-

gdra-vapu nah-JiU^alaili karayedyatnM sampurnam


sarvato ghanani, which
to be

made

metal,

of

means
it

that,

must

an image

if

be

first

made

is

in

Gold or other

wax, and then coated with earth.

metals are purified and cast into (the mould) and a

complete

image

thus

is

by

obtained

capable

workmen.
Secondly,

there

plenty

is

epigraphical

of

evidences to demonstrate that the

art

of

metal

casting was practised in South India long before

the tenth century A. D.

In the several inscrip-

tions of the reigns of the Chola kings, Rajaraja-

deva the great and his son, Rajendracholadeva,


engraved on the central shrine
temple at Tan

ore,

Brihadisvara

of the

we meet with

scores of refer-

ences to images cast solid and hollow.

known

that the

last quarter of

*
'

the

set

is,

It is well

and that the

tenth century

elundaruluvitta

ghanam-aga

devar,' that

and

first

'

of these kings reigned in the

Chandesvara-prasdda-

the god Chandesvara-prasada-deva cast solid

up; (S.I.

I.

chcheyda rishabham
page 178),

'

Vol.

II,

p.

134),

a bull cast hollow,

51

'

ghana-pollal-aga(S. I.

I.

Vol.

II,

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
second reigned in the beginning

Hence

century.

it

may be

the eleventh

of

asserted without fear of

contradiction that the Indians were famiUar with

the art of casting metals in

wax moulds

earlier

than

The bronze images of Mahishasura-marddani, Sakti, Ganesa and Nandi portthe tenth century.

rayed on

Annual

the plate preceding page 241,

of the

the

in

Director-General of Archaeology for

India for 1902-3, are considered to be as old as the

beginning of the 8th century.

All these instances

bear out well the statement that the art of metal


casting

is

an old one

in

and

India

evidently

is

indigenous.

XIV.

The images

in the central shrines, the dliru vaherafi,

whether made

pai^Ted^^ of ^oid

^o^'tar, are in these

r"omT'^"^^'

with

oil

and made

At what period
image worship
with

oil

came

but there

is

this practice of

into existence,

Tiantulia-heras

to the

days covered
to

look black.

in the history of

smearing the images

it is difficult

not the slightest doubt that

paratively a recent practice.

The

to say

it is

are,

com-

according

to be bathed in water.

For

this

purpose of offering the bath the snapana-bera


52

dhriiva-beras, the

and the ntsava-heras

Agamas, not

stone or

of

is

INTEODUOTION.
particularly intended

scribed in the

and the bathings are

Agamas

pre-

images alone.

to these

In

the earlier and the mediaeval times, the dhriivaheras used to be covered with a thin coat of stucco,

which was painted afterwards with the colour

Hence

appropriate with each god.

is

it

are told, in the descriptions of images,

colour of this or that image

and so

Even now

on.

temples in

there

them

the

may

be found a few

painted

figures

There are traces

rules regarding

are applicable to mural

the

still

Varahasvamin

contains, in

its

central

Varaha and

of

of paint to

several images in the caves of

The

black or blue or red

for instance, the

cave at Mahabalipuram

consort.

that the

which the dhruva-beras have

old paint on

shrine,

is

we

that

his

be seen

on

EUora and Ajanta.

the colouring of images

and other paintings

also.

The Hindus were employing canvas

for painting

purposes from very early times.

is

mentioned in Sanskrit works


walls and

cloths

afford

the

of

It

distinctly

authority

surfaces

chitrabhasa images are to be painted

that

on which

pate hliittau

cha yd likhyan cliitrahliasa-ihocliyate, (Suprabhe-

dagama).

Elaborate instructions are

given

for

the preparation of the surface of the cloth intended


to be painted

colours.

upon, as also for the preparation of

The very name chitrabhasa


53

applied for

HINDU lOONOQRAPHY.
painting
of light

is

suggestive of the fact that the principles

and shade also were well understood pretty


This word chitrabhasa means

early by the Indians.

that which resembles

The appearance

image.

or

cliitra

solidity

of

picture painted on a flat surface only

and shade

From

are

comes

to a

when

light

properly disposed in the picture.

the several instances of ancient

found in India,

it

is

easy

to

art of painting

frescos of

in

painting

form an estimate

made by

regarding the great progress


in the

natural

solid

the Indians

The

the early times.

Ajanta and several wall paintings in the

temples on the

Malabar

coast

of

the

Madras

Presidency, which latter have not as yet attracted


the attention of scholars, disclose a notable advance

made

in India in this difficult art of painting.

XV.
In sculpturing such objects as the

air

and

water, certain conventional devices are employed.


Air, for instance, is

outlines of a

and

cumulus

LXXXIV)

number

of

shown by

wavy

of clouds,

and water
lines,

lines

is

resembling the

(See Pis.

XLIX

represented by a

between which are worked

out the buds, the half-blown and the full-blown


flowers

and the leaves

of

the lotus,

and such

aquatic ^animals as the fish and the tortoise and


54

INTEODUOTION.

PL LIl and

(See

crocodiles.

device by which

fire

another,

(See

generally

shown

sculpture,

(See

as

IV),

is

one upon

piled

and LXVI)

nature in

in

PL

The

Mountains are

7).

of boulders

LXV

Pis.

CX).

indicated in sculptures

is

described elsewhere (see page

shown by a number

PL

except

trees are

all

schools of

the

Chalukya-

Hoysala school, wherein they are worked out in an

and

ornamental

PL

beings by being sculptured as flying in the

(See Pis.

air.

(See

Celestial beings are distinguished from

LIII).

human

manner,

conventional

XXX

and XXXI).

XVI.

The Sanskrit

work

au^Wti'Sed
'"^

*^'^

w^rk,

upon

authorities relied
are mainly the

in

this

Agamas, the

P^^rmas, and the early Vedic_and


Upanishadic writings.

The Aga-

mas and the Tantras do not appear


to have received much attention from modern
scholars.
Many of them are probably not older
than the

may

fifth or sixth

century A. D.,

be even later than that.

among

the Saivagamas,

is

The Kdmikagama,

perhaps the oldest.

the Uttara-Earanagama, we find

it

laid

on the seventh day of the mahdtsava

impalement

and some

of the Jainas, said to

down

of

In
that,

Siva, the

have been carried

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
out at

the

instance

ought to be celebrated
that day's iihava

the

now

even

of this description, associated


is

When

with the

of
of

the

an event
this

life of

found mentioned in the Karana-

gama, need we say that


to a

name

celebrated in Madura,

is

historical scene of its occurrence.

Saiva saint,

the

given as the 'impalement

is

and

Jainas'

Tirujnanasambandha,

of

it

must be a work belonging

time later than the time of Tirujnanasam-

bandha

And he

understood to have lived in

is

the middle of the seventh century, A. D.

Again, in
this,

we

many

Saivagamas, as in

of the other

are told that the Drdvida-vedas are to be

recited in temples as a part of the

temple

service in the

by Dravida-vedas, the Devaram hymns

composed by Tirujnanasambandha, Vagisa (Appar),


and Sundaramurti,

are

meant.

It

the last of them lived not earlier


of the

ninth century.

of the

Saivagamas have

later

in

them

known

that

than the middle

Consequently the majority


to be looked

upon

as being

Several of the words

than the ninth century.

employed

is

in describing the r^igas used in

the singing of the Bravida-vedas, belong to the

Tamil language.

The
is

the Vaihhansagama

prose recension of

perhaps the oldest

Vaishnavas.

among

The same work


56

the Agamas. of the


is

also in verse

and

INTRODUCTION.
this

distinctly of a later date.

is

sion

requires

Prabandhas

This latter ver-

Dravida-vedas, that

the

the

is,

Srivaishnavas, to be sung in

of the

front of divine processions during festivals, while

the Sanskrit Vedas are to be recited at the end of the


procession

in fact both the elements of this rule

among the Srivaishnavas even at the


day. The age of the Alvars, or the ^ri-

are observed

present

vaishnava

saints,

has

been

fairly

satisfactorily

established to be between the beginning of the 8th

and the end


era.

"When

works

of

is

of

the

we

9th century of the Christian

meet

with a reference

to

the

these Alvars, as the Dravida-vedas, there

nothing to prevent us from concluding that the

Vaililianasagama, as

in

it is

verse,

is

certainly not

older than the 9th century, A.D.

We

have another collection

the Pancharatra Agania.


the Vaishnavas, and
as

108 samhitas.

coming and

is

of

Samhitas called

This also belongs to

many

said to comprise as

Many

of

are perhaps lost.

these are not forth-

very large number

out of the extant samhitas are quite modern.


instance, the Uvara-samhita

For

mentions the saint

Sathakopa and the dcharya Eamanuja, who lived


about 800 and 1000 A.D. respectively.
Similarly
the Brihad-hrahma-samliita also mentions
nuja.

The

samhitas

that
57

mention

this

Eamagreat

HINDU ICONOGKAPHY.
Vaishnava teacher and reformer have necessarily
to be later

Thus

than the eleventh century after Christ.

may

it

Agamas and

the

age of the

seen that the

be

Tantras

is

mainly between the

9th and the 12th centuries of the Christian era-

But the

descriptions of the images as contained in

them may,
is

nevertheless, be older than this period. It

well to bear in

mind that

these descriptions were

most probably not invented by the authors

Agama

works under consideration, but were

lected from

previous

proof of this,

it

who

mihira,

is

authoritative

may

sources.

those found in these later


of

any way

Agama

much

different

from

The

rules

works.

earlier time,

have long remained unwritten.


his Brihat-8amhifa,

and that

must have indeed

the images

been formulated at a

and must

Varahamihira, in

mentions a certain Nagnajit

as the author of a treatise on Silpa-sastra, in

the rule

is

laid

down

with this measurement


calls a

which

that the face of an image

should be fourteen ahgulas in length.

Varahamihira

In

have lived in the 6th cen-

to

his descriptions are not in

making

col-

be mentioned that Varaha-

known

tury, gives descriptions of certain images,

for the

of the

for the

Dravida

that
58

figure

length of the face

figure.

(According to

Varahamihira the length and breadth


face should be the same,

is,

of

human

twelve ahgulas).

INTRODUCTION.

The

author, Nagnajit, quoted by

must certainly

Varahamihira,

be older than the middle of the

sixth century A.D.: the quotation also incidentally

informs us that Nagnajit was possibly a Dra-

vidian author on Silya-sastra, and indicates the


existence of

a school of sculpture in South India

then. Varahamihira refers also to another ancient

author, Vasishtha.

DESCRIPTION OF TERMS.

AN EXPLANATORY DESCRIPTION OF
THE TECHNICAL TERMS EMPLOYED
IN THE WORK.

THE

explanation of a number of technical

terms which are usually employed in the


description

of

may

images

are

to the objects

shown

which images

of

Hindu Gods

images are shown

etc.

secondly,

which the hands

to the various attitudes in

thirdly, to the postures

made

the bodies of the images are

of

which

to assume;

and

the costume, ornaments and head-gear

in which they are represented.

ant

relate

to bear in their hands, such as weapons,

musical instruments, animals, birds,

lastly, to

precede

These terms

their systematic description.


first

well

among

the weapons are

The most import-

Sankha

Khetaka

Khatvanga

Ankusa

Chakra

Dhanus

Tanka

Pasa

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Gada
Khadga

Bana

Agni

Vajra

Parasu

Sula

Sakti

Musala

Hala

The
in the
to place

same

sculpturing of the several objects

hands
;

of

Hindu images

difiers

sometimes they are not

place.

The

alike

shown

from place
even in the

simple, yet striking, representa-

tions of these in the early Chalukya, Pallava,

and

other styles of sculpture are no less artistic than


the minute and elaborate

carvings of the

Chalukya-Hoysala school.

In the detailed descrip-

later

tion of these objects given below, only their im-

portant variations are noticed.

Of these weapons saiikha, chakra and gada are


peculiar to Vishnu.

In rare instances, the images

found carrying other weapons also,


and this feature is noticeable in the

of that deity are

Weapons.

representations of several of Vishnu's

avatar as; for instance, in images representing the

Trivikramavatara, the image

is

shown

to carry, in

addition to the three weapons mentioned above,

the dlianus, the hana, the khadga and the khetaJca.

But farasu, khatvanga,

sTila

and agni are generally

associated with Siva, while ahkusa and fasa are

held by Ganesa, Sarasvati and other deities.

Sakti,

vajra and tanka are Subrahmanya's characteristic

weapons.

Musala and hala

are found in associa-

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OE TEEMS.


tion with Balarama, Varahi

These are

and a few other

briefly described

all

in

deities.

the order in

which they have been mentioned above.


the ordinary chank shell which

SaiiJcJia is

always found in one of

almost

The

the images of Vishnu.

known by

the

name

of

the

anJcha of

is

hands

of

Vishnu

is

Panchajanya, being suppos-

ed to have been derived from the body of the asura

named Panchajana.

It is declared to

have been

employed by Vishnu in war; by the blowing

he often struck terror

this powerful conch-shell,

into the hearts

of

his

held in the hand with

end

open

(PI.

I,

The conch

enemies.

presented in sculptures

is
all

fig.

of

1),

re-

either a plain conch,

the five fingers by


or

an

its

ornamented

one, having its head or spiral-top covered with a

decorative metal cap, surmounted by the head of


a mythical lion, and having a cloth tied round
so that portions of
I, fig.

on the

sides.

either side (PI.

tassels of pearls

hanging

Curiously enough a kahhha of this

shown so as to be held between the


two fingers, which is indeed a difficult task to

perform.

end

may hang on

There are also

2).

description
first

it

it

is

In a few instances, attached to the lower

of the sanJcha, there is a thick jewelled ribbon

which

is

made

Sometimes

to serve as a handle.

this

ornamental variety

(PI. I, fig. 3).

of sanJcha is

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
shown with

jvalas or flames of fire

on the top and

the sides.

Chahra
weapon. It

is
is

also a characteristically

Vaishnava

by Durga, who

also carried

is

said to

be the sister and as such the female form of Vishnu.


It

shown

is

In the

in sculptures in

first variety,

it

is

shaped

a cart, with spokes, nave and

different forms.

like

the wheel of

and

is

all,

But

be grasped by the rim.


it is

two

meant

to

in the other form,

highly ornamented, the spokes are

made

to

resemble the petals of a lotus so that the internal


parts appear like a full blown lotus in the tout
ensevihle (PI.

I, fig. 4).

As

in the case of the sanJcha,

the cliakra also has ornamentations on the top and


sides

and a jewelled ribbon running around

I, fig. 5).

means
the

of this ribbon,

first

two

fingers.

and

(PL

in the

hand by

in other cases

between

some cases held

It is in

it

weapon resembling

It is a

the modern quoit and must have been used as a

thrown against the enemy

missile to be

him through and


Gacldi, is

kill

him.

the ordinary Indian club.

in the hand by the images with

In some cases, however, one

image
rests

is

to cut

all

It is held

the five fingers.

of the

hands

of the

placed upon the top of the gada which

on the

floor.

representation

is

In the

earlier sculptures,

always plain

it

its

has a tapering

PLATE

Fig. 1

Fig. 2
Fig.

Pig. 11
Fig. 12

Fig. 1

Fig. 8

Fig. 6

Fig. 5

Fig. 9

Fig. 10

To

face page 4.

DEFINITION AND DESCEIPTION OF TEEMS.


top and a stout bottom (PL
paratively

later

elaborately

ornamented

I,

instances,

a weapon meant

to

it

fig.

more

is

(PI. I, figs. 7

the

strike

In com-

6).

and

or

less

8).

It is

at

close

enemy

quarters and does not therefore leave the hand of


its

owner.

Khadga

is

a sword, long or short, and

along with a

JchetaJca or shield

The

is

Jchadga

made

of

wood

used

is

or hide.

either single-edged or double-edged

and has a handle which

is

not different from the

handle of swords seen in the pictures of the Crusaders


10).

and the early kings

Khetaka

is

of

Europe

(PI. I, figs.

either circular or quadrangular

has a handle at the back, by which


fig.

Sometimes there

11).

held (PL

I,

(PL

of the khetalta

12).

Musala
pestle,

it is

and

curious emblems

are

and devices depicted on the face


I, fig.

9 and

which

wood. It

is

weapon.
of various

is
is

the

name

of the

Indian wooden

an ordinary cylindrical rod

of

hard

quite capable of being used as an offensive

There

is

no scope

for the

introduction

shapes in relation to this plain weapon,

and consequently

it

has remained unaltered in

form from early times (PL

Dhanus
shapes. The

is

the bow.

first is like

its

II, fig. 1).

It

an arc

has three different


of a circle,

with the

ends joined by a string or thong taking the place

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
of the chord (PI. II,
it

In the second variety,

fig. 2).

has three bends, the top and bottom bends being

smaller and turned in a direction opposite to that

middle bend which

of the
fig.

The

3).

weapon (PL

this

Bana

bends and

later period in the evolution of

II, fig. 4).

or the arrow

made

appear to be

the larger one (PL II,

variety has five

third

much

belongs to a

is

of

is

so represented as

wood, and

to

tipped with a

is

metallic point, its tail-end having a few feathers

stuck in

it

(PL

The arrows

II, fig. 5).

An

a quiver slung on the back.

from

it

for use

arrow

are put into


is

extracted

with the aid of the fore-finger and

the middle-finger.

Para'su

mens

the battle axe.

is

The

earlier speci-

The parasu

of

the archaic type consists of a steel blade which

is

fitted

on a turned,

handle

handle (PL

wooden handle.

II,

fig.

is

of

The

fixed in a hole bored in the

6).

of the

is

Sometimes,

the axe.

The

later

forms consist

club, closely resembling the gada,

which the head


is

light,

blade

however, the blade

heavy

graceful.

sometimes fixed in a ring which

is

attached to the

of a

and

of this are light

-param

is fitted.

The

into

blade

disproportionately small in these later forms (PL

II, fig. 7),

types.

but

is of

proper proportion in the earlier

PLATE

Pig. 9

II.

Fig. 14
Pig. 12
Pig. 13

To

face page 6.

DEFINITION AND DESCEIPTION OF TEEMS.


This

Hala.

is

the ordinary Indian plough,

probably extemporised as

weapon

of

war (PL

a curious sort of club,

made up

II, fig. 8).

Khatvaiiga
of the

bone

is

of the

forearm or the

which a human
foramen. (PL

must be

the end of

attached through

skull is

From

II, fig. 9).

leg, to

this description

it

weapon comes

clear that this peculiar

from very remote antiquity.

its

In the ornate

style

Chalukya-Hoysalas, the osseous shaft

of the later

weapon is dispensed with and a wellturned wooden handle is substituted in its place

of this old

PL

(see

II, fig. 10).

The small

TahTca.

mason

in sculptures,

Agni.

is

given in

This

according as

is
is

it

for the

the

case agni

figs.

12 and 13

met with

in the

PL

Its shape, as

found

II, fig. 11.

represented in two varieties

used as a weapon of war or

and

is

represented

this

hands

PL II,
commonly

is

Agni used

of Siva.
is

In

as in

form of agni

purposes of religious offerings

PL

used by the stone-

purpose of making offerings.

employed
first

chisel

called the tanka.

is

for the

sculptured as in

II, fig. 14.

Sula

weapon
and the

is

the

of Siva.

trident
It

is

which

is

represented in

essential feature of all these

the favourite

many forms
is

the triple

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
metal pike ending in sharp points and mounted

upon a long wooden handle

Ahhusa

or the elephant

sisting of a sharp metal

handle (PL III,

employed

of ropes

and

3 and

figs.

in

goad

is

and

2).

weapon conto a

wooden

4).

indicates,

a noose

is

it

binding the enemy's hands

It is represented in scupltures as consist-

legs.

made

ing of two or even three ropes

or a double loop (see PI. Ill, figs. 6

Vajra

the thunder-bolt.

is

history

beginning from

In

Hindu mythology,

later

figs.

hook attached

As the word

Pasa.

(PI. Ill,

the same form which

made up

of

it

into a single

and

6).

This has a long

the Buddhistic period.*


it

had

is

shown

in almost

in earlier times.

It is

two similar limbs, each having three

claws resembling the claws of birds

and both

its

parts are connected together by the handle in the

middle (see PL
Sahti

is

III, fig. 7).

name

the

applied to the spear.

It

consists of a metallic piece, either quadrangular or

with a socket into which a long

elliptical in shape,

wooden handle

is

The second

fixed (see

III, figs.

8 and

which are met


the hands of the images

01

-,

gods consist ol certam musical

instruments.
* See

9).

class of objects

with in
Musical instruments.

PL

Elura Cave Temples by Burgess,


8

p. 12.

PLATE

III.

Fig. 3
Pig. 2

Fig. 16

Fig. i

Fig. 6
Fig. 15

Fig. 1
Fig. 5

Fig. 7

Fig. 19

Fig. 12

Fig. 18

I
Fig. 10

Fig. 13

Fig. 17

Fig. 11

Fig. 14

Fig. 9

Fig. 8

To

face page

DEFINITION AND DESOBIPTION OF TEEMS.

Some

images,

as, for instance,

shown with a vind,


hand being made to

shinamiirti and Sarasvati, are

held in the
play upon

left

hand the

right

The Damaric

it.

those of Dak-

another instrument

is

generally found in the hands of the images of Siva

and

Venu

Murali, also called

SahJiha

Krishna.

such

manifestations

his

of

is

is

the flute peculiar to

more properly a natural bugle

than a weapon of war, and

is

the representations of Vishnu.


is

Bhairava.

as

treated as such in

Ghanta

another musical instrument, which

is

or the bell

generally

found in the hands of Virabhadra and Kali.


Vina.

its

sides.

of

hollow semi-

long

body handle with a number

From

string or wire
of the

consists

It

cylindrical

of

keys on

each of these keys proceeds a

which

is

stretched over the long body

instrument and tied at the lower end. At this

lower end

is

a square sounding box, and to the

upper end a hollow gourd


resonator.

It

is

is

attached to serve as a

played with the

left

hand by

passing the fingers lightly over the strings and

them down a little in required positions.


The right hand plucks the various strings periodi-

pressing

cally
(see

to

PL

suit

the requirements of the musician

III, figs. 18

Damaru

is

and

a small

open at both ends.

11).

drum with a hollow body

Over each

of the

open ends

of

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
this hollow
is

body

membrane which
by means of a string

stretched a

is

held in position firmly

passing to and fro over the length of the body of

By

the drum.

pressing these strings, the tension

membranes may be

of the

altered at will so as to

produce different notes by striking thereon, or

by rubbing one

of

membranes with

the

stick.

Sometimes there

middle

of the

body

of the

this string is attached

drum

in the middle

string with the bead

the

membranes

of

drum

and

a bead.

to the

By

end

of

holding the

it

may be made

to strike against

suitably, this

alternately and produce the requir-

Murali or Venu

piece

a string attached to the

and shaking

ed sound (see PI. Ill,

indicates,

is

a resined

figs.
is

12 and 13).

a flute made, as

its

name

from a thin and hollow bamboo.

In a

bamboo, suitably chosen holes are bored

in proper places.

By

blowing in the hole which

is

near to the closed end and stopping one or more


of the

music

other holes with the fingers as required,


of

a very high standard of perfection

is

often elicited from this simple instrument (see PI.


Ill, fig. 14).

Ghanta
1

and

is

the

common

bell

PL IV,

(see

figs.

2.)

There are

certain other objects

held in the hands of the images of


10

shown

Hindu

as

gods.

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OP TERMS.

Among
of

these are to be found the representations

other

and

animals

certain

Siva

birds.

is

almost

always shown as carrying a mriga


objects

held in the heads


of images.

or deer,

and

made

is

his son

hold a

to

Parrots and

cock in his hand.

Subrahmanya
Tiuhhuta

beetles

or

are re-

presented as being carried in the hands of Durga

The

and other goddesses.


of Siva, that

on the Linga

earliest

at

known image

Gudimallam,

Later sculptures show a buck.

a ram.

case of the ram,

is

it

carries

In the

held by the hind legs, with

the head hanging downwards, whereas in the case


of the

buck though held by the hind

legs,

it is

represented in the actual pose of " bucking " up


(see PI. Ill, figs.

15 and 16).

We

see,

moreover,

certain utensils in the hands of the images.


chief ones
sruk,

The

among them

the sruva,
ajya-patra,

the
or

are

The

the Tcamandalu, the

darpana
the vessel

and the

kapala.

to contain

ghee

is

sometimes found in association with the figure

of

Brahma, who

to carry

is,

however, more generally seen

a pustaJca or book in one of his hands.

The book

is

also held as

an emblem by his consort

Sarasvati.

Kamandalu. This is an ordinary vessel to


hold water and is of different shapes. It has in some
The earlier specimens are simple
cases a spout.
11

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
though not very handsome

in design,

The

ance.

later

forms are more symmetrical and

and workmanship

beautiful in design
figs. 3, 4,

5 and

IV,

(see PI.

6).

and smva are two

Sritk

in appear-

different

kinds of

spoons, used to take out ghee from the ghee-pot

and pour

out to the sacred

it

The former
while the

other

modern spoon.

shaped

is

in the sacrifices.

has a hemispherical bowl,

these

of

fire

srnh

of

Annapurna

Davpana means

when

was

metal plates

(see

unknown
mirrors,

It

or

highly

was

not

polished

designs were utilised to

of various

serve as mirrors.

In ancient times,

a mirror.

either

making

for

is

18 and 19).

PI. Ill, figs. 17,

employed

like

proportion

large

generally carried by the goddess

glass

much

very

may

be remarked by the

way

that this old speculum industry has not yet died

out

in

India.

In a place

Travancore, such mirrors are

Aramula

called
still

and the mirrors made by the workmen


are so

true that they do not

reflection.

in

manufactured

show

of this place

distortion in

Glass mirrors are not allowed to be

used in temple service in Malabar, and

it is

not

rare to find in wealthy temples in this part of the

country speculum mirrors even as large as three


feet

by two

feet.

In sculptures the clarpana


12

is

PLATE

IV

Fig. 17

To

ffloe

page

12.

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF TEEMS.


and

either circular or oval in form,

a well-wrought handle (see PI. IV,

Kapala denotes the human


by Siva as a receptacle

for food

on the word came

mean

to

PL IV, fig.
PustaJca means a book.

or oval bowl (see

palm leaves

common

deities (see PI. IV,

ATisliam^la

made up

It is

either

leaf

is

In older sculp-

book that

represent-

is

Brahma and

other

fig. 2).

The beads

the rosary of beads.

are either rudrahslia or


is

spherical

or of paper, the latter variety being,

always a palm

rosary

In

8).

ed as being held in the hand by

the

Later

drink.

the cut half of an

however, comparatively modern.


it is

It is used

skull.

and

sculpture the kapala occurs as a

tures

fig. 7.)

and then a basin or a bowl.

earthen pot,

of

mounted on

is

hamalahsha

in variety,

found in the hands

Sarasvati and Siva, though rarely

with other deities (see PL IV,

of

and

Brahma,

in association

fig. 10).

Flowers, such as the padma, (lotus), and the


nilotpala, (the blue lily) are to be seen in the
of the

images

of goddesses in general,

hands

though more

especially in the hands of the goddesses

Lakshml

and Bhumi.
Figures of goddesses sculptured in company

with their consorts are always represented as having


only two arms.

In one

of their

13

hands they hold a

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
However, when there are two Devis, one

flower.

on either

holds a 'padma, (see PI. IV,

while the goddess on the


PI.

TV,

on the right

side of a god, the goddess


figs. 11,

12 and 13),

holds a nllotpala (see

left,

fig. 14).

We

next come to the terms used in connection with the

iian^dl^'^^*^^

various

which the hands

of

designation, and the most

common

in

images are

Each pose has

shown.

poses

its

own

hastas or hand-

poses are the varada, the ahhaya, the hataJca, the


sTiclu,

and

tarjajil,

the katyavalamhita, the danda

the visjnaya.

There are also certain other

the

hand-poses which are adopted during meditation

They

and exposition.

name

of

miidra

met with

are

known by

the technical

and those that are commonly

are the cliin-mudra or the vyukhy^na-

mudra, the jTuuia-mudra and the yoga-mudra.

The varada-hasta shows


while conferring a boon.
of the left hand,

the pose of the hand

In this pose the palm

with the fingers pointing down-

wards is exposed to the observer, either as fully


opened and empty or as lightly carrying a small
bolus

(see

PL V,

figs,

Ahliaya-liasta

x,

'%

and

means the

a).

protection-affording

hand-pose.

Here the palm

the fingers

pointing upwards,
14

of

the hand, with


is

exposed as

if

PLATE

V.

Fig. 2

Pig.

Pig. 3

Pig. 7

Pig.
Fig.

Pig. 17

Pig

Pig. S

Pig. 16

To

face page 14.

DEFINITION AND DESCEIPTION OF TERMS.


engaged in enquiring about the welfare

Hindu

visitor in the

Xi^ and

fashion (see

V,

PI.

the

of
figs.

B).

KataJca-hasta or simha-lxarna

that pose of

is

the hand wherein the tips of the fingers are loosely

thumb

applied to the

somewhat

so as to form a ring or, as

poetically expressed by the latter name,

so as to resemble a lion's ear (see PI. V,


8).

in

The hands of goddesses are


this manner for the purpose

flower every day in them.


in

which one

of the

hands

ing figure of Vishnu

is

of inserting a fresh
is

also the

manner

standing or a reclin-

fashioned.

Suclil-hasta has been misunderstood by

Sanskrit scholars to
suchl or needle.

Vasu in giving

and

generally fashioned

This
of a

figs. 7

mean

some

the hand that carries a

For example, Mr. Nagendranatha

a description of the goddess Marichi,

as found in the Sadhanamldatantra, renders the

expression vajranhisa-sara-sucJiidharl-daJishinalia-

ram

as " the goddess

Sbvajra, a goad,

who

holds in her right hands

an arrow and a suchl."

the tarjam-liasta,

But, like

the suchl-hasta, also denotes a

hand-pose, in which the projected forefinger points


to

an object below

(see

PI.

V,

fig.

9),

whereas

in the tarjan'i-hasta the forefinger has to point up-

wards, as

if

the owner of the hand

scolding another (see PI. V,


15

is

figs. 10).

warning or

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
In this the arm

Katyavalambita-hasta.

down

so as to

the hand

is

hang by the

made

to rest

and

side of the body,

on the

thus a posture of ease (see PI. V,

let

is

indicating

loin,

fig. 11).

Danda-hasta and gaja-hasta are terms which


have misled scholars, some
stood

them

to

Literally, the

meaning,
is

mean

whom

of

a hand that

have under-

carries a staff.

word daiida-hasta may have such a

but in Sanskrit iconographic works,

it

used to denote the arm and hand thrown forward

and held straight


an elephant

(see

like a stick or like

PL V,

fig.

the trunk of

12).

In this hand-pose the palms of

Anjali-hasta.

the hands are kept close to each other and the

folded-hands are

hand-pose

is

made

Vismaya-hasta

In

on the chest.

indicative of worship

ness (see the picture of

wonder.

to rest

Han am an

indicates

This

and prayerful-

given elsewhere).

astonishment

and

up with

this pose the fore-arm is held

the fingers of the hand pointing up and the palm

turned away from the observer

and

(see PI.

V,

figs.

13

14).

Among
tips of the

the viudras, in the cldn-viudra, the

thumb and

the forefinger are

touch each other, so as to form a


fingers being kept open.

made

circle,

The palm

to face the front. This


16

is

of the

made

to

the other

hand

is

the mtidra adopted

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF TERMS.

when an
hence

explanation or exposition

darsanarmidm

(see PI.

V,

fig.

In the jriana-madra, the

and

and san-

also called vyaJchyana-miidra

it is

finger

being given

is

of the

thumb

15).

tips of the

middle

and

are joined together

held near the heart, with the palm of the hand turn-

ed towards the heart (see PI. V,

fig. 16).

In the yoga-mudra, the palm

hand

is

placed in that of the

the right

of

hand and both

left

together are laid on the crossed legs of the seated

image

(see PI.

V,

fig. 17).

and

Sitting Postures

Seats.

The

Science of

Yoga

describes various postures of sitting, as suit-

able

for

These

name

and mental

meditation

concentration.

sitting postures are technically


of

asanas

and the

known by the
the padma-

l-u.rinasana,

the iitliutiJiasana and the

Sana, the bhadrasana,

maharasana, are some of the varieties thereof.


few

of

names

them occur
of

some

interpreted

owing

in

sculpture,

as

of these sitting postures

mean

to

particular forms

to the ambiguity of the

The

well.

have been
of

seats,

word asana, and

such seats have been worked out in sculpture


instances

Jourmasana,

the

the padmd.sana
* See PI. VI,

may

makara and

in

fig. 3,

as

maJcarasana and

be noted.*

fig8. 1, 2,

represented as a lotus, in

the

and

fig. 2,

3.

In

fig.

1 the

padmasana

is

the makaratana as a mythical

the kurmasana as a tortoise.

17

HINDU IGONOGEAPHY.
In the fadmasaiia the

two

legs

upon

crossed so that the feet are brought to rest

the thighs (see

PL V,

fig. 17).

In the Imrmasana,

make the

the legs are crossed so as to

kept

are

heels

come

under the gluteals, while the vlrasana requires the


left foot to

upon the right thigh and the

rest

thigh upon the right foot.

left

In the Wiadrasana the

legs are crossed as in the Tiurmasana, and' the right

and the

left

big toes are caught hold of by the right

and the

left

hands respectively.

In the simhasana

the legs are crossed as in the kurmasana

palms

of the hands,

is

and the

with the fingers kept stretched

upon the

out, rest supinely

mouth

thigh, while the

kept open and the eyes are fixed upon the tip of

the nose.*

^ f^fRT^
5^f^7T=^

cTn

II

W^

"T^TRRTrf^gR

Ti^

f^Jrr^ri^ ^r^!

nc^[^:?Tr s^c^at'^ ?rJTrf|cr:ii 'Tcrc^jrm^ sfp^ 3frTr%i??^ic

q^i

grfrnr^T 'firf# =?

f^i^^w^^ifrfu^

ffir-ii^ T^

?^ ^^
I

^F^^^^^s^ ^d
I

^r%==^r:

II

^u"^2rr

'^imt-

cRsTm vf^Rnrrr^rTfH,

(sTflt'-^^^flcTr^rr

18

jjfi-

f^r:^T^

ii)

PLATE

VI.

Fig. 1

''.^R^SA^I^- (^E.LLORA-5

Pig. 2

Pig. 4
Pig. 3
.1

ii . i

Pig. 5

^
(.^nu

,1,

.,

..

..

in

).|

,i ii i i

mmMm

Ji

^l

'ii

'mimmRi.J B twui ^

Pig. 6

To

face page 18,

DEFINITION AND DESCEIPTION OF TERMS.


Besides the above asanas there are some others
also

assumed by the images, such as the alldhasana

and

Of these, the aXidhasana

lithutikasana.

defined

as

particular

is

adopted while

attitude

shooting, the right knee being thrown to the front

and the

left leg

This attitude

retracted.

is

assumed

by Siva aa Trlpurantalia while destroying the three


cities,

and

UtJiutikasana

The

by the goddess Marichi.*

also
is

posture

peculiar

the person sits with his heels kept

bottom and with the back

which

in

close

to

the

curved (see

slightly

the figure of Kevala Narasiihha elsewhere).

tal.

The word asana means also a seat or a


In this sense pUha is often used

synonym.

Descriptions of some material

pedesas

its

asanas

of this

kind are met with in Sanskrit works treating

of the

make-up

of images.

Sivprabliedagama men-

tions five different kinds of asanas, namely, ananta-

sana, simhasana, ydgasana, padinasana


sana.

and vimala-

According to Chandrajiiana, anantasana

a triangular seat,

simhasana rectangular, vimala-

saHah.exa,gonSi\,ydgasa7ia octagonal,
circular.

and padmasana

The same Supjrahliedagama adds

anantasana should be used as the seat

* See

fig.

is

49 opposite page

xoii

Vaau's Arch. Surv. of Mayurabhanja.

19

in

Mr.

for the

that

image

Nagendranath

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
when
when
tion,

it
it

has to witness amusements, simhasana

has to be bathed, yogasana during invoca-

padmasana during the conduct

oinialamna when the offerings are


height of the

padmasana

and

of worship,

The

offered.

consists, according to the

same work, of sixteen parts, of which two form the


thickness of the lowest layer, five
lotus,

make up

the lower

two the intervening neck, and four

the

upper lotus and two more the uppermost layer


(see Pi. VI, figs. 1

and

6).

Padmasana should always be

circular or oval,

but never rectangular. In the absence of authoritative information as to its length


left to

them

the sculptor to choose


Bliadrapltlia

purpose.

whereof

is

is

and breadth,

so as to suit his

another seat, the height

also divided into sixteen parts, of

one forms the thickness

it is

which

of the tipana or the basal

layer, four of the jagati or the

next higher layer,

three of the /iumuda,one of the pattiha, three of the

hantha, one of the ^econdi pattiha, two of the broader


maliapattiha and one of the ghritavari the topmost
layer (see PI.

VI,

fig.

Bliadrapltlia

6).

either circular or rectangular.

may

be

description of the

wooden seat known as Mirmcisana is given in the


Tamil work called Saivasamaya-neri. The timber
used for making this seat
(ebony) or hilva (bael).

is

the iliippai, harungali

The kunnasana must have


20

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF TERMS.


the oval shape proper for a mirror

The

height of

twelve, and

it

it

(PI.

has to be ionv ahgulas,

seven angulas in girth (see PI. VI,

In the description
carcass

is

of

mentioned as a seat

is

breadth

meant

figs.

3 and 4).*
or a

for her.

back, with his arms outstretched


attitude

7).

one mushti or

Chamunda a pyeta

the posture in which the yogi

is

its

fig.

should be provided with the face and

feet of a tortoise, these latter being

sana

IV,

human
PrUct,-

lies fiat

on his

evidently

this

for the perfect relaxation of all

the muscles of the body to secure complete ease in


breathing, and in

it

one

is

as though he were dead.


this yogic

certainly apt to appear

It

may

be surmised that

asana has been materialised into the

above curious carcass-seat.

The siihhasana

is

four legged seat, circular or rectangular in shape

and one hasta or cubit


of this seat are

in height.

made up

^(muL)smLd-j>uirp

of four

sk.iTLnir

The

four legs

small lions.

^esrLo.

L/o3raiflrs)3rQL_s3r (opo^iflsinsiJLj uirir,

npsnpLD u^iBiT'm(^

(LpiLu^iusfr eBpQs^tju

(miBemLDLDir ies)iBJ(^dQiMeir

(Verses

57 6O5

(o(Tyir,

Quir^eQeosssstsiLh^ esiffsua^LuuQK^)

21

HINDU IGONOGEAPHY.
Images are clothed

in different materials,

and

as cotton
Costumes,

such

the skin of the

silk,

Oriia-

ments and Head-

The cotton and

tiger or the deer.

gear.

clothings are dyed in various

silk

The

colours.

worn over the

tigor's skin is

the cotton clothing, while the deer-skin

over the body.


skin
it

is

the

what

is

is

silk or

thrown

One manner of wearing the deerknown as the npavlta fashion. In

skin goes

over

the

shoulder across

left

arm and comes again


up the back. The head

the body, and below the right


to the left shoulder right

made

of the deer is

as

shown

shown

in

fig.

to

18 on

distinctly in

tures of images.

hang

in front over the chest

These costumes are

PI. V.

almost

Some of

all

castings and sculp-

the sculptured images are

even painted so as to show the intended colours


In almost

their chiselled costumes.

presentations of

all

of

the later re-

Hindu gods and goddesses we may

see the yajTwpavlta running across the chest from

In the Gudimallam Linga, which

left to right.

probably the earliest


yajTwpavita
is

is

known Hindu

not found

is

sculpture, the

and the image

of

Siva

given only two arms instead of the usual four.

At what stage

of the history of

Hindu

sculpture

the representation of the uajmpavlta came into

vogue

is

not quite clear

it

is

found in what,

according to Mr. Vincent A. Smith,


22

is

known

as

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF TERMS.


the Gupta period, and also in the early Chalukya-

Pallava period.

It

represented in these later

is

sculptures as a ribbon going round the body in the

manner required and

tied in front in a knot.

It is

obviously the sacred-thread of the higher castes

among
is

the Hindus.

seen in

many

Hara means

a necklace and

In the

different patterns.

earlier

somewhat short and forms a broad


band made up of several pieces. Keyura is a fiat
periods,

it

is

ornament worn on the arm


muscle

the hanhana or the bracelet

wrist.

just over the biceps

At the junction

abdomen
manship

of

is

is

worn

it

is

called udara-bandha.
is

at the

thorax and the

the

also

going round the hip

worn

a broad belt of good work-

The

called hatihandha,

belt

and the

zone employed to support and keep in position


the breasts of feminine figures
handlia.

Hindus

Dharma-sastras

Hence

arose

called

kuclia-

are forbidden by the rules of the

from

probably

wearing
the

stitched clothes.

practice

employing this Jcucha-bandha.


is

is

of

women

BJmjaiiga-valaya

an ornament worn at the wrist by Siva.

bracelet shaped like a coiled snake.

It is a

Its circumfer-

ence has to be at least a fourth larger than that of


the wrist on which

the
it

tail

it is

worn

at

the junction of

with the body of the snake, the hood

rises

has to be twelve ahrpdas high, seven in width


23

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
and one
in the

Two fangs have to

in thickness.

moath

A very

be

shown

so as to be visible outside.

number

large

of

ornaments are men-

tioned as useful for adorning the images of gods.

There are ornaments

for the

ear, the

neck,

the

shoulder, the forearm, the trunk, the breasts, the


loins, the ankles

and the

These ornaments

of head-gears are also described.

and headgears are noticed here

The ear-ornament
liundala.

are

At

is

as briefly as possible.

known by the

five different

least

Different kinds

fingers.

general

name

kinds of kundalas

known, namely, the patraJiiindala, the

hindala, which

is

the ratnakundala, and

It appears to be probable that

the sarpa-Iaindala.

in the early periods of Indian civilization

considered

nalira-

the same as the maliara-hiindala,

the saiiMiapatra-lundala,

women

of

it

ornaments attached
often specially bored

Even today we may

men and

a beauty to have large earto the ear-lobes,

and dilated

see

which were

for the purpose.

on the Malabar Coast

ladies

with specially bored pendant ear-lobes, in which


there shine large, but light, golden discs.

In the

earlier stages of causing the dilatation of the lobes


of

the ear,

cylindrical

rolls

of cotton

cloth or

flattened spirals of cocoanut-leaf or palmyra-leaf

are

thrust in to

pressure.

produce the

In course

required internal

of time, these spirals

24

came

to

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF TERMS

made

be

leaf.

imitation of the

This form of golden ear-ornament

name

rightly indeed, by the


PI.

of a thin sheet of gold

IV,

16).

fig.

Its

When

it

produces a spiral ring which

jewelled circular ear-ring

IV,

(see PI.

fig. 17).

is

is

cut

may

be

This himdala

PL IV,

called the sanliha-patra (see

for the

the shell

thrust into the distended ear-lobe.


is

were

shells

making ornaments

ear as well as the forearm.

(see

olai is interest-

Again conch

extensively employed in

cross-wise,

known,

oi patra-kimclala

Tamil name

ing in this connection.

is

fig. 16).

called a raftia-htndala.

Ear-ornaments made

in the

form of the mythical mahira and in the form of a


cobra are called respectively the makara-Jcinidala

and the sarpa-Jcundalas

One
and they

or

(see PI.

and

aware that on the chest


as srlvatsa

here in the belief that


of

Vishnu.

which

is

Srlvatsa

of
it

Buddha
is

Vishnu

We

there

is

are

the

perhaps introduced
is

an incarnation

a mark, a sort of mole,

with the kaustuhhamani which

In sculpture this mole

is

is

the form of a

rhombus, or by a simple equilateral

triangle,

and

invariably placed on the right side of the chest.


25

represented by a

flower of four petals arranged in

is

to

valjayanti.

Buddha
is

18 and 19).

conceived to adorn the chest of Vishnu in

association
jewel.

figs.

two ornaments are peculiar

are the srlvatsa

mark known

IV,

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
The

vaijayanti

necklace composed

is

of

a successive series of groups of gems, each group

wherein has

five

gems

in a particular order

described in the Vishmpttrana thus

necklace called vaijayanti


sists of

emerald,

From

'

diamond.

and

blue-stone,

See

The

the earth comes


fire

the

and from ether

Jiaustubha, from air the cat's eye


"*
the Pushjjaraga.'

for

con-

therefore called

it is

the blue gem, from water the pearl, from

name

it

kinds of gems, namely, the pearl,

Vishnurahasya also says,

Head-gear.

it is

Here five-formed points

the elemental necklace.'

ruby,

" 'Vishnu's

five-formed as

is

the five elements, and

to five different

The commonly known Sanskrit

the head-gear

is

mauliA

There

are

Bhaskararaya's commentary on Lalita-sahasra-

nama.

T^ ^ \f^ Mr# cm^r^frnTTr^cT:


^^^i

s^T'^i Tz^^l

f^cTRI^

3T^^r

^tt

^^^^

^m 5r?TiT^3fl73T^q;

\'A<s\a\ =?

ii

II

*<u^njdn%rR;

?r?^^T? mR^qr: %5nFq-^

26

ii

^rf^H

II

DEFINITION AND DBSCEIPTION OF TERMS.


various well-known
as

jata-maJctUa,

iiiakuta

and

sirastraka,

varieties

head-gear such

of

and

kirlta-mahitta,

the

minor

varieties

In the formation

varieties the plaits of hair

are

are

dhammilla

kuntala, kesabandha,

alaka-chudaka.

karanda-

thereof

of these

and

minor

bound by what

are

and ratna-patta.

called patra-patta, pushpa-2Jatta

The jata-makuta is, as the name indicates,


made up of twists of matted hair done into the
form of a tall cap. The Uttara-kamikagama gives
the following rather long and somewhat unintelligi-

which the

ble description of the loshnlsha in

T^iTi Tl'^d

^^Tf

=^

=^*qf^JHf|E3T^ (?)

TrWB:

^7:^ q^j

r%ri;

II

(m^mt
27

II)

jatd,-

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Dial-uta

is

"

included.

The

iisJinlsJta-bhushana*

should be'made so as to be of three ahgidas in height.

On

its

must be iour puris.

four sides there

middle

of the

nsJtmsha there must be a maharakata

with seven holes.


'patra-ldita

In the

On

each side there has to be a

The

and on the back, a ratna-Jcuta.

breadth of the ushnlsha must be ten ahgulas at the


has to be the same as that

top, while at the base it

of the face of the wearer.

has, in the case of the


to

it

there

cither
is

mahuta

on the

is

image

left

to be a cobra

or

crescent of the
of Siva, to be

on the right

on the

left

in fact as described

below

attached
side,

The

side.

moon
and

jata-

five jatfks or

braids of matted hair are taken and tied into a knot

three inches in height by coiling

them

into one or

three loops, the remaining braids being bound and

^\k^V T^sgJ ^3TR?S ^^T^HfJSRJ?;

rmT%5'jRTf g ^J^ ^r^st^^^^n

^i^ irirwot
^a;rf^:

II

ii

(?) cRJT ?r^T^R:ii]%cTri;

"wnr^f^^ r^pfrm f^%w:

ii

(5m^rfiR?RqSS^c^Tf^5miTTS^
28

ll)

PLATE

To

VII,

face page 28.

PLATE

Vril,

(i(

To

face page 29.

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF TERMS.


taken through to be
(see PI. VII, figs. 1,

hanging on both sides"

left

and

'2

This jata-maJcuta

3).

Brahma and Kudra among the


Manonmani among the goddesses.

prescribed for

and

for

Kinta-inaJcuta

gods,

cap sometimes

conical

is

is

ending in an oraamental top carrying a central


pointed knob.

on

front or

with jewelled discs in

It is covered

and has jewelled bands round

all sides,

The

the top as well as the bottom.

hirlta-maliuta

should be worn exclusively by Narayana

Among human beings

gods.

by sarvabhaioiia

the

Jcirlta

by adhirajas or superior governors

PL IV,

figs.

For

all

karanda-7nakuta

is

in the shape of a

and

21).

haranda which

and small

PI.

in

VIII,

the

crown made

is

generally a

fig. 2).

and

size,

called

is

It is a

prescribed.

bowl-shaped vessel (see


in height

be worn

of provinces (see

other gods what

the

may

or emperors

cliaJcravartins''

20 and

among the

is,

It is short

as

pointed

out above, indicative of subordination in status.

This

is

the headgear of

ft^i'Htc'^'^H q^^l+lTii:

II

He

all

is

the various kinds of

a chakravariin

whose

vule

extends to the shoves of the four bounding oceans he who


holds sway over seven provinces is called an adhiraja, .while
;

one who reigns over three provinces


29

is

a Naretidra.

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
goddesses

it is

to adhirajas also,

are seen to

among human

prescribed,

beings,

Sometimes even chakravartins

wear only the haranda-maJiuta.

The remaining kinds of head-gear mentioned


The
above are mostly modes of dressing the hair.
mode called hesabandha is employed in relation to
Sarasvati among divine beings, and in relation to
the queens of adhircijas among human beings, and

known as hiiitala is meant for the godLakshmi and also for the queens of emperors

the style
dess

and adhirajas and nave

id fas.

(see PI.

IV,

figs.

22,

23 and 24).
SirastraJca

is

to be

said

(parshnikas) of kings.

It is

meant

much

like

for generals

an ordinary

turban.

The wives

of

mandallkas or appointed gover-

nors of small provinces should wear their hair done


in the form of a knot
as dhammilla.

before a king

which

is

known

But the women who carry torches

and the wives

bearers and shield- bearers,

of

had

in a knot called alaka-chudaka.


of

technically

the king's swordto

wear their hair

The

different kinds

knots of hair as described above seem to have

been bound by wreaths

of

flowers called louslipa-

patta or by strings of leaves like those of the cocoanut

palm

called patra-patta, or by a jewelled golden

band called ratna-paUa.


30

DEFINITION AND DESCEIPTION OF TEBMS.

From

this

somewhat minute description

known assignment

head-dresses and from the


particular forms of
divinities

of the

gear to

particular classes of

and human beings,

without mistakes the status

of

it is

make out

easy to

of the divinity or the

human being having a particular head-gear and to a


;

knowing observer these head-gears form an instance


which prevails

of the definiteness

in the conven-

tional language of symbolism.

Ghhannavlra appears
kind of jewelled

makuta

or

disc,

to be a flat ornament, a

meant

hung round the neck by


This ornament

to lie over the chest.

on the

to be tied

a string so as
is

pretty frequently but what kind of thing

mentioned
it

means

is

not quite easily understood.


Sanskrit iconographic treatises insist that the

Hraschahra, or the halo surrounding the head of


every divine being,
thereof.

is

It should

a necessary part of the image

have the form

full-blown lotus (see PI. IX,

figs.

of a circle or a

4 and

5),

eleven

ahgidas in diameter, and should be away from the

head by a distance equal


This halo-circle
of

is

attached to the back of the head

images by means

equal to

of

one-seventh

siraschakra.

The

to a third of its diameter.

a rod whose thickness


of

the

diameter

of

is

the

sirascliahra has theoretically to

be something which

is

aloof
31

and unconnected

(see

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
PI. lY, figs, -o
tions,
is

it

is

aud

26"'
;

but iu material representa-

impossible to have a siraicJtahra which

not attached to the head

connecting piece.

This piece

hidden in wi'eaths

of flowers,

hence the need


is

for this

covered with and

which appear

to

adorn

the hair-knot of the image at the back, so as to

the

The

behind the head.


is

make

appear to be projecting distinctly

iirak'Jtali'a

iiraicJial-ra of the sculptures

considered to correspond to the inabhamajidala

wbich surrounds

or the halo of light

In other words,

intended

it is

all

divine beings.

to serve as a

material

representation of the glory or circle of light shining

around the head

of gods.

The prabhavali
to the

represents something similar

prabha-mandala: the former

is,

however, a

ring of light that surrounds the whole person of a


god, while the latter

The prabharali

close to the head.


al

a circulai' halo that

is

circular or oval

ring,

emblems

belongs

are

example,

god

of the

and

an ornament-

cJidlij-a

Verv often the

whom

to

sculptured on

ia::/:ha

shown

with a number of jviila^

or protruding tongues of flame.


special

is

is

each

the prabliriraU

side

of

are found in

it

for

associa-

tion with the })rabhdvali of Vishnu, parasii and paia

with that of Siva or Ganesa.

In some instances,

the prabliai-alj of Vishnu contains his ten avatai'ar^

carved on

it

in the usual order

32

from right

to left.

PLATE

c3

Tl

IX.

GANAPATI.

GANAPATI.
VIGHNESVAKA

as

is,

the

name

the deity presiding over obstacles

he happens to be the god

way

obstacles in the

who

indicates,
;

as such,

either puts

That he

or removes them.

has the capacity for doing both these things

is

evident from the account of his origin given in the

Lingapurana.

It is stated therein that the

and Buhsliasas, performed


acts of virtue,

sacrifices

and received

Siva the Supreme Grod.

several

Asuras

and other
boons from

Protected with the boons

thus acquired from god Siva, they began to fight


against the Devas and defeat

the other gods,


at the

hands

afflicted

of the

them.

by the defeats received

Bakshasas, complained about

their hard lot to the

Supreme God and prayed

to

who would

be

him

that he should create a being,

the

lord

of

obstacles,

obstacles in the

way

Indra and

Vighnesvara, and throw

of the

Asuras and Bd,lishasas

in their attempts to perform acts of merit,


35

and thus

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
render them unfit to receive any more boons from

Siva yielded to this request of the gods and

Grod.

him

willed that a son be born to


object.

Then one

to

of his amas, that

this

fulfil

is,

a part of

his power, took shape in the form of a

handsome

being and was delivered

womb

Him

Parvati.

advised

him

out of the

of

named Vighnesvara, and

Siva

to hinder the A.vtras,

Balshasas and

other wicked people from performing sacrifices and

other virtuous acts, but to render


the Devas and other good beings
to perform such acts-

all

assistance to

in their

endeavour

Vighnesvara, thus born and

thus installed in his position, has continued

dis-

charging his duties in the world of his Hindu


devotees and worshippers.

From

this

it

is

clear that

were laid the duties


facilitating all

acts

of

of

upon Vighnesvara

hindering and also of

virtue,

according to

the

motives with which their performance was underVarious other accounts of the origin of

taken.

The

Vighnesvara are also found in the Pnranas.


Siva-purana gives the following account
birth of Vighnesvara
"

The

origin of

Vighnesvara

different aeons of creation.

now

am

is

different

relating to

the story of the birth of this god as

place

in

the

the

of

BvetaTialpa.
36

it

in

you
took

Once upon a time,

GANAPATI.
Jaya and Vijaya, the two companions
suggested to her that,

of Parvati

though she had Nandi,

Bhrihgi and others among Siva's attendants as her


servants,

still it

would be better

own

a person as her

it

if

she had

Parvati took the

servant.

advice in good part, and

for her

so

happened subse-

on one occasion, when she

quently that,

was

bathing in one of the inner compartments of her

mansion, Siva not knowing where she then was,

went into the place

where

Parvati realised the value of

who would

She took a

little

created out of

keep

strict

it

bathing.

the advice of her

be to her a faithful servant.

the dirt on her skin

of

a lovely being and ordered

and

him

to

guard at her gate so as not to allow any

one inside without her permission.


himself

was

and resolved upon creating a

friends fully then

person

she

happened to

go to

meet

Once, Siva
his

consort,

but could not get access into her apartments, as


the

new

gate-keeper would not allow

him

in.

Siva

then tried entreaties and threats, none of which

proved effective

way

in

he then resolved upon forcing his

somehow.

On

noticing this,

the

new

clvarafcdaka administered to Siva a few cuts with

a cane

and drove him

out.

Incensed

at

the

behaviour of this insignificant servant of his consort he ordered his

Bhuta-ganas
.37

host of demons

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
to

him

kill

In the fight that ensued

once.

at

demons were completely defeated


and driven away. Then Vishnu, Subrahmanya
diva's host of

and others

tried,

on behalf

of Siva, their strength

with Vighnesvara and met with no better

Then

result.

Parvati, on seeing that her son Vighnesvara,

was fighting single-handed against powerful opponents, sent two minor goddesses to his help.

drew

towards

power

all

themselves by

direct

mysterious

their

the missiles aimed against Vighnesvara

and protected him from


no

They

methods

injury.

Finding thus that

of attack succeeded as against

Vighnesvara, Vishnu thought of using strategy

and with the aid

of his

mayn he caused

confusion.

Thereupon the two minor goddesses, finding


presence

no longer

Parvati.

It

of

The news

returned

there,

then became easy

and remove the head


"

use

for

it

to

Siva to cut

off

of Vighnesvara.

of the destruction of her son

conveyed to Parvati by the sage Narada


hearing

their

was

and on

she became so angry that she created a

thousand fighting goddesses to bring trouble on


all

those that took part in the destruction of her

Vighnesvara.

These goddesses attacked the gods

and made them

feel

To rescue the
gods from this pitiable condition, Narada and
other sages prayed to Parvati, who promised to
very miserable.

38

GANAPATL
restore peace as soon as her son
to

was brought back

Siva on hearing this, ordered the gods to

life.

proceed to the north at once and bring the head of


the

first living

being they met and

neck of the beheaded son

on the

fix it

The gods

of Parvati.

immediately proceeded and came across an

phant

they cut

attached
vara.

off

head and brought

its

and

it

as directed to the trunk of Vighnes-

it

That elephant had only one

Gajanana

ele-

therefore only one

by the name

of

Vighnesvara) has

elephant-faced

(the

tusk even to-day, and

Ekadanta.

son brought back to


pleased and took

life

him

is

When Parvati

in this

to

and

tusk,

known

saw her

manner, she

the presence of

felt

Siva.

Vighnesvara apologised to Siva and the other gods


for his past remissness in

conduct and bowed in

deep reverence to his divine father.


thereby

highly

Vighnesvara the

gratified

and

Siva was

conferred

commandership over

upon

own

his

demon-hosts, and anointed him as Ganapati.


is

It

thus that Vighnesvara became Gajanana and

Ekadanta and Ganapati."


Quite a different story
origin of

is

Vighnesvara in some

given about the

of the other

Pura-

Kennedy in his Hindu Mythology has given


the following summary of the story as found in the
nas.

Varaha-'purana, the Matsya-imrana and also the


39

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Skaiida-paraiia:

"The immortals and holy sages

observmg that, whether the actions, which they


or

commenced, were

others

difficulty occurred

might be opposed

obstacles

or

accomplishing

in

no

bad,

them, con-

means by which

together respecting the

sulted

of

good

to

the commission

bad actions, and determined to have recourse

They accordingly proceeded

to Eudra.

and thus with

reverence

addressed

to Kailasa,

him

'
:

0,

Mahadeva, god

of gods, three-eyed, bearer of the

trident,

thou alone

it

is

who

canst

create a

being capable of opposing obstacles to the commission of improper acts.'

On

hearing these words,

Siva looked at Parvati and began to consider in

what manner he could


gods

effect

the

wishes of the

and, as he was immersed in thought, from

the splendour of his countenance (which represents


the akasic portion of his body) sprang into exist-

ence a youth, shedding radiance around, endowed

with the qualities

of Siva,

and evidently another

Eudra, and captivating by his beauty the female


inhabitants of heaven.

when

Uma

regarded him,

and

she saw him thus lovely, her natural dis-

position

uttered

was excited,
this curse

and incensed with anger

'

Thoa

shalt not offend

my

sight with the form of a beautiful youth, therefore

assume an elephant's head and a


40

large belly,

and

GANAPATI.

may

thus

Siva thus

thy beauties vanish.'*

all

spoke to his son

'

Thy names

Ganesa

shall be

Vinayaka, Vighnaraja, the son of Siva

thou shalt

be the chief of the Vinayakas and the ganas success


;

and disappointment

great shall be thy influence


sacrifices

and

all affairs.

or otherwise the object

on

first

in

him who

of

so, shall fail.' "f


is

it

said that this

Ganapati was formed with the head

elephant, while another tradition has

when she was

day,

and

occasions,

all

and prayers

"In the Matsya-purana


figure of

amongst gods, and

Therefore shalt thou be

worshipped and invoked the

omits to do

from thee

shall proceed

it

of

an

that one

bathing, Parvati formed the

oil,

ointments, and impurity that came from her body


into the figure of a

sprinkling
"

it

man,

to

which she gave

life

by

with the water of the Ganges."!

In the following passage

the

of

purana, however, the birth of Ganapati


to Parvati only:

is

Skandaascribed

Siva, addressing Parvati. 'For-

merly during the twilight that intervened between


the Dvaparayuga and the Kaliyuga, women, bar-

* " Indignant at Siva producing without her participation

so perfect a son."
t

Kennedy's

Kennedy's Hindu Mythology,

Uiivlii

Mythology, pp, 353-54,

41

p.

353,

f.

n. 2.

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
and other workers

barians, Sudras,

of sin, obtained

entrance into heaven by visiting the celebrated

temple

of

Somesvara." Sacrifices, ascetic practices,

and

charitable gifts,

the other prescribed ordi-

all

nances ceased, and men thronged only to the temple

Hence

of Siva.

old

and young, the

Yedas and those ignorant

of

to excess.

women and

them, and

SQdi-as, ascended to heaven,

became crowded

skilled in the

until

at

length

Then Indra and

it

the

gods afiiicted at being thus overcome by men, sought


the protection of Siva, and thus with reverence

addressed him
is

'

0, Sahkara, by thy favour heaven

pervaded by men, and we are nearly expelled from

it.

These mortals wander wherever they

exclaiming,

'

am

the greatest

';

please,

and Dharmaraja,

beholding the register of then- good and evil deeds,

remains
hells

silent, lost in

were most assuredly intended

tion; but,

For the seven

astonishment.

for their recep-

having visited thy shrine, their sins have

been remitted, and they have obtained a most excelSiva replied:

lent futurity.'

mise to Soma, nor can


therefore,

who

visit the

But

ascend to heaven.
will

contrive some

'

it

The same

as

'

Such was

be infringed

temple

of

and

my

pro-

all

men,

Somesvara must

supplicate Parvati, and she

means

for extricating

Somnath."
42

you from

GANAPATI.
this distress.'

The gods then kneehng

before Parvati,

with folded hands and bended heads, thus invoked


her assistance with laudatory strains

supreme

to thee,

universe

ent as gold

who

Greatest

and destroyest

mountain-born

Praise be

beloved of Siva-

Praise be to thee,

Praise be to thee,

'

lotus-eyed, resplend-

Praise be to thee,

of goddesses, supporter of the

Praise be to thee,

Kalaratri,

Durga, who pervadest the universe, and


substance from which

all

art the sole

female forms whether

mortal or immortal, originate! Grant us thy


save us from this fearful

distress.'

aid,

Having heard

supplication of Indra and the gods, thou,

the

goddess

wert moved with compassion, and gently

rubbing thy body,

there was thence produced a

wondrous being with four arms and the head


elephant
'

and

when thou thus addressed

an

of

the gods

Desirous of your advantage have I created this

being,

who

will

deluding them
visit

occasion obstacles to men, and

will

deprive

Somanatha, and thus

them

of the

wish to

shall they fall into hell.'

This heard, the gods were delighted, and returned to

own abodes, relieved from all fear of mankind.'


" The Elephant-headed then thus spoke to
Command, lovely goddess What
Devi
thee,
Thou didst reply,
Oppose obstacles
I shall do.'
their

'

'

to

men's visiting Somanatha, and entice them


43

to

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
give up such

purpose by allurement of wives,

children, possessions,

who

and wealth.

But from those


hymn, do thou

propitiate thee by the following

remove

all difficulties,

and enable them

to obtain

the favour of Siva by worshipping at his shriae of

Somanatha
Om, I praise thee,
lord of difficulties
The beloved spouse of Siddhi and Buddhi,
Ganapati, invincible, and the giver of victory, the
:

opposer of obstacles to the success of

not worship thee, I praise thee


dreadful son
tiated

of

do

The

elephant-faced,

formerly protect the gods and accomplish

wishes,

Parvatl,

Ganesa

but firm and easily propi-

Vinayaka, I praise thee

who didst
their

Uma,

men who

praise

thee

Thus,

shalt thou be praised

'

the fourth of each half

month

continued

and worshipped on
and whoever

pre-

viously invokes the god Vinayaka, no difficulties

impede the attainment

shall

and a most

and

from

other devotional

all

''*

acts.'

The
its

beneficial result shall he derive

pilgrimages,

sacrificies,

proposed object,

of his

own

SuprabJiedagama

has

regarding the birth

of

version

Ganesa.

of

Siva

addressing Vighnesvara informs him of his origin

thus

''

"

I,

in

company with

Keanedy's Hindu Mythology,


44

Parvati, retired once

pp.

354

356.

GANAPATI.
to the forest

on the slopes

Wc

company-

enjoy each other's

Himalayas

of the

to

saw there a

female elephant making herself happy with a male

This excited our passion and we desired

elephant.

the form of

to enjoy ourselves in

elephants.

became a male elephant, and Parvati a female


and pleased ourselves, as a
were born with the face

In the

of

known

earliest

of writing

was

usefully

one,

which you

result of

an elephant."
reference to him, in the

Aitamja-hralnnmia 1. 21, Ganapati

Brahma, Brahmanaspati

is

identified
"

or Brihaspati.

employed

the early ages of philosophy.

",

with

The

art

says Muir, " in

Lists of words appa-

rently submitting to a general principle of classification, or

These

having the same sense, were drawn up.

lists

formed ganas which were appreciated.

Ganapati, the Lord of the ganas,

Brahmanaspati.

knowledge
Veda.
is

It

itself.

was a name

of

was gradually recognised as

It

was Brahma.

Pratisakhyas give ganas.

It

was the

Yaska's treatise

a collection of such ganas."


It is stated that

when Vyasa composed

the

Mahabharata, he employed Ganesa as his amanuensis,

own

who wrote

tusk as his

to Vyasa's dictation using his

stile.

In the Bralimavaivarta-imrl'ma

it

is

stated

that Ganesa was Krishna himself originally in the


45

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
human

Sani went to him while a child.

form.

The head

the child in consequence separated

of

and went away

The elephant Airavata

to Goloka.

had then a son

in

removed and

on the body

fixed

the

His head was

forest.

of the child.

Thus, we see that Ganesa, who


Yighnesvara,

is

considered to have been born solely

and

to Siva, solely to Parvati

Parvati, and

He

form.

and with Brahmanaspati

in

another

the Parabrahman

with

identified

is

Siva and

to both

Krishna

also held to be

is

the same as

is

or Brihaspati elsewhere.

So confusing indeed are the accounts about the


nature and origin of Vighnesvara.

At present
pious

Hindu

rior gods, all serious


affairs of

all

the god

is

when he

and religious ceremonies,


wordly

he

in practice,

" invokes

begins

whom the

all sacrifices

addresses even to supe-

compositions in writing, and

moment."

Vighnesvara

is

all

known

by various names, such as Ganapati, Ekadanta,

Heramba, Lambodara, Surpakarna, Gajanana and


Guhagraja.
nesvara,

Ganesa

The reason

Gajanana,
has

of the appellations

Ekadanta and Ganapati or

already

been

Bralnnavaivarta-pnrana,

meaning

of

some

peculiarly artificial

Vigh-

of the

given

however,

names

manner thus

stands for wisdom and

explains

of this

The
the

god in a

Oa in Ganapati

iia for i/ioksJia

46

above.

or the salva-

GANAPATI.

The

tion of soul emancipation.

these

fcdi or lord of

Eka

Ganesa the Parabrahman.

is

in

Elm-

danta indicates the one only Supreme Being and


danta
fore,

indicative of strength.

is

the all-powerful Supreme Being.

is

word Heramha, the

ramba denotes the protection

weak beings

afforded to

In the

syllable he represents helpless-

ness or weakness, and

harm

Ekadanta, there-

them from

to safeguard

hence Heramba means the Protector

of the

Weak. By eating the food and cakes offered by


Vishnu and Siva the belly of G-anesa became dilated,
and hence he has come to be known by the name
of

The

Lambodara.

waving
ing

and

to

away

fro

are emblematic

of

manya, he

is

purana says

who

is

also

the same as Subrah-

The

Bhavisliyat-

that, since he leads the

good in the

called Guhagraja.

he

righteousness,

Another explanation
in the

winnow-

and are

Because he was born to

wisdom.

Parvati before Guha,

of

of the

of the obstacles of devotees

indicative

path

Gajanana which are

ears of

of the

Vamana-purana

was born without

is

called

Vinayaka.

name Vinayaka

that, as he

to the effect

nUijalia

given

is

or sire, he

came

to be

named Vinayaka.
It

is

are rather

said that

common

Vighnesvara

are

Subrahmanya

the shrines of
in

South India

even

but those of

more numerous.
47

Every

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
however small has

village,

in

an image

it

Vigh-

of

nesvara, with or without a temple to house

At the entrances

of villages

and

below pipal

forts,

on the right side

trees adjoining villages,

it in.

the

of

entrances into Siva temples, in the niche which


is

at the

commencement

of the

circuit in the temples of

and

innermost prahara

Vishnu

as well as Siva

also in separate shrines specially constructed

in Siva temples in the south-west corner, the figure


of

Yighnesvara

is

invariably to be seen.

In Bupaviauijana

stated that, in a temple,

it is

dedicated to Gauesa, there should be on the

image

of the

on the

of this deity the figure of

Buddhi

(Bhalachandra
west, of

Each

?);

Kubera

and

to

to the

the back, of Dhumraka.

at

Those

Suvaktra and Balavan

should have a

at the east

named Avighna and Yighuaraja


;

Gajakarna and Gokarna; and

Susaumya and Subhadayaka.


are to be dwarfish

Balachandra

to the south-east,

of the four gates of the shrine

terrific

Gauri

to the south, of Sarasvati

pair of dvarapaJas.

gate,

Gajakarna

right, of Siddhi; to the north, of

the east, of

left

in stature

at

gate are

the

south

west gate,

at

the

at

the north-gate,

All

these

images

and should possess

look; one of their hands should be in the

tcnja)!/ -pone,

another should carry a dauda: and

the other two hands should, in the case of Avigbua


48

PLATE

X,

GANAPATI,

and Vighnaraja, carry the

and the fadvia

parasit

Suvaktra and Balavan, the khadga

in the case of

and the IMtal-a

Gajakarna and

in the case of

Gokarna the dhamis and bana

and

lastly in the

Susaumya and Subhadayaka, the padma

case of

and the anhisa.

may

Vighnesvara

The

standing.

mouse
is

be represented as sifiing or

may

seat

be

a 2^<^i'dmasana or a
If the

or in rare instances, a lion.

a standing one,

should have a few bends in the

it

body so as to be

figure

of the

drihhahga or trihlianga

may

type.

The standing image

of the

saviabhahga type without any bend what-

soever.

In the case

down

laid

is

that

and resting on a

it

fig. 1).

Ganapati,

of the sitting

should have

seat,

crossed so as to rest

of

also be

image, the rule

its left leg

folded

while the right leg has to be

on the

thigh, (see PI.

left

Owing, however, to the sculptors generally

making the

belly a little too

big,

the legs cannot

be shown to cross each other in front.

Therefore,

they simply show the right leg as bent and make


rest vertically

on a

seat, (see PI.

X,

fig.

The trunk of the elephant-head


may be shown as turned towards the
right.
left

Generally however,

it is

it

2).

of this
left

god

or the

turned towards the

only in rare cases do we meet with figures

with the proboscis turned to the right.


49

Ganesa

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
with the trunk turned to the right

Tamil as Valamburi Vinayaka


with the trunk turned to the

known

is

in

and the same god

left is

Idam-

called

buri Vinayaka.*

Vighnesvara

is

figured in

most cases with only

two eyes the agamas, however, prescribe three eyes


His image
to him in certain particular aspects.
;

may have
but"

four, six, eight, ten or

even sixteen arms

the majority of such images have only four

arms.

The

belly of this god,

Lambodara

as he

often enough called, has to be very capacious.

is

On

the chest has to be thrown a snake in the form of


the yajndjKU'lta

and another snake should serve

as a belt going

round the

Pu rank

of

of

snake

account
is

how he came

interesting.

The

belly.

following

to possess a girdle

Once upon a time, Vighnes-

number of devotees innumerathe modaha cake, and put them all

vara, received from a


ble quantities of

He

into his capacious stomach.

go

home and mounted upon

then started to

his precious charger,

the mouse, and began to drive

It

it.

dusk, and the poor over-burdened

hardly able to

move

along.

was already

mouse was

little

In such a plight,

sighted a large snake crossing the path

The words vnlam and idam mean

Tamil.

50

'

right

'

and

it

and

'

left

in

'

in

GANAPATI.
terror

tripped and

it

god Ganesa

This

also.

his inflated belly,


pell naell

caused the bursting of

fall

and the cakes were

it

for security the

so

much damage.

all

scattered

He picked them patiently,

on the floor.

them once again into

girdle.

throwing down the rider

fell

put

and tied round

his burst belly

very snake which caused him


It

is

thus that he got the snake-

The moon, who was then

of his twenty-seven

in the

starry consorts,

saw

company
all

that

took place on the earth below and burst out in


loud laughter quite audible to Ganesa.

This god

became greatly annoyed at the insult offered to him,


grew wild with anger and plucked one of his own
tusks and hurled

at the

moon.

hit

the gods thereupon approached

and implored him


restore to

him

of the gods,

to

to

pardon the offender, and to


Pleased with the praises

his light.

one

it

of

from perfect
periodic

This story accounts also

one tusk in addition to


of the

him with prayers

Vighnesvara modified his curse some-

what, changing

moon

It struck the

him so hard that he began to lose his


The nights became pitch dark, and
rapidly.

moon and
lustre

it

waning,

for

its

loss of light

and waxing.

Ganesa having only

offering

waxing and the waning

in the

an explanation

of the

moon.

There are several varieties among the images


representing this elephant-headed god
51

and we give

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
below a dcscnption

of these varieties in brief out-

line.

Bala-Ganajjati
like

a child

a form of this god sculptured

is

has of course four arms and the

it

an elephant. A mango, a plantain, a jack


and a sugar-cane are to be held in the four

head

of

fruit,

hands.

In the trunk the image has to carry a


Its colour should be,

wood-apple.

said, like

it

is

form

that of the rising sun.

Taruna-Ganapaii represents
carries in its

hands the pasa, the ankusa, the wood-

apple, jainbu fruit, the


stick,

which

and has

sesamum, and a bamboo-

to be scupltured

as a

youth.

The

colour of this god should be red.

Bhalitl-Vifjhmsoaia
four hands
a

in

which

mango, a lump

which

is

is

are

of sugar,

also

placed

of this

and a cup

a sweet preparation of

and the colour

an image with
cocoanut,
of payasa,

milk and rice

image has to be white

like

the autumnal moon.

Vlra-VighnUa.

The image

of

this

type of

Vighnesvara should be sculptured as having


teen hands.
its

The things which

hands are a

vetala, or

it

six-

should carry in

vampire, the weapon

bow and arrows, the sword and the shield,


mudgara or hammer, the gada, or the club, the

sakti,

the

ankusa, the pam, the sida, the hunda, the parasu


52

PLATE

XI.

[To face page 53.]

GANAPATI.

The

and the dhvaja.

colour of this image has to

be red.

Sakti-Ganesa represents a class


consisting

Lakshml-Ganapati,

of

of

images

Uchchhishta-

Qaiiapati, Mahd,-Ganapati, UrddJiva-Gaiiapati,

Of these the Lakshmi-Gana-

Pingala-Ganapati.
PATI, should

and

have eight hands, and carry in them a

parrot, a pomegranate,

a lotus, a water-vessel of

gold set with rubies, the ankusa, the pasa, the


kalpakalata, and the bud of the plant called

bd.7ia.

Water should be shown to be flowing from the


The colour of this image has to be
proboscis.
white.

Such

sivacharya

is

in

the description given by Aghora-

Mantramahodadhi

But the

Kriyakramadijoti.

his

states that Lakshmi-G-anapati

should have three eyes and should hold in two of


his

hands the danta and the chahra, while another

hand should be

in the

abhaya pose.

said about the fourth hand.

arm

is

of

also that the goddess

embrace.

It is stated

Lakshmi should be sculptured

so as to be embracing
;

its

Lakshmi-Ganapati, according to this

authority, should be golden colour.

arms

is

Evidently the fourth

intended to hold Lakshmi in

The colour

Nothing

G-anesa with one of her

she should carry a lotus in another hand,

Uchchhishta-Ganapati

many even

is

worshipped

by

in these days with a view to


33

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
achieve their various desired objects
this

god

of

boons.

is

and

considered to be a great giver

In

quoted above

the
is

said that this

image

its

hands a lotus

flower,

it

should carry in

Kriijahramadijoti

a pomegranate, a vlna, some quantity of

The Mantra-

paddy and an aJeshamala.

hialiarnava prescribes that UchckhisJita-

Ganapati should carry

hana,

the

the

dhanus, the 2Jas^ and the anJcusa, and


should be reddish in colour

he should be

seated upon the padmasana, with a nude

and should be shown

Devi,

making attempts
elaborate

for

description

as

coition.
of

if

he

more

deity

this

found in the TJttara-KamiTid,gama.

is

is

The

figure has to be a seated one, with four

hands, in three of which


the pasa, the

cane

aiiJcusa,

it

should carry

and a piece

of sugar-

the fourth hand should be touching

the private parts of the naked figure of


the associated Devi.

This

have three eyes and be

He

god should
dark colour.

should wear on the head a ratna-

inakuta.

upon
all

of

The nude Devi should

his lap

be sitting

she should be decked with

ornaments and have only two hands.


54

PLATE

Uchchhislita-Gsnapati

XII.

Stone: Nanjarigoclu.

[To (ace page 54.]

GANAPATI,

The name

of this goddess is Vighnesvari,

and

particularly

it

is

stated

There

should be sculptured beautifully.


is

she

that

deal of difference between the

great

description of Uchchhishta Ganapati as

contained in the books and the execution


in

the actual

In

sculptures.

cases

all

this

god has a nude Devi seated on his

lap

two

hands carry the pa^a and

of his

the ankua, one has a laddiiJca in

one of his arms

Devi about her

is

it,

used in embracing the

hip.

It is the

proboscis,

but not one of the hands, which


contact

with

And

Devi.

the right hand of the Devi

in her left

is

in

carries a lotus.

The image
its

Maha-

of

one with ten arms

should have in

is

private parts of the

hand she

Maha- Ganapati.
Ganapati

is

the private parts of the

shown to be holding the


god

and

hands a lotus

and

it

flower, a

pomegranate, a jewelled water-vessel, the


gada, his

own broken

ears of

paddy and the

of this

image has

of

Sakti,

tusk, a sugar-cane,
fiasa.

to be red.

whose complexion

The
The

colour

is

white,

figure

should be seated on the lap of this god,

and she should a have lotus


55

in her hand.

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Urddhva-Ganapati should carry
his

in five of

hands a kalhara flower, ears

bow made

of sugar-cane, the bana,

With one

the tusk.

of paddy,

of

and

arms he

his

The

should embrace Sakti about her hip.

colour of this god has to be golden-yellow,

and that

of the associated Sakti

should

be like that of the lightning.

Pingala-Ganapati,

hands

which

in

it

with six

also a figure

is

may

be seen to carry

a mango, a bunch of flowers plucked from

the kalpaJca tree, a sugar-cane, sesamum,

modaka, and parasu.


figure of

The

Lakshmi by

It should

have the

its side.

general characteristics of Sakti-Ganapati,

according to the V/ghiiesvara-pratishtha-vidhi, are


that he should be seated on the

padmasana with a

green coloured Sakti by his side,

whom

he should

be embracing about her waist, and that there should

be no contact between the hips of the god and


the goddess.

His colour should be the crimson

the setting sun.

and

He

vajra and be

of

should hold the weapons pa'sa

made

to

look

The

terrific.

Mavtramaharnava, on the other hand, has

it

that

danta, anhisa, pasa and ahshamsJa should be placed


in the

hands and the modaka,

in the trunk of this

Ganapati, and that Sakti, decked with


56

all

orna-

PLATE XUI,

Heramba-Ganapati

Bronze: Nilayatakshiyamman Temple, Negapatam.


(Froct view).
[To face page 56.]

PLATE

XIY.

Heramba-Ganapati.
(Back- view).
[To face page^57.]

GANAPATI.
merits and clothed in

gold-laced cloth should be

seated by his side.

Heramba.
from

different

has

five

'

The
all

Heramba

figure of

very

is

other figures of Vighnesvara.

It

elephant heads, four facing the four cardi-

nal points and the fifth placed above these so as to

be looking upwards.

powerful

ahhamala,
its

It

lion.

hands

parasU',

It

should carry the pasa, danta,

and a three-headed vmdgara

in another

modaka, and

should be seated upon a

hand there should be a

two other hands have

to be held in

The

the varada and abhaya poses respectively.


colour of

Heramba has

in

to be golden yellow.

Prasamia-Gaiiapati. This Ganapati

is

describ-

ed as a standing figure which has either a few bends

body or

in the

is

perfectly erect.

One authority says

that the figure should be abhahga, while another,


says that

it

should be samabhaiiga. The bends,

found, are generally three.

upon which

The

when

seat or pedastal

this figure should stand is the

padma-

This G-anesa has to be scarlet in colour

sana.

like

the rising sun, and should be draped in red cloth.

In two

of his

hands he should hold the

ahlcusa, while the

ysa

remaining two are to be one in

the varada and the other in the abhaya pose.


regard to this, however, there

ence

observable

and

is

between what
57

In

generally a differis

found in the

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
actual

sculptures and

books.

the

Prasanna-Ganapati

sculptures, to have

and ahliaya

two

description
is

of his

not seen in actual

hands in the varada

made

poses, but is

to hold in

danta and a modalca respectively, the


being represented as

if it is

given in

them

latter of these

being picked up with

the trunk, to be lifted and put into the mouth.

Dhvaja-Ganapati,

have four hands,

should

an akshamala, a danda and a

carrying a book,

hamandalu, and be

of terrific look.

Unmatta-UchcMishta Ganafati,

is

represent-

ed by an image with three eyes and with a body of


It carries in its four

red colour.

hands the pa^a,

the anJcusa, a vessel containing modakas, and the


danta.

It

should be

must

seated

is

made

upon the padmd.sana.

to look as

if

the elephant

It
is

in

(rutting).

Viglinaraja-Ganapati should be sculptured as


carrying the pasa and the anlnisa, and as eating

mango

fruit.

The image should be seated on a

mouse and have the colour

of the

deep red sun.

Bhuvarie'sa-Gana'pati should have eight hands.

The

saiikha, a

bow made

of sugar-cane,

arrows of

flowers, the broken tusk, the pasa, the aiikusa, and

shoots of paddy grass are to be held in


colour of the
of note that

body

is

to be white.

It

them
is

the

worthy

the sugar-cane-bow and the flowery


58

PLATE XV.

PLATE

XYI,

"^"^^

,\^-'.^-'

x;
^c

%1
*^

^<^%^>>

?.^'

^\ Pt^

'^.^f*-;.--^

ft

-^

J>-.^

^<%'
.5

'^-

#H^Ct

f^nS^.

Nritfca-Ganapati

Stone

Hoysalesvara Temple, Halebfdu.


[To face page 59.]

GANAPATI.
arrows are the attributes of Kamadeva, the Hindu

god

of love.

This

Nritta-Ganapati.

Ganesa

a representation of

This image should have eight

as dancing.

hands in seven

is

which should be held the pasa,

of

the ahhisa, cakes, the kutlid.ra (a kind of axe), the

and the

danta, the valaya (a quoit),


ring)

the remaining hand should be freely hang-

ing so as to be helpful to the various

the dance.

of

The

colour

the

of

a dancing figure

of this
it

left leg

on the padmasaua, and the

and held up

right leg also bent

body

scupltured with the

it is

slightly bent, resting

movements

To show that

Ganesa has to be golden yellow.


is

ao'iguUi/a (a

in

the

The

air.

sculptures of this figure have generally only four

hands, but not eight as in the description

given

above.

Haridra-Ganapati

also

is

known

as

the

The

Batri-Ganapati and should have four arms.


pasa, the anhusa, modaJca,

and the danta are

held in the four hands.

His image should have

three eyes and be

of turmeric yellow

to be

colour and

should wear yellow clothing.


BJiUlachandra.

It is said that

moon) was cursed by Darbhi


his

brightness.

Seeing

this,

Chandra and wore him on


59

(?)

Chandra

and began

Ganapati

(the

to lose

took up

his forehead as a tilaka,

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
and thus saved him from

disaster.

That form

of

Ganapati which hence has the moon on the forehead


is

known

as

Bhalachandra.

The Brahmanda-

piirana gives this explanation.

The

Surpaliarna.

Ganesa

that once

is

story regarding this form of

upon a time Agni was cursed

by the Rishis to become extinguished and

lost.

Agni accordingly became quite powerless. Ganesa


took pity and fanned Agni into life again with his
ears, as

he

is

Hence

with a surpa or winnowing basket.

known

as Surpakarna.

The

Ekadanta.

story here

is

that Parasurama,

having destroyed the Kshatriyas with the parasii


lent to

him by

Siva,

went

to Kailasa to offer thanks

But,

to his divine benefactor.

when

there,

he was

stopped at the gate of Siva's abode by Ganapati,

who

told

him that Siva and Parvati were

in con-

versation and that no stranger could then be allowed

Not caring

to enter.

for

the injunctions of this

way into
then ensued between him and

door-keeper, Parasurama tried to force his

the house

a fight

Ganapati, in which Parasurama hurled his parasu at

Ganesa

in great anger.

to resist the

blow

of the

Ganesa was
axe

able

enough

but he did not do

so,

because he could not bear to see his father's battleaxe, pass for a powerless weapon.

received

the blow on his


60

left

tusk,

He

therefore

which thus

GANAPATI.

became broken and

Accordingly he became a

lost.

The authority for this


the Brahmanda-purana. In a large number

single-tusked god, Ekadanta.


also

is

sculptures, however, the figure of

of

Ganesa

is re-

presented without the right tusk, contrary to the

Brahmanda-purana.

description given in the

We
the

have already remarked that Ganesa


part

akasic

Lord

Siva looked upon

of

as the vast expanse of space


all

of

modakas

probably

which

things, his belly

cious as to contain in

round,

it

is

is

everywhere

made

so capa-

the innumerable thousands

ball-like cakes,

the

represent

the

as

Perhaps to represent him

of the Universe-

and encloses

is

which most

various beings

the

in

universe floating in the ocean of akasa or ether.

The Padma-purana, however,


to

be

the

symbol

of

modaka
Supreme

explains the

Mahabuddhi,

Wisdom.

The following account is given in the 8ivamahapurana of the circumstances under which
Ganapati came to be married when Ganapati and
Subrahmanya attained marriageable age, Parvati
:

and Siva consulted each other as to which


should be married

who

It

first.

of

was resolved that

successfully circumambulated the earth

should have his marriage celebrated

manya began

them

first.

he,

first,

Subrah-

the race, got ready his peacock-vehicle


61

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
and started on the

Ganesa was
unmindful
race, for

case

indifierent at the

he

felt

But

time and utterly

advance in the

of his brother going in

come out

was out

round the earth.

trip

sure that he himself would in any

successful.

of sight,

As soon as Subrahmanya

Ganesa came near

to his parents

and circumambulated them seven times, and quoted


a Vedic text to the effect that,

if

made seven

a son

pradaJcslunas, circuits, round his parents, he obtained

the merit of having circumambulated the earth.

The
of

parents were highly pleased with the wisdom

Ganesa and married

to

him two fair damsels


To the former was born

named Buddhi and Siddhi.


the son named Kshema, and to the latter the son
named Labha. When all this had taken place
Subrahmanya returned, and demanded the prize
promised by his parents. He was then informed how
the prize in the race had been won by Ganesa,
and was asked to wait for his own turn to come
in the

ed

matter of marriage.

Feeling

and angry, Subrahmanya

Krauncha

to do

disappoint-

retired

penance there and

to

mount

live the life

of celibacy.

The
Ganesa

is

above account clearly

conceived to be the Lord of Buddhi and

Siddhi, that

ment

shows us that

is,

the lord of wisdom and the attain-

of desired ends.

63

GANAPATI.
Explanations relating to the weapons in the

hands

of Ganapati, will be

found in the chapter

on Ayudha-purushas and what they mean.

The

X to XVI are
these,

up

fig. 1,

just

Ganapati given on plates

illustrations of
all

PI.

Among

from actual sculptures.

that of the stone Ganapati set

is

two years ago

newly constructed

the

in

temple of Saradadevi and Sankaracharya at Kaladi.

The image was executed, it


artist,

and

is

reported, by a

Bombay

a good specimen of the work of the

new Bombay school of


evenness of symmetry in
and

is

There

sculpture.

the balance of the

also a natural proportion in size as

is

an

limbs

between the

head and the trunk, as well as between the trunk

on the one

and the hands and

side

The modelling

of the

hands and

on the

legs

the orna-

legs, of

ments and the drapery leaves nothing

other.

to be desired.

This figure holds the ahkusa in the back right hand,


the pasa in the back
in the front left

is

shown

hand the modaJca cake


;

hand and the danta

front right hand.

head

left

The

is

is

held in the

proboscis of the elephant-

to be playing with the flower garland

hanging from the neck.

This

last feature possibly

indicates that this Ganapati represents that variety


of

Uchchhishta-Ganapati which
Fig. 2,

PL

is

is

called

Unmatta.

a very pretty ivory image of

Kevala-Ganapati carved in the School


63

of

Arts at

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Trivandram.

It carries in its

hands the same things

which the image represented by

Though

does.

fig. 1

influenced by Western art, the artist in this case

has

followed to

still

a great

ideals of image-making, as

is

extent the ancient

evidenced by the old

conventional style of the mahuta, by the folds of the

drapery shown on the figure and by

minor

many

other

details.

The

stone-figure

photograph whereof

is

Lakshmi-Ganapati, the

of

given on PI.

XI

found in the Visvanathasvamin temple

as

fig.

1,

is

at Tenkasi,

known to have been built by a Pandya


king named Arikesari Parakrama Pandyadeva in
1446 A. D. The image is therefore likely to have
been set up about this period. The workmanship
which

is

of this piece of sculpture is far

no heed

is

paid to what

may

natural proportion of the

may

from satisfactory

be mentioned

parts

of

as the

the image,

as

be seen from the unsuitable size given to the

and the hands and

trunk, the head, the belly

Some

legs.

out of the ten hands of this image carry the

chaJcra, sankha, sida, parasii, danta,

articles

which are carried

easy to

make

out.

in the other

There

is

and fasa

and

hands it

is

not

a water-vessel

shown

as being carried in the proboscis of this Ganapati.

In the Nagesvarasvamin temple at Kumbha-

konam

is

set

up

the

figure
64

of

Uchchhishta-

GANAPATI,
Ganapati, the photograph whereof
as

fig.

2 in PI. XI.

in three

of

It

has four hands, and carries

them the parasu, the

modaJca, while the fourth

the goddess.

The

embracing

in

proboscis of the image

is

touch-

who

is

herself

carrying a flower in her

hand and

left

with her right hand the private parts

on

and a

j^a^a

employed

is

ing the private parts of the goddess,

The

reproduced

is

is

touching

of Q-anapati.

stone image of Uchchhishta-Ganapati figured


PI.

XII belongs

to

the Mysore

State.

As

described in the Mantra-iuaharnava, this Ganapati


is

seen carrying in his hands the ankua, the pasa,

the dhanus and the bana

image

almost

is

in other respects this

similar

to

the

Kumbhakonara

image.

The

bronze-image

whose back and

XIII and

XIV,

front

of

Heramba-Ganapati,

views are shown on Pis.

belongs to

the

Nilayatakshi-

yamman

temple at Negapatam.

which

is

seated upon a lion, two hands are kept

in the

varada and the abhaya poses respectively,

In

this

figure,

while the other eight are shown to be carrying the


parasii, pasa, danta, anJmsa,

and four other weapons

which are not easily identifiable.


observed that the image has

them
is

five

It

should be

heads

four of

are facing the four cardinal points, and one

situated centrally on the top.


Gfj

This piece

of

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
sculpture does not appear to be older than the
fifteenth century A.

Two
form

D.

show the

illustrations are given here to

of Prasanna-Granapati as

executed in sculp-

XV

represents a bronze

Of these

ture.

PI.

fig. 1,

statuette belonging to the Siva temple at Pattis-

varam

Tanjore

in the

image with three bends

upon a pdamasana.
is

the prahhavali

the

aiiJcusa,

tribhanga

It is a

district.

in the body,

and

is

standing

Surrounding this image there

and

it

hands

carries in its four

pasa, viddal-a and danta.

adorned with the haranda-makuta.

Its

head

is

It is probably

not later than the twelfth or the thirteenth century


A. D.

Fig. 2 on the

same

plate

is

an ivory image

of

Prasanna-Ganapati made in the School

at

Trivandram.

It is a perfectly erect figure

and

saviahlianga,

of Arts

in its

being

hands we see the same

things as in the hands of the bronze statuette of

Pattisvaram.

PI.

The
XVI,

figure
is

of

shown

Nritta-Ganapati

on

found in the Hoysalesvara temple at

Halebldu, the ancient capital of the Hoysala kings.

The

construction of this temple

is

said to have been

begun in the year 1121 A.D. in the reign


varddhana.

may

of

Vishnu-

Therefore the age of this sculpture

well be assigned

to

somewhere about the

quarter of the twelfth century.


66

It

is

last

a very fine

GANAPATI.
piece of sculpture, perfect in modelling as well as

execution and pleasing in

hands the pamsu; pam,

in six out of its eight


iiiudaka-patra,

One

padma-

and perhaps

danta, sarpa
of the right

hands

held in the pose

is

is

in the vismaya-hasta pose

boscis carries a lotus with its stalk

attached

Above

thereunto.

Ganapati an umbrella
itself is

mouse

is

and the pro-

and a few leaves

the head

sculptured

as

if

Below the

the mouse

seat

engaged in the act

niodahas thrown on the

sitting

of

this

and the head

adorned with a very artistically wrought

Jcaranda-maJcuta.

left

also a

datida-hasta, while the corresponding left

called

hand

The image carries

effect.

we may

floor.

is

worked out a

of eating

On

up a few

either side of

see the figures of a few devotees

with offerings in their hands, while on the

and right

of the

image

of

Ganapati are some

musicians playing upon drums and other instruments.

67

VISHNU

DHRUVA-BERAS.

VISHNU
modern popular Hinduism, Vishnu

IN

Hindu

the gods of the


to be

trinity,

is

one

of

and is conceived

responsible for the universal protection, as

Brahma and

Siva, the

two other gods are held to be

responsible for universal creation and destruction.

However, Vishnu
is

mentioned in

is

all

in fact

an old Vedic god, who

the four Vedas

the Eigveda,

the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvanaveda.

In none

supreme

and

is

deity.

of

them does he appear

He is there

as the one

identified with the sun,

said to have stridden over the seven regions

and to have covered the whole universe by means


of three

steps.

According to

Vedic commentator, Vishnu

is

Sakapuni, an old
the god

who has

manifested himself in the threefold form of

fire,

lightning and the solar light on earth, in the mid-

region of the atmosphere and in the sky respectively.

According to Aurnavabha, another commentator,


the three steps of Vishnu do not denote

ning and the

73
10

fire,

light-

solar light, but indicate the different

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
positions of the sun at his rising, culmination and

The

setting.
is

obviously

idea underlying this solar explanation

incorporated in

dhyeya-ssada

the

dliyana-'slolta,

savitri-mandala-madhyavartl Nara-

yana-ssarasijasana sannivisMah lieyuravS.n makara-

Jcundalavan

hirlti

liari

liiranmaya-vapiili

dhrita-

Sanhha-chahrah, wherein Vishnu as Narayana

is

described as residing in the orb of the sun.

The

idea that Vishnu

still

is

the sun appears to be

maintained in the worship

of the

sun as Siirya-

Narayana generally conducted on Sundays and


other prescribed occasions. In the Eigveda, Vishnu,

has received in one place the epithet

and

in another

The supreme

Hindu

the protector

'

position,

theology,

became

in the Vedas, he

is

laudation forming one


divinities

from them
this fact

the ancient

applied to

in

his at a later period in


of references to

Vishnu

introduced as the subject of

among

and there he

is

in

a great crowd of other

no way distinguished

as being in any respect superior.

we may conclude

From

that he was regarded by

the ancient Vedic bards as a god

who was on

footing of equality with the other deities.

Vedas the Adityas

him.

which he now occupies

In the majority

history.

'

'

In the

or sons of Aditi, are alluded to

as being seven or eight in number.

patlia-BraUmana they are once said


74

In the Sata.
to be

eight,

VISHNU.
and

in another instance twelve,

Vishnu

is

included as

in

number

and

The

one among them.

Mahabhdirata, after referring to the twelve Adityas


as the sons of Kasyapa'by Aditi, declares that the

twelfth Aditya

is

born, surpasses

all

Vishnu, who, though the latest


Adityas in the greatness and

glory of his attributes.

Thus the

solar origin

easily demonstrable

out a struggle
to

and

among

that, when

among

to be

probably not with-

it is

his worshippers that he rose

occupy the position

his in later times.

Vishnu seems

of

of

eminence which became

The SatapatJia-Brahrnana says

Vishnu attained the pre-eminent position

the gods, the other gods became envious of

him, and through machinations managed to have


his

head cut

alarmed

him

off.

Soon,

at the loss of

however,

they became

Vishnu and desired to have

restored to them.

With

this object they pray-

ed to the Asvins, the celestial physicians, and they

made Vishnu whole again and placed him alive


among the gods. Vishnu is also conceived in the
Vedas and elsewhere

as the Sacrifice,

aspect he

worshipped under the name

of

is

at present

in this

Yajna-Narayana.
Concerning the position

Mythology, Muir says"


in

and

the

of

Vishnu

in Vedic

It will be observed that

preceding classification of the gods, the


75

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
principal

places are

who appear

Indra, and Surya,

been regarded in the time

Commentator), as the triad

Supreme

Spirit

was

of

Vayu

Agni,

assigned to

or

therefore to have

Yaska (the Vedic

of deities in

especially revealed.

only alluded to as one of the divinities

worshipped conjointly with Indra

whom

the

Vishnu

who were

and Eudra

is

is

only mentioned as worshipped along with Soma.


If

we may judge from

his silence regarding

it,

the

conjunction of Brahma, Vishnu and Eudra, as the


triple

manifestation of the deity (trimurti), would

appear to have been unknown to Yaska".

Weber

has given his view of Vishnu in the following

terms

"

According to our view

been perhaps more advantageous

would have

it

for the course of

the representation in general to start, not from the


later triad of gods,

but from the Vedic triad, which

so often appears in the


viz.,

that of Agni,

BraTimana texts themselves,

Vayu and

Surya, the rulers of

the earth, the air and the heaven

as

we have

in

fact actually to recognize this as the foundation of

the later triad.


principle, is

The

sun, as the generative, creative

throughout the ritual-texts regarded

as the equivalent of Prajapati, the father of creation.

The

destructive power of

fire

in connection

with the raging of the driving storm

enough

at the foundation of the epic


76

lies

form

clearly
of Siva.

VISHNU.

By

the side of Vayu, the wind, stands his com-

panion Indra, the lord

and with him again Vishnu, the

relation

Vishnu

to Indra

estimated by the author in

Vishnu owes

to Indra his

heroes,

as Arjuna,

which have become

far
full

This close

from

his relations

Rama and

of great

being

significance.

blue colour, his

Vasava and Vasudeva, and

human

is

its

lord of the solar

orb, stands in a fraternal relationship.


of

heaven

of the hght, clear

names
to the

Krishna,

importance

for

his

entire history".

When we come

to the

later period

of the

Itihasas and Puranas, the supremacy of Vishnu

and he has already acquired

clearly established,

his place in the

Hindu

Vishnu

as the

this

of

the

Hindu

is

trinity are

trinity.

The manifestations

supreme protective god


all

embodied

in

in interesting

images some of which we describe in the following


pages.

The materials
of

Vishnu are not

for the description of the

so

images

abundant as they are in the

case of the images of Siva.

Besides the unpublish-

ed VaiJihanasagama, the Tantra-sara of

Madhva-

charya and a few other minor works, no other


authorities are available in relation to the images
of

Vishnu.

The Pancharatragama, which was

propagated in

S.

India by the great Vaishnava


77

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
reformer Eamanujacharya,

is

hundred and eight aamhitaa

number
lost

is

said to consist oi one

of these a

very large

reported by Vedantadesika to have been

even in his time.

saihhitas that have

Of the few

come down

remaining

of the

to our

own

only three or four have been published.

days,

The

Satvata-safiihita, the Narada-pancharatra-saihliita

and the Brihad-hralima-samhita have appeared


print

in

but unfortunately they do not contain any

valuable information on the subject of iconography.

The Vailihanasagama, which is probably the older


agama of the Vaishnavas, is not, however, wanting
in information in this respect.

Mahabalipuram and
shrines, including the
is

in

In the sculptures

of

other Dravidian rock-cut

famous Kailasa

at

EUora,

it

the Vaililuuiasagama that appears to have been

followed.

This important agama and other avail-

able authorities have been taken advantage of in

giving

the following

principal

detailed description

Hindu images commonly met

of the
wifch

in

India.

The

principal image

in a

Vishnu temple

is

generally represented in one of three attitudes, that


is,

is

standing, sitting or reclining.

The standing image

called a sthanalta-murti, the sitting

image an

asana-murti and the reclining image a sayana-murti.

The images

in each

of
78

the three attitudes are

VISHNU.
classified further

abhichSirilca

into the yoga, bJioga, vlra

varieties

and

consequence of certain

in

slight differences in their descriptive characteristics.

These varieties
^**^

.'^"^*"

of

and

desires

objects

in

thus, the yogi should worship the yoga form

Vishnu, the persons

who

desire

worship the bhdga form, those


the

intended to

worshipped by devotees with

be

different

view

are

who

desire

prowess

who wish to
ahhicliariha form. Some

form, and kings and others

I'lra

conquer their enemies the

Vishnu temples

of the

enjoyment should

in

S.

shrines built in three storeys

mention

India have central


as examples

Vaikunthapperumal

the

we may

temple*

at

Conjeevaram, the Kudal-alagar temple at Madura,


the temple at

Mannarkoyil

Tirukkottiyur and the temple

Tinnevelly

in the

district.

at

In the

three storeyed central shrine of such temples, each


storey

occupied by an image of Vishnu, the stand-

is

ing, sitting

and reclining images being placed in the

lowermost, middle and uppermost storeys in order.

The yoga, bhdga,

* See

p.

and abhicharika images

the sectional elevation of

temple on

210 on

vlra

PI.

359

Ixiii,

in

tlie

Vaikunthapperumal

Eae's Pallava Architecture, or

of Fergusson's

of

Fig.

Eastern and Indian Architecture,

as re-edited by Burgess.

79

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
Vishnu

are again classified into superior (uttavia),

middling (madhyama) and inferior (adhama) forms


according to the number of the subordinate deities

and other beings found


central

association with the

in

Vishnu image.

It is

taught that the images of Vishnu should

always be sculptured in keeping with the iittamada'sa-tala measure, a complete description of

may

be found in Appendix B.

As the name

indicates this

the standing figure of Vishnu.

arms and should be


right

one

which

hand has

Yogastnanaka,,

a yoga variety of

It should

dark colour.

have four

The back

to carry the chakra, while the front

to be in the

is

of

is

The

abhaya or varada pose.

front left

arm should

rest

upon
the
*

hip {latyavala7nbita-hasta), while

"^'^'^ti-

the back
rishis,

left

hand has

to

The

hold the sahhha.

Bhrigu and Markandeya, have

to be

sculp-

tured as kneeling and resting on one knee on the


right

and left respectively

of

Vishnu

Bhudevi and Markandeya* have


the right and the

of the

left

Punya

is

Vaikhanasagama Punya,

synonyms

for

name

another

Markandeya

to be sculptured

of

Markarndeya

iTT^Ttjf

80

giref

Amita

in

are given

g^l>Jiq-i%^]%]%

on

The

on the north wall

Puraija and
:

or the goddess

Vishnu image.

figure of Siva has to be carved

\\

of

the
as

PLATE

Ma'ihyama Yogasthanakatnurti

Stone

XVII.

Mahabalipuram.
[To (ace page 80.]

PLATE

XYIII.

zm
^.r^-

y^^,^

"^;'sit:S^4*^iiis*Ssii'_-.i7

A\'it<,'>*\^

Bhogasthanakamurti
[To face page 81.]

Bronze: Madras Museum.

VISHNU.
of the central shrine so as to face the south.

should have four arms


to rest

deer

on the

one of the

It

arms has

left

hip, while the other has to carry a

the raised right hand has to hold a parasu,

and the other right hand being held

On the south wall

pose.

of

abhaya

the central shrine facing

the north, a standing image of


sculptured with four arms

in the

two

Brahma
of the

should be

hands should

carry respectively the asJihamala and the

kaman-

while the third hand has to be held up so as

daJtt,

to represent

Brahma

in the act of praising Vishnu,

the fourth being placed on the hip in the katya-

Vishnu

valamhita pose.
deities

and

rishis

in association with the

mentioned above

understood to

is

be the Yogasthanakamurti of the w^^ama class.


the subordinate images of

Brahma and

to be wanting in the group, then the

Vishnu

image

of

class

and

if

the

group

is

is

the

held

Siva happen

main

said to be of the

Pujakamunis are
to

belong

central

maclhyama

also omitted,

the

to

If

aclhama

class.

This

is

also a standing

image

four arms.
^^e:asthanaka-

cliakra

hands.

of

The image

and hahkha

The

Vishnu having
carries the

in the

front right

two back

hand

the abhaya or the varada pose, while the front

hand hangs by the

side so as to rest
81

11

is

in

left

upon the hip

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
or

is

made

The

to be in the kataha pose.

colour of

The

the Bhogasthanahamiirti has also to be dark.


figure of Sridevi should be

made

to stand

on the

right side of Vishnu, with her right leg placed firmly

on the ground and the


right

hand

flower,
freely

and the

by her

left

hand should be allowed

The

side.

On

the

should be the

colour has to be dark.

be

made

In the

slightly bent.

of this goddess there should be a lotus

golden yellow.
there

left

hang

to

colour of Sridevi has to be


left of

the figure of Vishnu,

image

of

In her

left

whose

Bhudevi,

hand she should

to hold the blue water-lily,

and her right

hand should be made

to

On

Vishnu respectively Bhrigu

the right and

left of

hang

freely

by her

side.

and Purana, obviously meaning Markandeya, have


to

be kneeling

on one knee, or

titJattiJcasana posture.

sitting

Above the central

Vishnu there should be the images

the

in

figure of

of the goddesses

Maya, Samhladini, Kamini and Vyajani, of the


divine musicians Tumburu and Narada, of a pair of
Kinnaras, of a Yaksha, a Vidyadhara, the

risJiis

Sanaka, Sanatkumara and the luminaries Surya


(sun)

and Chandra (moon\

south walls

On

the north and the

of the central shrine the figures of

and Brahma have

to be respectively

in the case of Yogasthanahamurti.

worked out as

The image

Vishnu, in association^ with ^the group


82

Siva

of

of gods.

PLATE XIX

Adhama Bhogasthanakamurti
Stone

Tiruvottiyur.

[To face page 82

PLiTS XX

Bhogasthanakamurti
[To lace page 83.]

Stone: Tarlpatri.

VISHNU.
goddesses and devotees as described above,
to constitute a Bhogasthanakamiu-ti of the
class.

is

said

uttama

the figures of the Yaksha, the Vidyadhara,

If

Narada and Tumburu be absent from the group,


the image will belong to the madhyama class. If,
of

in addition, the figures of Sanaka,

Surya,

Chandra and

Sanatkumara,

Pujakamunis be

the

also

absent from the group, the central image of Vishnu

adhama

will belong to the

In

this,

class.

as in the previous

central figure
of

^'"^muru.*^*"

Vishnu.

cliakra

is

instances,

the

a standing image

He Carries in

his

hands

and sankha as usual.

The

Sanskrit texts do not mention for what purpose the

other hands are to be used.


of

Surrounding the figure

Vishnu, the following images have to be sculp-

tured,

namely, those of Brahma, Siva, Bhrigu,

Markandeya Kishkindha, Sundara, Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Surya and Chandra.

make out who

are

referred

Kishkindha and Sundara here.

It is

not easy to

names
In company with
by

to

the

such a group of images the standing figure of

Vishnu happens

to be the

the uttuma class.

Kishkindha,
absent,
further,

it

If,

Ylrasthana'kamurti of

however,

Sundara, Sanaka,

will belong to the

the images of

the

images

Sanatkumara

madhyama

class.

of

be
If,

Surya, Chandra and the


83

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Pujakamunis* be

also absent,

will be

it

known

as

belonging to the adliavia class.

This type among the images of Vishnu has


either four or
Bthanakamu^rti.

^^ ^^"^^

faded

two arms, has

to be

complexion and possess a


This

countenance.

should be clothed in black, and

is

image

not to be sur-

rounded by any divine beings or human votaries as


in the previous cases.

If

a temple for this type of

Vishnu has

it

is

to be built,

said that there should

be no beauty or symmetry in
that

it

construction

should be situated in the quarter

the paisachajjadaA

'^

its

The ceremony

The Pujakamunis mentioned

the aspects of

Vishnu appear

in

to refer to

of

=Er3Eisrf^i%*rTJt

^regiprf^

g sri^^i^g^

84

known

as

installing

the description of

all

Bhrigu and Markan-

deya.

^^tti^cr^n^rft^

and

^ft

ii

PLATE

SthanakaoQurti

Scooe

Mathura Museum.

[Between pages 81 and 85.]

XXI.

PLATE XXII

Bhogasthanakamurti

Bronze: Madras Museum.

[Between pages 84 and 85.]

PLATE

^^^
.s^

Madhyama Bhoi:;Sthanakamu! ti BroDze


:

Bctwten pase; Si and

55.

Madras AJuseum.

XXIII.

VISHNU.
the abhicharikamurtis should be conducted in the

dark half of the month under such inauspicious


asterisms as the Ardra iiaksJiatra and at night in

a chararasi month.

This

a seated figure of Vishnu with four

is

and should have a white

arms,
Yogasanamurti.

complexion

on

head

its

there

should be ?bjatamaJiuta, and the asana on which


seated should be

is

hrahmasana which

the

synonymous with the padniasana.

^?ir^^

If

a village

outermost one

rrm

called the

paiiachapada

Vishnu and the Saptamatrikas must be

Or the

village

front

ii

the

temples for Siva,

built in this

division.

might he conceived as divided into sixty- four

squares by two sets of nine lines drawn at right angles.

space covered by the four central squares

is

the

circuit

of

surrounding this daivika-pada

and the outer-most

twenty squares
is

called

The

called the brahrna-

pada, the next outer circuit of twenty squares


daivika-pada,

is

hands

divided into five (concentric) divisions,

is
is

wit- sTrrwiTS^RRT^

The

it

is

called the

immediately

the vianusha-pada

circuit of twenty-eight squares is

called

the paisacha-pada.
* Chara-rdsi is the

be

'

same

as chara-bhavanam this
;

the varying signs of the zodiac,

and tenth

'

i.e.,

the

first,

is

said to

fourth, seventh

which are Mesha, Earkataka, Tula and Makara.


85

HINDU IGONOGEAPHY.
of this

pose.

Vishnu image are

to be in the

yoga-mudra

mentioned that sanJcJia and

It is distinctly

chahra ought not to be put into the hands

The

image.

of this

colour of the underwear of this deity

has to be yellow and that of the upper cloth has to

The image

be white.

shown

is

as wearing a yajTib-

pavlta on the body, kitndalas in the ears, keyuras

on the arms and a hara round the neck.


have to be slightly

On

closed.

Its eyes

the north wall of

the shrine of the Yogasanamurti the figure of Siva


in the sitting posture should be sculptured,

on the south wall that

On

posture.

of

Brahma

the back wall, which

in

is

and

the same

the western

one, there are to be the figures of Chandra, Barya,

Sanaka and Sanatkumara. On either side of the


central Vishnu image Bhrigu and Markandeya or

Markandeya and Bhumidevi have

grouping
in

essential

of deities

relation

Yogasanamurti
ra,

of

to be represented.

and votaries such


to

as this

is

the iittama class of the

Vishnu.

If

the images of Chand-

to be
Surya, Sanaka and Sanatkumara happen
belong to the
in the group the image would

omitted

madlujama
class,

if

class

it

would belong

to the adliama

Bhrigu and Markandeya be

also

wanting

in addition.

The

of
following slightly different description

the Yogesvara form of the image of Vishnu


86

is

found

PLATE XXI Y.

Yogaaanamurti
[To face page 87.]

Stone

Bagali.

VISHNU.
the

in

Sidclhartha-samhita

According

Vachaspatya-kosa

Vishnu has

quoted

as

to be sculptured

this

to

the

in

authority-

as seated

upon the

paclmasana with the eyes slightly closed and the

upon the

vision fixed

of the nose.

tip

The two

front hands should be kept on the crossed legs in

On

the yogamudra pose.


figure

gada
are

either side of the seated

have to be carved a padma and a large sized


In the two other hands which

respectively.

somewhat

raised there should be the sudarsana-

chahra and the panchajanya-hanTilia.


of

Vishnu

is

souls from the bondage of birth

therefore specially

with his

sides respectively.

in one of the

Lakshmi and

consorts

The colour

He

to be dark.

is

seated on a simliasana,

is

Bhumidevi on the

'

Vishnu has

and death, and

worshipped by yogins.

to be

fit

In this aspect Vishnu


^

This aspect

conceived to bestow the salvation of

right

and

this

form

of

left

of

should have four arms,

two right hands the chaJcra has

to

be held, while the other has to be in the varada


or ahliaya pose.

Of the

left

hands one has to carry

the sanhha and the other has to rest on the hip or

upon the

lap or kept in the simhaJcarna pose.

To

the [right of Vishnu there should be, as


already said, the image of Lakshmi.

should be folded and

made
87

to rest

we have
Her left leg

on the

seat,

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
while the right one has to be hanging. Similarly

Bhumidevi, who has to be on the

Vishnu

left of

should have her right leg folded and resting on


the seat, the

one being

left

left

should carry a lotus in her

Lakshmi
hand, and Bhumi-

hanging.

left

devi a nllotpala in her right hand; their other hands


are to rest

upon the slmliasana or

to be kept

on

On

the

their laps or to be held in the liataha pose.

south wall of the shrine of Bhogasanamurti there

should be the image of

Brahma and on

the north

wall that of Siva, both these images being in the

Markandeya and Bhrigu have to


The rest of
be kneeling with one knee on the floor.

sitting posture.

the details are exactly similar to those given in the

On

description of the Yogrisanamarti.

the back

wall of the shrine immediately behind the central


figure of

Vishnu there should be the images

goddesses

Narada,

Maya and
of

a pair of Kinnaras,

Vidyadhara, the

and

of

Samhladini, of

risliis

of the

Tumburu and
Yaksha and a

Sanaka and Sanatkumara

Chandra and Surya.

tree should also be sculptured

The

celestial

on the

wall.

halpaha

group-

ing such as this constitutes the ntfama class of

Bhogasanamurti.

If

the Kinnaras,

Tumburu and

the Narada, the Yaksha and the Vidyadhara happen


to be absent, the

image

of

Mshnu would

ed to belong to the inadhijauia class;


88

if

be considerfurther the

PLATE XXV

Bhogasaoamurti

Stone

Badaoni.
[To face page 89.]

PLATE XXVI.

>
c

o
a

a
Id

lO

-a

[Between pages 88 ani 89

'

PLATE XXYII.

'r-''-f''**t.

^1

adlu ania

l->ho;:as:in,v.nuirtii

S(,ono

l-iUova.

PLATE XXVIII

^.

VT^

'

<5D
Bhogasanamurti

Slone

Dadikkombu.

[Between pages 83 and 89

PLATE XXX

/^jv

"'

^ ".mp^'f-

>^*i'3rr>

'

o
03

S
cS

[To (ace page 89.]

VISHNU.
images

of

Saaaka and Sanatkumara, Surya and

Chandra and the Pujakamunis be wanting,


belong to the adliama

This variety

it

would,

is

repre-

class.

image

of the

Vishnu

of

sented as seated upon the simhasana


Virasanamurti.

with the

somewhat

left leg

bent and the right

Lakshmi and Bhumidevi

extended.

should be shown in association with

as kneeling

it

on the floor on one knee in the positions generally


occupied by the sages Markandeya and Bhrigu.

This image

of

Vishnu should be draped

in black

clothing, while the colour of the figure itself has to

be coral-red.

In one

of the right

hands the chak-

ra should be held and the other hand should be


in the

abhaya pose.

One

of the left

hold the saiikha and the other


in the sirhha-Jiarna
figure of

pose.

Vishnu there

left

On

Two

hand should be

the right of the

are to be the images of

Brahma and Markandeya, and on


and Bhrigu.

hands has to

the

celestial damsels,

left of

Siva

Kamini and

Vyajani, should be shown as waving chamaras on

both the

sides,

and there should

also be the following

figures surrounding the central image, namely, those


of

Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Tumburu, Narada, Surya

and Chandra.

Such a group

of

images

is

repre-

sentative of the Virasanamurti of the uttama class.


If

Tumburu, Narada, Kamini, Vyajani, Sanaka and


89

13

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Sanatkumara be absent from the group, then the
image

of

Vishnu would belong

And if the

class of the Virasana variety.

Brahma,

Siva,

rnadhyama

to the

figures of

Lakshmi, BhOmidevi and Surya and

Chandra be absent

it

would belong

to the

aclhama

class.

This

also a seated

is

image with either two or

The

four hands.
Abhicharikasanamurti.

.1

is

tt'

seat

known

upon which

image ot Vishnu

^'^^^

is

-1

IS

made

as the vedikasana,

to sit

which

an unadorned pedestal meant to be used

minor

deities.

The

AWiicliarihasanaiiiurti

for

must

have an ill-looking face suggestive of viciousness or


ta iiias'a-guna.

form

of

The complexion

Vishnu has

garment should be

to be blue

black.

of the figure of this

and the colour

The eyes must be upHfted

there should be no attendant deities around.


installation of this kind of

in

what

tithl

is

of the

The

image should take place

called a chara-rasi

month, on the Ashtami

in the dark fortnight, and under such inauspi-

cious asterisms as the Ardra nahshatra.

The shrine

should be situated in the paisacha-pada

and should

face the direction of the

This

is

enemy who is

recumbent image

two hands
^^S,i!^^'

of

to be injured.

Vishnu with only

about a fourth of the

body should be somewhat

raised,

and the remaining three-fourths


90

tL,ATB

(Fig. 1.)

(Pig. 2.)

Bhogasanamurti

Yogasayanamiirti

Ivory

Ivory

XXIX

Trivandram.

Trivandram.
[To face page 90.

PLATE XXXI.

3
a.

o
GQ

Id

a
ca

lO

M>.

[To face page 91.]

VISHNU.
should be lying
right

upon the serpent

flat

to touch the hirlta

hand may be made

has to be stretched out, while the

The image
The

figure

left,

right leg

should be

should be adorned

itself

colour of the image should be

By the

a mixture of black and yellow.

recumbent

The

body

The eyes must be some-

with various ornaments.

what opened.

Or, this

to be parallel to the

so as sometimes to touch the thigh.

slightly bent.

so as

the other hand, bent at the

elbow, should be held in the liataha pose.


left

The

bed.

hand should be placed near the pillow

side of this

should be Bhrigu

there

Markandeya, and near the

feet,

the demons

and

Madhu

and Kaitabha, while on the lotus issuing from the

On

navel there should be Brahma.

the back wall of

the shrine and above the level of the image of

Vishnu should be sculptured the images


Ayudha-purushas,

of

Gavuda,

of the Sapta-rishis, all

the

anjali pose.

On

of

Vishvaksena, and

standing with their hands in


the

south wall should be

shown Brahma, and on the north wall


Such a group
in the sitting posture.
the uttama

class

figures of the

of

the

of

Siva,

constitutes

Yogasayanamurti.

Sapta-rishis and

absent, the group belongs to the

both
If

the

Vishvaksena are

madhyama

class

if

the Pujakamunis and Madhu and Kaitabha are also


absent,

it is

conceived to belong to the arlhama


91

class.

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
This type of the image of Vishnu should be of
dark colour and have two or four

^ Bhogasayana-

^^^^

^^^^

^^^

^^^^_

^^^-j^

jj.

should be recumbent, with a fourth


of the

body slightly raised and the remaining three-

fourths lying flat upon the serpent-bed.


right hands should be

made

stretched out towards the

hands

is

as to rest

made

to be

One

to touch the JcirUa or be

One

head.

of the left

to lie parallel to the

upon the thigh.

Nothing

is

The

straight
laid

and the

down

body so

mentioned

about the other two hands, when the image


four of them.

of the

is

given

right leg should be stretched out

left

should be slightly bent.

It is

that the distance between the two legs

should be twenty angulas, that between the ankles


four angulas, and that between the knees fourteen

angulas.

The

face of the

image should be deflected

from the medial \iia.e(brahmasutra) by three angulas.

On

recumbent

the head-side of this

Vishnu there should be the

figure of

figure

of

Lakshmi seated

so as to be in contact with the shoulders of Vishnu.

This goddess should have in her right hand a lotus

and hold her

left

hand

In another manuscript

in the JcataJca pose.

it is

stated

body should be raised and the other


the serpent-bed.

The whole body

posture should resemble a bow.

92

of

that one half


half

Vishnu

of the

should rest upon


in this

recumbent

PLATE XXXIII

lO

^^m

[To fane page 92.]

PLATE XXXIY

i'*:*

VISHNU.

Bhumidevi should be shown seated on the


foot-side of Vishnu so as to make her touch the
the recumbent Vishnu.

left foot of

This goddess
should hold a nllotpala flower in her right hand

and keep the

left

hand

in the hataka pose.

On

the

right side of the hautula-bera there should be the

image

seated
to

on the

it

Bhrigu.

On

both

there should be the image of

left,

the south wall should be sculptured

Brahma and on

the figure of
Siva,

Markandeya, and corresponding

of

them being

of

the north wall that of


the sitting posture.

in

Again, on the south (apparently outside the shrine

and

in niches provided for

should be the figure


that of Durga.
of

of

them

in the wall), there

Ganesa, and on the north

Near the

feet of the central

image

Vishnu the demons Madhu and Kaitabha should

be worked out in a ferocious attitude indicating


their tendency to
legs

rush into violent action, their

below the knees being hidden within the waves

of the ocean.

to be

They should both be made

to appear

suffering from the scorching effect of

the

poisonous breath of Adisesha, the serpent upon

which Vishnu

is

reclining.

Brahma

should be

seated on the lotus which issues from the navel


of

Vishnu

on his right there ought to be the

Ayudha-purushas and Garuda.


of

Garuda on

Above the

five

figure

his right there should be the figure of


93

HINDU lOONOGRAPHY.
sun-god Surya.

the

on the

Similarly

of

left

Brahma should be shown the


Tumburu and Narada, represented

Asvini-devatas,

Chandra the moon.

Besides these

ren,

and

also

as

young

child-

should also be the guardian deities of the

there

eight quarters, the DiJc-palakas as they are called,

and Apsaras damsels waving chamaras.


tion of gods

collec-

and votaries as described above makes

the central Bhogasaijanamurti belong to the utiama

Tumburu and Narada and

the figures of

class.

If

of the

Dikpalakas be absent,

the

madhyama

class

and

if

it

would belong

the figures

to

the

of

Piijakamunis and the Apsaras damsels be further

wanting

in the group,

it

would then belong

to the

aclliama class.

This

is

also

colour

its

head, while the

other

similarly one of the

there

has also

On

should be

and Bhumidevi.

to

if

be

dark.

left

should hold the cliahra


hands, carries the

saiiklia,

parallel

the sides of the feet of Vishnu


seated

the goddesses

Lakshmi

The demons Madhu and Kaitabha

should be holding the feet of Vishnu

hands as

Vishnu

of

hand being stretched out

left

to the body.

figure

^^^ ^ '^ right arms should be


made to serve as a pillow for the

murtT^*^*^*'

the other

reclining

in the act of
94

supplication.

in

Ou

their

the

VISHNU.
and

right

the Jiautaka-befa there should be

left of

the sages Markandeya and Bhrigu respectively, and

Brahma

should be seated on the lotus issuing from

the navel of the recumbent image of Vishnu.


five

The

Ayudha-purushas, Garuda, Chandra and Surya,

the seven rishis and

eleven

the twelve Adityas and the

Tumburu and

Apsaras damsels,

Rudras,

Narada, two Kinnaras, Sanaka and Sanatkumara,

and Brahma

and Siva should

(?)

the wall at the back of the shrine.


of

Vishnu would belong

sayanamurti.

Vishnu

The

also be

Then

shown on
the image

to the icttama class of Vlra-

well-known weapons

five

of

are,

the chaJcra, gacla, saiikha, dhanus and

If

the Rudras, the Adityas, the Apsaras

hhadga.

damsels and the seven

rishis be absent

from the

group, the image of Vishnu would belong to the

viadhyafna class
Kinnaras,

munis be

and

if,

in

addition to these, the

Sanaka, Sanatkumara and the Pujaka-

also absent,

it

would belong

to the

adhama

class of Vlrasayanamurti.

In this case the image

of

Vishnu should be

lying on the floor, the bed consis-

satanim^L^'

ti^g 0^ the serpent Adisesha with

hood having only two heads and

The hood of
high.
The com-

with the body coiled into two turns.


the serpent should not be raised

plexion of the Vishnu image should be blue


95

and it

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.

may have two

or four arms,

to be in full slumber
flat

and should be shown

and therefore lying completely

on the serpent.

The

as to present a faded appearance,

must be clad
no attendant

in

Such a

and the image

There should be

black clothing.

deities.

made

face should be so

figure

is

conceived

to belong to the idtataa class of the Ahhicharika-

murtl-

the serpent has one head and has

If

body coiled only into one turn, the image


lying thereon would belong to the

Again,
is

if

made

of

on the bare

to be lying fiat

belong to the adhaiiia

Vishnu

madJiyama

the image has no serpent-bed at

its

class.

all

floor, it

and

would

class.

In illustration of the standing, sitting and


reclining images of Vishnu, figures prepared from

photographs of nineteen such actual images belonging to the various parts of India are given herein.

Plate

XVII

represents an image found in

Maha-

balipuram and belongs to the inadhyaiiia class

Resting on one knee are

the Ydgasthd)iakainTirti.

found on the right and


of

is

left of

Bhrigu and Markandeya.

their

hands

Vishnu the images

They have one

of

in the pose of praising, while the other

seen resting upon the hip.

jatainaknta, which
general.

of

is

Tlieir

heads carry

a characteristic of rishis in

Above these images

kandeya there are the images


96

of

of

Bhrigu and Martwo dwarfs, who

VISHNU.
the Aijnclha-punishas

are very probably


to

the

Chakra and Sankha

both these images

one of the hands in the

are also seen to have

The

pose of praising.

relating

central

figure

of

Vishnu

wears the hirlta-makuta and carries in one of


right

hands the chakra and in one

the sankha

pose while the other

upon the hip

left

hand

is

is

in the ahhaija

seen to be resting

in the katyavalambita pose.

the chest and passing over the front right

yajnopavita

round the neck the hara

hands

of the left

the other rigiit hand

its

the udara-handha goes round the

is

Across

arm

the

is

worn, and

abdomen

and

there are keyuras on the arms and katakas on the


wrists.

This image

padma-pitha.

It

of

may

Vishnu

standing on the

is

be assigned to the seventh

or at the latest to the eighth century A.D.,

as all

the works of sculpture found in Mahabalipuram

were executed in the palmy days of Pallava rule

and prosperity
Plate

in

XVIII

South India.
represents a bronze statuette of

the Bhogasthanakarnurti preserved in the Central

Museum at

Madras.

in the earth

face

It

appears to have lain buried

and discovered as a treasure-trove

and portions

of its chest

verdigris, but in other respects

state of preservation.

in its back right

and

it is

of

in

an excellent

Vishnu carries

hands the chakra and the


97

18

its

are covered with

This figure
left

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
miikha respectively, while the front right hand is
held in the ahhaya pose and the front left hand
is

made

to rest

upon the gada.

The image

is

adorned with the hirlta-mahuta on the head, with


inaliara-hmidcdas in the ears, with haras round the
neck, with the yajnopavlta smdudara-bandha round

the body, with keyuras on the arms and katakas on

The

the wrist.
pltha,

figure

which has on

strut to fix

stands

upon the padma-

either side a vertical metallic

the prabhavali on.

From

noticeable in the workmanship and

may

be assigned to tbe

the features

its

details,

it

tenth or the eleventh

century A.D.

The
is

figure of

Vishnu reproduced on Plate

XIX

seen set up in a niche on the west wall of a

shrine in the large Siva temple at Tiruvottiyur near

Madras.

This shrine was, according to an inscrip-

on a wall therein, constructed

tion found
fifth

year of the reign of Rajakesarivarman Vira-

rajendradeva (A.D. 1067-8.)


of

Vishnu shown on Plate

up about

this period

XIX must

Being placed

position as an attendant deity,

and has no

with

itself

it

have been

set

it is

in its present

naturally isolat-

and votaries in association

deities

should

Bhogasthdnakamarti

Therefore the image

and must be nearly eight and

a half centuries old.

ed,

in the

therefore be

classed as a

of the adJiavia class.

98

VISHNU.

The photograph

the standing figure of

of

XX

Vishnu reproduced on Plate

an

represents

to the highly

image from Tadpatri which belongs

degenerated later period of the Hoysala school of


sculpture in South

Marked

India.

features

of

degeneration in the art are prominently visible in


the long inartistic nose of the image,

in its very

small chin and disproportionately broad shoulders.

Like the figure shown on Plate XIX, the image of

Vishnu
sankha

this case

in

back hands

in the

holds the chal-ra and

also
;

the front right hand

in the varada pose, while the front left

the

central

on

On

katyavalamhifa pose.

Vishnu there

the left that of

goddesses

is

up

is

left

the image of Lakshmi and

knee

The height

hand, and Bhumidevi has a

In the light

conventional art of image-making this

is

is

not without merit

Muttra,

XXI.

is

It

hand the
the front

in

of

the

piece of

but otherwise

The stone statuette


the Mathura Museum

certainly disappointing.

Vishnu preserved

of these

Vishnu, as required

of

nllotpala in her right hand.

sculpture

in

The goddess Lakshmi holds

by some authorities.
a lotus in her

is

the right of this

Bhumidevi.

to the

hand

is

it

of

at

reproduced from a photograph on Plate

may

be seen to carry in

gacla, in the
left

back

left

its

hand the

hand the sahhha, and


99

back right
cliakra, in

in the front

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
hand a full-blown

right

which

lotus.

'Vishnu-image,

carries the chakra, kmllta, gacla Siud

in the

manner

in

present instance,

Trivikrama.
in this

is

The

padma

which they are carried in the


considered to be a special form of

chief peculiarities

image are the curious cut

The

the shape of the klnta.

which is characteristic

worth noticing

and

of the face

face

is of

of the sculptures in

the type

Northern

India generally, and more especially in Bengal.


Its oblique eyes, thin lips

and pointed chin

indicate the Mangoloid features.


told

clearly

This type, we are

by Mr. Abanindranath Tagore,

is

known

Bengal as the pan or leaf-shaped type, and

in
is

characteristic of the Bengal-Orissa school of sculpture.

The group

of the

three

bronze figures of

Vishnu, Lakshmi and Bhumidevi pictured on Plate

XXII
As

is

found in the Central

in the

case of the

XVIII, the central

Museum

figure

figure of

at

Madras.

pictured on

Vishnu

Plate

carries in the

two back hands the chakra and the sankha, while


the two front hands are in the abhaya and the

front

The gadd which must


hand is however wanting

gada made

separately used to be insert-

kataka poses respectively.


be under the
evidently a

left

ed under this hand whenever required, and

it

is

likely

that this separate piece of casting has been

lost.

As usual the goddesses Lakshmi and Bhumi100

VISHNU.
devi are on the right and

Vishnu and are

and a nllotpala respectively.

also carrying a lotus

One special point worth

who

left of

noticing

is

that the goddess,

stands on the right of Vishnu or of any other

deity such as

Subrahmanya,

is

shown

to be

the liucha-handha, while the goddess

on the

left is

shown

to be

without

it.

peculiarity

is

is

who

stands

This general

The

expla-

not apparent.

This

rule is followed in this instance also.

nation of this observed fact

wearing

perhaps connected with the right-hand

and left-hand manner

of

worshipping

(dalxsliinci-

From

chara and vamachara) the Devi goddess.

the size and form of the Ivnta-mahita of Vishnu

and karanda-makuta

of

the goddesses,

from the

peculiar curvature of the pose of the hands of the

goddesses and the formation of the faces of


three figures,

may

it

all

the

be surmised that they cannot

be older than the twelfth or the thirteenth century

The original of the photograph reproduced on


Plate XXIII is a very pretty little piece of workmanship of the conventional style of art.
The whole
height of this group of images is not more than ten
A. D.

inches. In the centre

with the

clialira

is

and the saiikha

the front right hand

while the front

a standing figure of Vishnu

left

is

hand

in its

back liands

held in the varada pose,


is

in the hatyavalamhitu pose.


101

kept resting on the hip

On the

right

and

left

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
of

Vishnu are the images

and Bhumidevi.
left

The former holds

hand and the

On

hand.

the

goddesses

of the

a lotus in her

/fdotjyala in her right

latter a

right

Lakshmi

and

respectively

left

of

Lakshmi and Bhumidevi stand Jaya and Vijaya,


the two door-keepers of Vishnu with chakra, saiiklia

and

g'acla in

one

is

three of their hands, while the fourth

Surrounding the

held in the abliaya pose.

images

of

Vishnu and others

which are worked out

the prabhavali in

is

the ten incarnations

of

Vishnu,

of

whom Buddha

and

of

the prabhavali respectively are sculp-

left

is

one.

On

the right

tured Vishnu's characteristic symbols the chalra

and the sanMa, immediately above the mythical


Below the simhasana, is seen Graruda
vialiciras.
kneeling on the right knee and keeping both the

palms
the

hands open as

of his

feet of

Vishnu

if

a cobra

to receive in
is

them

thrown upon

shoulders in the fashion of a garland.

To

his

indicate

that the seat on which Vishnu and others stand

is

a simhas'ana, two lions are sculptured on either side


of

This piece

Garuda.

older than

We

two

or three centuries at the most.

now come

figures of Vishnu.

graph

of sculpture is probably not

to the illustrations of the seated

Plate

XXIV

of a Ydgasariamurti,

Ydgesamurfi.

It is

found
102

gives the photo-

othexwiaeknovfu also as
in the Kallesvara

temple

VISHNU.
at Bagali in the Bellary

and belongs

Presidency,
It

period.

mudra

to the

Madras

Chalukya

later

conforms in every detail to the descrip-

tion of such

an image given in the Sidclhartlia-

The two

samJuta.

district of the

pose,

front

hands are in the yoga-

and the padma and gada, which would

otherwise be held in these hands, are sculptured


separately

on the right and

left

back hands carry the cliahra and the

image

itself

is

ornaments, such as
knndala, keyura,

adorned

is

kataka,

liara

inner margin

it is

is

various

and yajnopavlta.

a prahliamandala with

is

radial rays proceeding outwards.

concentrically with

with

in the

kirUa-makuta, makara-

the

Surrounding the head

its

sao'iJcha.

seated on the ixuhvlisana

yogasana posture, and

The
The

respectively.

Outside this and

seen a prahliavali also.

creeper-ornamentation, in each circle of which


be

seen

sculptured

avatdras of Vishnu.
that,

when

In

the characteristically pretty

from

right

It is also

to

an item

left

of

the

may
ten

convention

the central figure in any piece of sculp-

ture happens to be standing, those that surround


it

should also be standing

they

may

be seated or

when the central figure is seated or reclinThey should also be in the same posture as
ing.
the central figure, when it is in the yoga attitude.
standing

This

last rule is followed in

103

this case,

as also in

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Badami shown

case of the figure of Dattatreya of

elsewhere in this volume.

The next

XXV

Plate

gives a representation of

the figure of Vishnu found in Cave III at Badami,

The

the ancient capital of the Chalukyas.

cut shrine, in which

rock-

sculptured, was brought

it is

into existence in A.D. 678 by the king Mangalisa

and the sculpture

of the

image

fore at least a century older

to

Conjeevaram, which

In this piece
is

Vishnu

of

is

than the one belonging

shown on the next

is

there-

plate.

found at Badami Vishnu

of sculpture

represented as seated upon the serpent Adisesha

with a hood consisting

of five

body coiled into three

Vishnu

is

folded

serpent, while the right leg

of the

image

to rest
is

vertically.

on the

On

rests the right front

left

left

flat

leg

the right thigh

hand held in the


hand

is

made

In the back right and

thigh.

of

upon the

also folded but rests

caracla pose while the front left


rest

The

turns.

and made

upon the serpent

heads and with the

to

left

hands the cl/alia and the sahkha are respectively


held

the figures of two celestial damsels, one on

each

side,

mara.
tured

are seen standing, each carrying a cha-

The

Lakshmiis

sculp-

and Garuda, the

bird-

figure of the goddess

on the

left

servant of Vishnu

is

wall

shown seated on the

the image of Vishnu.

Lakshmi holds
104

right of

a lotus in

VISHNU.
her right hand, and Garuda

is

hands folded and crossed against

upon the body

himself leaning

Below the

may
This

instruments.

be seen, some of

is

them engaged

The

one

of the

and serene

calm

most remarkable

belonging to the mediieval

sculpture

of

Vishnu

the serpent.

of

and others playing on various musical

in dancing

pieces

chest and

his

seat the figures of dwarfs representing

the deva-ganas

period.

with his

sitting

countenance

in striking contrast with the free

is

attitude of Garuda,

and the hood

of

and easy

of the serpent is

indeed chiselled in a masterly manner.

XXVI

Plate

represents a piece of sculpture

found in the Kailasanathasvamin temple at Conjeevaram.

image

In the centre

is

seen the

hands are

and the

left

folded and

made

to

Though the back right and left


held aloft as when they carry the sahkha

on the

and the

the group

Vishnu seated upon a simliasana with the

of

right leg hanging


rest

of

seat.

cliahra,

those hands.

these are not actually found in

They

are

however borne by two

small attendant figures, the Ayudha-purushas of

Sankha and Ghakra, who also carry each a chamara


resting on the shoulder. The front right hand of the
image of Vishnu is held in the ahliaya pose, while
the front

left

one

is

made

to rest with the

showing upwards on the folded

105

leg.

On

palm

the right

HINDU lOONOGKAPHY.
of

Vishuu

seated the figure of Lakslimi, with

is

the right leg hanging and the

made

to rest

goddess
rests
of

upon the

is in

on the

is

seat.

The

upon the

panel

is

of this

of the

image

the figure of BhumidevI whose

hanging and the right leg


right

hand

while the

IritaJia pose,

rest

On the left

upon the siihhasana.

left leg is

hand

left

the luitaha pose and the right hand

Vishnu there

the

The

seat.

and

leg bent

left

rests supported

of this
left

hand

The temple

seat.

goddess

in

is

is

in

made

to

which

this

seen sculptured was erected by the Pallava

king Narasimhavarman II in the last quarter of the

seventh century A.D.


representation

what may be

of

Bhogasanamurti

Therefore this sculptural

luadhyama

of the

probably twelve centuries


PI.

XXVII

Mud.

most

old.

14, locally

known

In this the figure

with both legs bent, the

broken and therefore


articles they carried

left

of

it is

as the

Vishnu

Bavana

is

seated

lying horizontal

Both the

the right one vertical.

if

class is

represents a finely sculptured panel

found in Cave No.


liCb

Vishnu's

called

front

and

hands are

not possible to say what

the back hands are raised as

they were meant to hold the sanJcha and chalcra.

The

figure of

Vishnu

niandcda, Idnta,
right

and

left of

is

adorned with a pyabha-

hara, and yajnopHvlta.

On

the

the central Vishnu are the figures


106

VISHNU.
of the goddesses
ively.

tied

up

The

Lakshmi and Bhamidevi

hah' on the heads of these figures

in the

form

crown (dhammilla)

of a

goddesses are decked with

Lakshmi appears

figure of

respect-

in the right hand,

which

is

the

The

ornaments.

all

is

have held a flower

to

however broken.

On

the back wall are sculptured the figures of Kamini

and Vyajani each carrying

a cliamara in her

hand

besides these there are two other celestial damsels

carrying flower garlands and other offerings. Below

the seat are seen sculptured


jnirushas and

the

five

Ayudha-

These, as also the four

G-aruda.

female figures at the back of the central figure, are

shown with a prabhdmandala


ture, like all the rest in Ellora,

at the

hands

The
tion of an

the

has suffered damage

of the iconoclastic

figure

on Plate

image which

Mussalmans.

XXVIII

is

This sculp-

each.

is

the representa-

sculptured on a pillar in

Varadarajapperumal temple

at

Dadikkombu

near Dindigul in the Madura district of the Madras


Presidency.

This image belongs to the period of

the Nayakas of Madura, and

than three centuries.

is

perhaps not older

In this sculpture, Vishnu

seated upon Adisesha, whose body

coiled into

is

three turns, with the right leg hanging

the

left

serpent.

leg

folded

and made

to

In the back right and


107

rest
left

is

down and
upon the
hands the

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
chakra and the anhha are held and in the front

and

right

left

hands there are the gada and the

An image

padiJia.

manner

is

Vishnu executed

of

said to be that of Vasudeva.

the seat and slightly to the

left

Vishnu there

of

is

figure

of the

this

in

Below

image

of

Garuda standing

with the hands folded and held in the anjali


pose.

The
by

pretty ivory image of Vishnu represented

on Plate

fig. 1

XXIX,

is

one

of the

most recent

productions of Indian art having been carved in the

School of Arts at Trivandram.


in

most

of its details to the

almost similar

It is

Dadikkombu

sculpture

represented on the previous plate.

An
Vishnu

example
is

among

available

found in the temple


photograph

of

held,

the

is

is

In the panel, the

reproduced on Plate

left leg is

left

bent and

hand there

made

is

the sahJcha

The

right

stretched and thrown upon the right knee,

and the
thigh.

leg is also bent

but rests vertically upon the same seat.


is

clial;ra is

to rest horizontally

on the serpent-seat, while the right

arm

XXX,

seen seated upon the serpent

In the back right hand the

and in the back

of

the sculptures to be

at Aihole.

which

the figure of Vishnu

Adisesha.

Virasanamurti image

of the

left

hand

is

placed in ease upon the

left

The goddesses Lakshmi and Bhiimidevi


108

VISHNU.
are
of

shown

as flying in the air

Vishnu, while two

on the right and

somewhat below.

are figured

shown

also

rishis,

left

as flying,

This group repre-

sents the adliama class of Virasanamurti.

Five Plates are given in illustration of the

Of these the figure on

reclining images of Vishnu.

Plate

one

XXXI

represents a large panel sculptured on

of the walls of a rock-cut

cave in Mahabali-

puram. In this admirable piece

of sculpture there is

a central image of Vishnu reclining upon the serpent

Adisesha near the


;

and Kaitabha

feet there are the

above are the Ayudha-purushas

Chakra and Gada looking

demons

demons Madhu

in the direction of the

below the serpent-bed the

risliis

deya and Bhrigu are shown kneeling


goddess Bhumidevi

is

of

Markanand the

This reclin-

also just there.

ing figure of Vishnu has the fourth of the body

towards the head slightly raised, while the remaining three-fourths thereof

The

bed.
left

arm

is

right

arm

Vishnu

mahuta, hara,

is

right leg

leg

is fully

somewhat

is

upon the

in knots

stretched

bent.

This

further adorned with the kirlta-

Jiundala

and

ijajnopavlta.

demons Madhu and Kaitabha have


up

flat

taken near the head and the

The

out, while the left


of

stretched

bent at the elbow with the hand held in

the latal<a pose.

image

is

is

on the top

of the
109

The

their hair tied

head and on one

HINDU ICONOGKAPHY.
and each

of these carries a garln

its artistic

quahties this piece of

side respectively,
iu his

Tn

hand.

may

sculpture also

production of the
figures

other,

are

shown

as

and their attitude

of flight in

conspiring with each

if

clearly brings out their

The

intention to strike at once at A'ishiru.


of

Vishnu

an

The demons Madhu

exceedingly realistic manner.

and Kaitabha

flying

admirably

are

and convey the appearance

chiselled

The

period.

niedifeval

Ayudha-purushas

the

of

take rank as one of the finest

figure

in this panel represents the Yorjusaijana-

the mailhi/aiiia class.

riuirl/ of

The next

XXXII,

which

illustration

is

given on PI.

that of an image to be found in the

is

ruined temple of Vishnu at Deogarh in the Jhansi


district of the

Vishnu

ture

(hiited Provinces.

seen

is

reclining

In this sculp-

on

the

serpent

Adisesha, with the head directed to the right of the


obseivcr.

The

somewhat

raised

flat

reclining body

and the other

on the serpent-bed

outline of a

bow which

in its

upper half

made

half is

to

lie

the whole body has the

is

is

described in the

agamas

as appropriate to the reclining images of Vishnu.

One

of the left

the other
right

other

is

bands
is

hands

seen
is

supporting the head, while

is

I'cstiiig

upon the bed

one of the

held in the lutfalca pose, and the

stretched out parallel to the body so as to

no

PLATE XXXII.

Bhogasayanamurti

Stone

Deogarh.
[To face page 110.]

VISHNU.
upon the

rest

mahita, kiuidala,
mdjlu, are

The ornaments,

thigh.

kataka and vcuia-

Jidra, keyara,

carved with great

all

Vishnu there

image

of

faced

Brahma

kirlta-

Above

skill.

the figure of the four-

is

seated in the middle of the lotus

issuing from the navel of Vishnu.

Like the other

Brahma

attendant deities in this sculptured group,


also possesses only

two arms

on the heads, and a deer-skin

to

the image of

hang on the

Brahma

is

chest.

hand

the figure of

Siva also
Parvati
resting

out

is

is

It is
rests

to be seen

and he

To

vajra.

to be

his peacock.

leaning upon Siva with her


his shoulder.

arm

left

It is not easy to

make

the figure to the left of Siva represents.


left

the lap of Bhnmidevi,

leg of

who

is

be holding his right foot in her hands.


side are

carries in

what appears

Subrahmanya seated on

worth noting that the

upon

upon

seen in the group seated upon his bull.

upon

whom

is

of the

the right of

weapon

his particular

the right of Indra

To

head

that of Indra seated

the celestial elephant Airavata


his right

held

is

thrown across the

is

in the upavlta fashion, with the

made

deer

hand

There are jata-makutas

in the chin-muclra pose.

body

hand he

in his left

kaitiandalu, and the right

carries a

this

made

Vishnu

shown

By

to

her

to stand two Ayudha-purushas re-

presenting respectively

the
Ill

Gada and Dhanus.

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Below the
of the

seat

we

find the figures of

Ayudha-purushas representing the Chakra,

Sahkha and Khadga, the


be

last of

each of

inurtl

whom

armed with a

is

shown

is

to

Kaitabha,

The whole

club.

group deserves to be taken as a Blibgasayanaof

the

niadJujama

discloses the masterly

hand

of the artist

is

it

first

rank

it

clearly

who might

of the artists

As regards the age

of the medifeval India.

piece of sculpture,

and

class;

well be given a place in the

Smith

whom

Madhu and

attacking the demons

of this

Lakshmi and

of this

has to be said that Mr. V. A.

inclined to place

in the first half of the

it

From

sixth century A.D.

the peculiarities dis-

coverable in some of the details of the sculpture,

such as the stalk

on which

of the lotus

seated, the deer-skin covering

Brahma

thrown on the body

of that deity, the

hirlta-mahuta of Vishnu,

however obliged

to

assign

it

to the

which the sculptures

of the early

BUora

to the

belong, that

is,

is

end

we

are

same age

Hindu caves

of the

to
at

seventh or

the beginning of the eighth century A.D.

The

illustration

on

PI,

XXXIII

gives a birds-

eye view of a reclining image of Vishnu belonging


to the iiiadJiyama class of the BhogasayanamTirti-

In this illustration Vishnu

may

the serpent-bed with the front

be seen lying on
left

hand placed

near the head on the pillow and the back


112

left

hand

VISHNU.
bent at the elbow and

Both the other hands

The

body.

each other.

legs

are

made

on the bed.

to rest

are stretched parallel to the

somewhat bent and

Near the head

cross

to the right there are

the weapons chaTtra and khadga, while on the


there

is

Just near the

the anlcha.

sanMa

is

left

shown

the figure of Markandeya, with a flowing beard and

with the head covered with a jatfl-muJcuta

Markandeya are made


the anjali pose. Below him

hands
in

of

to rest

there

the

on the chest

is

apparently

the figure of Bhumidevl with a flower in the

left

Bhumidevi there

are

Below

hand.

this figure of

shown the demons Madhu and Kaitabha.


these figures has been

One

of

covered up with chunam,

and could not come out clearly in the photograph.

On

the right of Vishnu and near his feet

is

seen

the figure of Garuda kneeling on one knee and

having

him
and

is

his

hands

in the

anjali

Above

pose.

the Ayudha-purusha representing Chakra,

above

this

Chakra there

the

is

goddess

Lakshmi seated so as to have one leg hanging


down and the other supported on the seat. She
carries in one of her

belongs

to

the

hands a

temple

of

and belongs most probably

Vishnu
to the

pieces of sculpture represented

XXXI.
113
16

lotus.

This panel
at

Aihole,

same age

by

PI.

as the

XXX

and

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
The small ivory image
2, PL XXIX was carved

fig.

Trivandram.

at

In

of

YogasayanamQrti,

in the School of Arts

Yishnu

this,

is

upon the serpent Adisesha with

seen reclining

hand

his right

stretched out towards the head and the

one

left

bent at the elbow and held in the Tcataha pose.

Below the
a lotus

is

right

hand

a small Linga, over which

is

held by Vishnu.

extolling the god at

Purana

local

Trivandram informs us that

Vishnu absolved Siva

at

sin

from by which he was

of

Vishnu

Anantasayanam

afflicted

in the temple at

shown, as in this piece


right

The

of

some

hence the image

Trivandram

is

also

of sculpture, as holding his

hand over the Linga-image

Siva in the

of

varada pose.

The image

Vishnu figured on

of

PI.

XXXIV

In this sculpture Vishnu

belongs to Eajaputana.
is

seen possessing four arms, the right one of which

is

held in the jnana-mudra pose over the chest.

Another right hand which


have been kept near the

The

front left

rest

upon the

is

hand

is

is

broken appears to

Jdrlta as

if

supporting

stretched out and

made

thigh, while the back left hand,

it.

to

which

broken, seems to have been held in the hataJca

pose.

The whole

out-line of a bow.
of a

bow the

artist

figure of

To

Vishnu resembles the

bring about the appearance

has given the right leg a


114

stiff

VISHNU.
and

inartistic shape

on the lap

of

this leg is kept stretched out

Bhumidevi, while the

and resting upon the serpent-bed.

Vishnu

is

On

lotus

is

Vishnu are

to be seen four figures

on the

others, while

left

feet

of

to be the figures of

five

Ayudha-purushas.

the bed adjoining the right hand of Vishnu

the weapon gada


is

and the

Sapta-rishis

Sanatkumara

and near the

Vishnu there are what appear

On

of

seen issuing from the navel of

possibly those of the sages Sanaka,

the

The image

the right and near the head of the

central figure of

and

bent

adorned with the hirita and other orna-

ments and a
Vishnu.

left leg is

is

below the cot on which Vishnu

lying on Adisesha are seen a

engaged in fighting.

number

of figures

This scene depicts perhaps

the fight between devas and the asuras.

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.

DA^AVATAEAS OF VISHNU.

INCAENATIONS

considered to

of divinity are

be of three kinds

which are respectively

called

avatara, avesa and amsa.

What

a complete incarnation

designated an avatara, a

partial incarnation is

character and

is

is

more or

known

has to be taken as

temporary in

less

as avesa, while the incar-

nation of a portion of the power of a divine being


is

Krishna and Eama,

characterised as amsa.

for

instance, are understood to be complete incarnations


of

Vishnu and are therefore avataras.

came

into

the world,

it

said, to

is

Parasurama
suppress the

haughtiness of the unruly Kshatriyas, for that was


the God-appointed mission of his

he finished long before his


fact

it is

came

to

an end.

In

supposed that, being a chiranjlvi or ever-

living personage, he

completion

of

is still

alive.

the mission of his

rama and handed over

him and

life

This work

life.

retired to

Mahendra-parvata.

his

the

Soon

life,

own

after

the

he met Eaghu-

divine powers to

mountain known as the

The divine power thus possess119

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
ed by Parasurama was with him but for a short

time

was not a

it

incarnation

is

endowment hence
;

his

considered to be an ave'sa or temporary

Again, for instance, the sahhlia and the

possession.
chaJcra of

life-long

Vishnu

as representing parts

and aspects

of his power, are conceived to be occasionally ordered

by Vishnu, to be born among men to improve them

ways and bring about a betterment

in their

When

condition.

these

emblems

of the aspects

divine power are born as embodied beings


earth, they

in their
of

upon the

become saints and achieve the purpose

Such beings represent


Vishnu. The most commonly accepted

of their earthly incarnation.

the amsas of

and recognised incarnations

number and they


;

on ten

of

Vishnu

are declared to

different occasions

are ten in

have been assumed

by him with a view

to

destroy certain asuras and to set right the wrong

done

to the world

by them.

of

Kurma (tortoise), Varaha


Narasimha (man-lion), Vamana (the dwarf)

Vishnu are Matsya


(boar),

These ten avatar as

including

(fish),

Trivikrama,

Parasurama, Eaghurama,

Buddha and Kalki. Some Hindu authorido not consider Buddha to be an avat5,ra of

Krishna,
ties

Vishnu, and substitute in his place Balarama, the


elder brother of Krishna, as an avatara.
" Sections 231-233 of the

Matsya-purana are

devoted to the same subject (the incarnation


120

itself

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
and

its

I give an abstract of the

results).

section, in

which Vishnu's incarnations

It is here stated that

rated.

of a curse

(y.

37).

(ov.

58

ff.)

we

(as

shall

Vishnu assumed most

There were twelve

the gods and Asuras

enume-

was in consequence

pronounced by Bhrigu

further on) that

forms

it

are

17th

{vv. 39-52).

It

these

of

conflicts
is

see

between
related

when Prahlada

that on one occasion

had been overcome, and Indra had gained the


empire of the three worlds, Sukra, the priest of the

them and went to the gods. They,


however, entreated him not to desert them, when
he re-assured them by the promise of his support
They were nevertheless attacked by
{vv. 60 jf.).

Asuras,

left

the gods, and again resorted to Sukra,


assailants left them.

when

Sukra then referred

their

to their

former discomfitures, counselled them to wait for a


favourable turn of fortune, and declared his intention to resort to

sacred texts

Mahadeva and

which would ensure

obtain

certain

their

victory.

65 ff). They then promised the gods to desist


from hostilities and to betake themselves to aus{vv.

terities

{vv.

73

ff.).

Mahadeva and asked

Sukra accordingly went to


for texts

more powerful than

those possessed by Brihaspati, the priest of the

gods

painful

when
rite,

the deity directed

imbibing the smoke


121

16

him
of

to perform a

chaff {karia-

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
with his head downward for a thousand

dh'uDia)

years.

This he agreed to do

of this,

and taking advantage

state of the Asuras, the gods

(ri).

of the

went

The Amras remonstrated, and


Sukra resorted to

mother

his

re-assured by her {vv. 83

Hearing

78^'.).

defenceless

in the absence of

and were

for help,

The

ff.).

them.

to attack

gods, however,

followed

and assailed them, when the goddess

(Sukra's

mother her name

is

not given)

by her

magical power, rendered Indra helpless, and then


the other gods took to flight

however,

Vishnu,

interposed,

and desired Indra

to enter

(Vishnu).

This provoked the goddess,

him

into

who

{vv. Qljf.).

tlireatened to burn

Vishnu

them up Indra
;

called

to slay her before she could carry her threat

Vishnu, though hesitating to

into effect.

female, cut

off

her head with his

weapon

{vv.

Vishnu was hereupon doomed by a curse


to be born seven times in the world of

consequence
world
"

upon

of this

96 ff.).

Sukra

men and
;

in

he appears for the good of the

when unrighteousness
In

of

kill

consequence

of

prevails."

Sukra's

curse,

which

operated periodically, Vishnu was born time after


time, after a decline of righteousness, which he reestablished, destroying the Asuras.

For Brahma

* Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, pp. 151-153.

122

PLATE XXXV

c3

g
1:3

14

c3

icS

>

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
had decreed that

who should

those Asuras

all

be

disobedient to Prahlada should be slain by men.

Vishnu's incarnations

234-245 j,

Dharma,

Dwarf

a portion of him sprang from

viz., (1)

(2)

enumerated (w.

are then

the Narasimha, or Man-lion, and

which

incarnations,

manifestations,

seven being

human incarnations caused by Sukra's curse


These seven are

Parahurama,
and

(10)

(4)

(7)

the

are called the celestial

remaining

the

(3)

the
238).

{v.

the Dattatreya (5) Mandhdtri (6)

Bama,

Vedavyasa,

(8)

KalJd incarnations.

seven are obtained

if,

(9)

Buddha

(Eight instead of

with the Mahratti expounder,

we understand the beginning of verse 243 to refer


to Krishna). The Blid^gavata-Piirana gives twentytwo incarnations

(i.

3, Iff.), viz:

Those

in the

of (1) Pitrusha, (2) Fara/z a or the Boar, (3)


(4)

Nara and Ndrdyana,

(5)

Kapila,

(6)

forms

Narada,

Dattatreya,

(J)Yajna, or Sacrifice, (8j Bishabha, (9) Prithu, (10)

Matsya, or the Fish, (11)


(12

and

13^,

Kurma

Narasimha

or the

or the Dwarf, (16)

Para-

Dhanvantri,

Man-lion, (15)

Vdmana

or the Tortoise,

(14)

Vedavyasa (18) Bdnia, (19 and


20) Balardma and Krishna, (21) Buddha, and

surdma,

(22)

(17)

Kalki.

These

last

two are represented as

But

the

incarnations

innumerable,

like

the

inexhaustible

lake.

future.

rivulets

Bishis,
123

of

Vishnu

are

flowing from an

Manns,

gods,

sons of

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Manus, Prajapatis

are

all

him

portions of

{v.

26)."*-

There are here and there


.

Early references to the avataras of Vishnu.

references to the

avatar as of Vishnu even in the


ancient literature of the Hindus; for
_

instance, in Satapatha-Bralmiana
it is

took the form of a tor-

stated that Prajapati

toise

similarly the

T aittirlya- AranyaJca mentions

that the earth was raised from

the

waters by a

black boar with a hundred hands. All the avataras


are

more

krit

or less directly referred to in the later Sans-

works

like

the JRmnayana, the Mahabharata,

Bhdgavata-ptirdna and the Vishnu-'purdna.

The Mahabharata (see Vana-parvan,


f) says " Then the God
The Matsyava^^^^-

797

{lU.

the

Unwinking), kindly-disposed, said

to those rishis, " I

whom

no being

of a fish

[By

12,

'

is

am the

Prajapati Brahma, above

discoverable

by

me

you have been delivered from

you here the Grod Brahma


'

is

in the form
this danger.

meant]

."

The

Bhdgavata-Purdna gives the following account of


" Being
the origin of the fish avatdra of Vishnu
:

thus addressed by Vishnurata, the divine Badarayani


related the deed of

form of a

fish.

Vishnu achieved by him

At the end

of the past Jcalpa there

Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, p. 156.

124

in the

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
was a Brahma, that

was

there

is,

a partial dissolu-

tion of the universe, in which the earth and other

became submerged under the ocean.

worlds,

Then

the powerful Hayagriva (a ralishasa), coming near,

snatched away the Vedas which had proceeded from


the

mouth

of the creator,

who from

the drowsiness,

which had come on through lapse

become disposed
deed

of

to go to sleep.

On

time, had

of

discovering this

Hayagriva, the chief of the Danavas, the

divine lord Hari took the form of a saphari fish and

recovered the Vedas.".

This

fish

avatdra, as seen

from the above extarcts, was meant to recover the

Vedas from the ocean.

lost

Another account

Vishnu
Agni

incarnation of

fish

be found in the Agni-yurdna. Therein

is to

addressing

divine sage

of the

Vasishtha

says

" Listen,

while I narrate to thee the different

forms which Hari has assumed, in order to punish


the wicked and protect the good.

Previous to the

conclusion of the last Kalpa, at which time the


universe was overwhelmed with a deluge, Vaivas-

vata

Manu

tapas.

performed with

One day

as he

was

much

devotion a severe

an oblation

offering

of

water to the manes in the river Kritamala, a small


fish

appeared in his folded hands, which, as he was

about to throw into the water said

'

* Muir's Sanskrit Texts, p. 39, f.n.

125

Throw me

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
not into

of the larger fishes


it

said,
it

'.

But the

in a jar.

me more

Give

'

men for I am afraid there


On hearing this. Manu placed

best of

it,

pond

in a small

space

but

increased in size, and

fish

The king then placed

'.

it still

increasing in size

and demanding more room, he threw


and at length into the sea, where it
expanded

the

to

of a

size

thousand

'

Why

this

lord

Vishnu Narayana, hast thou thus deluded

art

me ?' The

fish replied

'

On

the seventh day from

universe will be submerged beneath the

this, the
;

hundred

said

wondrous change, and then

ocean

in an instant

With astonishment Manu beheld

yojanas.

who

into a lake,

it

do thou, therefore, taking

all

kinds of seeds

and accompanied by the seven Eishis, enter into a


boat which has been prepared for thee

Brahma

the night of
to

my

and

commencing
the boat

horned

on the

with a mighty snake

day,

foretold

to exceed its bounds,

Manu

fish dis-

the

sea

entered

and instantly there appeared a very big

fish, to

whose horn he fastened the

Then Vishnu repeated


piirana

it

and during

Having thus spoken, the

horn.'

appeared

fasten

to

Manu

the

boat.

Matsya-

and afterwards slew the asura Hayagriva,

who had
*

purloined the Vedas from

Brahma".*

See Kennedy's Hindu Mythology,

126

p.

432.

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.

The image
an ordinary

and

of

Matsya may be made


which

or in a form

iish,

either like

is

half fish

man, the upper portion being that

half

and the lower that

of

the

of

man

The image

fish.

is

generally given four hands, two of which carry the


sanliha and chakra,

generally

generally
is

The human

and ahhaya poses.

in the var'ada
is

and the other two being held


with

decorated

the

all

half

ornaments

worn by Vishnu, and on the head there

the kirlta-maTiuta.

We

have

The Kurmava**""*

seen

already

aoatara\<-A,%

that

tortoise

this

assumed by Prajapati,

according to the account given in

In the

the earlier writings, for creating offspring.


later works, as for instance, the
it is

stated that

Vishnu assumed the form

tortoise for supporting

employed

Bhagavata-purana,

in the

on

churning

the ambrosia for the

of

the

its

back the mountain

of

the ocean to obtain

gods.

"

In his

eleventh

incarnation, the Lord, in the form of the tortoise,

supported on his back the churning mountain, when


the Gods and Asuras churned the ocean" (Bhag.

Pu.

1. 3, 16).

ocean

is

well

The story of the churning of the


known and needs no description here.

The image

of this

out in a form which

is

avatara
half

is

generally worked

man and

half tortoise,

the lower part being that of the tortoise.


127

As

in

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
the case of the fish avatara, this image also has
four hands two of

which carry the

chaJcra, while the other

and ahliaya

two are held in the varada

The image

poses.

and the

sao'ikha

adorned with

is

ornaments and with the hinta-makicta on the head.


The image of the Kurmavatara may also be like
an ordinary

One

of

tortoise.

the

earliest

references

having been

TheVarahava-

to

the earth

up from the

lifted

depths of the lower regions by a

found in the Satapatha-Brahviana, wherein

boar

is

it is

said that

Emusha, a

boar, raised the earth up.

In the Taittirlya-Aranijal-a also the earth

have been

arms

lifted

is

said to

up by a black boar with a hundred

[varahena krishnena sata-haliuita uddhrita)

The BSunayana,

in describing the origin of the earth

mentions incidentally the uplifting

of the earth

by

the boar-incarnation of Vishnu. Vasishtha speaking


therein

about the origin of the worlds, says that

in the beginning

all

was water out

world has been formed and that out


arose

and

Brahma, the

lifted

self-existent,

up the earth.

of

which the

of that water,

who became

a boar

B&mawas Brahma

According to the

yana therefore the

uplifter of the earth

and not Vishnu.

In the Bhdgnvata-purana

it

is

said that with a view to create the universe, the

Lord

of Sacrifice

became desirous
128

of lifting

up the

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
earth,

which had sunk into the lower regions, and

assumed the form


ing up the earth

of the boar.

Here the act

attributed to Vishnu.

is

The Vishnu-pur ana,

the Lihga-2Mrana and the

Qaru^a-yurana mention Brahma


of the earth

of Uft-

from the ocean

the uphfter

as

but they at the same

time identify Brahmi, with Vishnu.

The Vislmu-

furana gives the following account

of this incar-

nation

"At the beginning

Brahma, Lord

of the

of the kalpa, that divine

who had

Prajapatis

nature of Narayana, created living beings.


close of the past (Padma-)^aZja,

the

At the

Brahma, the Lord,

endowed predominantly with the quality of goodness, awoke from his night-slumber and beheld the
universe void.

He

who cannot even

is

the Supreme Lord Narayana,

be conceived and exists in

the

form of Brahma, the deity without beginning, the


This Lord of Prajapatis dissource of all things.
covering by intuition,

become one ocean,

when the

universe had

all

that the earth lay within the

waters, and being desirous to raise

it

up,

assumed

another form. As he had formerly, at the commen-

cement

of previous halpas,

assumed the shapes

the fish and the tortoise, (so now),

the body of a boar,

and the

sacrifice,

of

entered into

a form composed of the Vedas


this Lord of Creatures, who

throughout the entire continuance


I2y
17

He

of the

world

re-

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
mains

fixed, the

Universal Soul, the Supreme Soul,

hymned

the Self-sustained Supporter of the Earth,

by Sanaka and other saints residing in the Janaloka,

He)

(therefore

Him

entered

water.

the

Beholding

then descend to Patala, the Goddess Earth,

bowing down prostrated


sang the praise

and Club,

to

Thee who

and

herself in devotion

Eeverence

'

bearer of the Shell

art all things

raise

from this place by Thee I was formerly


:

me today
up

lifted

Having swallowed the universe, when it becomes


one ocean, doest Thou
Govinda, sleep. Thou who
meditated
upon
the
wise. No one knows that
art
by
which

is

Thy form

the gods adore that form which

Thou assumest in Thy incarnations. Worshipping


Thee, the Supreme Brahma, men desirous of final
Worshipping Thee,

liberation attain their object.

the Supreme Brahman,

who

without adoring Vasudeva

Thou
Thou art

fice.

Thou art

Thou

art sacri-

art the vashatkdra (a sacrificial formula).

the

the

uMara

fires.

ted by the Earth,

Earth,

shall obtain liberation

(the mystic

'
.

the

with a voice

syllable

Having been thus

Om),

celebra-

glorious

Upholder

of

the

the

chanting

of

the

like

Samaveda, uttered a deep thundering sound. Then


the great boar, with eyes like the expanded lotus,
tossing

up with

his tusks the earth

which resembled

the leaf of the blue lotus, rose up from


130

the lower

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
mountain

regions like a great blue

(The

boar was then lauded and praised by Sanandana

and other

members

saints
of his

in

hymn,

which various

in

body are compared in

to

detail

various materials and implements used in sacrifice.

See Wilson's Vishnu-pur ana, 2nd ed.

.... On having been


Supreme

Soul, the

thus

hymned

Upholder

mighty

10,

Earth,

its

form"

lifted

upon the great

ship, the earth does not sink,

like

owing

to the

Compare Mahdbharata,

932,#.

The Lmga-purana, which


variety of

j^'ttfmidssin.d

who assumed

is

Brahma

as the deity

the form of the boar, (part,

In that night, when

Saiva

the

of

has not, as such, any interest

in glorifying Vishnu, describes

'

pp. 63 ff.)

Resting upon this mass of waters,

expansion of
iii.,

it

in praise, the

of the

the earth up quickly, and placed


waters.

i.

all

i.

4,

69

ff.)

things moveable and im-

moveable had been destroyed (and became absorbed)


in the

universal ocean,

Brahma

slept

upon the

waters; and beholding the universe void, Brahma,


chief

among the knowers

to create'.

of the

Vedas, then resolved

Having assumed the form

of a boar, this

eternal god taking up the earth, which

flowed by the waters, placed

it

as

it

was over-

had been

before."

The Agni-purana informs us that there was


a chief of the Asuras, named Hiranyaksha, who
131

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
vanquished the gods and took possession of their
heavenly capital, and that the gods had recourse to

Vishnu, who, to help them, assumed the form of a


boar and slew the demon Hiranyaksha.
later writings, this boar avatara

sively as

and

also

Vishnu. Let us

attribute

now

and the agamas

this

incarnation to

turn our attention to the des-

cription of this avatara of

various

Vishnu

These

works.

other

treated exclu-

is

one assumed by Vishnu

tantras

In the

as found in the

sculptured figures

comprise three different couceptional types of the


avatara, namely,

Nrivaraha,

The

Bhuvaraha,

will be dealt

with in order.

face of a boar in

the body of a man.

It

association

has four arms,

which hold the sanhha and the chaJcra


right leg should be slightly bent

to rest

upon the jewelled hood

serpent Adisesha,

company with
hands, the

left

Pralaya-

(iii)

Vaikhanasd,gama, the

ing to the

The

or

Bhuvaraha should have, accord-

figure of

Adivaraha.

Adivaraha

Yajnavaraha and

(ii)

These

varaha.

(i)

who must

his

be

of

two

of

usual.

and be made
the mythical

sculptured as in

Of the

wife.

as

with

remaining two

hand should be shown as supporting

the legs of Bhumidevi,

own

seated on the god's bent

hanging down,

while

the right hand has to be thrown round the

waist

right leg, with her

legs

132

DASAVATAEAS Or VISHNU.
of his

The

same goddess.

make the

should be sHghtly tilted up so as to

muzzle approach the bosom

though he
of the

is

image

of

the

engaged in smelling her.


of

Varaha-Vishnu

The

the darkness of twilight.

the god

boar-face of

is

goddess as

The colour

represented by

associated figure of

Bhijmidevi should have her hands in the anjali


attitude.

She should be decked with flowers and

dressed in clothes and should be adorned with

black.

Her

face should be slightly lifted

turned towards her


of

Her complexion has

ornaments.

suitable

shyness and

lord,

be

up and

and should be expressive

The

joy.

to

all

top of her head should

reach the chest of the figure of Varaha, and her

image should be made


pancha-tala

measure.

in
.

accordance

Such

is

the

with the
description

given in the Vaihhanasagama.

The Silparatna
cription.

gives a slightly different des-

Nrivarahamurti or the man-boar image of

Vishnu should have, according


its

to this authority, in

hands the gada and the paclma and

Bhumidevi on the

tusk.

One of

its feet

carry

should rest

upon the serpent Adisesha and the other on a tortoise. Or, the goddess might be shown as seated upon
the

left

elbow

in her hand.

of the

Her

Varaha, with a nilotpala flower

face should have eyes

expressive of wonder.

One
133

of the

which are

two right hands

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
Varaha image should be made to rest upon
the hip.
The Silparatna further says that instead

of this

of the

Varaha being

half

man and half boar,

it

may

be worked out wholly as a boar with a thick snout,

broad shoulder-blades, long tusks and a big body


covered with up-turned

The Agni-purana

bristles.

gives very nearly the

same

But

description of the image of Varaha-Vishnu.


it

adds that the right hand should carry the kmikha

and the
of

hand

left

either a

In this

Lakshmi.

padma

or the figure

case,

the figure of

latter

Lakshmi should be shown

as seated

upon the

elbow of the god and the figures of


Adisesha are to be near his

feet.

left

BhOmi and

The Agni-Purana

says that the setting up of the Varahamurti for

worship brings to one emancipation from samsara.

The Vislmudharmottara
description

with a few

describing Adisesha,

it

same

also gives the

additional
states

that

details.

In

that serpent

should be sculptured as possessing four arms, a

hood ornamented with jewels and eyes expressive


of

wonder

lifted

Two

up as

the face of Adisesha should be slightly


if

indicating a desire to see the Lord.

of Adisesha's

hands are

to be in the

anjali

pose, while the other

two should carry the hala

He

should assume the attitude

and the musala.


of

the

alidhUsana.

The
134

same authority

adds

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
further that the image of Nrivaraha

sculptured
attitude

seated

or the

ing pindas

or,

When

boar,

it

may

hands

shown

the image

may

be also

dhyana
if

offer-

be sculptured

to live in the midst of


is

when

should be, as

the

in

be so placed as

the whole figure

exactly like a boar


asuras.

Kapila

like

may

represented like a

full

associated with Siva as

the Lingodbhavamurti, shown to be digging the


earth.

According to the Vishnudharmdttara, again,

the philosophic import of this avatara


of ignorance

by Eternal

embodied

in the shape of

is

the defeat

Hiranyaksha

Wisdom and Almighty Power

incarnat-

ed as Yaraha- Vishnu.

This form

of

the Varahamurti has to be of

white complexion, and should have


Yajaavaraha.

two

four arms,

carry the ankha and the chahra

which

of
;

are to

the figure should

be seated upon a simhasana, with the right leg

hanging down and the


it

resting

left

upon the

seat

should be clothed in yellow garments and adorned

with various ornaments.

On

the right side should

be seated the figure of Lakshmi having the golden

yellow colour.

Her

left

leg

should

be bent and

kept resting upon the seat, while the right should


be

Her left hand should carry a


and the right hand should be resting on the

left

lotus
seat.

hanging.

On

the

left

of

Yajnavarahamurti,
135

there

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
should be seated Bhumidevi of dark complexion,

with her right leg bent and resting upon the seat

and the

left leg

In her right hand

hanging down.

she should hold a n'dotpala flower and the

left

hand

should rest upon the seat. The face of this goddess

has to be slightly turned towards the god and


should be expressive of surprise.

This type of the image


to be seated

_
Pralaya- Varaha.
,

Varaha- Vishnu has

of

upon a simhasana, with

the right leg hanging down, while


the

left

one

is

bent and kept resting on the seat.

This image should have four arms, in two


the sahhha

and the chaJcra have

of

which

be carried,

to

while the front right hand should be in the abhaya


pose and the front
left

hand be resting upon the

The complexion

thigh.

to be blue

left

and the image

is to

garments and decked with

On
same

of Pralaya- Varaha

all

be clothed in yellow

the usual ornaments.

the right of Pralaya-Varaha and on the

seat should be placed his consort, Bhijmidevi,

with the right leg hanging down and the

and made
in

to rest

on the

seat.

She has

complexion and should be wearing

able

has

ornaments

in her left

left

bent

to be dark

all

her suit-

hand there should be an

vfpala flower, and her right hand should be resting

upon the

seat.

She must be made

with amazement which

is

to look at her lord

clearly visible in her eyes.

136

DA8A7ATAEAS OF VISHNU.

when Vishnu gave up his boarform and returned as Vishnu, to his own heavenly
abode known as Vaikuntha, Siva took the long tusk
It is said that

of the

discarded animal-body and used

an

as

it

ornament.

Such
forms

and

of

are

some

of the descriptions of the several

Varahamurti as given

The

tantras.

the

Pis.

of

XXXVII

facing the proper

upon the bent

of

to

The

figs.

'2

figures

on

and 3 on PL

XLT

to

is

that they

of the

god him-

XXXVI to XXXVIII and


XXXIX possess an attitude
jump up and
demanded in fact by the

In

PI.

in the

to

XXXVII
palm

alone,

of the

is

the

hand and
;

there standing, not sitting, as required by the

agamas.

PI.

XXXVI is an elaborate piece

ture wherein the central figure,

with the Devi,

is

flanked on the sides

the latter on the right.

On
137

of sculp-

company
by Brahma and

Varaha

in

possibly Siva, the former standing on the

13

all

Pis.

Devi carried by Varaha


is

are

the hanging legs of this

leg,

this peculiarity of attitude is

she

One

and have the Devi resting

which suggests that they are about


Sanskrit authorities.

actual

be noticed.

Devi being held by the right hand


self.

the

the Varaha images printed in

left

left

dgamas

the

represented in the

are

deserve

illustrative plates,

prominent feature

peculiarities

which

sculptured forms,

in

left,

and

a close examination of

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
the figure on the
faces

left, it

The

and four arms.

kamandalu

be seen that

in

what

the upper right hand

is

pose and the lower right hand

The

the hip.

Up

cloth

worn

is

which

is

is

held in the kataJca

made

to rest

upon

is

given a figure

probably Chandra with the hands held in

is

To the

left of

seen a person wearing the jatSi-maJcuta

and he appears
Narada,

left

as the pose of

the anjali pose and facing Varaha.

Brahma

in the upavlta fashion.

Brahma

above the head of

has three

hand, the other

known

is

it

Brahma holds

figure of

in the lower left

hand being placed


praise

may

for,

to

him and near

in front of

seen the handle

be a male likely to be the rishi

of

a vlna, which

is

his

hand

is

musical

instrument characteristically associated with this


sage.

The

the

large figure to

Varaha in

PI.

right of the

XXXVI wears the jaia-mahuta and is

standing with his hands which are


the ahjali pose.

may be

The statement

that of Siva

size of the figure

of

this figure

is

and

is

that

this

image

based only on the relative


jata-maJcuta.

its

Brahma and

the shoulders of Varaha


is

apparently in

The height

exactly equal to that of

both these figures of

which

central

and

Brahma

Siva come up to

this

is

the height

generally prescribed in Sanskrit works on

iconography for the principal ones among the atten138

PLATE XXXyi.

-5rjir!?!S0iS2fcCgg;3O,,,.,,^^^.

V^-ieO^^-^^^JiPWt^

a
u

3
.p.

Its

J3

o
a
o

[To face page 138.]

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
dant

There are however some

deities.

in the

matter of this identification

only two arms, which

is

this figure has

uncommon

for Siva in the

sculptures of the period secondly, Siva


;

and Brahma

shown as adopting the anjali


the hands and with bowed head even when

are rarely,

pose of

dfficulties

if

at

all,

they are sculptured as attendant deities, their hands


are usually

there

is

shown

in the pose of praise; thirdly,

in front of this figure a

vma, with a crooked

handle and the gourd resonator, evidently belonging to the being

of

it

be a

Up

rishi.

above

Siva, there is the figure

Surya in the prahhamandala worshipping Varaha

The form

with folded hands.


of

the figure represents, and

may well
which may be of

indicating that
this figure,

whom

Chandra,

is

here

of Surya,

represented

like

that

only up to the

middle of the body, the lower portion being


unsculptured

this is

meant evidently

left

to suggest

that they are up and unsupported in the sky.

To

what we have supposed

the right of

to be

the figure of Siva stands a female figure, with her

hands folded in the anjali

immersed

in water

haranda-maTiuta.

pose

her head

She

is

the

is

and

adorned with a

goddess of

Bhiimidevi, just rescued from the ocean.


the right foot of Varaha

is

earth

Under

Adisesha, with a five-

headed nRga hood on the head.


139

her feet

He

has also his

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
hands in the
at

pose and

worshipfuUy looking

is

the great deliverer of the earth with uplifted

Half of his hody

head.
is

aTijali

is

plunged in water, which

represented in the sculpture in the usual convan-

tional

manner with

lotuses

and waves, although

the lotuses are of course out of place in the ocean.

The execution

of

panel

elaborate

this

is

very

and the proportion of the various figures is


effective and appropriate.
The drapery is arranged

artistic,

in quite a natural fashion

The

and

is

very becoming.

big tusks and the powerful snout of the boar

are intended to indicate great strength and terrific

power.
PI.

XXXVII

represents a group

found in No. Ill cave at

prominence

Badami.

In

given to the

naturally

is

images

of

it

great

principal

The attendant deities Brahma


shown with their consorts on the

figure of Varaha.

and Aiva
proper

are

riglit

and

left

shown

certain (Mvaa are

Brahma and

of

the central Varaha, and


as sailing in the

air.

Both

Siva have one of their hands held up

At the

in the pose of praise.

Adisesha's wife

foot

on the proper

left is

of

Varaha

standing erect

Adisesha himself, and on the proper right


attendant

woman

sculpture

is

about

holding the
a

is

chaitri.

is

an

This piece of

century older than the one at

Mababalipuram shown

in PI.

140

XXXVI,

^LATB XXXVll.

311 'i?^:
-4te

1^

\
Bburarahamurti

Stone

Badami.
[To lace page 140.]

PLATE XXXYIIt

^ :^^.:':
Yai-aha
[To face page 141.]

Stone

Eajim, Eaipur District, Central Provinces.

t>LATB XXXIX,

03

o
02
e3

ic3

o
f^

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.

PL XXXVIII and

the

fig.

more or

represent images which are

same age
seem

that on

as

to be far

XXXVI

PL

removed, in point

the early Ohalukya-Pallava


of these

is

left

rest

elbows

left

hand and the corresponding

clasped,

of time,

from

The

first

and with

while the other

on the bent

leg so as

left

to

This

truly artistic.

Varaha has four arms, and

the Devi on one of the

of the

they do not

period.

is

XXXIX

less

sculptured in great detail

a characteristic vigour that


figure of

PL

2 on

seen to carry

is

this associated

hand are

right

hand

made

is

to

be suggestive of the

support needed to bear the weight of the goddess.

The

sculptor has strayed a

rities

in

Adisesha

representing

Varaha's two

feet

from his authoas

two palms

in the

instead of on the hood.

supporting

whole world

is

in the

of

Nagas

sculptured in the adjacent slab, showing

Nagas

as

engaged in the act

hands

of his

This Adisesha

attitude of alldhasana.
is

little

of reverencing

all

Varaha

with their hands held in the anjali pose.


wriggling snake-halves of the bodies of these

and Naginis make

their life

a remarkable manner. Fig.

the

The
Nagas

and activity manifest in

PL XXXIX represents
The happy proportion of

2,

a remarkable piece of art.

the parts of the body of Varaha, the delicate poise


of the

image, the minutely carved ornaments, the


141

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
sculpturing of the Nagas underneath an expanded
lotus leaf so as to be suggestive of the patala-loha,

which

is

the abode of these beings,

many more

these and

all

workmanship stamp

features in the

That

the artist as a real master of his craft.

and highly powerful Varaha, the

this vigourous

supporting of a Devi

child's play,

is like

patent by the ease with which she


held on his bent
is

artistically

to

left

shown

is

to be

Another point which

hand.

noteworthy

becomes

is

that the lotus leaf on

the head of Varaha, which with

concave side

its

turned down, serves as an umbrella, and indicates


the god to be just rising up from the ocean.
for its

and

effect

Alike

execution, this image

for its

is

remarkable and praiseworthy.

Next
as

fig.

in point of time

XXXIX.

3 on PI.

peculiar in

it,

is

the image represented

There

except that

it

is

nothing very

shows that the same

rules of iconography must have been applied to

the

image

of

Varaha

Bengal as in

in

Bombay and

Madras.
Figs. 1

on

PI.

XXXIX

and that on

PI.

XL

represent

comparatively recent productions, and

both

them

is

of

a bronze

belong

to

Madras.

image preserved in the

Madras, and the former

is

The

latter

Museum

a stone image

to

at

be

found in the Vishnu temple at TSTagalapuram in


142

PLATE

XL.

/!>'SM5i'!ilBW^:'j*l''^''"s\'^^

mmmiuu
Varaha; Bronze: Madras Museum.
[To face pnge 142

7C

PLATE XH.

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
They have very similar
neither of them is in the attitude
characteristics
of jumping both are shown to be cahnly standing

the North Arcot

district.

on the

right

leg

which

is

pedestal

the

left

leg

bent and

on the hood

of

is

Adisesha

firmly

set
is

on

supported

the two upper hands

carry the saiikha and the chaJcra as usual

lower

left

hand

is

hand

is

in the

also notice the

the

thrown round the Devi so as

to support her in the seated position,

right

the

abhaya

pose.

arrangement

and the lower

Here we may

drapery and the

of

mechanical way in which the yajnopavlta and the


other

ornaments are arranged on the figures as

characteristic features of later art.

It is easy to

observe in the bronze Varahamurti of the Madras

Museum

that the image-making art had distinctly

decayed at the time


Fig.

2,

PI.

of its casting.

XLI.

image which belongs

is

the representation of an

to the

Chennakesava temple

Belur in the Mysore province.


details of ornamentation, the

traceable

and

workmanship

beautiful,

The

at

characteristic

minute and clearly

in the carving, the excellent

though conventional, sculpturing

of

the various figures marks this Varaha image as

belonging to one of the most attractively artistic


schools of a late period.

We

see

Varaha here with

twelve hands, in the right six of which he carries


143

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
the sula, thrust into the body of Hiranyaksha, the

and the

anJcusa, the ghanta, the Jchadga, the cliakra

bana in the order from below

hands a

two

of the left

(lemon) and the Jchetaka are seen, and

fruit

something which

is

not capable of being


the fourth

in

held in the third

made

Varaha

is

sahhha
This

held in the vismaya pose.

treading upon two asuras,

is

hanging

to the

leg of the Devi, while the fifth carries the

and the sixth

is

out from the photograph

hand gives support

left

hand

left

notice

their

round eyes and tusks, and also the sword and shield
in their hands,

under the

who

feet

of

shown

as lying crushed

deity.

In

are

the

front

stands

Bhumidevi, whose head has been unfortunately


broken away, with her hand in the anjali pose.

There

is

an

explanation of

orthodox

the

symbolism underlying the boar avatar a of Vishnu


given in the Padma-purana. The Vayu-purana also
gives the
is

same passage word

In them

for word.

stated that the sacrifice (yajna)

symbolised by the boar, and that

its

is

as a

it

whole

various limbs

represent the limbs of the sacrifice.

The grunt

of

the boar corresponds to the Bavia-ghosha and the


four legs are the foar Vedas

stambha

(the sacrificial post)

agvi (the sacrificial

fire)

darblia grass; the head

the tusk

144

the

the yupa-

the tongue stands for

and the
is

is

bristles constitute

Brahman

priest, the

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
bowels form the TJdgatri

organ

the Hdtri

constitutes

and the

the ghee, which

and the night,

in its ear are taken to represent

The mucous

the Vedahgas.

to

eyes of the boar

are said to be emblematic of the day

and the ornaments

genital

priest required

The two

the sacrifice.

officiate in

priest,

flow from the nose

delivered into the

is

fire

is

by the

spoon {sruva)

consisting

Prayaschitta

represented by the Varaha's hoofs

and

is

The

the snout

(tunda).

stand for the pasu (the animal

their knees

victim).

of

breathed

air

the antaratman, the

is

bones of the boar constitute the mantras, and


blood

is

The

the soma juice.

its

vedi (the altar)

is

symbolised by the shoulders of the boar and the


havis

is its

What

neck.

is

called havya-havya

presented by the rapid movements of the boar

dakshind fee paid to the priests


wife of the sacrificer

body

of the

sacrificial

body

animal

chamber.

of the

boar

is

is its
is

is

its

heart.

is re;

the

The

shadow, while the whole

taken as representing the

One of the ornaments on the


made to represent the ceremony

called pravargya.

Kasyapa-prajapati begot by
Narasimha.

ed certain

two

sons

named Hiranyaksha and Hiranya"^


kasipu. The former of these receivboons from Brahma, which made him

notably powerful

'

and he thereupon began


145

19

Diti

to sub-

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
The gods in their
Brahma and sought

jugate the gods and tease them.

new

affliction,

his help to

complained to

overcome the troublous might

asura Hiranyaksha.

of the

Then Brahma, together with

the doleful gods, approached Vishnu and implored

him

to deliver

In response, Vishnu created a strong

the asura.
warrior,

other

them from the troubles caused by

whom

he sent with Garuda and a few

assistants

to

Hiranyaksha

vanquish

but

they could not succeed in their endeavour to do

so.

Then Vishnu himself proceeded against the demon,


when he was opposed by Hiranyakasipu, his son
Prahlada and a host

other

of

In the

asuras.

struggle that ensued, the asuras were overpowered

and Prahlada realised that

his father's great oppo-

nent could be none other than the Supreme God,

and entreated

and

his father

up the impossible

contest.

Prahlada proved to be

of

no

all

his allies to give

All the
avail,

good advice

of

and Hiranyaka-

sipu persisted in carrying on the war with Vishnu.

The

result

the asura
this,

was that Vishnu became angry and


Hiranyakasipu to pieces.

Such

the other asuras ran away.

On
is

tore

seeing

the brief

account found in the Eurma-purana about the

Narasimhavatara or the man-lion incarnation


Vishnu.
the

It is easily seen that

it

does not give us

circumstances under which Vishnu


146

of

had to

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
assume the curious form

of the

man-lion.

The

Saura-purana follows the Eurma-purana in stating


that Prahlada himself opposed Vishnu at the begin-

ning but later on became devoted to him on seeing

and making out therefrom that

his divine valour

he must surely be the Lord of the Universe.

We

are also informed in the Puranic legends

that Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu were in fact

Jaya and Vijaya, the two door-keepers


who, having

incurred the

master, were cursed by


as asuras

number
as

and

displeasure

Vishnu
of

their

become incarnated

to

turn out to be his enemies in a

to

of births.

Madhu and

him

of

In one

of these

they were born

Kaitabha, in another as Hiranyaksha

and Hiranyakasipu

in

the Mahabharafa period

they were Sisupala and Dantavakra.

The name Hiranyakasipu


Vayu-purana

was

in

and one

of

legend.

gifts for

Once

and his wife

sacrifice,

an advanced stage

Kasyapa had several costly


priests

derived in the

from the following

Kasyapa was performing a


Diti

is

of

pregnancy.

the sacrificial

them was a gold-plated wooden


It was kept covered with

seat for the hotri'pnest.

hua grass.

As the

gave birth to a son

sacrifice
;

was going

and the baby,

on, Diti

as soon as

it

was born, walked straight to the place of sacrifice


and there sat upon the gold-plated seat and began
147

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
to

repeat the Vedas and the Purauas.

formers of the sacrifice

The

per-

weru exceedingly pleased

with the child and called him Hiranyakasipu and


prophesied that he would become very powerful.

According

to the

Pad ma -pur ana Prahlada was

Brahman a in his previous condition of existence


and though now born as the son of Hiranyakasipu,
a

he

retained his old and ardent devotion to

still

The

Vishnu.

father, of course, did not like that

his son should

be a devout adorer of his

enemies, the gods


rid of

and with the

mortal

object of getting

such a misbehaving and undesirable son, he

subjected

him

to various forms of cruel treatment.

But Prahlada, by the grace

of

Vishnu, remained

quite unscathed, and began to preach, with even

greater

earnestness than before, the doctrine that

Vishnu was the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent Grod

who

filled all

space and reigned every-

where as the Supreme Lord.


kasipu, in a
if

fit

Then once Hiranya-

of exasperation,

asked his son why,

Vishnu was omnipresent, he did not

the pillar of his hall.


the pillar with his

fist,

see

him

in

Thereupon Prahlada struck


and according to another

account, Hiranyakasipu himself angrily kicked the


pillar,

and

at

half-man and

once Vishnu came out therefrom


half-lion,

and tore Hiranyakasipu

pieces.

148

to

DA8AVATARAS OF VISHNU.
It is
earlier life

Hiranyakasipu

said that

adored

boons to the

Brahma and

effect that

his

obtained from him

he should be so invulnera-

not to be killed by

ble as

had, in

man

or beast

that he

should not die either in the day or in the night,


that he should not die either in the day or in night,
side

it

injure

and that no weapon


him.

naturally

worrying

After he

obtained these boons he

became haughty and


towards

behaviour

any kind should

of

irrepressible in his

the

gods,

became imperative that he should be

and

killed.

it

But

same time the boon conferred by Brahma


on him had to be respected. Consequently Vishnu
at the

assumed the from

of a man-lion,

and tore Hiranya-

kasipu with the claws at the time of lingering


twilight forming the
night,

junction between day and

himself being seated upon

the mansion of Hiranyakasipu.

the doorsill of

It is obvious that,

in so causing the death of the asura, not one of

the boons bestowed on him by


teracted and

given in

shown

to be futile.

the Padma-picrana

agreement with what

is

two

of

is

This account
substantially

also.

Vishnu as Narasimha are

kinds, namely, the Girija-Narasimha

Sthauna-Narasimha.

in

found in the Vishnu-purana

and some other Puranas

The images

Brahma was coun-

The
149

first

kind

of

and the
consists

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
shown

generally of a single figure, which should be

seated on a

padmasana

in the uthutiJca posture,

the forelegs being maintained in the required position by the ijoga-paUa belt going round

them and

the back of the body.

The conception underlying


name Girija-Narasimha is that the lion comes

the

out of a mountain cave.

another

name by which

as man-lion is called

this single

and

In the

or four arms.

Kevala-Narasimha

it

image

may have

latter case, the

of

is

Vishnu

either

two

upper right

hand should hold the chalcra, and the upper left


hand the saiikha, and the two other hands being
stretched forward and supported on the knees.

This form

of

the image

of

Narasimha

often

is

designated as the Yoga-Narasimha. (See PI. XLII).

The

colour

of

form

this

of

the

image

of the

man-lion Vishnu should be crystal white.

The

Silparatna, however, gives a somewhat different


description,

and says that the cliah-a and the

sahhha should be shown, near the two out-stretched

hands and that the other two hands should carry


the gada and the padma.

Sometimes Girija-Narasimha

is

represented as

seated upon a simhas'ana with the right leg hang-

ing
the

down and the left


The image
seat.

the back right and

folded and

made

to rest

upon

generally has four arms, and

left

hands carry the cliahra and


150

PliATE

Kovala Narasimba

Stone

XLiIJ.

Halsbirlu.

[To face

pafje ISO.]

DA8AVATAEAS OP VISHNU.

The

sanliha respectively.

hand has

front right

be shown in the abhaya pose, and the front

hand

as resting

While the colour

pose.
of

upon the hip

Narasimha

to

left

in the Jcatyavalambita

form

of this

of the

image

required to be white, the colour of

is

Moreover the image

the garments has to be red.

should be adorned with

and

suitable ornaments,

all

on the head the haranda-^naliuta should be worn.

On

the right of such Narasimha there should be

the image of

with her

Lakshmi seated on the same seat, but


folded and made to rest upon the

left leg

and the right

seat,

leg

hanging down.

In the

hand

this goddess should

carry a lotus

right

hand should be made

to rest

The image
on the

left of

and made

made

of

to

left

and her

upon the

seat.

Bhumidevi should be shown seated


Narasimha, with her right leg folded

to rest

on the

hang down.

seat,

while the

left leg

is

In the right hand of this

goddess there should be shown the nilotpala flower,

and the

hand should be shown

left

The colour

the seat.

to be golden yellow,

be dark.

with

all

of the

and that

image
of

of

upon

Lakshmi has

Bhumidevi has

to

Both the goddesses should be adorned


appropriate ornaments.

The conception underlying


Narasimha
of

as resting

a pillar

is
;

the

name Sthauna-

that the lion in this case comes out

and

this

Sthauna-Narasimha
151

is

also a

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
seated image with four arms.

In the two back

hands there should be the sahTcha and the chakra

the front right hand should be in the ahhaya or the

varada pose, and


should be

made

the

corresponding

The

on the thigh.

to rest

hand

left

left leg

has to be folded and supported upon the simhdsana


while the right leg should be hanging down.

neck

should be covered

of this type of Narasiiiaha

with a thick mane

The

the colour of the image should

be white and that of the garment red. There should


be sharp curved teeth
the

mouth

made

of the man-lion.

In a second manuscript

somewhat

distinctly visible in

different

of

Vaikhanasagama a

description

Sthauna-Narasimha

is

given.

may have

description the image

of

the image of

According to this
twelve or sixteen

hands, and there should be three bends in the body


(tribhanga).

On

the

left

thigh thereof Hiranya-

kasipu should be stretched out with the belly being


ripped open by two of the

One
pose,

of the right

hands

of

Narasimha.

hands should be in the ahhaya

and another has

to carry a

sword so as to

make its point reach up to the kundala in the ear.


One of the left hands of Narasimha should hold the
makuta of Hiranyakasipu, and another should be
shown as lifted up for administering a blow to the
demon. The legs of the asura are to be taken hold
152

DASAVATARAS 01 VISHNU.
of

by a right hand, and two other hands, one right

and one

should be lifted up to the ears of the

left,

image and be holding the drawn out


Hiranyakasipu in the form
figure of

entrails of

The

of a garland.

Hiranyakasipu should be sculptured so

as to indicate that he has been attempting to kill


his opponent,

and be

for this purpose

a sword and a shield.


excited wrath of

As

if

to appease the highly

Narasimha while engaged

troying this demon, Sridevi, Bhudevi,


his Vina

and Prahlada with

pose should

and

left.

all

armed with

shown

be

in des-

Narada with

hands

in the anjali

as standing

on his right

his

Above these should be sculptured Indra

and the other Lokapalas with their hands

in the

anjali pose.
If

the figure of Narasirhha

is

sculptured with

only eight hands, two of them should be employed


in tearing open the belly of Hiranyakasipu, while

four others should carry the saiikha, the gada, the


cliakra

and the padma.

be holding the
garland-wise.

thick

The remaining two should

drawn out entrails of Hiranyakasipu


The neck of the image must be

the shoulders and the hip must be compara-

tively large in size

and the abdomen as well

waist must be notably

thin.

The whole

as the
of the

image should be painted golden yellow, yellowish


brown, blue or scarlet red.

153

The Vishnu dharmot-

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
tara prescribes the dlldhasana for the

and adds that

Sthaunamurti

should be clothed in a blue garment.

it

The same authority informs us that Narasimha,


when worshipped, increases one's knowledge of
the Supreme Being and that Hiranyakasipu
personification of evil

third

Narasimha

In this

folds

should possess

four

arms

Garuda

of

two

in

which he

of

should carry the iaukJta and the chaJira.


is

mentioned

as

kept engaged.

should

be

the

how

to

Over the head

held like an umbrella.

should
have,

The

adorned

with

however, not

come

be

hood

of

Adisesha

Narasimha

figure of
all

are

Narasimha there

of

five-headed

Nothing

other hands

the

or

Narasimha

This

Adisesha.

of

as-

Narasimha should be seated

upon the shoulders


upon the

called the

is

Yanaka-Narasiiiiha.
P^ct,

and ignorance.

variety of

Nai^^tmh'a.

is

ornaments.

We

even a single

across

instance of this variety of Narasimha in actual


sculptures.

Besides the Girija-Narasimha and the Sthauna-

Narasimha described above there


varieties

Sanskrit

whose descriptions
authorities

are a few other

are not found in the


to

us

forms

of

available

illustrations of the undescribed

however,

Narasimha

with a brief description of each are added below.


154

PLATE

Xlilll,

Standing figure
[To face page 155.]

of

Kevala-Narasithha

Stone

Badami.

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.

The Saiva accounts


after

Hiranyakasipu,

killing

Narasimha,

that

state

grew arrogant and

Siva thereupon assumed the form

harsh.

of a

sarabha, a mythical creature held to be partly bird

and partly the beast

lion, tore

up Narasimha and

wore his skin as a garment, using his face as an

ornament on the chest.


In illustration
one picture

same

as

of the

of the descriptions

Kevala-Narasimha, which

Yoga-Narasimha, and two

the

Sthauna-Narasimha have been given


pictures

given above,

and

the
the

of

six other

which do not correspond

to the descriptions

The

figure of Kevala-

are also reproduced here.

Narasimha (PL. XLII)

is

the principal image in

the Narasimha temple near Halebidu.


to be noticed that the

In

padma

as

it, it

has

two up-turned hands carry

the sanJcha and the chakra, but not the


the

is

required

gada and

by the 8ilparat7ia.

respect also of having the sankha

sculptured near the two hands

and the chakra

made

the knees, this image differs from

In

to rest

upon

the description

The workmanship leaves


The rigid posture, reunshakable firmness of the mind

given in the Silparatna.

nothing to be
presenting the
of the

desired.

yogin and showing a very

strict

to all the prescribed details is in fact

beautifully

that no

praise
155

adherence

wrought so

can be too much in

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
appreciation of the

skill

and

ability of the sculptor.

In the prahliUvaU surrounding the image, there are

The imdma-

sculptured the ten avataras of Vishnu.


sana, upon which Kevala-Narasirhha

is

be seated,

of

is

here absent

and instead

required to
it

we have

only a raised seat placed upon a well designed


pedestal, in front of

which the G-aruda-lanchhana

Garuda-emblem

or the

is

worked out

that the deity resting on the pedestal

PL XLIII

Strictly speaking

form

of

standing image

and padma

the

instead of

required by the books.


are

Vishnu.

we have

sitting

one

a
a
as

The sankha, chahra, gada

sculptured

human form

in

Ayudha-purushas and are not

Above the two

real condition.

is

also, illustrates

Here

Kevala-Narasimha.

to indicate

to be

as

found in their

uplifted

arms

of the

man-lion image are to be seen the personified

Sankha and Chakra, hovering, as it were, while


near the gada, on which the man-lion is leaning,
there stands the slender- waisted goddess represent-

ing the

Gada

and

to the right of

and near the

leg

of

Narasimha stands the personified Padma.

is

indeed an admirable piece of sculpture, rich in

details, correct in

portions.
in

PI.

pose and possessed of true pro-

The face is

XLII

This

that of a real lion and not, as

that of a conventional form of the

animal with pointed ears and


156

stiff

and straight mane.

PLATE XLIV.

Sthauna Narasirhha: Panel-Stone: Ellora.


[To face page 156.]

PLATE XLY,

Sfchauna Narasimha

[To fdoe page 157.]

Stone

Dadikkombu.

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
Narasiiiiha

is

here shown in the pacific mood, and

the calm expression on the face

The ornaments

out.

is

very well brought

minutely carved and

are all

unmistakably bring to light the great

skill of

the

artist.

Over the head

we

man -lion

of the central

see the images of

Brahma and

image,

Siva with those

consorts, floating in the air praising

of their

and

This piece of sculpture

glorifying Narasimha.

is

found in Cave No. Ill in Badami.

We do not as yet know what the written authority

is,

on which Narasimha with Hiranyakasipu, as

XLIV

depicted in Pis.

XLV,

and

is

based.

That

these two pieces of sculpture, one found in Ellora

and the other


in

South India,

main

Dadikkombunear Dindigal
should exhibit so nearly the same

in distant

features, clearly indicates the existence of

authoritative description in

an

some work bearing upon

the formation of images and forming the basis of


these productions of interest and value.
these

we

see that

Narasimha

is

shown

In both

as advancing

towards Hiranyakasipu from the right, as the latter

approaching in a defiant attitude, with the sword


lifted
is

up

made

to strike the adversary

to take hold of the

so as to overpower

hands

of

him

Narasimha

body

of

Hiranyakasipu

moreover one

in each of the
157

Narasimha

in both

of the right

sculptures

is

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
held up as

if

with

open palm

the

he

is

going to deal a blow to the


that

of

objects are found in the hands of

enemy

The same
Narasimha in both
hand.

the sculptures, namely, kahhha, cha'kra, kliadga and


hlietaka

and again one

of the

hands

in relation

is,

to both the images, in the abJiaya pose.

based on the same authority, the


sculpture are very dissimilar in

Although

two pieces

respect of

artistic

merit.

The conventional

conical

Idnta,

the

straight

mechanically arranged

of

their

lion's face,

the

attitude,

the

expressionless

mane and

other

such inartistically executed details in the Dadik-

kombu image proclaim

its positive inferiority.

and the images represented by the


Pis.

XL VI

Nayakas

when

and

of

XL VII

Madura

figures

(16th and 17th century A. D.)

The Dadikkombu image

marked contrast with that


every respect.
inferior

and the

in imagination.

other hand,

is

energy and

Narasimha

In

its

artist

The
full

on

belong to the period of the

the sculptor's art was in South India at

lowest ebb.

of

This

of

is

its

indeed in a

Ellora in almost

workmanship

was obviously

it is

decidedly

utterly lacking

sculpture at Ellora, on the

of expression

vigorous

indicates, in a

action

and suggestive
the attitude

of

manner, the alldhasana

the face of a real lion, with the curling

mane and

the uelicately sculptured Idnta, tend to enhance


158

PLATE XLVI.

Sthauna Narasimha

Stone: Dadikkombu.

[Tj fdco pigs

15y.i

PLATE XL VII.

Sthauna Narasimha

[Xo face page

15'J..

Bronze: Madras Museum.

DASAVATAEA8 OF VISHNU.

The hand

the artistic effect of the whole piece.

thrown on the shoulder

him

at

literally

of

Hiranyakasipu keeps

an arm's distance

a second

catches hold of his crown and renders

hand

him motion-

while a third by tightly gripping the sword-

less,

carrying hand of Hiranyakasipu, completely disarms

The master touch of the


work of the artist may be seen in the way in which
the interlocking of the leg of Narasimha with that
The sculptor has
of Hiranyakasipu is carried out.
and overpowers him.

obviously intended to suggest the divine nature of

Narasimha by making
two

his

drapery

The

is

defiant

mood

feet rest

worked out

well

also

two

The arrangement

padnias or lotuses.

Hiranyakasipu

of

and
is

upon
of the

artistic.

very well

brought out in the haughty smile on his countenance.


Nevertheless,
ration in the art

and

was evidently already setting

in proof of this

form

of the

jaw

has to be observed that degene-

it

of the

lion,

and

may

also of its ears

and are

in shape,

to rise immediately above the jaw.

an examination
be easily

of

the sculptor's work

made out

found at Badami

we may note the conventional

which are ornamented, pointed

shown

in

is

that the image of

very

which belongs to Ellora.


159

much

From

itself,

it

Narasimha

older than that

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
The bronze

Museum

late period,
details.

XL VII),

(PL

as

The

Narasimha

figure of

artist

conventional in

in conception

Though

effect.

and execution,

tracing

of

so conventional

from being a

it is far

The abnormally

discreditable piece of work.

shown

the hands on

of

such as to make them balance one

is

another well in

tusks

all its

has obviously aimed at complete

symmetry, and the disposition


both sides

Madras

evidently belongs to a very-

strictly

it is

at the

large

in front in preference to the sides, the

mark on the upper mane,

the nania

shaped

the curiously

eyes

and

disproportionally small lirlta are

ears,
all

and the

characteristic

features denoting the later period of sculpture

casting in

South India.

It is

well worth

paring this image with that found at


(PI.

and

com-

Dadikkombu

XL VI).
Figures

and 3 on PL

XLI represent Lakshmi-

Narasimha.

These

two

belong to the Madras

NSSha.

bronzes

Museum.

In both these cases, Narasimha

is

seated upon a padmasana, with his right leg hanging

down and

the

flat

upon the

seat.

bent leg Lakshmi

hanging down

left

leg bent

On
is

to rest

the lap so formed by the

seated

and each

and made

with both her legs

of the feet of

seen to be supported on a lotus.


160

Lakshmi

The upper

is

right

DASAVATABAS OF VISHNU.
hand

Narasiraha holds the chahra, while the

of

lower right hand

upper
left

of

hand

left

the abJiaya pose.

in

is

sahkha

carries the

worthy

It is

Garuda

right

hand

taken round the body of Narasimha

is

in embrace,

and the lower

The

hand embraces the goddess.

Lakshml

The

and her

left

hand holds a

of note that in

in the

fig.

1,

lotus in
PI.

it.

XLI, a

dUdhasana may be seen sculptured

as the Idnchliana of

Vishnu between the

legs of

Narasimha and Lakshml.


the son of Virochana and grandson of

Bali,

Prahlada,
^ri^ikrama^

Vishnu

of the strength

he had acquired through

who prayed

and

celestial

was born

of

in the man-lion incarna-

Indra was in consequence

driven out of his kingdom

to her

devotee

able to vanquish the gods

his religious penances.

mother,

great

was

tion,

by means

the

to

this pained Aditi, his

Vishnu

to be born as a son

to conquer the axttras

kingdom

young boy, he proceeded

restore the lost

Accordingly Vishnu

to Indra.

as the son of Aditi

and

and when he was a

to the place

where Bali

was conducting a sacrifice, and begged of him for


some land to be given as a gift. Bali saw the
Brahmin boy dressed as a Brahmachdrin or Vedic
student arrive there, and after duly honouring him

asked him to give out what he wished to have from


161
21

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
him

as a sacrificial

asuras,

8ukra, the guru of the

gift.

knowing that the young Brahmacharin was

no other than Vishnu himself, warned


Bali

to' be careful in

and said

warning,

Yajna-purusha,

and

sacrifice

for

paid no heed to

that,

consider

whose acceptance he was

on the occasion
it

to ask for

of the sacrifice,

he would

Bali, the
gift

emperor

of

to

honour shown to him

and would certainly promise

him anything

to give

the

deity,

offering

him

come

to be the greatest

by that great

Vishnu who, as

if

the divine embodiment of the

is

the sacrifice, should himself


a favour

Noble and

making promises.

generous-hearted Bali however,


this

his disciple

The boy then asked


the asuras to bestow on him
asked.

of just three paces of space,

which was

of

course readily promised and confirmed by the cere-

monial pouring out

of water.

At once

this

Vamana,

the young dwarfish boy so designated in Sanskrit,

assumed a gigantic form and with one pace he


measured the whole

of the

BhuloJca or the earth-

world and with another the Antarihsha-loka or the

mid-world between the

There was thus nothing

earth and the


left

for

heaven.

measuring out the

which Bali had promised

and

he thereupon requested the god to utilise his

own

third pace of space

royal

head

for

measuring out the

Immensely pleased with

Bali,

162

this

third

pace.

Vamana who

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
had been Trivikrama, or the god
after he

assumed

by the pressure
is,

his

of three strides

enormous proportions, sent him

of his foot to the PdtalaloJca, that

the nether world of asuras, there to be sovereign

over the asuras with the love and support of Vishnu

The worlds

himself.

so acquired

from Bali were

duly made over to Indra to the great satisfaction of


Aditi

and the gods again became independent and

continued to live as before under the sovereignty


of their

own

Such

lord Indra.

is

the Puranic story

in relation to the dwarf-incarnation of Vishnu.

Written authorities in Sanskrit say that the

image

of

Vamana

should be executed according to

the paTbcha-tala measure;


to foot should be only

two arms, one

of

its

whole height from head

56 ahgulas.

It should

have

which should carry a kamandalu

and the other an umbrella.

On

the

crown

of

the head there should be a tuft of hair tied up in a

knot

and there should

in the ears, a deer-skin

also be a pair of hitndalas

worn

in the u'pavlta fashion,

the sacred thread, a waist zone, and a hauplna


(loin-cloth).

In his third finger there should be

the pavitra or the ring


gra;,s.

He

of the

sacred

should also carry with him a book.

these are intended to


of a vedic

made

show that the image

it.

hum
All

that

student or brahmanical braJimacharin

and the image should be sculptured as a small


163

HINDU IGONOGEAPHY.
lad

beaming with

differ

intelligence.

Some

authoritieb

from the Vaikhanasrigajita in holding that

Vamana

is

not

be

to

represented

boy, but as a deformed dwarf

a young

as

and they therefore

require that the image should be worked in the

form of an ill-shaped
truding joints

of

actual sculptures

man

we

with hunch back, pro-

and

bones

big

belly.

In

both these descriptions

see

exemplified.

The image of Trivikrama may


is said,

in three

left foot

or (2)

raised

to the

different ways,

up

be sculptured,

namely,

it

with the

to the level of (1) the right knee,

These

navel, or (3) the forehead.

three varieties are obviously intended to represent

Trivikrama as striding over the earth, the midworld and the heaven-world respectively
all

The image

exemplified in sculptures also.

Trivikrama, with the


level of the right

among

is

of

up only to the

left foot lifted

knee

and are

however, rarely met with

The

available pieces of sculpture.

rule

is

that Trivikrama images should be worked out in

accordance

and

their

with the itttaiiia-daia-tala, measure,


total

height

should

be

131

angalas.

Trivikrama should have either four or eight hands.


If there be

should be
left

only four arms, one of the right hands

made

to hold the sanklia

handp the cJiakni

or
164

it

and one

may even

of the

be that the

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
hand

left

carries the

chakra and the right hand the

The other

sankha.

right

hand should be held up

with the palm upwards, and the other


out

stretched
this

right

parallel

hand may be

On

varada pose.
is

the
in

leg

the other hand,

the saiiJcha,

and

(bow)

in the

Trivikrama

and the

left

liala,

Trivikrama

if

hands

chakra, gadd,

other

the

previous instance.
is

or

the ahhaija or the

sculptured with eight arms, five of the

should carry

as

to

hand

left

uplifted

being

three

The

to be firmly planted

sdrncja

kept

right leg of

upon the earth

The

world-measure.

colour of the image

dark as that of the rain-cloud*

it

is

to be

should be

clothed in red garments and decorated with

ornaments.

Behind

it

shown

holding over Trivikrama' s head an umbrella.

left

to

and over them on the right and

there should be the figures of Surya

Chandra

On

Varuna and Vayu should be made

wave chdmaras
the

all

there should be sculptured

the tree called kaljmka, and Indra should be

either side

should be used in taking the stride of

respectively.

Near these

again

and
there

should be seen Sanyasa, Sanaka and Sanatkumara.

Brahma

should be

made

to take hold of the uplifted

Sritaioa-ntcUu statea that the colour of Trivikrama

blood-red.

165

is

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
foot of
it

Trivikrama with one

hands and wash

of his

with water flowing from a kaniatidnlu held in

the other hand

and the water flowing down from

the washed foot of Trivikrama should be


as being of a snow-white

shown

Siva should be

colour.

sculptured with his hands in the anjali pose and

somewhere

as sitting

which

Near the

Trivikrama stands, there

Namuchi, a

figure of

bowing

On

Trivikrama.*

navel of

of the

in space above the height

rctkshasa,

should be the

god Trivikrama.

Garuda should be shown

left

gam

hold of 8ukra, the

view to belabour him

upon

in the attitude of

in re\ercnce to the great

the

leg

as taking

of the rakaliasas,

with a

for obstructing Bali in giving

the gift asked for by the Brahmanical boy

Vamana

on the right Vamana himself should be made


to stand with

receive

to
of

space.

:in

umbrella in his hand and ready

promised

the

grant of three paces

Near him and opposite

him Bali

to

should be shown as standing golden in hue and

adorned with ornaments and carrying in his hands

and up
to

Up

to the

the {ovelTea'l

Siva

knee

of

to the navel is the

ha

above the

is

is

j.ssigned

a;riul of

the

Trivikrama

is

the bhuloka, above

antanksha-loka and above

:;iMiivi,lohi.

Hence the

to the oW.rii<iLdka,

Trivikrama.

166

that

is,

it

it

and up

iiosition

of

to the region

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
a golden vessel to indicate that he

ready to pour

is

the water ceremonially in proof of his

Behind

gift.

Above

the emperor Bali there should be his queen.

the head of Trivikrama the figure of

Jambavan

drum

called bJieri

the

Joy of

should be shown as sounding the


Sanskrit

in

so

as

to exhibit

celestial beings at their

rule

of

the

asrtra

Vaikhanasagama.

the

coming delivery from the


So

emperor Bali.

But the SUparatna

says

the

requires

that the image of Trivikrama should be sculptured


as standing

on the

the right being stretch-

left leg,

Moreover

ed out for taking the measuring strides.

the Vishnu dharmottar a mentions that the following


objects should be held in the hands by the
of

Trivikrama, namely, the danda, pasa, saiikha,

chakra, gada, and


all

image

padma and

it

required that

is

these should be sculptured beautifully.

work we

are

In this

warned against the ayudhas being

represented like

human

beings, that

is,

as

Ayudha-

purushas.

In some instances

krama we

of the sculptures of Trivi-

see directly in front of the finger of the

outstretched hand of Trivikrama an ugly face with

wide open eyes and a gaping mouth carved out.


It

is

not easy to explain this face-figure satisfac-

torily.

The

statement

devd-rispharifpkshanah

ekordJiva-vadanah-kanjo

is

167

found in

Vishmidha?

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
mottara

in

another reading of this passage the

expression ekordha

is

found instead

of ekordhva.

Evidently this passage means that the face of

Trivikrama should be sculptured so as to be some-

what upraised and with

large eyes.

the second

If

reading be adopted, the passage might be under-

mean

stood to

that a god should be worked out

with a half-face and with a wide open

number

of cases, the face of

eye.

Trivikrama

is

In a

slightly

uplifted in conformity with the first reading inter-

preted above.

The second

sense seems to have

who have worked

been adopted by those sculptors

out the ill-looking face in association with their


presentation of Trivikrama.

VaraJia-pitrana

it

Trivikrama was

lifted

began

is

yet another

up

to

when

In the

the foot of

measure the heaven-

Brahmanda burst and cosmic water


pour down through the clefts of the

to

represent the

The

stated that

re-

the

broken Brahmanda.
to

is

explanation of this face-figure.

possible

world,

There

This face

Brahmanda

is

in

perhaps meant
that

condition.

Imutiika-hera of Trivikrama should be

in the ordinary

made

form of such Vishnu images with

only four arms.

To

illustrate the

above descriptions there are

given here eight photographed figures

krama.

The first

of these

168

of

Trivi-

(PL XLVIII) represents

PLATE XLYIH

i^.-^;--.^

Trivikrama
[To face page 169.]

:I

Stone

Eajim, Eaipur District, Central Provinces.

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
a very

beautiful

piece

sculpture,

of

which

in

unfortunately the legs are broken and the


is

Below the

uplifted leg of

see Adisesha,

seated in the

slightly mutilated.

Trivikrama we

may

face

dUdhasana, with his hands in the anjali pose and


with his face gently raised towards Trivikrama in

His head

adoration.

headed hood of a serpent, on the


is

The

himself seated.

which are half closed


chin and the nose are

with a seven-

associated

is

coils of

delicately chiselled eyes,

in abstraction,

all

which he

the

lips,

the

admirably worked out and


;

the general attitude of the figure

Near the out-stretched hand

of

is

perfectly natural.

Trivikrama

is

shown

the grinning face, disclosing a long row of teeth

and two sharp and curved tusks


the mouth.

at the corners of

Immediately below this

face, there is

the stem of what appears to be a tree, probably the

kalpaka of the gods


are not to be found.

its

top and branches, however,

This stem-like thing cannot

be taken to represent the water which flowed out

when

the

markings

Brahmanda broke

for, it

it

the

which are invariably associated with

trees in conventional sculptures.


of

has on

The

loin-cloths

both Trivikrama and Adisesha are carved well

and produce a good

effect.

This piece of sculpture

appears to be as old as the beginning of the eighth

century A. D.

It deserves

169
32

to be noted that here

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
the

left leg

navel but

of

is

Trivikrama

is lifted

far

above the

below the forehead.

The next

XLIX)

(PL

picture

huge panel, about eight

feet

by

represents
feet in

six

size,

carved on the north wall of the rock-out shrine


situated to the south of

Ratha

at

'

what

Mahabalipuram.

images the central figure


It

has eight hands

the

is

called

In this

is

Ganesa

'

group

of

that of Trivikrama.

three of the right hands carry

chakra, the gada and the khadga; and the

remaming

right

hand

is

held up with the palm

turned upside, as required by the Vaikhanasagama.

Three

the

of

hands carry the hahkha, the

left

khetaka, and the dhanus, and the fourth left


is

stretched out parallel to the uplifted

up to the

leg itself is raised

Near the

level

of

Brahma

padmasana and

the forehead.

is

made

Jcarna-kundalas.

which

His image

foot.

to

as seated

on a

is

given four

wear the jata-makuta and

In the corresponding position to

the right of Trivikrama

we

see Siva also seated

His image

a padmasana.

shown

measure

as offering with one of his right

hands puja to that

hands and

is

This

leg.

foot of the leg stretched out to

the heaven-world,

hand

also

has four

held in the pose of praise.

on

arms,

one

of

also

adorned with the jata-makuta and kundalas.

is

Immediately below Siva


170

is

It is

Surya, the sun-god,

PLATE XLIX.
ipi|WW^Pw?wi!^^rr - .^

[To taoe page 170.]

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
by a

encircled

god and also

legs of this

way

The

halo.

of

which the

in

Chandra, the moon-

god, are worked out, suggests that they are both


residing

the

heavenly world without any

support.

This sun-god has only a pair

up

terrestrial

in

stretched out

of

hands, both of which he holds

in

the act of praising Trivikrama.

Chandra

is

sculptured below the shield of Trivikrama, with a

halo round the head, and


attitude

between the head

may

of

to be in the

In the space

Trivikrama.

praising

of

shown

also

is

Trivikrama and

Brahma

there

be noticed a peculiar figure turned towards

Brahma.

It

carry what

has the face

is

in joy

old

At the

to the right

is

made

This figure

to
is

Jambavan, sounding the

due to the victory

the Danavas.

Namuchi

bear and

evidently a drum.

obviously that of

drum

of a

foot

Devas over

of the

Trivikrama

of

and the other three

sits

figures,

that are to be seen, are perhaps representations of

Bali and some other prominent asuras.

one other figure shown as


the

air,

right

if

It is not possible

figure is intended to represent.

purana
in size

states that

is

cutting somersaults in

and carrying something

hand.

There

like a staff in the

to say

whom

this

The Brizhmanda-

when Vamana grew to be gigantic

and became Trivikrama some

vas were hurled up into the


171

air as

if

of the

Dana-

by a hurricane.

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
This figure

is

tossed up.

perhaps one

This piece

seventh century,

that

so

belongs to the

of sculpture

the palmy days

to

is,

Danavas

the

of

of

Pallava supremacy in Conjeevaram.

The

third picture (PI. L) represents a piece of

Maha-

sculpture almost similar to the just noticed

balipuram sculpture

in

many

Bombay

found in Cave III at Badami in the

Here, the fourth right hand, instead

Presidency.

of being lifted

up as

Mahabalipuram,

in the case of the

made

is

Brahma and

panel

as

and

it

to

left

of

left

Trivikrama there
the

gift

is

the

at

In this

but the scene

asked for by

were, inserted instead.

the

image

to carry a hana.

Siva are absent

wherein Bali granted the


is,

It is

of its details.

Vamana

Immediately below

erectly

the image of

planted leg

Vamana

of

facing to

and with the right hand stretched out

to

receive the religious libation of water to be poured

out in proof of the

hand

of the

gift

made by

Bali

and the

image holds an umbrella.

left

In front

stands Bali, the emperor of the asuras, holding

with both the hands a vessel of water, as


to

ready

pour the water into the hands of Vamana.

Behind him
is

if

not

made

to the left stands his queen.


to

wear the crown, because

engaged in the performance

The king

of his being

of the sacrifice.

In the

back-ground, behind Bali there are the images of


172

PLATE

li.

>m{(fif^*-

'

-/# F^-; I;

,&

'

^ '"^"^^

In
^-

\i

li

f
/

Trivikrama

Panel-Stone

"i

Badanii.
[To face page 172.]

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
They may
the previous instance, some

four persons wearing mahutas.

be,

we surmised

of the

in

On

principal raJcshasas on the side of Bali.

as

the

right side of the fixed leg of the god Trivikrama sits

a figure holding the god's

As observed

leg.

in the

case of the Mahabalipuram sculpture, this figure

may

well represent

right

is

staff,

while the

Namuchi.

Behind

to the

it

another figure carrying in the right hand a


left

hand

pointing to Trivikrama.

is

It is not easy to say

whom

it

to the out-stretched

arm

Trivikrama

of

Opposite

represents.
is

the grin-

ning face, which we observed and remarked about


in describing the first picture.

Above the same

shown two small figures flying in the air


and near to the one, which is on the left, there is

arm

are

the figure of the crescent

Jiioon.

Perhaps these

two represent Surya and Chandra.


foot of the uplifted leg of

Just near the

Trivikrama

shown head downwards and carrying


At the

a sword and a shield.

is

a rahshasa,

in the

hands

foot of the panel

there are groups of celestial beings sounding vari-

ous musical instruments out of joy due to the


success of the gods over the demons.
this piece of sculpture

century A. D.

manship and

is

The age

the latter half of the 6th

It indicates very creditable


is

of

agreeable

almost perfect in modelling.


173

in

its

work-

synthesis

Fortunately,

it is

and
not

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.

much
navel

The

mutilated.

and hence

this

leg

left

is lifted

above the

Trivikrama has to be sup-

posed as being engaged in measuring the higher

The same

heaven-world.

and

is

of equally

larger

good workmanship.

(See

West hidia, Belgaitm and Kal'adgi

Arch. Suro. of

Volume,

Pi.

is

Badami on a

sculptured also in Cave III at


scale

Trivikrama

subject

XXXI, wherein Trivikrama

called

is

Viratarupa).

The fourth

sculpture found at EUora.

which

called

is

(PL LI) represents a

illustration

Cave No.

It is in

Dasa-avatara

the

Cave.

treatment of the subject in this instance


identical with that

The prominent
is

held

shown

in

horizontal

vertically as in the

The

Namuchi and
are absent.

almost

in the third illustration.

secondly the hand holding the


forwards.

The

differences are that here the sword

by Trivikrama

instead of

is

16,

figures of

position

other instances

bow

is

extended

Surya and Chandra, of

the other representative r^kshasas

Below the out-stretched

leg of Trivi-

krama are the figures of Vamana (wholly mutilated),


of Bali and his wife in front, Bali being shown as
pouring water into the hands of
ation

of

the gift he

is

Vamana in

making.

other figure in this small group

confirm-

There
it

is

seems to be

that of Sukra dissuading Bali from giving the


174

one

gift.

PLATE

LI.

U>M

Trivikrama

Panel-Stone

Ellora.

[To face page 174.]

PLATE

LII.

.''-;^?w"-\*^*lj

DASAVATARAS OP VISHNU.

of

on the right

this objectionable behaviour,

For

Sukra

the panel,

caught hold

of

fist

by Garuda.

to

the middle

upraised leg

is

shown

is

having

as

side

been

by the hair and belaboured with the

may

This sculpture
of the

be assigned

century A.

8th

The

D.

here also lifted considerably above

the navel.

The

fifth illustration (fig.

of a sculpture

cutta.

The

down

LII)

PI,

is

that

found in the Indian Museum, Cal-

was evidently badly wanting

sculptor

in artistic skill
laid

1,

nor did he follow the instructions

in the Sanskrit

works offering guidance

The face of the image


is much larger than is demanded by true art or
suggested by the agamas and the body is disThe out-stretched leg looks
proportionately small.

to persons of his profession.

almost

like

an atrophied limb, and

is

too short for

the size of the image taken as a whole. This figure


of

Trivikrama carries in three

of

the hands the

gada, chaJcra and sahJcha, and a lotus

hand that
it is

in

rests

upon the thigh.

is

held in the

In this respect

agreement with the sculptures

of

Mysore

belonging to the later Chalukya-Hoysala type.


the right of the planted leg of Trivikrama
dess carrying a vlnd
to ascertain
posal.

who

she

is, it is

is

a god-

not possible

from the Sanskrit authorities at our

Below the

left leg is

175

To

dis-

worked out the scene

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
wherein Vaniana

Bah who

is

Behind BaU stands

it.

is

ing the gada.


just

his

Over

(luru.

lifted

the disc of the sun, and the

moon is seen
Brahma is

crescent of the

his

immediately below the

just

Trivikrama

padmasana

as begging a gift from

Sukracharya,

also

and

this group
leg of

granting

and

queen,

shown

is

above the

near the hand carryseen

left

on his

seated

foot of Trivikrama.

In addition to these we see immediately below the


right foot

seem

Trivikrama some sculptures, which

of

to depict Bali

and

his

queen as they appeared

at the conclusion of the Trivikramavatara

and a queen with hands

in

the

sculptured at the bottom in the


are perhaps

meant

ment adjoining

to the

queen are seen, there


This

is

anjali pose

left

to represent Bali

residing in the Patala-loka.

a king
are

corner.

These

and

queen

his

In another compart-

one in which Bali and his


is

a horse tied to a post.

probably the horse which was meant to be

the victim in the great sacrifice which Bali was


celebrating.

The

artists of the

sculptor of this piece has, like the

Hoysala kingdom, followed

work the description


relation

to

the

of

in his

Trivikrama as given

in

Ghaturoimsafi-murtayah, or the

twenty-four images of Vishnu beginning with that


of

Kesava.

All

the

images in

this

group

of

twenty-four forming a class are standing figures of


176

PLATE LIU

fn^'

6:1 ..H-

y-

-H*t^,

it
Trivikrama

[To face page 177.]

Stoue

Nuggaballi.

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.

The

Vishnu with four arms.

various images are

distinguished from one another by the arrangement


of their saiikha, chaJcra,

Among

gada and padma.

these images, that which holds the

gadd

back right hand, the chakra in the back


the sankJia in the front

left

in the

left

hand and the padma

in the front right hand, is declared to be the


of

Trivikrama.

The

hand,

image

rule regarding the different

arrangements of the four above noted

articles is

intended to be observed only in relation to the


class of

images which are called Chaturvimsati-

murtayah
is

therefore a real Trivikrama figure

which

outside this class, need not be in accordance

with that

rule.

Somehow

the mistake has been

committed by

this artist, as

of artists, of

applying the rule to a Trivikrama

image not belonging

by the Hoysala school

to the class of the

'

twenty-

four images'.
Fig.

PI.

3,

two pieces

LII and

of sculpture

which belong

to the

PI.

of the

Hoysala

LIII

illustrate

Trivikramavatara,

period.

The

smaller

picture represents the image to be found in

Chennakesavasvamin temple
larger

at Belur,

one represents an image

the

while the

at Nuggehalli, both

these places being in the Mysore State.

These

sculptures are types of the extremely florid and

highly decorated art of this period.


177
23

The images

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
are,

however, accurate in proportion and natural

and

in pose

workmanship
details is

the

ornamental

The

critic.

designs of the sanklia,

and other weapons are admirable.

his skill

of

such as to extort the admiration of even

was Euvari Nandiyabba


so

elaborateness

in all the richness of their

the most adverse


chaJcra,

The

attitude.

the

ta,

artist,

proud

of

name on the pedestal


might know it and remember it.

and engraved

that posterity

Justly

his

Practically speaking there

between the two pieces


one, however, the

is

almost no difference

In the Belur

of sculpture.

figure

Trivikrama

of

is

made

to stand on

the

one which

stretched out to measure the upper

regions.

is

The

and

leg,

In this respect

the Silparatna.
of the

left

it

it

is

the right

follows the authority of

peculiarity in the arrangement

weapons wielded has already been noticed.

Over the right

foot of

Trivikrama

Brahma washing

long bearded

the celestial Gahga, which

down therefrom

in the

is

it

sits

with the water of

shown

form of a

the hoary,

to be flowing

river.

The

suggested in the sculpture by the

the river

is

tortoise,

etc.,

which are shown

in

it.

idea of
fishes,

Below the

right leg of Trivikrama stands G-aruda with his

hands

in the anjali pose

ahdhasana.
usual

fine!}'

and himself being

Over the head

of

Trivikrama

in the
is

the

carved creeper design, which perhaps

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
stands,

in

instance,

this

for

the

hilpaJca

tree

required to be worked out in compliance with the

which

descriptions

given in

are

In the

books.

Nuggehalli sculpture however, the Jcalpaha tree

is

not represented in this conventional manner but

is

worked out exactly

like

an ordinary

On

tree.

this

the disc of the sun and the crescent of the

tree,

moon

are

shown

image

left of this

figure

as

if

of

shining from above.

two images

of

the

is

a male

out.

These

Trivikrama there

whose identity cannot be made

On

Trivikrama, as also the one which

is

found in the Calcutta Museum, have their uplifted


leg going

The

up

to the level of the navel.

last illustration, fig. 2, PI.

LII, represents

the image found in the Vishnu temple at Nagala-

puram

in the

Presidency.

North Arcot
This temple

district of the
is

known

built in the reign of the great

to

Madras

have been

Vijayanagara king

Krishnadevaraya, and the sculpture also belongs


to

the

also,

two

period of the reign of the king.

the
of

image

Trivikrama has four arms,

which carry the

while the third


leg

of

is

Here

saiiJiha

and the

chaJcra,

stretched parallel to the uplifted

and the fourth

is

held in the varada pose.

Brahma is shown as washing the foot of Trivikrama


the water flowing down therefrom forms a vigorous
river, in which a few fishes are made to be visible.
179

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
This furiously descending river Ganga
fall

on the jata

of Siva,

who

river

made

The

Kailasa.

Siva receiving the descending celestial

Ganga on

his

head

is

brought into association

with the incident of Brahma washing the

Vishnu

to

seated in the yoga

mount

posture on the top of the


story of

is

is

Trivikrama incarnation.

in the

feet of

There

is

authorityfor this in th.eBhagavata-pu7"ana*' ; and the

mixing up
to

of the

two events

show that the water

foot

of

superiority of

by washing the

sanctified

It

argued from this that the

is

Vishnu over Siva

is

disclosed by Siva

Here we have an instance

prejudice altering the usual


tures, to

evidently intended

Vishnu was devoutly received by Siva

on his head.

himself.

is

which

the General

sectarian

composition of sculp-

fact attention has

The

Introduction.

of

been drawn in
lean

body, the

characteristically sharp nose, the erect Jcirlta

and

the mechanically arranged folds and the creases in

* Bhag. Pur.

Bk. VIII,

held OH the crown of his

water with which Hari'a

ch. 18.

"

And

the righteous Bali

head that auspicious and sacred


feet

had been washed, and which

capable of destroying the sins of one's race,

which was held on

his

head

god of gods Girisa (Siva)

ornament) on his forehead.

180

water)

profound reverence by that

in

who

(that

is

is

wearing the moon

(as

an

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
the clothing of this image of Trivikrama

mark

it

out to be a comparatively late production.

The reason why Vishnu became incarnated as


Parasurama is given in the Agnipurana thus

" Observing,

sub-

sequently, that the Kshatriyas oppressed the earth,

Hari assumed a mortal form, in order to protect the

Brahmans and mankind, and was born as


the son of Eenuka and Jamadagni, the son of
Bhrigu.* At this time there was a king named
gods, the

Kartavirya, who, through the favour of Dattatreya,

had obtained a thousand arms, and who excelled


in

valour and every

he had gone

that

warlike quality.

to

One day

he was invited to

hunt,

refresh himself from his fatigue by Jamadagni,

who

sumptuously entertained him and his attendants


by means

of the

was wished

virtues of this

given to

was

him

slain

cow

Sabala, which granted

all

that

the king, noticing the extraordinary

cow requested that

but,

this should be

on this being refused, Jamadagni

by the son

of Kartavirya,

and the king

returned home. During this occurrence

Eama had

gone to the woods, and on his return having found


his father slain, he,

on

this account, delivered the

* It should be " of the race

father

was Richika and not Bhrigu,


181

of

Bhrigu."

Jamadagni'a

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
earth from twenty-one generations of Kshatriyas.

He then

performed expiatory ceremonies at Kuru-

kshetra, and, having bestowed the world on

and

Brahmanas,

the

Mahendra."

of

retired

to

Kasyapa

the mountain

The Vishnu-pitrana also contains an account


the birth of Parasurama and how he, though a

Brahmana, took

to the

" In the lineage of

who engaged

ways

of the Kshatriyas.

Pururavas was born Kusamba,

himself in devout penances with the

object of having a son equal to Indra.

Beholding

the intensity of his devotions, Indra himself took


as his son lest

birth

a prince

him might be born.


born as Gadhi or Kausika.

like

called Satyavatl.
of

peevish

to a

him

He was

accordingly

Gadhi had

a daughter

Eichika, one of the descendants

Bhrigu wanted her

was reluctant

equally powerful

in

The king

marriage.

to

give his daughter in marriage

old

Brahmana, and wanted from

as the bridal present a

thousand

fleet

steeds,

whose colour should be white, with one black

Having

propitiated

Eichika

obtained

called
after

Varuna, the god

from him,

at

the

Ahatlrtha a thousand such


giving

them

to

the

of

horses.

And

king he married his

Hindu Mythology,"
182

ocean,

holy place

daughter.
* Vans Kennedy's "

ear.

p,

434.

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
"

In order to have a son he prepared a dish

of

barley and pulse, with butter and milk, for

rice,

And

his wife to eat.

made a

being requested by her he

similar mixture for her

mother by partak-

ing of which she should give birth to a martial


prince

keeping both the dishes with his wife, and

giving her instructions as to which dish was intend-

ed for her and which for her mother, the

went

to the forest.

her mother said

At the time

to Satyavati

sage

of taking the food


'

Daughter, every

one wants to have a son gifted with great qualities,

and no body wishes


of his
for

to be excelled

mother's brother.

me

you to give

by the

qualities

It is therefore desirable

the food which your husband

has set apart for you and to partake of that intended for

me

for

the world.

my

What

son shall be the sovereign of


is

the use of wealth, strength

Brahmin ?' Being thus addressed Satyavati gave her own food to her mother.
" When the sage came back from the forest
and saw Satyavati, he said to her
Sinful woman,
and prowess

for a

'

what hast thou done


fearful to

Your body appears

as very

me. Surely thou hast taken the food which

was intended for thy mother. Thou hast committed a wrong. That food I had consecrated with
the

properties

of power,

strength and heroism

whereas your food was consecrated with the


183

quali-

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
a Brahmaua,

of

ties

resignation.

gentleness,

knowledge and

As you have exchanged messes, your


and use

son shall follow a warrior's propensities

weapons, and fight and slay

your mother's son

Brahmin and

shall be born with the desires of a

shall be devoted to peace

Satyavati

fell

at

propitiated so that I

'

So be
"

my

this,

and said

'

Be thou

ignorance.

not have such a son.

my

grand-son be such, not

Being thus addressed the sage said

'.

it

Hearing

may

If this is inevitable let

son

'.

her husband's feet

have done this through

my

and piety

'.

Thereupon she gave

birth to

Jamadagni and

her mother brought forth Visvamitra.

Jamadagni

afterwards became the river Kausiki.

married Eenuka, the daughter

of

Satyavati

Eenu, born in the

race of Ikshvaku, and begot on her a son, Parasu-

rama, the destroyer

was a

of the

Kshatriya

who

race,

portion of Narayana, the preceptor of

the

universe."*

Parasurama had four

when Kenuka the mother

of

elder brothers.

Parasurama, was bath-

she saw Chitraratha, the beautiful

ing,

Once,

king of

Marttikavata also bathing with his wife at a

DuW*

Vishnu Purana, Part IV, Sec. VII.


Translation.

Ibi

dist-

Manmafchanath

DASAVATAEAS OP VISHNU.
ance and

felt filled

with desire for his company. As

home Jamadagni,

soon as she returned

learning the

cause of the delay in her returning home, ordered


successively his first four sons to

but they refused to do

so,

for

kill

their

mother

which Jamadagni

cursed them, so that they lost their senses and


thereafter behaved like beasts

ordered

Eama to

do

it

and

birds.

Then he

and he immediately severed

her head with an axe, and then prevailed upon his

him the boons that Eenuka might


life and not remember that she had

father to grant

be restored to

been

slain, that

by this

sin,

he himself might not be affected

that his brothers might recover their

former state, and that he himself might be unrivalled

on the

of battle

field

and obtain a long

life.*

The same
of

story regarding the birth

Parasurama

purdna

also.

is

and deeds

found recorded in the Bhagavata-

He

is

described therein, as in the

V-ishm-ptirdna, as an incarnation of Narayana and

the terminator of the race of Haihayas


said that he

was clad with the skin

deer and had matted

hair,

that

and

it

is

of the black

his

body was

resplendent as the sun, and that he carried a

bow

and arrows, and an axe and other weapons

war

Mahabhdrata,

III.

115

10167

185
21

of

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.

By

in his hands.

his

power he secured

his

for

father a place in the constellation of the Sapta-

Parasurama

in the sky.

(great bear)

rishis,

is,

according to the Bhagavata-purana, supposed to

be living even

now on

the

mount Mahendra.

In sculptures, the rule

is

that the figure of

Parasurama should be worked out according


madliyama-dasa-tal a measure, that

is, it

to the

should be

of 120 ahgidas in height, and possess only two

hands

and the

hand the parasu should be

in the right
left

hand should be in the

On

pointing to something).
be the jata-malaita

sTicJd

The

clothing should be white.


states

hands

that

carrying

of

ornaments.
;

and

Agni-'piirana,

his

how-

Parasurama should have four


the

dJtanus; and the

if

and the yajnopavlta should

colour of Parasurama should be red

ever,

pose (as

the head there should

adorn the body, as also a number

The

held,

paraki, hliadga,

bana and

Vishnudharmottara adds that he

should be shown

as wearing the deer skin.

JiautuJca-bera of

Parasurama may be made either

The

according to the description given above, or be an


ordinary figure of Vishnu with four hands.

Eama, Sri-Eama

or

Kamachandra, the

ideal

hero of the Hindus in every res-

Baghava-Bama.

pect and the husband of Sita, the


perfect

model

of

Hindu womanhood, was born


186

of

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
Dasaratha

of the race of

The whole

Eaghu.

of

Rama

is

given in the famous epic

story

from his birth up to his ascent to heaven

Even

poem

of

Valmiki known

as the

Ramayana.

poem

will enable all persons capable of appreciat-

ing
of

its

a cursory study of that

poetry to understand the exalted character

Rama's righteousness and valorous heroism

well as of Sita's noble

life of

faithful devotion

as

and

womanly self-surrender to her


fate and to her lord.
The story of Rama's banishment to the forest of Ravana carrying away from
there by stealth his wife Sita to Lanka of Rama
trying suffering and

thereupon entering into alliance with Sugriva, the


chief of the monkey-tribe,

ing through

Hanuman,

whereabouts

of Sita

and with his aid learn-

the monkey-messenger, the

and her lonely suffering and

longing to be delivered by

Rama

of

Rama

then

going to Lanka with an army of monkeys to punish

Ravana and
of the bridge

relieve Sita

of the

wonderful building

from India to Lanka

of the fight in

Lanka between Rama and Ravana supported by


their respective armies

of the final destruction of

Ravana and the whole host of the Rakshasas in


Lanka; of Rama's return thereafter along with
Sita and his own brother Lakshmana, who had out
of his personal love

and attachment accompanied

him

and then

to the forest

187

of

Rama's

installa-

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
tion

ill

Ayodhya

righteous

full

for

detail in

of

Ayodhya and

his

are

all

years

long
the

Uttarakanda narrates how, out

books of

six

first

The seventh book

Ramayana.

the

king

therein

rule

portrayed in

as

called

deference to a

of

falsely censorious public opinion, he, as

king

felt it

necessary to banish his dear and long tried

companion,

Sita, to the forest

of delivery

there she was taken care of by Valmiki and

gave birth to her twin sons Kusa and Lava


the sage Valmiki

educated them

brought these up

how

in the

round the horse designed

these boys

meanwhile
for

how

at last

subdue them
his

own

how

and

duly

Rama

sent

forthcoming

which they showed themselves


;

his

how this horse was detained by


how in consequence a battle arose in

horse-sacrifice

able

life-

even at the time she

was big with child and nearing the time

how

the

sons

to be

Rama himself had to

unconqueroffer fight to

how then he made them out


and took them away with him

thereafter Sita ^vith a sense of security

to be
;

how

and relieved

anxiety passed away into the bosom of her mother

Earth
to

his

and how
sons,

leaving behind

human
the

life

at last

he made over his kingdom

and himself ascended

to

heaven,

him the hallowing memory

that was in every

Utbarakanda narrates
188

way

all

of a

really divine

these

things.

It

{liATE lilV

i^'P/v

a
ID

CO

^r^-^.
^fi

[Tolaoe paga 189/

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU
is

no wonder that

upon

human

as a

surprising that

upon the

this

Earn a has come to be looked

those, who,

all

more

were

earth,

God

incarnation of

in

or

nor

his

life

is it

time

intimately

less

associated with him, are also looked

upon

gifted specially with divine power.

In fact there

are very good reasons to explain


is

that

Eama

country as one

as being

how and why

it

has long been recognized in this


of the ten avatcbtaH of

The image

of

Raghava-Eama

Vishnu.

is,

like that of

Parasurama, to be worked out in the ijiadhyamadasa-tala measure

of

120 ahgulas

in

hand the hcma

the

image

left

of

height.

than two arms

should never have more


right

in

in the

or arrow should be held,

hand the dhaniis

Sri-Eama, which

is

or

Raghava-Eama should be a standing


three bends in the body

name

has to

it

be a standing image of the tribhanga variety.

and

it

Eama

for

one, with

in other words,

colour of such an image of

and

The

the bow.

another

It

The

has to be black,

should be dressed in red clothes.

On

the

head there should be the hirlta-mahuta, in evidence


of the fact that

Eama was

the son of an emperor

otherwise also the image should be fully adorned.

The

figure of Sita should be placed

right side of
to the

Rama, and should

navdrdha

(or

be

on the

made according

nine and a half) tala measure


189

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
it

should be so high as to reach the shoulder of the

image

shown
in

Rama

of

and no bend

in the figure.

in the

It should

body need be

be golden-yellow

and should be draped in parrot-green

colour,

clothings and

be adorned with

all

the necessary

ornaments.

The

up

and a Imranda-mahuta should adorn

in a knot,

hair of the head should be tied

In the

the head.

hand there should be a

and the right hand should be

flower

7illdtpala

left

hanging down freely.

It should be so sculptured as

to appear to be looking at

Rama

with a supreme

sense of happiness.

On

the

left

of

standing figure of

Rama

should be shown the

Lakshmana made

with the dasa-tala measure


height
ear of

of

in accordance

116 ahgulas

in

should go up to the shoulders or to the

it

Rama.

Adorned with

all

ornaments,

and

dressed in black clothing the golden-yellow image

Lakshmana should in all other respects be like


that of Rama.
Moreover, Hanumau, the faithful monkeymessenger, should be shown as standing a little in
front and also to the right of Rama, and should
of

be only so high as to reach the chest, the navel or


the hip of

be

Rama.

The

figure of

sculptured in accordance

measure

of

84 angulas.

Hanuman

should

with the saptatala

It should be represented

190

DASAVATABAS OF VISHNU.
two hands, the right

as having only

which

of

is

mouth in token of loyalty and the


hang down so as to reach the knees

placed upon the


left is

made

to

for this is the attitude

which has

to be

servants in the presence of their


look and posture of the image of

assumed by

The

masters.

Hanuman

should

be such as to evoke compassion and to bring into

prominence the ever-ready willingness


ful

messenger to carry out the orders

The Vishnudharmoftara
of

of his master.

says that the figures

Bharata and Satrughna should

ed with that of Eama, but that


well as the figure of

of this faith-

also be associat-

these figures as

Lakshmana should not have

the Tiirlta-maTiuta on the head.

The

shrine of

Eama

is

required to be built in

the south-east corner in a Vishnu temple.

In the

shrine, so situated, the standing figures of

Kama,

Sita,

Lakshmana, Bharata, Satrughna and Hanu-

man

should

heads of

all

Sita, should

the top.
of

all

be set up as described before.

the images except those of

have only the knot

Bharata,

Eama, might

and arrows,

Eama

of hair

who should stand

and

shown on

to the right

be represented as carrying a

or as carrying a sword

The

and

bow

a shield.

Like Eama, he should also have the Snvatsa mark

and wear the Jcaustubha

jewel.

His complexion

has to be black, and the colour of his clothes should


191

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Satrughna should be made to stand on the

be red.

He

left.

is

to be

should wear a red cloth

in all other respects, he

The Vaihhanasa-

should resemble Lakshmana.

gama, which has been followed throughout


image

descriptions, states that the

shown

as standing

and

golden-yellow colour,

of

of Sita

in these

must be

with the right leg erect and

firmly planted on the ground and the

left

slightly

bent.

of

The group of bronze


Eama, Lakshmana,

photograph whereof

is

figures, consisting of those

Hanuman

Sita and

reproduced on

PL LIV,

the
be-

long to Shermadevi in the Tinnevelly district of


the

The

Madras Presidency.

first

in the

body and

the injage of

Rama has

mentioned have each three bends


are of the trihliahga variety
its

hand lowered and

right

elbow and held as


the

left

arm

the top of the


all

if

The

while

feet of

Rama,

the group rest

has the

like

those of

wgonpadma-

Lakshmana is similar in
that of Rama.
The image of
hand hanging down and the left

image

of

held in the kataka pose.

Hanuman

it,

the

bow the

Sita has the right


is

an arrow in

at

up and bent so as to hold

every respect to

hand

to receive

slightly bent

is lifted

the other images

sana.

three figures

left

and the right hand

hand resting
is

The figure of
upon the thigh,

placed upon the mouth.


192

PliATE

liV.

^^

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.

The image

Rama

of

is

adorned with the

Lakshmana has the

maliuta, that of

kirlta-

shown

hair

as tied up in a knot on the crown of the head,

while those of Sita and

are seen with

From

on the head.

Jcaranda-mahuta

the

Hanuman

features of the images and the details of


ship, they

may

the

workman-

be taken to belong to the twelfth

or the thirteenth century A. D.

The

on PL

figures

period and

may

LV

all

worked out

Bama

bow

the

in exactly the

The

the figures on PI. LIV.


of

to the left of

They

earliest.

same postures as

uplifted left

and Lakshmana are made

as usual.

later

be assigned to the sixteenth or

the seventeenth century at


are

much

belong to a

hands

to hold the

The figure of Sita is made to stand


Rama, and has bends in the body in

the direction opposite to the bends in the body of

Rama

the

arm

left

of this

goddess

down, and the right hand


lotus flower in

made

it.

is

made

to

hang

held up carrying a

The image

to carry in both the

is

of

Hanuman

is

hands two cylindrical

The
when Rama reached Ramesvaram

bodies which probably represent two lihgas.


tradition

is

that

he decided to
Siva

for this

fetch one from

man

set

up a linga there

purpose he deputed

some sacred

of

Hanuman

to

Before Hanu-

returned, however, the auspicious


193

26

place.

honour

in

moment

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
for setting

upon

Rama

and

liiiga arrived,

there-

installed there a locally obtained linga at the

Hanuman, who

moment.

proper
late

up the

with two lihgas

returned too

here represented thus. This

is

The
larger image of Hanuman printed on the same
plate belongs also to Eamesvaram.
Here Hanugroup

man

of

images belongs

Eamesvaram.

to

stands in the attitude of ready obedience to

receive the

commands

of

Eama

mouth and

placed in front of the

made to hang down and


The stone images

of

the photograph whereof

is

are to be seen in the

This piece

puram.

rest

the

hand

left

upon the

Eama

hand

his right

and Hanuman,

reproduced on

Vishnu temple

of sculpture is a

at

PL LVI,

Mahabali-

comparatively

might be noticed the

The

or

two

Just behind the right shoulder of

centuries old.

arrows.

is

thigh.

modern work, being most probably one

Eama

is

figure of

quiver

Hanuman

to

contain

has the hands in

the anjali pose.


PI.

LVII

represents a complete group consist-

Eama, Lakshmana, Bharata, Satrughna,


Sita and Hanuman, all carved in ivory a few years
ago in the School of Arts at Trivandram. The

ing of

three brothers of
anjali pose

Eama

Lakshmana,

bow, and Sita has

have their hands in the


like

Eama,

lotus in her
194

carries also a

right

hand

PLATE

LVI.

- ^y^:>^'

^:*^^^
-i;-.'^.yV.:-.'C-.^f.'

;^fc-t^^

; .;

:^

^v,

Hanuman.

Eama.
Stone

Mahabalipuram.

[To face page 194.]

PLATE

liYH.

a
a

ic3

103

CO

c3

.a

c3

[To face page 195.]

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.

Hanuman

holds the right hand in front of the

mouth and keeps the left hand across the chest.


To indicate that Bharata and Satrughna are the
incarnations of the chakra and the
artist

the

saiiJcha,

has carved these emblems of Vishnu in front

on the top

of their crowns.

more reasons than one

It is convenient for

two avatdras

to deal with the

Balarama or Bala
bhadra - Rama,
and Krishna.

of

Balarama

and

Both

gether.

Sri-Krishna

to-

were the sons

Vasudeva and Devaki, and both had

of

to be secreted

and saved from the tyrant Kamsa, the brother of


Devaki.

Yadava

A.

short account of the lives of these two

princes

is

for a very detailed

given in the Agni-purmia, and

account

we have

to go to the

Harlvarhsa, to the tenth skandha of the 8r'imad-

bhagavata, to the Vishnu-pur ana, and the Bralnnavaivarta-purana.

The

MahSbbharata

also

gives

information regarding Krishna's relation with the

Pandava brothers and

his

them and to Arjuna in


The Agni-purdna says
:

services

particular

rendered to

among them.

" In order to relieve

the

earth oppressed by wickedness, Hari was conceiv-

ed as the seventh son of Devaki

but owing to his

having been extracted from her

veyed into that


son, under the

of Eshini,

name

of

con-

he was known as her

Balarama.
195

womb and

Afterwards he

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
(Hari) was

bom

as the eighth son of Devaki,

became celebrated under the appellation


His parents however,

Kamsa, and hence

him

to the

couch

of Krishna.

vengeance

of

Vasudeva conveyed

his father

Yasoda, while she was asleep

of

and thence removed her new-born

after child-birth,

whom

daughter*,

the

feared

and

he gave to Devaki.

Kamsa on

hearing the cries of the infant, hastened to her

chamber, and, seizing


the

when

floor,

Enraged

it,

was about to dash

he

on

him from doing so.


Has it not been

she prevented

at this,

it

exclaimed

'

predicted that thy eighth conception shall be the

cause of

my

death

But

ground.

O Kamsa

it

dash

?'

and threw

the infant to the

me on

the floor

Why,
He who shall

sprang on high, and said

'

been bora'. After saying


Kamsa
slew the guards and disappeared.

slay thee has already


this, it

then sent Putana and others to


tion of that child of Devaki,

effect the destruc-

who had been

entrust-

ed to Yasoda by Vasudeva and was being brought

up by her

in G-okala with a view to safeguard

him

* This infant was none other than an incarnation of Durga,

who

is

thus addressed in a stanza

revered Durga

Avenger

womb

goddess with

of the

in the original

gods

many names

1.

Ambilia
the

all

his wishes

'.

196

'

most

Bhadrakali

man who

morning, noon and evening thy sacred names,


obtain

repeats at

shall assuredly

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
againsfc the

and Rama,

in reality the guardians of the universe

became the guardians

gladly

Thus Krishna

attempts of Kamsa.

cattle

of

amongst

cowherds and milkmaids."

There are various

told regarding the

stories

wonderful exploits of Krishna during the period of


his

"

childhood as well as boyhood.

It

said

is

Once Yasoda, being angry, bound Krishna

mortar
trees,

but he, dragging

by which

it

it,

pulled until the two trees


tied

him

to a cart, but

fell

it

into pieces with

he had become a youth, he conquered the

also,

serpent Kaliya, and expelled

the

and then he

another time she

he broke

when Putana offered him her


he sucked until she fell down dead. When,

a blow of his foot


breast,

between two

passed

was obstructed

to a

Yamuna

slaying the
ass,

pool in

peace to Talavana by

he restored

demons Dhenuka under the form

Arishta

under that

him from the

under that

of a horse.

He

of

bull,

of

an

and Kesi

abolished the festival of

when the lord of the sky, in consequence,


poured down torrents of rain, he uplifted the mounIndra, and

tain

Govardhana,

innocuous.

and rendered these

Being then sent

for

torrents

by Kamsa, he

proceeded to Mathura with his attached cowherds,

amusing
First,

himself, as he went,

by various incidents.

he slew the royal washerman


197

who

refused to

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
give

hiiii

the garments of Kamsa, and then clothed

himself and

Eama

with them

he then gave wealth

to the

flower-woman who voluntarily supplied him

with

garlands

he next

rendered

the

straight

crooked

woman who

ments

and, having afterwards slain the elephant

Kuvalaya

presented

at the gate,

him perfumed

oint-

he entered the amphitheatre,

and beheld Kamsa, with

and

his ministers, guards,

There, in a wrestling match, he slew

attendants.

the gymnasts

Chanara and Mushtaka, and then

this,

Kamsa himself the king of Mafchura. After


he made Ugrasena the king of the Yadavas.

Two

of

slew

of

Kamsa's wives, however, were daughters

Jarasandha

and they acquainted

with what had


besieged

occurred

and he

Mathura with a mighty

their

father

immediately

army.

But,

though Krishna defeated him then, he afterwards


caused the city of Dvaraka to be
that place for his residence.
his sixteen

ones

built,

and chose

There he dwelt with

thousand and eight wives, the two chief

among whom were Bukmini and Satyabhama.

Having received

instruction

in learning

Sandipana, he restored to him his


for the

from

lost child, slaying

purpose the Daitija known as Panchajanya

and then receiving due honour from


further brought about the death

through Muchukunda.
198

of

Yama

he

Kalayavana

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.

By Rukmini was
Pradyumna, whom the
"

born to him a son, named


Daitija Sambara, on the

sixth day after his birth, carried


into the sea.

He was

away and threw

swallowed by a

fish

which,

being taken by a fisherman, was given to Sambara


and, on

within

its

being opened the infant was found

This infant, Sambara gave to his wife

it.

Mayavati,* who recognised

Kama, and brought

When

affection.

grown up,

it

it

to be her

husband

up with much care and

Pradyumna became
she thus spoke to him,
Thou art
afterwards

'

Kama, whom Siva rendered body-less {ananga),


and whom Sambara carried away and threw into
the sea do thou, therefore, slay him.
Pradyumna
'

in consequence

slew Sambara, and then returned

to his parents.

"
this

The One Lord lived happily as Krishna in


world with Rukmini and with his other wives,

and begot a numerous race


assisted

the Pandavas in

He

of sons

war

their

also

with the

Kauravas, and relieved the earth through them

from the heavy burden


*

On Kama's body

of

wicked

men by which

it

having been consumed by Siva, this

god promised to his wife Rati that her husband would be


afterwards

born as the

expectation

of this

son of Krishna

and

it

was

in

promised event that Rati had come to be

born as Mayavati.

199

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.

When

was oppressed.

at

last

the object of his

incarnation was accomplished, then the whole race

Yadavas was destroyed by mutual slaughter,

of the

in consequence of the curse of the divine sages.

Balabhadra,

form

incarnate

the

departed to heaven

Ananta*,

of

and Hari, forsaking mortality,

returned to Vaikuntha."t

This account from Agni-purana does scanty


justice to the greatness attaching to the character
of Krishna,

way

and throws very

which

in

helpful to

him

in almost

achievements in

little

elder brother

his

light

on the

Balarama was

every one of his great

As king and statesman,

life.

as

warrior and hero, as friend and supporter, as guide

and

and philosopher,

as teacher

and

particularly as the expounder

reformer

comprehensively monotheistic religion


devotion

God

to

conceived

as

religious

of the ail-

of love

Vasudeva,

and
his

achievements have been so great and glorious that,

among
more

the incarnations of Vishnu, none receives


or

cordial

more widespread worship than

Krishna.
*

At the

beginning

Agni-purana Balarama
but at the end he

is

is

of

this

said

account taken

to be

an avatdra

from
of

described as an incarnate form of Vishnu's

Serpent Ananta.
f

the

Vishnu

See Kennedy's Hindu Mythology, pp, 439-441.

200

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
Balarama
as

is

rarely worshipped independently

The

god.

glory

the younger brother

of

Krishna has thrown the elder brother into the


shade

and hence his image

only occasionally

is

worshipped in association with that of Krishna

However descriptions are not


wanting for the making of the image of Balarama.
The Vaikhanasagama states that the image
of Balarama should be sculptured according to
as Parthasarathi.

the

madhyama-dasa-tala measure consisting

The

120 ahgulas in height.

figure of

of

Balarama

should carry the niusala in the right hand and


the hala in the

The complexion

left.

of

Balarama

should be white and the colour of his garments

The

red.

hair

figure

on the

Balarama should have the

of

up

head tied

in

knot

The Brihatsamhita adds that the


Balarama should be rolling on account
top.

excessive intoxication of

liquor

on

the

eyes of
of

the

drunk by him

and that there should be a kicndala in only one


ear.

According to the Agni-purdna Balarama

required to carry the gada and the hala

shown

as possessing

two arms

if,

is

he

is

however, he

is

if

represented with four arms the back right hand

should carry the viusala and the front right hand


the chakra, and the back
the front

left

hand the

saiikha.
201

%6

left

hand the hala and

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.

On

the right of Balarama should be standing

the figure of his wife Eevatidevi of yellow comp-

She should be shown

lexion.

term which

vastra, a

are

worked out

as clothed in pushpa-

may mean

a cloth in which

designs or a garment compos-

floral

ed of flowers, but the former interpretation

The

appropriate.

hand

left

down hanging, while

Eevatidevi

of

the right

is

shown

more

is

let

is

as carry-

ing a lotus flower.

The

Jia^ituha-bera of

in accordance

Balarama may be made

with the description given above, or

be an ordinary figure of Vishnu with four arms.

The

Brihatsamhita

should be sculptured

images

as

adds

between the

standing

Balarama and Krishna

of

Durgadevi

that

she

may

be

shown

as possessing two, four or eight arms.

she

represented with two arms she should be

is

made

flower in her right

to carry a lotus

and the
the hip

hand should be made

left
;

if

she

is

to

rest

sculptured with four

hand
upon

hands,

there should be a book and a lotus flower in the

hands and one


aksli'amala,

varada pose

of the right

while the other


;

if

she

is

If

left

hands should carry an


is

to be held in the

shown with

eight hands,

there should be the Jcaniandalu, dhanus, sastra (a

book

?)

and a lotus flower in the

left

hands

and

the bana, a mirror, an akshamala are to be seen in


202

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
three of the four right hands, while the fourth
to be held in the

varada pose.

The Vaikhanasagama
figure of

is

down

lays

that

the

Krishna should be made according to the

madhyama-dasa-tala measure

The complexion

height.

should be black, and

of the
is

it

of

120 ahgulas in

image

of

Krishna

to be clothed

in red

garments and adorned with various ornaments.

It

made to have a hifita on the head or it


should be shown that the hair is tied up in a knot
on the top of the head. In the right hand a
should be

peculiarly curved stick should be carried, (see fig


15,

PL

II),

and bent

at

to be facing

sanhha

arm should be lifted up


the elbow the palm of this hand has
downwards. This hand may carry a

and the

also.

left
:

In

all

other respects the figure of

Krishna resembles that

On
image

of

Eama.

the right of Krishna there should be the

of

Rukmini golden-yellow

in

complexion

her hair should be shown as tied up in a fashionable

knot and adorned with flowers.


should be hanging

down and

The

right

arm

hand a

in the left

lotus flower should be held.

On the left of

the image of Krishna there should

be the image of Satyabhama of dark colour


also

shown

as

wearing

fashion as Eukmini.

her hair

in

the

she

is

same

In her right hand she should


203

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
arm should be hanging
down the side. Both Eukmini and Satyabhama
The
are to be adorned with various ornaments.
hold a tlower, and the

left

Satyabhama should be

figure of

sc sculptured as to

upon

indicate an evident desire on her part to look

fondness and love.

her lord with great

would prescribe

authorities

for the devis, says the

Vaikhanasagama,

the

this statement,

clear that the

is

it is

Some

haranda-maliuta.

From

Vaikhanasagama

not in favour of this form of head-gear for them.

On
made

the

to

Krishna Graruda also should be

left of

stand steadily with his

hands

in

the

anjali pose.

The kautuka-bera

of

the Krishna image might

be sculptured as above or might be a simple form


of

Vishnu with four arms.

The Vishnu-dharmoUara, however,


Krishna should have in one

hands the chahra

of his

and that Rukmini should have

says that

in her right

hand

a nilotpala flower instead of the lotus as mentioned


in the Vaikhwiasagama.

The

figure of

Vaikhanasagama

number

of

of

Mann-annar,

king.

The

found

enshrined in a large

temples in South

common name
of

is

Krishna as described in the

left

India

Mannar which

is

under

the

a corrupt form

meaning one who resembles a


hand

of the

204

figure

is

required to

PLATE

LYIII.

-T

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
be kept as described,

made

to rest

because

intended to be

it is

upon the shoulder

of

Satyabhama.

make this point


the hand of Krishna is

reference to the illustrations would

The

clear.

short stick in

sculptured in the form of the shepherd's hook.

Tamil

it

is

called

In

and the Srivaishnava

hunil,

saints as also the author of the classic epic Silap-

padigaram often speak

who aimed and hit

of

at fruits

Krishna as

with a

'

Madhava

calf for his hinil

'

alluding of course to his killing the Vatsasura.

One

two illustrations given below repre-

of the

Madras Museum.

In

Krishna has his arm actually

rest-

sents a stone image in the


this illustration

ing on the shoulder of the Devi,

Eukmini or Satyabhama.
is done up into a knot and
flowers.

Such a piece
is

be either

hair on the head

encircled by wreaths of

LVIII.)

(See PI.

and the Devi

The

who may

of sculpture consisting of

Krishna

sometimes called by the name of

Sauriraja-pperumal in Tamil.

The second photograph

that of a

is

image from Shermadevi in the Tinnevelly


In this the figure
the hair tied

of

Krishna

up on the top

assume the shape

of a

in the hataha pose

is

of the

crown.

and

is

shown

The

district.

as wearing

head so as to
right

hand

is

obviously intended to

receive a separate metallic stick,


205

metal

which might be

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
passed through the ring formed of the forefinger and
the

thumb (See

PI.

LIX.).

In both the illustrations

the figures of Krishna and the

bends and are therefore

Devi have three

trihhahga type.

of the

It

appears from the peculiarities of the sculpture that

they must be assigned to about the eleventh or


the twelfth century A.D.

As the name

indicates, this

to represent

figure is intended

Krishna as dancing

^ith joy for having secured a ball

nrittrmurtt

In the hand the

of butter to eat.
ball

of

butter

common piece
may very often

is

of

invariably

shown.

is

is

The

right

be even purchased in bazaars as a

made

to stand

slightly bent at the

leg is lifted

is

sculpture in South India, and

The Navanita-

toy for children to play with.


nritta-murti

This

on the

which

knee-joint, while the right

up and bent inwards

hand is held

left leg

as in dancing.

in the ahliaya pose or should

be with a ball of butter in

it,

and the

left

arm

is

stretched out and thrown outwards.

This image has to be adorned with

ments and might be shown


cloth or as being nude.
in the

hand

is

not shown,

orna-

either as wearing a

When
it

all

the ball of butter

has to be understood

that the dancing and the joy are due to the certain

expectation of getting the butter.


206

This descrip-

PLATE

lilX.

Krishna and Eukmim: Bronze: Shermadevi.

t'lo facB

page 206.]

PLATE

i-

L,X,

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
tion

is

followed in

figured in

the

the.

concrete representations

Madras Museum image has

lump

of butter

given

illustratioas

in the right

and the right

required, is supported

upon a

leg

hand the

though

which

lotus,

The

below.

lifted as
is

purely

the artist's addition to ensure the stability and


equilibrium of the standing figure by providing

it

with better and firmer attachment to the pedestal.


(See

LX.)

fig. 1, PI.

In the second illustration


Krishna, (See

of this

image

PI. liX.) the

fig. 2,

aspect of
is

shown

with the right hand held in the kataJca pose, instead


of

with a ball

of butter in

in other respects to the

Gana-Gopala

or

it,

bub

exactly similar

is

Madras Museum image.


Venii-Gopala

is

another

variety of the Krishna image, in


or^ven'u'^aopaia.

which

he

is

with

delighting

music the hearts

of the

and the cows who

conccivcd
his

to

be

enchanting

cowherds, the cowherdesses,

are his

companions.

In the

case of these images, the rapture of music has to

be clearly depicted on the face

and they are in

consequence generally so very pretty as to attract


attention wherever they
artist also

may

be.

The

aspiring

has often found this form of Krishna

representation a very suitable subject giving ample

scope for the display of his deep


207

devotion and

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
artistic skill.

Venu-Gopala is generally surrounded


by cowherds and cowherdesses. This image of
Krishna is made to stand erect with the left leg
resting on the floor

and the right

thrown

leg is

across behind or in front of the left leg

touch the ground with the toes.


in both the hands,

the mouth.

and one end

The
of it

so as to

flute is held

applied to

is

complexion

It is said that the

such

of

images of Krishna should be dark in hue so as to


resemble the rain-cloud in appearance.

The head

should be ornamented with a bunch of peacock's

There should be three bends in the body.

feathers.

Four

Gana-Gopala are given

illustrations of

here.

That from Halebidu,

which

fairly

above.

But

tallies
it is

with the

worthy

LXI.),

(PI.

of note

that here there

no cowherds, cowherdesses, cows and

It

is

detached

piece

of

sculpture

removed from some rained temple


and

it is

now

built.

at

calves.

probably

Halebidu

set up along with other images in

the wall of Kedaresvara temple

newly

one

given

description

are

is

which

is

being

This circumstance accounts for the

absence of these inseparable companions of Krishna


as
is

Venu-Gopala.
due to the

Nothing but the highest praise

artist for the perfection

of his

work

image. There is
and the resulting beauty
appearance
of
deep
musical rapture
the visible
of the

208

PLATE

GaQa-Gopala

Stone

liXI.

Halebldu.
[To face page 208-]

PLATE LXH.

ic3

lO

00

>

ic8

lO

OJO

[To face page 209.]

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
on the face

The happy

Krishna.

of

and

carved hands

very well

a remarkable

The

manship

in

relation

the

to

of

here

exemplified
is of

in

at

of

minute

characteristically

drapery which prevailed

illustration

fingers disclose

manner the high capacity

sculptor.

is

and the

face

jewels

fig. 1,

PI.

the

work-

and

the

the Hoysala school^

The second

best.

its

a group of ivory images consisting

Venugopala and two cows one on each

(See

in

LXII).

This group

of

side

images was

carved recently in the Trivandram School of Arts.

Herein

image

also the

Krishna

of

is

made

to con-

form to the description given in the Sanskrit

The

third illustration

Krishna

and

a bronze figure in which

is

represented with four hands instead of

is

In the right upper hand the chakra

two.

the corresponding

in

kahkha

texts.

left

hand there

is
is

held
the

the two other hands hold the flute in the

manner required
the kirlta

to play

and in

all

upon

it.

other respects

On either side
Lakshmi and Bhumi may be seen
figure of Vishnu.

On

the head

it is

an ordinary

is

the figures of

standing with

the usual lotus and nildtpala flowers in their hands.

(See

fig. 2,

PL LXII).

The fourth photograph

is

of

the figure sculptured on a pillar in the Visvanatha-

svamin
district.

temple at Tenkasi

The

temple in

in

the

which

this

209
27

Tinnevelly

image

is

to

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
be found, was built by the

Parakrama Pandya

it

effect (See

arms

hands he holds a padma, a

and

With
if

he

of

repre-

and the chakra,

-paraku,

hands he carries a

sugar-cane, a pasa and the ^ahkha.

the two remaining hands the flute


is

is

the right

three of

in

in three corresponding left

bow made

a notably

PL LXIII). Here Krishna

sented with eight

of the

has been exe-

cuted with great care and produces

good

(corres-

an image

It is

nevertheless,

king, Arikesari

in the year S. 1362

ponding to A. D. 1447).
conventional type

Pandya

playing upon

it.

The

legs are

is

held as

worked out

according to the description given above which

however,

is

not followed by the Halebidu sculptor.

Ikshu-kodanda, (the sugar-cane bow), and the arrow


of flowers are the peculiar

emblems

Kamadeva,

of

The Srltatvanidhi calls this


Venu-Gopala by the name of Madanago-

the Indian Cupid.


variety of
pala.

Another form

which Krishna

in

is

as Parthasarathi,

Partliasaratlii.

charioteer

oi

worshipped

is

that

Arjuna.

as

is,

tn

Durmg

the famous war between the Pandavas and the

Kauravas fought on
Krishna,

it

is

well

the

field

of

Kurukshetra,

known, served Arjuna as

his

charioteer. Corresponding to this conception of the


charioteer, an

image

of

Krishna
210

is

described in the

PLATE

liXIII.

-"*Wfei

II

ill
Madana-Gopala

Stone

Tenkasi.
[To fane page 210.]

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
Vaikhanasagama.

In this image

Krishri,a is repre-

sented as holding the reins in one hand and a cane


in the other, and as in the act of mounting a
chariot, the right leg resting

on the

floor

and the

The chariot
on the dome above, and

placed in front of the chariot.

left leg

made to carry a flag


is shown to be yoked to excellent horses.
Arjuna,
with bow in hand, stands on the ground with his
hands in the anjali pose. The right hand of

itself is

Krishna is held so as to be in the vyakhydna-mudra.

From

this description

must be

it

clear that

the

occasion for worshipping Krishna as Parthasarathi


arose not in consequence of his having guided the

chariot of Arjuna skillfully in the battlefield, but in

consequence

of

his

immortal lessons

having taught Arjuna those

of religion

and philosophy which

are contained in the immortal Bliagavadglta.

In the temple

of Parthasarathi

the arrangement of the images

is,

at

Triplicane

however, quite

different from the description given above.

central shrine of the temple faces the east

ing the back wall (which

is

The

adjoin-

the west one) of the

shrine and occupying the central position stands

the image of Krishna

which

right one of
left

hand

of the

is

is

has only two arms, in the

it

kept the saiikha while the

To the right
Eukmini with a

held in the varadaTpose.

image

of

Krishna

is

2n

that of

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
lotus in the right

The

hanging.

hand

image

brother of Krishna
that of Krishna

and the

is

is let

seen standing to the

hand

is

of

left

seen a Tihadga

is

kept in the varada pose.

Near the south wall and facing the north


standing figure of Balarama

hand the hala

down

younger

the

Satyaki,

of

in its right

hand

left

her other hand

it

carries in its right

(the plough) while the left

By

kept in the varada pose.

the

is

hand

the side of the north

wall and facing the south, stand the figures

Aniruddha and

Samkarshana

danda

in their right hands

hands

in the

each

One

of

carrying a

and keeping their

varada pose.

is

left

of the inscriptions

found in this temple states that these images were


set
S.

up by a mendicant Brahmana

in

the

year

1486 (A. D. 1564-5).


It is recorded

in the

life

Krishna that he

of

punished and drove away to the


sea

dfkSsiS:!"'

the

serpent

which had
called Kalincli

i^i

its

the river

named

Kaliya,

abode in a pond

Yamuna.

This,

most

probably refers to Krishna having abolished the


original cult

of

serpent-worship.

The image

of

Krishna representing him as chastising the serpent


Kaliya should be sculptured,

it is

said, in the

form

of a child

dancing upon the hood of a serpent,

holding in

its left

hand the
213

tail of

the reptile and

PLATE LXIV

J
\

..>afM

^^

-^-m^

KaliyahimarJdaka-Krishni
[To Eaoa page 213,]

Bronze

Madras Museum,

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU.
keeping the right hand outstretched so as to

make

the whole of the right arm appear Uke a streamer.*

This description

of

Kaliyahi-marddaka-Krishna

faithfully carried out in almost all sculptures

castings.

The bronze image

Krishna,

whose

PL LXIV,

of

is

and

Kaliyahi-marddaka-

photograph

on

reproduced

is

belongs to the Madras

Museum.

This

image very nearly resembles the Navanita-nrittaIn the hand stretched out and held in

Krishna.

the flag-pose

the

The

caught.

on the hood

tail

the serpent Kaliya

of

Krishna

left foot of

is

of the serpent while the right

lifted so as to indicate that

it is

is

placed firmly

one

is

going to be used in

administering a kick on the hood of the serpent.

The image

of

Krishna is further shown

to be

wearing

short drawers ornamented with floral designs.


right

hand

casting

is

is

held in the ahhaya pose.

The

This bronze

probably at least five centuries old and

is

may be called the medieval


It may be mentioned here

a fine specimen of what


art of

South India.

that Kaliyahi-marddaka-Krishna

on the wall

of the pillared

is

sculptured also

walk round the central

shrine in the great Kailasa temple at EUora.


*

this

Tbe term employed

would

standard.

and

it

at first

But

means

in the

original

is

patdha-hasta

appear to mean a hand carrying a flag or

it is

a term borrowed from the Dharata-sdstra

therefore a

hand held
213

like a streamer.

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.

Two illustrations of Grovardhana-dhara-Krishna


are given on Pis.

The former

dhara-Krifhna.

image

LXV

and LXVI.

of these represents

belonging

to

an

Nuggehalli,

while the latter represents one belonging to the

Hoysalesvara temple at Halebidu.


are typical of

Pi.

LXV

Govardhana

body

is

six

with the right hand,

LXVI

it is

used for the purpose.

former image

of the

them

shows Krishna as holding

hill

while in the other PI.

which

of

Hoysala school and are about

centuries old.
aloft the

Both

is

that of the latter to the right.

the

hand

left

Accordingly the

bent to the

left

and

In both cases cows,

cowherds and cowherdesses are worked out and

shown

to be taking shelter

under the uplifted

which again

is

on

wild beasts and hunters giving

trees,

it

chase.

represented in both cases as having

them

The Nuggehalli

sculpture

was executed,

the

engraved

below

according

Baichoja

to

label

who

Nandi,

of

tinguishing

titles of

rival artists

'

and

making up

also

all

'

by

it,

bears the birudas or dis-

honour meaning that

rod of diamond to the

toes

hill,

hills

'

he

is

representing the titled

the destroyer of the mosqui-

the titled architects'.

Many

of

the sculptural decorations in the temple at Nuggehalli

appear to have been executed by this able

artist.

2U

PLATE LXV.

^"* ''' ""

fffMlS^^
Govardliana-dbara Krishna

Nuggehalli.

[To face page 214.]

PLATE LXYl.

S,

1?\

'^-

,i.

...

^-

'-^^W

-^

"
-^?^

--

ggggt

Govardhana-dhara Krishna

Stone

Halabidu.

[to face page 214.^

PLATE

liXYII.

(S

DASAVATAEAS OE VISHNU.
At the end

of the description

varieties of the

gamarema^vka
"

Krishna images, the Vaikhanasa-

The forms

"

of

numerable that they cannot

" Therefore
" Krishna's

of the different

image

in

" to conceive him."

in-

be described.

all

might

worshipper

the

Krishna are so

sculpture

any form in which he chooses


Besides the aspects of Krishna

considered above there are a few others which are

not described in the Sanskrit texts available to us

however, a large number of images

met with

a child (Balakrishna) are

Krishna alone, among the avatar as


worshipped as a

child, a

youth

etc.,

Krishna as

of

in sculptures.
of

Vishnu,

forms

fit

is

for ex-

hibiting the various kinds of hliahti or love, as for


instance, that of a
for her

husband and that

As a baby Krishna
fours,

(See

mother to her child, that

is

and

friend for a friend.

represented as crawling on

sometimes with a

figs.

of a

of a wife

2, PI.

ball of butter in his

LXVII).

which the child Krishna

is

hand

Another form

often sculptured

lying upon a leaf of the vata tree (Indian


is

hence known as the Vata-patra-sayi.

is

symbolic of

God brooding

all

is

fig)

in

as

and

This form

over the ocean of the

chaos caused after the destruction of the universe


at

A
is

the end of an jeon.


third variety

is

(See

known

as

fig

3,

PI.

LXVII).

Santana-Gropala and

described in the Sntatvanidlii as follows


215

the

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
infant Krishna should be portrayed as lying on the
lap of

Yasoda and sucking milk from her breast, his


up a

face should be turned

mother's

One

face.

of his

little

and seeing

hands should be

his

on

laid

the breast of his mother.*

Among

some

avataras of Vishnu,

the ten

authorities maintain

,.11

Buddha.

Buddha

to be

one, while others do not consider

him

to be such

The Puranas them-

an avatara.

view

selves are divided in their

Some

of

them,

the

like

instance, include

to be

the matter.

Bhagavata-purdna,

for

Buddha among the avataras

Vishnu, while others do not.

mention him

of

Among

of

those that

an avaMra, Bhagavat'a-purana

says " Then, after the


named Buddha, son

of

Kali age begins, a person

Anjana, will be born among

the Kikatas, in order to delude the enemies of the

gods (the aauras)."

commentator explains the

geographical position of the country of the Kikatas

by the remark viadhye Gaya-praclese, meaning


the region near Gaya.
"

The

The Agni-imrana

in

states

Suras, having been defeated in battle by the

Asuras, sought the protection of Vishnu

he,

in

consequence, was born as a deluder in the form of

f^^

=?

^i Ti3g%

^^

sfercTH

aTp^r^^JsnT "^x^

.1
216

DASAVATARAS OF VISHNU,
Buddha, the son

of .Tina

by him the Asuras were

abandon the

deceived, who, on being induced to


religion of the Vedas, lost

From
ished

all

power

that time has the religion of


;

and many are the heretics

saken the sacred ordinances

of the

as warriors.

Buddha flourwho have forVedas"

In a

dialogue between Parasara and Maitreya, recorded


in

the

Vishiiu-purana,

the

the

Nagnas were, why they were

former

who

called,

and what

the former

asks

latter

the

their

" The
replies

character was.

To

this

Rigveda, the Yajurveda

and the Samaveda are the threefold clothing


the

castes

several

throws
person,

off this

is

and the

neglect them they are

men

naked

three Vedas

and when people

bare."

left

or the

The

apostate.

constitute the dress of all

of

wight who

sinful

called the udgiiii

meaning an

so

He

then pro-

ceeds to narrate the origin of Buddha, the deluding

personage.

In a battle that took place between

the gods and the Asuras headed by Hrada, the gods

were defeated

they fled to the northern shore of

the milky ocean and there prayed to Vishnu to


restore

them

to their original state.

The Lord was

pleased with their prayers and emitted from out of


his person a deluding form,
celestials

and said

to

which he gave

to the

them " This deluding form

shall deceive the Daityas,

who

21V

being thereupon led

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
astray from the path of the Vedas, shall be slain."

This Being that so emanated from Vishnu proceeded as a naked mendicant, with his head shaven, and
carrying in the hand a bunch of peacock's feathers,
to the Daityas

on the

ities

who were engaged


bank

in severe auster-

Narmada,

the river

of

saying

addressed them gently,

and

Chiefs of

" 0, ye

why do you practise these devout


Do you expect rewards in this world

the Daitya-race,

penances

or in the next ?"

The Asuras

replied

"

worthy

personage of great mind, we have been engaged in


these penances with a view to reap fruits in the

next world."

them that

The deceiving personage then

his teachings

would bring them

emancipation and that they were worthy


ing

those teachings.

came

to be

known by

That
the

why

is

name

ing those that are worthy).

of

told
final

of receiv-

the Daityas

Arhaias (mean-

Then he preached

against the sinful massacre of animals taught by

the Vedas, and taught


to the

path

meaning

"

many moie

of the Vedas.

know ye

"

things opposed

The word

Bnddlii/adhve,

was uttered by

their

new

preceptor at the end of his discourse to the Daityas

and they responded hj


known."

Bdi,ymg

Thus those that have

Bud dhy ate "it


followed the

gion preached by this deluding personage


be called nagvas as well as budd.has.
218

is

reli-

came

to

The Vishnu-

DA8AVATAEA8 OF VISHNU.
Purana says many hard things

against

Buddhism

and Buddhists.

same account

Practically the
of

is

found in some

the other Puranas also, which need not be given

The following is a description of


Buddha as gathered from the Brihat-

here in detail.
the image of

samhita, the Agni-pitrana and the Vishnu-dharmottara.

The

figure of

Buddha should have on

its feet

and the palms marks resembling the pad?na or


lotus

the body should be full and fresh and of fair

complexion
hair on

Buddha

full

of grace,

as a whole should appear

though

as

as the father to all creatures

seated on

be

and the head should have short curly

The image

it.

calm aud

'a,

it

represented

and

it

must be

j^admasana. The lobes of the ears must

made pendant.

The body should be covered with

the Jcashdija, the yellow garb of the ascetics, and on


the shoulder there should
or clothing

made out

The hands should be


poses.

Buddha.

phy

valhala,

of the bark of certain trees.

in the

This description
It is in a

be a piece of

way

varada and the ahliaya

is

that

foreign to

to notice in detail the

representations of Buddha.

of

a Dhyani-

Hindu

iconogra-

innumerable sculptural

Hence the image

of

Buddha is described here mainly as it occurs in


Hindu sculptures. Throughout the Chalukya and
219

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Hoysala countries, Buddha

is

seen to have been in-

variably included aiiiong the ten avataras of Vishnu;

and his image

always found wherever these

is

avataras are portrayed.

The most

fa\'ourite

posi-

tion for the sculptor to introduce these avataras

seems

to

have been

in the

prabhacali round the

The avatUras beginning from

figure of Vishnu.

the fish-incarnation are sculptured in order from

the right of the Vishnu image and are earned over


the head

down

to the left side.

Yogesvaramurti on

PL
all

LXIX

and

of

XXIV,

of

Dattatreya on

Buddha

these instances

Dhydita attitude,

PI.

(.See

is

the figures of

Chennakesava on
PI.

LXXIII).

In

represented in the

and

with his legs crossed

his

hands placed upon the lap in the ijogainudra pose.


In the very same attitude are found

all

over

India the imaoys of the twenty-four Tirthankaras


of

the -Jainas; and even highly educated people

are not able to distinguisb the one class of images

The most characteristic features


the images of Buddha are the cloth worn in

from the other.


of

the npavltd fashion and the knot of hair on the top


of

the head.

The

.Iain a

images are completely

divested of clothing a.ud are stark

they

may sometimes have

bead, there
i7i/v(

/.,

is

mark

ringlets of

not enough of
is,

naked

it

though

hair on the

for a knot.

The

according to the BriJint-Muhhita.

PLATE

liXYIII,

Dhyaui Buddha from Borobodur

[To face page 221.]

Stone.

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
shown

required to be

Tirthankaras

also.

on the right side

in the figures of the Jaina

This mark
of

is

generally found

the chest and

is,

many

in

instances, a tiny equilateral triangle, with its apex

pointing upwards.

PI.

The photograph of Buddha reproduced on


LXVIII is copied from that by Dr. Anandasome years back

kumarasvaini

published

Theosophist.

The image

in

Buddha

represents

the
as

engaged in meditation, with his legs in the yogaSana posture, and his

left

hand placed on the

lap

The right hand is in the


abhaya pose. The figure of Buddha is seated upon
The closed
a beautifully worked out yadmasana.
deeply
expressive
of
mind
absorbed
in
the
eyes

in the tjoga-mudra pose.

meditation, the calm and contemplative face, the

crown
in

of finely carved ringlets of hair

the whole figure and

fact

modelled so as

to be

worthy

all

of very

on the head,

its

details

are

high apprecia-

tion.

The

last

of the ten avataras of

This

Kalkyavatara.

Vishnu

is

the

incarnation

Kalkyavatara.

has not yet taken place and


dicted to coiue

off

The Agni-purana says

" In the Kali-yuga, thoughtless

acts fitting

pre-

about the end of the Kali-yuga

or the present dark age.

commit

is

them

for hell
221

men
:

will

begin to

and the confusion

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
Then

continue.

castes will

of

will

virtue

and

and scarcely a single school of


remain and barbarians, under the

religion disappear,

learning will

guise of rulers, externally arrayed in the apparel of

but internally composed of injustice, shall

justice,

At

harass the people.

Kalki

and he

shall appear as

the

to

Thereafter

Hari

re-

customs and morals which

upon the due observance

prescribed

and

will destroy the barbarians,

establish all those pure

are based

Vishnu

last

aud the

castes

will return

to

of the

duties

four

orders.

heaven

and the

Satya-yuga, then again returning, will restore to


the world purity, virtue and piety."

The Vishnu -ptirana


this tenth incarnation.

gives further details about


"

Thus, when cerentouies

based upon the A^edas and the institutes of the


sacred law shall have nearly ceased, and the end
of

Kali-yuga

being,

who

approach, a portion of that divine

will

the creator of the whole universe,

is

the preceptor of
beings,

who

all

immoveable and moveable


with

identical

Brahma and

all

created beings, shall incarnate himself on earth.

He

will

be born as Kalki, in the familj- of one

Vishnu-yasas, an eminent

grama,

and

will

be endowed with

superhuman powers.
he will slay

all

Brahmana

By

of

Sambhala-

all

the eight

his irresistable heroism,

the foreign barbarians and thieves


922

DASAVATAEAS OF VISHNU.
and

all

those

who

His great-

are addicted to sin.

ness and might shall unobstructedly prevail."

The image

of

Vaikhanasagcihia,

the body of a

man

Kalki should, according to the

have the face

khetaka, and

terrific

look.

and

with four hands carrying resehakra, the khadga and

pectively the aiiJiha, the

the

of a horse

should

be

made

The kautuka-hera

of

to possess

this avatara

should be an ordinary Vishnu image with four arms.

According to the Agni-pityana, Kalki should carry


the (llianas and the hana and should ride on a horse.

The image may

also be

made

the hana, the chakra and the

dharmoiiara which

is

to carry the khadga,

saiikli a.

generally in

The

fair

agreement

with the Agnl-purana, prescribes only two


Kalki.

(See

PI.

XXXV

for

avaiaras of Vishnu.)

223

this

V/'shmi-

arms

to

and the other

CHATURVIMSATI-MURTAYAH.

39

THE TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF


VISHNU.

IT

is

known

a widely

fact in India

possesses a thousand

that Vishnu

names by which he

The Vishnu-sahasra-navia

praised.

is

is

found

given in the Anusasanaparva7i of the MaJiabha-

Among

rata.

these thousand significant

praise relating

to

Vishnu,

names

of

twenty-four are con-

sidered to be the most important and are daily re-

peated by

many Brahmanas

in their daily

prayers.

Corresponding to these twenty-four names images


of

Vishnu are found sculptured

in

the Vaishnava

temples situated in the old Hoysala land, where


indeed they are met with more frequently than
elsewhere.
alike

in the

All these twenty-four images are very

they are

all

standing figures, with no bends

body, possessing four arms,

and adorned

with the A^n^a-crown and other usual ornaments


227

HINDIS ICONOGEAPHY.

The

each of them stands upon a padmasuna.

between any two

difference

made out by

be

chaJcra, the

the

way

images has to

of those

which the

in

saiikha, the

gada and the padriia are found

buted among their four hands.

distri-

worthy

It is

of

note that the number of possible permutations of


four things taken four at a time
four

and the

order, in

these four articles,


observed,

among the
in

upper right hand to the upper


the lower

left

exactly twenty-

which the permutations

in passing, as

is

is

four hands
a

circle,

is

of

to be

from the

hand, thence to

left

hand, and from there lastly to the

For example, that image

lower right hand.

of

Vishnu, which holds the sankha, chakra, gada and


padiiui in the four

hands

in

the order mentioned

above, beginning from the upper right hand and

ending with the lower right hand,


of

Kesava

that

is,

is

upper right hand

in the

Kesava the sankha should be held


left,

and

the chakra

in

the

representative

lower

in the loAver right, the

left,

padma.

of

in the upper

In

the gada
all

these

twenty-four cases the arrangement of these four


things

in relation to

the four hands has to

observed in the same order.

based on the

names
ments

of
of

Bupamandaua

The

be

following table

gives the twenty-four

Vishnn and the corresponding arrangethe

four articles in the four hands in


228

PLATE LXIX

Chennakesava

Stone

Belur.
[To face page 228.]

PLATE LXX.

ZW

-ii^

J'
'

'

f
I

'2.

m
o

>
C5

'^

^'

>

13

r-/
>

'v.

-.^~***-

P
O

>
,a

i.

>:-A

Jl
1

IS
1

CO

_a

[To face page 229.]

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


each case, and

is

intended to enable the reader to

notice the difference between

tlie

various images

at a glance.

Table showing the arrangement of the ankha,


chakra, gadd and

each

of

in the four

hands

of

the twenty-four Murtis of Vishnu accord-

ing to the

Ho.

padma

Rupamandana.

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.

No.

PLATE LXXI.

vi'

CD

, ^""-"''twt<.^--.,.., ,.^.

1/

""

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


from Purushottama.
13,

14,

list

may

22

21,

Moreover, Nos.

and

easily be seen to be in disagreement

which

much

with

Bupamandana

undoubtedly the correct

list,

in as

as all the twenty-four possible permutations

of the four

rately.

is

11,

Padma-purana

23 in the

the corresponding numbers in the


list,

10,

9,

emblems

are found to occur in

Nevertheless

comparison

it

is

also

it

accu-

given below for

Table showing the different arrangements of


the

^anJcJia,

hands

of the

chakra, gada and

padma

ing to the description found in the


of the

No.

in

the four

twenty-four images of Vishnu accord-

Padma-purana.

PdMa-Jchanda

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.

No.

TWENTY-FOUB IMAGES OF VISHNU.


whose names are found given
of the third

as under

No.

'

Ratn

of the

in the first chapter

Narada-Pancharatragama

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
In the Pancliaratragama, these twenty-four

Murtis

of

Vishnu seem

portance.

them

is

The

of

to be

special im-

some

meaning underlying

philosophical

Nevertheless an account

not quite patent.

of their origin, as given in certain Sanskrit

may

of authority,

prove interesting.

Lord Para-Vasudeva

works

The supreme

is

conceived to be the posses-

sor of the six excellent

gunas or attributes called

jnana, (knowledge), kdil (energy), hala (strength)


aisvarya (supremacy),
(brightness)

Him

and

sprang,

is

it is

nir dosha (free

from

and

evil).

tejas

From

divine beings, possessing

said,

each a couple only out


attributes, thus

(heroism)

v'brya

above mentioned six

of the

Samkarshan,a, with jnana and hala,

Pradyumna, with aisvarya and

virya,

and

Aniruddlia, with sakti and tejas.

The Supreme Being in association with these


three evolved deities makes up the saJdi-mayaProm the Ahirbudlinya-samhita we learn
vyulia.
that

from

deities,

Para-Vasudeva

sprang

three

other

namely, Kesava, Narayana, and Madhava.

Similarly from Samkarshana arose the three deities

Govinda, Vishnu and Madhusudana.

Trivikrama,

Vamana and

from Pradyumna

and

Sridhara

lastly

out of himself Hrishikesa,

came

Again,
forth

Aniruddha evolved

Padmanabha and Damo-

234

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


In this way, the evolution

dara.
of

of sixteen out

the twenty-four Murtin of Vishnu

accounted

for

states that

and the same authority further

Vishnu manifested himself

nine different forms and gives a

Evidently

generally

is

list of

in thirty-

those forms.

these various forms of the

all

Lord Vishnu

Supreme

are representative of the attributes

Him

with which His worshipper endows

according

mood and needs of his own prayerful mind.


The Salti-maya-cijuha is described succinctly

to the

in

ten

chapters in the Brihad-brahma-samhita.

That Being who has neither beginning nor end,

who has myriads

forms,

of

and resplendent and

known by

the

name

is

of

who

omnipresent

is

the Supreme Brahman,

is

In him are con-

Vasudeva.

tained the moveable and the immoveable worlds

which we see around us


is

the whole of the universe

evolved out of Vasudeva

source of

all

who

existing things.

is

the cause and

Nevertheless, His

contact with gross matter prahrlti does not affect

His ever pure Being.


nations assumed by
the faculties of

embodiment
first

Even

Him

in

Vasudeva who

of all

the various incar-

prahriti could not bedim


is

in

essence the

knowledge {J nana -scar api). The

form assumed by this Supreme Soul

pacific one, with only

is

two arms and a single face

the colour of this form of Vishnu


235

is

a
;

pure crystal

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
white

His body

ujoous and

suns,

put together, and

all

fircti,

adorned with the Mr'da, hara,


This manner

iiiala.

of

and

J^eijura

is

va7ia-

manifestation of Vasudeva

by

comprehended only

and

conceived

can be

as a crore of

as resplendent

is

From out of this form


derived Para-Vasudeva, who possesses four
is
hands in which he carries padma the emblem
minds

the

of

creation,

&ahkha

of

yogins.

chaJcra

that

is

this latter

who

is

assumes

form in

its

is

dark in colour

Of these Nara-

the rain -cloud and


this last

forms

is

Pradyumna

forth

Pradyumna, Aniruddha.

Every one

possessed of four arms.

them possesses

dom

with four

Vasudeva

mentioned comes forth Samkarshana

Samkarshana comes

all

Later

Creator.

turn breaks up into

From

Vasudeva, crystal white.


just

as

responsible for

form

two as Narayana and Vasudeva.


yana,

is

This

ornaments.

the cosmic functions of the

faces

he

garments and adorned with

the deity

on Para-Vasudeva

de-

of

Para-Vasudeva has

and other

Ixeijura.

Para-Vasudeva

that

colour of the peacock

lustrous blue

the larlta,

of

protection,

of

gacla

salvation,

of

to be clad in yellow

all

emblem

The complexion

struction.

the

the

from

and from

of these four

Vasudeva among

the six attributes, namely, wis-

{jnana), energy (sakti), sovereignty (aisvarya),


236

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


brightness

streugth {bala),
(virya),

and

free

is

from

shana possesses more

while in

five attributes,

dominant

of

Aniruddha

ponderance

and

heroism

(nirddsha).

all evil

jnana and

less of

Pradyumna sakti
is

Samkarthe other
or hala

endowed with the

From

of aisvarija.

of the Ijord others

forms

{tejas)

came

is

pre-

out of these four

into being.

From

came forth Kesava, Narayana and


Madhava from Samkarshana came forth Govinda,
Vishnu and Madhusudana from Pradyumna came

Vasudeva

Vamana and

forth Trivikrama,

Sridhara

and from

Aniruddha came forth Hrishikesa, Padmanabha and

Damodara.
different

Such

is

the evolution of these twelve

powers.

divine

The

deities

Vasudeva

Samkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, from

whom

the above mentioned evolution took place,

themselves assumed secondary forms respectively

known

Vasudeva,

Samkarshana, Prad-

yumna and xlniruddha: from

these secondary deities

came

also

as

forth Purushottama, Adhokshaja, Narasirbha

and Achyuta

came

respectively

from Purushottama

forth Janardana, Upendra,

Hari and Krishna.

Thus, according to the Brihad-brahma-samhita,


did these twenty-four forms {Murtis) of

come

Vishnu

into existence.

Of these twenty-four Murtis of Vishnu some


are considered

to

be

fit

237

for

worship by certain

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
and others by other

classes of votaries,

classes.

The Bupamandana states that happiness comes


to Brahmans by worshipping Kesava, Narayana,

Madhava and Madhusadana. When worshipped


by Kshatriyas Madhusadana and Vishnu bestow
on them all good, while the Vaisyas obtain their
good by adoring Trivikrama and Vamana. To the
Sudra the worship
be

specially

blessings

Sridhara

of

The

beneficial.

on the

dancer, the

god

Padmanabha

bhilla, is Hrishikesa.

the god of the potter, the petty


harlot, the

who

is

to

confers

and the

varata

the

considered

the washerman,

cobbler,

hunter,

is

the

Med'a-

particularly

merchaat, the

oil-monger, the vendor of liquors and

such others.

The

hrahmachari

yati (mendicant ascetic)

(student

anchorite)

and the

should

offer

The triple god HariHara-Pitamaha, who is the same as Dattatreya,


Narasimha, Vamana and Varaha may well be
their worship to

worshipped by

on

Damodara.

all,

and they bestow

their blessings

all alike.

Among

these twenty-four forms of

those of Vasudeva, Samkarshana,

Aniruddha are considered


tance

for the

written

about

Pradyumna and

to be of special

reason that

Sahti-maya-vyuha

Vishnu,

impor-

they make up

the

and much has therefore been

them.

Evidently
238

for

the

same

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


Vaikhanasdgavia

the

reason,

considers

much

forms of Vishnu to be very

these

higher than

even the ten avatarns.

Now,

in regard to the

Vasudeva

to be observed that

upon

in

two

aspects,

Vasudeva,

human and

in

whom

move and have

things

all

in

Manusha-

as the one

universe

live,

the same

is at

beings in the universe,

the

all

the

and who

their being

time indwelling in
is

has

a purely

or

Vasudeva; and Vasudeva, conceived


G-od,

it

invariably looked

is

human Vasudeva

the

is

of

Krishna, incarnated as the son of

divine aspect.

Vasudeva,

image

the supreme Vasudeva or Para-Vasudeva.

^Manusha-vasu-

down

of

Manusha-Vasudeva should be

in

laid

accordance with

only two hands

On

Kukmini and

carrying

; it

should have

and

the sanJcha

the

the right there should be the goddess

Balarama

to her right there should be

wielding the plough


right of

madlujama-

the

daha-tala measure of 120 ahgulas

chakra.

It

that the image

is

{liala)

To the
Pradyumna

and Musala.

Balarama there should be

carrying in the right hand the sword and the

left

hand being made

the

to

Jcatyavalambita pose.
there
four

should be
arms.

the
little

rest

On

upon the waist

the right of Pradyumna,

four faced
to

239

in

the

left

Brahma,
of

with

Manusha-

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
Aniruddha

Vasudeva, there should be

and

sword

the

ahhaya pose

in the

The

hand.

on the

shield

and

figure

Samba.

left of

The

deva

may
of

right

his

of

stick

Garuda

in the

should

be

images belonging

worked out in the standing

kautulca-bera

Manusha- Vasu-

of

be either according to the description

given above, or

image

with

All these

to this group should be

posture.

and on

with the right hand

be Samba,*

there should

left

the

carrying

it

Vishnu.

may

be an ordinary four-armed

The image of Daivika-Vasudeva

should be seated on a simhasana,

with Sridevi aud Bhumidevi on

deva!'"'^^"^^"'"

the right and the

Vasudeva should hold the


SanJcka

padma;

it

should

left

lower

in the

chalcra,

in the upper left hand, the

and the lower

the right and

In the upper right hand Para-

have four arms.

right hand, the

left

left

On

hand, the gada.

there should be the images of

the gods mentioned

above in

Manusha- Vasudeva.

In addition

association

with

them

there

to

should be by the side of Balarama the standing

image

of his consort

Eevati-devi

Aniruddha, his consort

Pradyumna,
*

Usha

his consort Eohini

Some manuscripts have Samba


240

on the

left

of

on the side

of

and on the side

instead of Samba.

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


Samba,

of

description

Such

consort Indukari.

his

Para-Vasudeva given

of

is

the

in the

Vai-

to the

Agni-

tihanasagama.

Para-Vasudeva might, according

imrana, also be sculptured as a standing image.


be on either side the

In this case there should

goddesses Sri and Pushti, carrying


a

padma and

not reach

should

desses

the hip

Vasudeva.

of

ornamented

with

the

two

animals,

other

The

vlna.

respectively

figures of these god-

higher

In

than

level

the prabhd,niandala,

figures

flying

elephants and

of

rc^presenting

figures,

two Vidyadharas, carrying each a fiower garland,


should

sculptured.

be

The

pit Jin

on

which

Vasudeva and the Devis stand should be made


to
p.

have

brilliance

and

There

is

another description

have one face and four arms


beauty and a

fine

dark blue colour

in
in

all

the

various

round contour,

it

cloud,

150,

Para-Vasudeva

The image

to this

From

of

authority,

should have great


it

should be of the

should be adorned

ornaments, and

be

clad

his neck, resembling,

the sahkha, necklaces of


241

31

appearance
of the

yellow garments.
its

of

Vif<hnndharmdttara.

Vasudeva should according

with

fig.

CeijJon.)

given in the
this

(See

gold.

of

Smith's Historij of Finp Arts in

of V. A.

207,

Inrlia

the

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
workmanship and the vana-inala should be

excellent

The

suspended so as to reach the knees.

round the

On

down

should descend as far

loins

as

Earn] a J as should adorn his beautiful

the knees.

pendant

cloth tied

ears,

and

reflect their lustre

on the neck.

the arms should be worn the aiigada and the

Tceijura

and on the

Jcaustiibha.

Idnta

chest, there should be the jewel

The head should

and behind

it

chal-ra in the form of

arms

there should be the

i/irt-

well-shaped lotus.

The

a,

Vasudeva should be long and well formed

of

and the

fingers of the

dyed

nails

be covered with a

hands should be tipped with

In one of the

red.

hands

right

Vasudeva there should be a full-blown


in onr of the left

form.

To
of

largo

hip

hands the

sahlilia h\

his right should stand

qada

form

as a goddess

and a

natural

She

appearance.

playful

hold a citamara in one of her hands


of

its

and

the personified

eyes

bedecked with numerous ornaments.

hand

lotus,

of

with slender waist, a

pretty

vei-y

should possess two bright,

right

and he

She should

and the other

A'asudeva shijuld be made to

rest

upon her head.

The goddess BhOmi, with

a gracefully pro-

tuberant

belly

marked with three

should be

made

to stand

gentle

between the legs

deva and embrace thpui with her anus.


242

of

folds,

Vasu-

The

legs

TWENTY-FOUR IMAGES OF VISHNU.


of

Vasudeva should be kept apart by a distance

about a

foot,

front of the

and the

right leg should be a little in

On

left.

the

side of

left

should stand the personified figure of

Vasudeva
cliaJcra

hanging belly and round

figure with a big,

male

of

This figure also should be adorned

wide open eyes.

with various ornaments, should hold a chamara in


the hand, and be

shown

to evince a desire to be

The

ever gazing in adoration at his Lord.

hand

of A'^asudeva, other

left

than the one holding the

should be placed upon this personified

hahliha,

figure of chakra.

In illustration of the twenty-four Miuiis of

Vishnu there are

six pictures given, all of

which

represent images found in the Chennakesavasvamin

temple at Belur in the Native State of Mysore.

They

are of Kesava,

Madhava, Govinda, Madhu-

Hari and Sri-Krishna

SLidana,

these, the first image, that of

queen

and

It

vation.
of

Kesava

is

was

is

in

set

Of

one of the

specimens of the Hoysala school

very best
sculpture,

respectively.

an excellent state

of

of preser-

up by Santaladevi, the chief

Vishnuvarddhanadeva

of

the

Hoysala

dynasty, in the Kappe-Chennigaraya shrine in the

Chennakesavasvamin temple.
image, and in the

head

of

Garuda,

front tier
is

On

a single-line
243

the base of this

running just over the


inscription

in

HINDI ICONOGRAPHY.
Sanskrit written distinctly in

god

Kannada

characters,

who

Chennakesava,

mentioning that

that

brings peace to

the created beings in the world,

was

set

all

up by Santidevi, queen

of

image now goes by the popular name


Ghennigaraya, and
vali

is

the

Vishnu as

sculpturing

of

are found sculptured

of a

figures

magnifying

avataras of

the ten

The other

on the walls

be noticed that the

first

images

same temple.

five of these

wear the inaTiara-hundala, the

has the ratna-hindala given to

five

of the central

shrine of Chennakesavasvamin in the

may

Kappe-

also of the eight diJc-palas or the guard-

ians of the cardinal points.

It

of

In the 'prabha-

not in puja.

might be noticed, with the help

glass,

This

Vishnu.

it.

last

six

alone

All the images

are well executed, and bear evidence of trained

workmanship.

244

MINOR AVATARAS AND


MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

MINOE AYATAKAS AXD MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

PURUSHA
as

is

described in the VaiJihavasagama

an avaranadevaia, that

whose image

is

placed in one of the circuit round

The

the central shrine.

position allotted for the

...

image
Purusha.

in

of

the

Purusha

The

and that
on

on the east

is

avarana

nrst

image should be so placed


east.

as a deity

is,

as

to

and the

be facing the

colour of this image should be white

of its

garment yellow.

It

should have

the images of Sridevi and ^Fedinidevi

its sides

respectively.

Kapila

i.s

assumed by the

said to be the form

divine Pradyurana

when he became

Kapila.

free

worldly desires.
a beard

it

from

The image

should be

seati'd

the
of

miluence

vessel

such as the one used by sannyasiufi.

The

all

upon the padniasana

near him there should be the

hands should be placed

of

Kapila should have

in front

l-a)iiandiilti

One

of the

on the crossed

legs.

eyes should be closed indicating dlujana or

meditation.

There should be the jata-mandala


247

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
round the head

and the shoulders should be high

showing that Kapila was a great adept


the breath.

The

feet of the

marked with

be

image

in controlling

Kapila should

of

lines resembling the

outline

of

The figure ought to be draped in deerand must bear the /jajnopavlta. This Kapila

the lotus.
skin
is

generally identified with Kapila, the founder of

the

Sahkhya philosophy.

somewhat

gives a

The Vaikhanasagavia

different description

of Kapila.

Being classed as an apciranaderata, the image


Kapila
the

is

of

alloted a place in the south-east corner of

avarana.

first

embodiment

of

Kapila

is

the Vedas and

image facing the

east,

here said to be an
is

be a seated

to

and having eight arms.

the four hands on the right side one

is

Of

to be in the

ahliaya pose and the other three are to carry the


cJialra, the hliadga

hands

is

and the hala

to be resting

on the hip

one of the
in

left

the katjiava-

Jambita pose and the other three should carry tho


hahJcha,

\,h.e.

The

pasa, and the ilandn.

the garment of Kapila should be red.


of

colour of

On

the sides

Kapila should stand the images of G-ayatri and

Savitri respectively.

Yajiiamarti
Yajnamurti
Yajnesa.

or

or

Yajiiesa

is

another

minor

avafava of Vishnu mentioned


^^^ Srl-Bhagacata.

He

is

in

looked

upon as an aoaranadevata by the Valhliiiiiaxagavni,


248

MINOE AVATAEAS

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

according to which his place


corner of the

made

should have

colour

Yajna

is

The hands should

described in the Eigveda as a bull having four

horns, three legs,

the three legs for the

madhyandinasvana

three svanas, namely, the pratassvana, the

and the tritlyasvana


prayaniya-ishn and
for the seven

two heads

the

for

the udayaniya-ishti

chhandas or mantras.

acoording to the Eik referred to above,


is

bellowing

is

the

ishtis,

This

bull,

Yajna,

said to be tied

up by

the great god, Yajna represented

The Nirukta explains the three

men.

fold binding of the bull as its

brahmanas and the kalpa-

association with the mantras, the


;

the

and the seven

as a bull, is also said to have entered into the bodies of

sUtras

of

the four horns mention-

ed in the Eik stand for the four Vadas

three ropes and

The author

two heads and seven hands.

the Nirukta explains the above thus

hands

Yajnesa

the body of this image

of

should be that of molten gold.

of

two heads, seven hands, and four

The

horns.*

The image

the west.

to face

His image must be

avarana.

first

the south-west

is in

the bellowing of the bull

is

said to be the praising the

gods in sacrifices with the mantras of the Eigveda, making


offerings with the

Mantras

them with the mantras


said to have entered
sacrifices.

they

make

men

Brahmanas

of the

for the

The god Yajua

is

purpose of making them offer

should

offerings to the

Yajurveda and praying to

Samaveda.

of the

fire

employ
in

the

this

mantra when

moraing and the

evening.

The symbolical explanation


249
32

of the sacrifices

given above

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
carry the sanl-ha, the
sriik

clial;ra,

and the sruva, and the

the ajija-patra, the

juliu, Avhich

last,

is

laddie used in pouring ghee into the sacred fire in


sacrifices.

Yajiiesa should have three legs

adorned with various ornaments.

and

left

goddesses

of

this

On

and be

the right

Vishnu

manifestation of

the

Svadha should be made

Svaha and

respectively to stand.

The Vishnu dharmottar a contains

a descrip-

tion of the image of Vyasa.

It is

Vyasa.

said there that


of black

On

it

should be slender,

complexion and wearing dark brown ya^as.

his side there

disciples,

should be his

Sumantu, Jaimini,

foui-

Pail a

well-known

and Vaisam-

payana.

has been incorporated

in the

description of the

image

of

Yajnaraurti.

sf^ 3T?^miiir^5^tqft ik^t^

^"W^

250

^r^t^ut ^^^^31^-

MINOR AVATARAS

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

The same authority Vishnudharmottara

says

that Dhanvantrin should be sculpDhanvantrin,

tured as a handsome person carrying in both the hands vessels containing amrita,
that

is,

the ambrosia of the gods.

As already mentioned, Dattatreya

is

one

the

minor

The

story of his birth and

avatar as

of

Vishnu.

of

Battatreya.

There

given in detail in the Markandeya-purana.

was a certain Brahmana, a Kausika,


of

Pratishthana,

His wife served


deity.

Once

it

life is

the city

in

who was suffering from leprosy.


him nevertheless as if he was a
so

happened that the sage Ani-

Mandavya became annoyed with

this

leprous

Kausika and uttered a curse that he should die


before

the next

faithful

and devoted

of her chastity,
for

Thereupon

sunrise.
wife,

relying

his chaste,

upon the power

ordered the sun not to rise

days the sun did not

rise.

and

The gods became

frightened at this and approached Anasuya, the

and requested her

famous wife

of Atri,

the wife

of

the leprous Kausika and

sun

from day to day as usual.

to

rise

do as

house.
all

desired,

and

went

to

the

to pacify

make

the

She agreed
Kausika's

There she was received by his wife with

the due

rites

of

hospitality and

the purpose of her most welcome


261

visit.

was asked

On

being

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
told that the object of her visit

sun to

rise as before

was

to allow the

from day to day, she said

that she would gladly do so, provided that thereby

the threatened death does not befall her lord and

On

master.

sun to
fell

rise

down

being assured of this, she allowed the

and he

as

if

rose.

Her husband, however,

dead, but was immediately revived

by Anasuya and made healthy, strong and beautiful.

The gods became

pleased at this, and asked

the worthy and honourable wife of the revived and


rejuvinated Kausika to receive a boon at their

hands,

which she readily agreed.

to

And

the

boon she wanted was that Brahma, Vishnu and


Siva

the

born

as

gods of the Hindu trinity


her

sons.

They

should be

were so born

and

Dattatreya was the incarnation of Vishnu.

became

in his

yogin, and

is

life

famous

as

He

an ascetic and great

even now considered to be worthy of

worship as a god.

There
Dattatreya

three

are
is

different

ways in

by

side.

The first
have Brahma,

represented in sculptures.

manner of representation is to
Vishnu and Siva sculptured so as
side

to be standing

These images are very similar

the ordinary images of these gods.

LXXII

is

on a wall

which

Fig.

1,

to
PI.

a photograph of Dattatreya sculptured


of the

Hoysalesvara temple at Halebidu.


252

PLATE

LXXII.

m^"^
a
o

-^

CO

[To face page 252.]

PLATE

liXXIV.

^^4

*:':-^

Hari-Hara-Pifcamaha

[To face page 253.]

Stone

Ajmere, Kajapufcana Museum.

MINOE AVATAEAS
Here the

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU-

&

Brahma

figure of

is

seen to carry in

its

upper right hand the sruk and the sruva, in the


lower right hand the alishainala, in the upper

hand the pasa and

The

Jcamandalu.

in the lower

left

hand the

figure of Siva carries the sTda

and damaru in the two back hands and the


niala and the [nistaJca in the front

Vishnu holds

figure of

in its four

aJcsha-

two hands. The

hands the padma,

the gada, the cliahra and the saiikha.


of

left

The

figures

Siva and Vishnu are each associated with a

Devi

Brahma

but

This

first

treya

is

has no goddess by his

side.

variety of the representation of Datta-

given a somewhat novel turn in the figure

which

is

three

deities

reproduced on
are

PI.

LXXIV.

Here the

each seated respectively on a

padmasana supported on swans, on the Garuda


and on the

Brahma

bull

is

forming their distinctive vehicles.

known

seated in the posture

as the

uthutikasana, his middle face has a beard and his

two crossed

which

is

legs are supported by the yoga-patta,

a broad ribbon passing tightly round the

body and the legs.


and

it is

carried.

The right upper hand is broken


not possible to make out what object it

In the other hands are seen the pustaJca,

a Jcamandalu

and an

aJcshamala.

upper and the lower right hands


broken,

it is

easily

made
253

of

Though the

Vishnu are

also

out that they held the

HINDU ICONOGBAPHY.
gada aud the padma

and the sanhha.

clialwa

also broken

in

left

is

right hands are

Siva's

it

a kula.

It is difficult to find

out what objects were in the


so injured, this

hands carry the

seems evident that the upper

It

off.

hand held

right

the

left

a remarkable piece of sculpture

belonging to the Eajputana

Museum

The

work

sculptor has executed his

ed style and

at Ajmere.

in a very finish-

almost perfect in every

it is

Though

hands.

detail.

The second manner in which Dattatreya


Vishnu

tured

is

triple

nature

as

in the

is

sculp-

yoga posture, and his

indicated by the lanclihanas, the

is

characteristic emblems, the swan, the G-aruda

and

the bull, of the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and


Siva,

being carved on the pedestal,

padmasana. In the photograph


produced on

PI.

LXXIII, the

of

which

is

Dattatreya

figure of

re-

Vishnu may

be seen to have aujatd-inakuta on the head, and a

few jatas or ropes of matted hair also shown to be

hanging down from


are in

two

of the

it.

The chakra and the sanhha

hands, while his other two hands

yoga-vmdm

rest

upon the crossed

On

the prabhdvali the ten avatdras of Vishnu are

carved.

It

may

legs in the

also be noted that in the right

ear Dattatreya wears a sarpa-Jcimdala,


characteristic

of

pose.

Siva,

and

in the

left

which
ear

mahara-Jcundala, characteristic of Vishnu.


254

is

the

This

PLATE

Dattatreya

Stone

LXXIII.

Badamf.

[To face page 254.]

MINOR AVATAEAS

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

belongs to

of sculpture

piece

well be assigned to tbe later


is

a remarkably

and

is

the

philosophic

seems

Chalukya

period.

It

well finished piece of sculpture

very pleasing in

to

Badami and may

peace

have

been

its

effect

in exhibiting

and calmness which


intended

specially

it

to

convey.

LXXII,

Fig. 2, PI.

is

another illustration of

the same variety as the above, but here the image


is

a standing one.

hands the

It carries in its

sula,

the chaJiva, the liamandalu and perhaps the aksJia-

mala.

It

may

be noticed that the padma, the

Garuda and the bull, the characteristic emblems of


Brahma, Vishnu and Siva respectively, are carved

On

on the pedestal.

which appear

to be

either side stand a few figures

some devotees.

The third way, which is evidently a more


modern way, in which Dattatreya is represented
is

as a

human

being with three heads and four

arms, and as attended by four dogs of

diiiferent

colours, said to represent the four Yedas,

and also

by a

bull.

It

may

be

said

here

that

the

Vishnu-

(IharmoUara lays down that Dattatreya should be


sculptured

almost

exactly

like

Valmiki.

The

Eupamandana gives the description of Dattatreya


under the name of Hari-Hara-Pitamaha. Accord255

HINDU lOONOGKAPHY.
the image of Hari-Hara-

ing to this authority,

Pitamaha should have four


single

faces, six hands,

body made to stand on

a pitlia.

and a

The

right

hands should carry the akshamala, the trUula, and


the gada, while the

hands should be made to

left

hold the Jcamandalu, the hliatvanga and the cliahra.

We

can easily recognise in these six

articles car-

the hands of Hari-Hara-Pitamaha,

ried in

that

the aJcshavzdla and the Jcamandalu are emblematic


of

Brahma, the

and the gada

cliah-a

and the trUula and the hliatvanga


idea

evidently

tion of

all

is

that Dattatreya

the three deities of the

although in a special sense he


of

Vishnu

is

of

Vishnu,

of Siva.
is

The

an incarna-

Hindu

trinity,

an incarnation

in particular.

Vaikuntha or Vaikunthanatha should have


Vaikuntha or
Vaikunthanatha.

Garuda.

In

Jchadga, the

and

^0*^^

faccs

g^^^^^

the

and eight hands, and be

^^^^

right

^^^

hands,

mythical
the

gada,

kite

the

bdna and the cliakra should be held

in the left hands, the sahhka, the JchetaJca, the

dhanus and the padma.

Of the four faces, the

front one facing the east should be that of a

man,

the one to the south should be that of Narasimha,

the one to the west that of a


to

the

north

should

woman, and the

be that

PL LXXV.)
256

of

Varaha.

face

(See

PLATE LXXY.

Yaikunfchanatha

Stone

Badami
[To face page

isG.]

MINOE AVATAEAS

&

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

This image of Vishnu

is

almost similar to

^^^' ^ Vaikuntha described above

Traiiokya-

mohana.

^j.

gj^Q^}^

made to ride on the back of Garuda.


number of hands are to be sixteen in

But the

be

right

hands are

and

four faccs

g^\^Q }xg^Ye

six of the

to be placed respectively the gada,

the chalra, the aiiJcusa, the bana, the saMi and the

chakra

the seventh right hand

(/) ;

varada pose
placed

in seven of the left

dhanus, the saiilha,

and the
and

left

hand

The

pose.
of

sriiiqa (a

to be in the

hands should be

mudgara,

the

similarly

is

horn)

the remaining right hand

yoga-mudra

are to be held in the

faces should be in order those of a

Narasimha,

of

Ananta has

Varaha and

man,

of Kapila.

several forms

be

the

the ^^asa,

the padma, the hamandaUi

and

is

conceived to

endowed with almost

the

all

Ananta.

divme powers
of this deity

faces,

{safitis).

The image

should have twelve hands and four

and should be seated upon Garuda.

One

of

the right hands should be in the varada pose, and

the

remaining

five

should carry

khadga, the chakra, the


the

left

the pdha.

in

dhanus, the padma, the danda and

The image

of

Vishnu conceived as the

Being should not be confounded with the


257

33

and the anknsa

the

hands should be held the sahklia, the

Jchetaka, the

Infinite

vaj7'a

the gada,

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
serpent Ananta, forming an accessory to certain

Vishnu images.
This conception

of

Vishnu should
which are

four faces,

have

also

the

be

to

Visvaiaipa.

same
natha

as in the case of Vaikuntha-

and Visvarupa also should be

The image

upon Garuda.

have twenty arms

ponding

to ride

Visvarupa should

of

one right hand and the corres-

hand should be held outstretched

left

pataJr-a-hasta

ijiad(^

another of the right hands and

corresponding

left

niudrZi

lu

pose.

hand should be
seven

of

as
its

in the

ijdga-

the remaining

right

hands should be hold respectively the hala, the


sanl-ha, the rajra, the aiih/sa, the bana, the chaln-a

and a lime

and the tenth right hand should

fruit,

be in the carada pose.

In the

hands should

left

be held the danda, the pTisa, the gada, the IJiadga,


padDia,

the

the ifiiiga,

As the name

Vishnu

Lakshmi-Naray*""*'

pany

goddess
right

indicates,

hand

made

In her

to

left

and the

Lakshmi-Narayana
Narayana

left of

whose

left

in the

is

com-

Lakshmi. The
the god.

of the goddess should be

the neck of Narayana,

waist.

mnsain

of the goddess

generally on the

is

should be

as

the

The

thrown round

hand

in

turn

embrace the goddess round her


hand Lakshmi should hold a
258

PLATE

liXXYI.

Lakshmi-Narayana

[To face page 259.]

Stone

Belur.

MINOE AVATARAS
lotus.

The

of Siddhi,

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

naturally beautiful and youthful figure

decorated with ornaments, should stand

near Lakshmi and Narayana with a chamara in


her hand.

Below and

slightly to the right should

The Ayudha-purushas

be the image of Garuda.

representing the sankJia and cliakra should also be

made

to

stand by the side of Vishnu.

In front

there should be seated the two upasakas or worship-

pers

Brahma and Siva with their


The former of
required anjali pose.

consisting of

hands in the

these divine worshippers of Yishnu should wear a

broad belt round the waist, and the latter should

wear the yoga-faUn and carry a

Lakshml-Narayana group

of

skull.

Such

is

the

images as described in

Sanskrit authorities.

The
here (PI.

illustration of

LXXVI)

Lakshmi-Narayana given

represents a piece of sculpture

found in the Kappe-Chenigaraya's temple at Belur.

Here Vishnu has


the

left side

his consort

of his

lap

and

hand, embracing Lakshmi.

is,

Lakshmi seated on
with his lower

left

Instead of the weapons

being represented by their personified forms, as


required by the Visvakarma-sastra, they are worked

out

as

wearing
in hand,
is

actual
all

weapons.

The goddess

Siddhi,

her ornaments, stands with a cliamara

to the left of

Lakshmi-Narayana.

also another female figure holding a


259

There

sword and a

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
shield in her hands,

whose significance

and a highly ornamented vessel,


is

not quite clear.

In the Devl-Bliagavata

it

is

stated that

Eakshasa named Hayagriva, havHayagriva.

^^

ing received boons similar to those


received by Hiranyakasipu, that he should not be
assailable

man

by

to the gods.

The gods thereupon went

and implored her


directed

or beast, began to give trouble

them

to the

Devi

aid.

This all-powerful goddess

to go to

Vishnu and request him to

be born upon earth with the face of a horse and


the body of a

man and

kill

The

the Eakshasa.

gods prayed to Vishnu accordingly; and pleased with


their prayer,

half -horse
griva,

Vishnu became incarnated in a form,

and half-man and hence known as Haya-

and destroyed the

The god Hayagriva

is

Eakshasa Hayagriva.

looked upon as the god of

his functions are similar to those


*
are attributed to the goddess Sarasvati.

learning

The VisJinudharmdttara

gives the following

description of the image of Hayagriva.


of

The

feet

Hayagriva should be placed in the outstretched

palms
of

which

of the

goddess of Earth.

The complexion

Hayagriva should be white and the colour

260

of

PLATE

liXXVII.

Hayagrfva

[To face page 261.]

Stone: Nuggehalli.

MINOR AVATARAS

&

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.
Hayagriva should

the cloth worn should be blue.

have the face of a horse and possess eight arms

in four of the hands he should carry the ankha,

imdma

the chakra, the gada, and the

four hands should be placed

The remaining
the heads of

The

Vedas.

the personified
figure of

forms

upon

the four

of

Hayagriva should be duly


This aspect of Vishnu

adorned with ornaments.


is

respectively.

believed to be specially related to

Samkarshana

in the Sakti-maya-iijuha.

The

XXVII

illustration

is

of

Hayagriva given on

PI.

the representation of an image found in

The

the temple at Nuggehalli.

below the image informs us that

The other

by Malitamma.

engraved

label

it

was sculptured

short inscription on the

pedestal tells us that the figure

is

that of Hayagriva.

As required by the Sanskrit

authorities the figure

has eight hands

carry the gada, hana,

chakra,

padma
is

khadga,

but they

all

saiikha,

respectively.

khetaka,

Below the

dhanus,

feet of

and

Hayagriva

shown, as lying in an abject condition, a Kakshasa

carrying a sword and a shield, who, of course,

is

the Hayagriva Eakshasa defeated and thrown down.


Adimijrti

is

a seated figure, sitting

upon the

Adisesha, with the right


^
leg hanging and the left one folded
serpent

Adimurti.

and resting upon the

seat.

261

The

colour of the

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
figure is coral-rod

dooorated witli

it is

orna-

lUl

Tim imago ha.s four liamls. One of llio


right hands rowts upon the woat, and a lofL liaml is
stretched out upon the loft kiioo.
The roiuainiug
ments.

two hands carry the rhakra and the


hood

may havo

AdiSSsha

of

heads and
slightly

Llu)

il

'I'lio

live or

Kovim

oiLlior

should bo so soulpturod iw to
LIm

of

/n'lUd.

On

image.

sage Biirif^u, and on

side the

.hmk/ia.

tlio

the

rif^ht

the

loft

liiilo

hh.|^o

Markandelya, are figured as kuooliiig on ono knee.

The

figures of

Braluna and 6iva are shown

prayerful aLLiLudo

(^n

the

rij^hL

on

PI.

and

lofL

in

roH|)(!ot-

ivoly of Adimurti.

The

illustration

reproduction of

lite

Adimurti to be found

In

LXXVJTI,

photograph of
in

on the serpent AdiwuHha uudur

and
is

routing

stretched out on iho

the imago

hand

in

is let

loft

hood

'I'lio

body

is

lofL log

coiled
foldod

Tho

right log of

luid the

right front

l<ru)o.

down hanging

noon Hoatod

his loft front iuuul

seen resting upon tho serpent soat.

ankha and the chahm are held


right

its

Adimrirti lias his

upon the seat and

in

back hands

and on the right

respo(;Livoly.
is

of

Isln{.;'gohn,!!i.

a Lroo.

of Adi^esha has seven heads and

into three turns.

imago

n,\\

tho tenipio at

this piece of sculpture AdinjiirLi

Lho

iw

in

the

IJolow

'i'ho

loft

and

tho soat

tho flguro of Garu^a

in

tho

PLATE LXXYIII.

;f^;

i(^H

Mr

Adimurfci

Stone

.-

-V.

Nuggehalli.

[To face page 262.]

MINOR AVATARAS

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

alWidsana posture with

On

anjali pose.

the

are the figures of

left

and Siva also standing


There

another

is

Brahma and Siva


vi'hom

The

represents.

it

decorated with

all

is

those

of

broken and in

its

guess as to

to

figure of

Adimurti

ornaments which are carved

Under the

a very elaborate manner.


inscription

Brahma
attitude.

front of

difficult

is

it

in

head

its

reverential

in

figure

condition

present

hands folded in the

its

seat

is

in

an

is

which informs us that the image was

Nandi already men-

sculptured by Baichoja of
tioned.

This aspect

of

Vishnu

is

the one conceived

assumed by him

to be

at the

end

Jalasayin.

of the iuaha-pralaya or the great

The Jalasayin

deluge of universal dissolution.

an image

Vishnu shown

to be lying in the midst

waters, resting on the Adisesha, his serpent-

of

The

couch.
of

of

is

top of the head of Vishnu

discernment on account

proceeding

from

the

of the excess of lustre

jewels

fourths of the body of Vishnu


it,

difficult

on

the

heads

of

In reclining upon the serpent, three-

Adisesha.

upon

is

is

made

to lie flat

and the remaining fourth towards the

head

is

this

image

slightly lifted
of

up and

Vishnu

Lakshmi and the other

inclined.

rests
is

upon

One
the

leg of

lap

of

somewhat bent and then

263

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
thrown upon the other
is

One arm

leg.

stretched along the body so as

hand reach the


ing to

from the navel

of

Vishnu

two other hands

On

grasp the santana-vianjaii.

the lotus sprung

seated

is

creating god, and adhering to

of

rounding

Brahma, the

its stalk

demons Madhu and Kaitabha.


weapons

make the

to

navel, while the other correspond-

supports the head

it

of Jalasayin

are the

The

two

personified

shown on Adisesha surVishnu. In some instances

Vishnu are

the figure of

all

the figures of the ten avataras of Vishnu are required


to be carved above the reclining figure of

Jalasayin.

ception of

to

compare

God brooding upon

of

with

that

this con-

the waters of the

Vata-patra-sayin,

of

on a banyan

the infant

leaf in the chaotic

the dissolved cosmos, assuring, as


dissolution of the
its

Vishnu-

chaos at the time of universal dissolution

ocean

floating

It is interesting

cosmos

is

it

god

waters of

were, that the

in fact the infancy of

evolution.

The drawing

of Jalasayin

on

PI.

LXXIX,

is

that of the image of this god found in the central


shrine of the

Vishnu temple found

the village of Halebidu.


that

Lakshmi

is,

authorities, seated

what appears

as

In this
required

in the middle of

it

in

may

be noticed

the

Sanskrit

near the feet of Vishnu, while

to be the figure of
264

Bhumidevi

is

seen

PLATE LXXIX,

cc

[To fane page 264.]

MINOR AVATARAS

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU

&

One

seated near the head.

Jalasayin

of

The weapons

held in the kataJca pose.

is

hands

of the left

are not represented in this case as their personifi-

In the

cations, but are treated as actual weapons.

corner near the head of Vishnu


seated with crossed legs

who

sage Markandeya,

it

appears to represent the

reputed to be immortal

is

Above the

even at the time of the deluge.


of the reclining Jalasayin

avataras of

Vishnu

mandana *

it

fish

is

Matsya

avatdirifi,

by a

and a

as

a small figure

is

figure

are sculptured the ten

described in

interesting

note that the

to

and Kurma,

the Eupa-

are

tortoise respectively,

represented

and the incar-

Buddha is shown as a Dhyani-Buddha and


Kalkyavatara is shown as a man riding a horse.

nation of
the

Near the

foot

of

Vishnu stands what

is

evidently

the figure of Garuda with hands held in the anjali


pose.

Dharma

is

one of the
Vishnu.
"

Dharma.

minor avataras

It is said in the

Brihad'

-i-,

of

dharma-jjurana that Brahma, as


soon as he created the universe, was looking for

some one

his right side


oar, a

Then there sprang from


Being who wore hundalas in his

to protect

it.

garland of white flowers round his neck and

white sandal paste on his body


* ^^r^cTR^fg^fr^^r^q^ ^r^S^jftssTfr

265
34

he had four legs


(Rupamandana)

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
and resembled a

Brahma

called

Dharma.

asked him to be his

and protect the universe created by him-

Dharma

self.

Dharma and

called

eldest son

He was

bull.

said to have possessed four legs

is

in the Kritayuga, three in

the Tretayuga, two in

the Dvaparayuga and only one in the Kali or the

The limbs

present yuga.

satya, (truthfulness),

ness)

of

Dharma

daya (mercy), santi (peaceful-

The Sanskrit word

and ahimsa (kindness).

vrisha

are said to be

means dharma

which

as also a bull, a fact

seems to have induced the imaginative Hindu

Dharma with

associate

a bull.

Aditya-purdna the figure

Dharma

of

to

According to the
should be

white in colour and have four faces, four arms and


four legs, be clothed in white garments and be

adorned with

ornaments, should carry in one of

all

the right hands the

hand being made

akshamdld, the other right

to rest

upon the head

personified form of vyavasdya (industry).

the

left

left

on the head

hand should carry a


good looking

of a

story of

varadaraja or
Karivarada.

One

of

lotus and placed

bull.

Vishnu delivering Gajendra, the

lo^d of elephants, from


^f

Bhdgavata-purdna.
on the

the

hands should keep a pustaha and the

remaining

The

of

mountain

crocodile

is

given

the grip
in

the

In the garden of Ritumat,


Trikuta, which
266

is

surrounded

MINOR AVATARAS
by the ocean

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

there

of milk,

a tank, to which

is

Gajendra, the lord of the elephants, repaired one

day to allay

As soon

its thirst.

as

got

it

down

into

the water, a crocodile caught hold of one of the

For a long time the elephant

legs of the elephant.

struggled to liberate itself from the crocodile, but

At

was unsuccessful.
its

trunk

it

last,

with a lotus flower in

began to praise Vishnu and so bePleased with the prayers of the

sought his help.


elephant, Vishnu,

riding

upon the shoulders

Garuda, appeared on the scene at once and

of

killed

the crocodile with his chakra and saved Gajendra.


It is said that

Gajendra was a Pandya king named

Indradyumna

in his

former birth, and became an

elephant on account of a curse which was pro-

nounced against him by Agastya, to

whom

the

king did not pay sufficient respect at the time the


sage

came

This king became free

to see him.

of his elephantine condition of existence

the touch of Vishnu

and as a reward

now

through

for his

good

deeds in the previous birth, be was received by

Vishnu

The

to be

crocodile

Hahu

one

of his

was

parishadas or body-guards.

in reality a

in its past birth,

gandharva named

and had been cursed by the

sage Devala to become a crocodile.

Varadaraja

means King among Boon-bestowers and Vishnu is


80 called because he saved and bestowed boons
;

267

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
upon Gajendra.
is

As

a deliverer of Gajendra,

praised in several places in the Divya-prabandha

of the

Srivaishnava saints of Southern India and

the temple of Varadaraja at Kafichi

most famous Vaishnava temples


enough

PL

is

in

one of the

the Madras

Sculptures of this deity are

Presidency.

is

Vishnu

Southern Presidency.

this

in

common

LXXX is from the Mysore State.

Fig.

1,

Here Vishnu

seen riding on the shoulders of Glaruda, with the

which

chaJcra in his back right hand,

the saoiJcha in the back


the front

left

The

hand.

hand, the

left

up,

is lifted

padma

in

hand, and the gada in the front right

uplifted

hand

is

supposed to be in the

act of hurling the chahra against the

crocodile

which has caught hold

elephant

The

of the leg of the


rest

upon the opened

out palms of the hands of Garuda.

Below Garuda

Gajendra.

is

feet of

to be found

Vishnu with

the afflicted

its

apprehending with

On

Gajendra praying

trunk carrying a lotus in

The

kept uplifted.

Gajendra.

Vishnu

its

it

figure of the crocodile is


its

to

and
seen

powerful teeth the leg of

back

is

seen sculptured the

Vishnu and a human

figure seated with

crossed-legs

and with the hands

in the anjali pose.

The chahra

is

chalcra of

dile to
dile

sculptured on the back of the croco-

convey the idea that

and that the human


268

it

has killed the croco-

figure

represents

the

PLATE LXXX.

il-'ii;.

1.1

Kari-A'ai'ada:

Stone

li'ig. 2.)

Varadaraja

Stone: Deadikkombu.

Mysore Province.
[To face page 268.]

MINOR AVATARAS

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

who was relieved from his existence as


The water of the tank is shown in
a crocodile.
the conventional way by means of wavy lines.
The second figure on the same plate represents
Grandharva

a piece of sculpture to be found in the Varadaraja-

svamin temple
of

at

Dadikkombu.

In this the figure

Gajendra and the crocodile are not shown

Vishnu

is

seated upon Garuda,

who

seated in

is

the alidhasana, and bearing in his palms the feet


of

Vishnu.

The

figure

hands carrying

eight

of

Vishnu,

has

the

respectively

here

chakra,

gada, khadga, khetaha, dhaniis, bana and

saiiklia,

padiiia.

The temple

of

Varadaraja at Conjeevaram

one

is

of

the three

important

Bauganatha,

Vishnu temples
the

other

two being

those

of

of

South India,

Eahganatha

Srirahgam and Vehkatesa at Tirupati.


three temples above mentioned that of
is

at

Of the

Eahganatha

the most sacred to the Srivaishnavas and

is

known

to

them by the distinguished name

temple

'.

This temple appears to have come to

occupy
great

this foremost

antiquity

and

of

'

position on account of
historical

association

the

its

with

The

famous Srivaishnava teachers and

saints.

god Eanganatha

Yogasayana-

is

pf the type of the

murti already described.


269

HINDU lOONOGBAPHY.
known to
North Indian Hindus by the name

The god Venkatesa, who

better

is

has his temple on the top

of Balaji,

Various are the opinions re-

of the Tirupati hill.

garding this deity the Vaishnavas contend that the


:

god

Vishnu: the Saivas claim Venkatesa to be

is

Siva, or

Subrahmanya

while a third set of people

think that the Tirupati temple was originally a

Devi temple and was converted into a Vishnu temple at

some

The doubt

later period.

as to its being

a Saiva or a Vaishnava temple appears to be of a


long standing character, as

days

fact that in the

it

Eamanuja

of

threatened to take possession of

nuja succeeded in retaining

The

basis of the quarrel

evident from the

is

it

it

the Saivas

and that Eama-

for

the Vaishnavas.

between these two Hindu

sects appears to be due to the duplicate nature of

the image

itself,

which

famous Tamil

on the

hill at

Vengadam, which

found on the walls


to be a

Vishnu, and
of this

liarly'

In the

Vaishnava

fact that

is

all

Tirupati,

is

de-

the inscriptions

temple uniformly declare

The notion that it


Subrahmanya may be

shrine.

originally a temple of

due to the

as Harihara.

epic, the Sila/ppadigd.ram, the deity

finitely described as

was

described by one of the

Srivaishnava saints

early

it

is

it is

on a

hill,

a positiiou pecu-

assigped to Subi?ahmariy*a in this


270

p'art of

the

MINOE AVATAEAS

The image

country.

day that

Venkatesa

of

is

Siva and the

is,

left

Vishnu on the right forearm

is,

even to this

of Harihara, the right half, as usual, being

that of Hara, that


that

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

half of Hari,
is

to be seen

the bhuj'anga-valaya or the bangle of snake, an

ornament characteristic

Siva.

of

Venkatesa

is

standing image with four hands, the back two of

which carry the saiikha


other right hand

the remaining

the

held in the abhaya pose and

is

hand

left

and the chakra

(?)

is

made

upon

to rest

the hip.

The most famous Vishnu temple


Pandharinatha
or vithoba.
is

I^dia

The

Western

that of Pandharinatha or

is

The name

Vithoba.

Rukmabayi.

of

of his

goddess

following legend explains

how

Vithoba or Vithala happened to appear in Pandharipura.

A Brahmana named

on a pilgrimage
aged parents.

to

Pundali started out

Benares with his wife and his

On

the

way he paid

little

no

or

attention to his old father and mother but was


attention to his wife.

parents very

much

His conduct pained

at heart,

and

still

all

the

they followed

One day the party halted on


way for the night at Pandharipura in the house
of a Brahmana.
There Pundali noticed the deference shown by the host to his own parents and his
their son to Benares.

their

host's

superior

filial

feeling
271

made Pundali go

to

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
bed with a depressed heart.

On

rising early in the

morning, he noticed three very beautiful

women

doing domestic duties in the house of his Brah-

mana

host

Pundali approached them and ques-

They

replied that

they were the river goddesses Gahga,

Yamuna and

tioned

them who they

Sarasvati,

were.

who had come

house of that

to the

and

excellent householder, the host of Pundali,

the

saiiie

at

time asking him not to approach them,

because he was a sinner whose very presence they


detested.

Pundali

immediately

remorse for his past remissness

a shock

felt

matter

of

up the idea

of

in the

his duty towards his parents, gave

of

approaching by going to Benares the rivers Gahga,

Yamuna and

and

Sarasvati,

his parents then

and there

set himself to serve

in

an ideal manner.

Vishnu thereupon became pleased with the genuine


devotion of Pundali to his parents, appeared before

him and

blessed him.

appeared,

that

is

Vishnu,

It is this

enshrined in

who

so

temple at

the

Pandharipura.

The image
height

and

figure with
floor

is

of

Vithoba

made

of

two hands.

The two hands

about three feet in

stone.

The

and there are no bends

therefore to the

is

It

is

feet rest firmly

in the

body

samabhanga variety
rest

upon the hips


272

a standing

it

on the

belongs

of images.

the head

is

PLATE LXXXI.

Yitlhala and

Eakhmabavi.

[To (ace page 272

MINOR AVATAEAS

&

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.
which

adorned with a

Jcirlta

mark upon

(See PI.

it.

is

have a lingu

said to

LXXXI.)

Equally famous with the temples

of

Ranga-

natha in the south and Vithoba in


the west

the east

temple

is

of

peninsular

Jagannatha

is

all

This

India.

situated at Puri and

able pilgrims from


of

that of Jagannatha in

is

is

celebrated

by innumer-

visited

The temple

parts of India.

believed to have belonged to the

Buddhists at one time and to have been converted

Vishnu temple

into a
of

Jagannatha

is

at a later date.

an ill-shaped log

two big eyes marked on

Once

it

in twelve years the log

of

The image
wood with

prominently.

rather

renewed, the log

is

being every time brought mysteriously from some

unknown
image
is

of

land.

This

Jagannatha,

new

in

which some ancient

relic

considered to be embedded.

this relic

which

relic is believed

new image.

by some to be a
is

that

it

relic of
is

This

Buddha.

Krishna,

who

worshipped at Puri as Jagannatha or Lord

the

World
It is

of

company with his sister Subhadra.


said in the Mahabharata that Arjuna
in

Nara-Narayana
or Hari-Krisuna.

Narayana, two

^nd Krishna were


f^^^^^,
risliis

in

incamations
or

273
33

It is the insertion of

sanctifies the

The Hindu conception


is

carving a

is utilised for

sages

who

one of their

Nara
resided

and
in

HINDU lOONOGEAPHY.
Badari on the Himalayas performing severe
penances

gious

reli-

they were possessed of divine

powers and always lived and acted together.


the Vana-'parvan

stated by Siva that

it is

In

Nara

and Narayana were the most supreme among men


and that the world was being upheld by their

The

power.

greatness of Nara and Narayana

is

brought out by the defeat inflicted by them on

Dambodbhava as described in the Udyoga-parvan.


Dambodbhava was once ruling as a universal
sovereign and was

conceit and of the pride

full of

own power. He learnt that on the heights


of mount Q-andhamadana there were two very
great sages, Nara and Narayana, who were invinof his

He wanted

even to Indra.

cible

greatness

to

test,

to

put

their

went thither and challenged

They tried to avoid having to do


anything with him by telling him that they had
them

to fight.

divested themselves of
living in

an atmosphere

answer did not


sisted

on their

earthly passion and were

all

satisfy

of spiritual peace.

Dambodhava

accepting

Narayana took a handful


against

Dambodbhava,

him

to be

for his

humble

of

he

challenge.

still

rendered

in-

Then

grass and threw

which

once weak and powerless.

admonished him

his

This

him

it

at

Narayana afterwards

haughtiness and advised

in the
274

future

and

to

lead a

MINORlAVATAEAS & MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.


righteous

them.

Many

life.

such stories are

They probably

told

the inseparable

represent

association of love between the individual soul

the Supreme Soul, that

man and

between

is,

In the BMshma-imrvan, Narayana

who forms

the Being

Being

the

This Being

known.
as

the

highest

truth-

and Narayana
'

The most

and

of

are

further said to be

Purusha, but

as the

as

In the Santi-pavvan, Nara


concretely

excellent

risliis

thus

described

performing penance

surpassing splendour, bearing the srlvatsa

matted

wearing

footed

and web-armed, with the

chaJira

on their
four

grinders,

with

not

is

highest joy,

mark,

with

This

eternal.

celebrated by Visvakarman

is

power,

highest

the

is

and

the

as

praised as

Brahman and

This Being

hymned

is

God.

the

undiscernible

undecaying,

is

and

the highest mystery,

highest existence, the highest


highest renown.

of

circle

feet,

voices

sixty

mark

teeth

sonorous

countenances,

beautiful

web-

hair,

of

the

broad-chested, long-armed,

testicles,

with

of

handsome brows, chins and

as

and

eight

the clouds,

broad

foreheads,

noses, were beheld

by

Narada'.

The manner
Narayana

to

dliarmottara.

be

in

which the images

made

is

given in the

It is stated therein

275

of

Nara and
Vishnu

that the image

HINDU ICONOGBAPHY.
of

Nara should be

heads

should

it

of grass colour

be

made

to

and have two


look

powerful.

Narayana should possess four arms and be

of blue

Both of them should be seated under


a hadara tree. They should be clad in hrishnajina

complexion.

(deer-skin)

and wear the jata-mandalas.

might be seated

in a chariot

Or, they

having eight wheels,

with their legs crossed.

The image

of

Manmatha, who,

stated,

is

as

with

indentical

Maumatlia.

already

the

Pradyumna
vyuha, should, according to

276

of

the

SaMi-maya-

the Silparatna*

be

PliATE LXXXII.

o
03

P3

a
C3

s
,-a

rt.

a
c3

CM
oi

o-

^.

x\

,^ '^S;{^
^

^iC'"

CQ

M
.

a
a

00

[To laoe page 27

7.]

MINOE AVATARAS
made

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

bow

to carry a

The complexion
green or red

hand

of sugar-cane in the left

and to hold in the right hand

five flowery arrows.

Manmatha

of

should be either

and his beautiful form should be

adorned with appropriate ornaments and a closely

Vasantha, the personifica-

knit garland of flowers.

tion of the spring season, should be standing on one


side of

Manmatha

He

as his friend.

should be

adorned with various kinds of flowers and dressed in


the leaves of the adha tree
ear-rings

two pomegranate

he should have for his

flowers,

and round his

neck there should be a garland of the


flower.

On

the other side

of

Jcesara

Manmatha

there

should be the figure of his flag-bearer having the


face of a horse carrying the maTtara
flag-bearer
erotic

is

this

looked upon as the producer of the

feelings.

Besides these two

there should be on the right


his

banner

two goddesses

Priti

Love and Delight.

and

companions

left of

Manmatha

and Eati translatable

as

Of these the former should

have in her possession various kinds of well seasoned and tasteful articles of food and the latter
should appear to be anxiously forward to the com-

pany
of

of her lord.

Manmatha

There should also be by the side

a soft bed placed near a canal asso-

ciated with sarasa birds and running


fine pleasure garden.

277

through a

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
The Vishnudharmdttara* gives, however, a
According to
different description of Manmatha.

Manmatha

the image of

it,

should have eight

made

hands, four of which should be

and

clhanus

chaJcra,

hahJcha,

to carry the

while

bana,

the

remaining four should be placed on the bosoms of


four

his

highly beautiful

thoughts of love.

of

banner should be the

mouth

The images

LXXXII

on

Eati and

of

fig. 1,

and

period,

fig.

his

as carrying in its

represented as

and

characteristics.

as

shown

Manmatha
LXXXII and LXXXIII.

given on Pis.

same

fish

The emblem on

his five flowery arrows.

Four pictures

PI.

Priti,

His eyes should be expres-

Sakti and Mada-Sakti.


sive

Eati,

consorts

are

The

PI.

almost

%3^

^^i-

similar

in

2,

to the

their

piece of sculpture represented

LXXXII

atf!r^n

and

PL LXXXIII belong

belongs to the

salesvara temple at Halebidu.

^:

figs.

are

In this Manmatha

^i%#^5n%^r>^r

^:

"T^^rirg^ ^wi.
278

Hoy-

ii

PLATE LXXXIII.

<D

-4,'

00

>5

[To face page 278.]

MINOR AVATARAS
is

MANIFESTATION OF VISHNU.

&

seen standing with a bow of sugar-cane in his

hand and an arrow

To

the

left of

the right hand.

of flowers in

Manmatha

is

left

the figure of his wife

Eati holding a fruit in her right hand and a lotus

On

in the left hand.

the right of

Manmatha may

be seen his standard-bearer holding with both of


his

Hindu god

of

note that the flag-bearer

is

hands the banner peculiar


It is

love.

worthy

of

to this

found in the Halebidu sculpture and in none

of

them

The photograph reproduced as


2 on PI. LXXXII is that of an image of Manmatha found in Angur in the Bellary district of the
Madras Presidency, and the photograph marked

is

Vasanta shown.

fig.

fig.

1,

PI.

LXXXIII

Native State
fig.

be

'2

of

on PL

belongs to Nuggehalli in the

The

Mysore.

LXXXIII

picture

like all the

has four hands, in

temple

at

other pieces of sculpture

of that temple, belongs to the latter

(15th Century A.D.).

as

an image to

represents

found in the Visvanathasvamin

Tenkasi and

shown

Manmatha
three of

Pandya period

in this sculpture

which he holds

his

flowery arrows and in the fourth carries the sugar-

cane bow.

The manner

of the

moustaches, the

long conical head-gear and other ornaments are


characteristic of the sculpture of this period and of

the part of the country to which the image belongs.

279

GARUDA AND AYUDHAPURUSHAS.

36

GARUDA AND AYUDHA-PURUSHAS.

THE

following

is

summary

of the

account

found in the MaJidbharata about Garuda,


the bird-vehicle of Vishnu.

Garuda was born

to

Kasyapa and Vinata and was the


Garuda.

younger

brother

charioteer of the sun-god Surya.

of

Aruna,

the

When Garuda first

came out of the egg, the gods mistook him for Agni
and praised him and prevailed upon him to diminish
his splendour and glory a little. Bearing Aruna on
his back, Garuda went from his father's home to
where his mother was, and there learnt that she was
held in slavery by his father's other wife Kadrii. The
sons of Kadru who were all snakes promised to free
Vinata, if Garuda managed to bring for their use
the ambrosia of the gods from their celestial world.

Gai'uda started

out at

once on this mission of

securing the ambrosia for his step-brothers, and on


his

way

lived

upon the Nishadas.

When

he ap-

proached the lake called Alamba, he caught there


283

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
an elephant named Supratika and a

tortoise

named

Vibhavasu, and seizing both of them in his talons,


he alighted upon a large banyan
of the tree could not bear the

On this branch were

tree.

The branch

weight and gave way.

the rishis Valakhilyas suspend-

ed with their head downwards and doing penance.

Fearing he would cause the death

Garuda himself held up and


the

hermitage

his

of

of these sages,

carried the branch to

There

Kasyapa.

father

Kasyapa exhorted the Valakhilyas

to quit that tree-

They quitted it, and G-aruda then threw


down the branch and made a hearty meal of the
branch.

two animals

the elephant and the tortoise.

he proceeded to the capital


the gods

and

after a

Then

of Indra, the chief of

hard fight there with the ap-

pointed guards of the pot of ambrosia succeeded in

away from

taking
amrita.

their

On the way from

possession

the pot

of

the world of the gods he

met Vishnu, and promised to serve him as his


vehicle and

as the

also

Garuda thus brought to

device on
his

Kadru

set

On

Vinata

banner.

step-brothers,

snakes, the pot of ambrosia and placed


of kusa grass.

his

it

the

on a heap

seeing this, the snake-sons of

free,

and went

to attend to the

religious rites preparatory to their partaking of the

ambrosia.

Meanwhile Indra came and took away

his pot of amrita.

The snakes
284

returned, and were

GARUDA AND AYUDHA-PUEUSHA8.


disappointed at the disappearance of the

much

co-

veted pot of ambrosia, and licked the grass upon

The sharp edges

which that pot had been placed.

came

Thereby the

to possess split tongues.

became

grass also

was placed upon


kite

and the snakes

grass cleft their tongues,

of the

sacred, because the pot of amrita


it

by Garuda.

with Vishnu,

associated

This mythical

the sun,

represents

really

Tcusa

who

and

is

solar

is

therefore

god

in

origin.

The image
of the

be

of

Graruda should have the colour

emerald, and the beak and the legs should

made

to

should be

resemble those of a

roundish,

and the image should have

arms and possess also a pair

four

wiags

The eyes

kite.

of golden yellow colour

of powerful

and bright

lustre.

In

one of the hands there should be held an umbrella

and

in another the pot of

amrita the two remain;

ing hands are to be in the anjali pose.

Garuda

should be fashioned with a flabby belly.

Such

is

evidently the description of the image of Garuda,

when he
Vishnu.

is

sculptured independently as apart from

When

the

image

is

associated

with

Vishnu, the two hands, carrying respectively the


pot of ambrosia and the umbrella,
engaf^ed in supporting
astride

on the shoulders

should both be

the feet of Vishnu,


of

285

Garuda.

riding

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
The Silparatna

different

According to one descrip-

descriptions of Garuda.

have the golden yellow

the iroage should

tion

somewhat

gives two

colour from the feet to the knees, should be snow-

white from the knees to the navel, scarlet from the


navel to the neck and
the head
blue

jet

black from the neck to

the eyes should be yellow and the beak

there

must be

a terrific look in the eyes of

Garuda, and he should have only two hands one

which

is

abhaya pose.

to be in the

description,

the

Silparatna

of

In the other

states

that

Graruda

should have eight hands in six of which he should


be carrying respectively the pot of ambrosia, the
gacld,

the saiiJiha, the cliahra, the sword and a

snake.

Nothing

said of the

is

two other hands.

Instances of Garudas of this description have not

been met with in actual sculptures.

Yet another description


in the 8rl-tatva-nidhi.

of

Garuda

Therein

is

it

Garuda should be kneeling on his

left

that his crown should be adorned

His

legs

and knees should be made

should possess the face and body of


but his

nose

prominently.
held in

the

should

He

be raised

pose.

description of the image of


286

met with

stated that
knee, and

with snakes.

stout.

Garuda

human

beings,

and

pointed

should have only

anjali

is

two hands

Obviously this

Garuda

is

as found set

the

up

PLATE

liXXXIV,

a
o

m
c3

tTo face page 287.

GAEUDA AND AYUDHAPURUSHAS.


generally in front of the central shrine in Vishnu

temples.

Of the two illustrations

LXXXIV

Pis.

and

in the rock-cut cave

front gable

wood,

is

LXXXA^

the

Garuda has a

found

is

carved in

addition to these, the

and

is

In both the

in-

beak-like nose, round eyes,

two outstretched wings and a


belly

is

preserved in the Siva temple at Palur in

the Native State of Travancore.

stances

first

Xo. Ill at Badami cawed on the

second one, which

the

Garuda given on

of

Badami

pair of

In

arms.

sculpture has a flabby

hand a snake,

seen holding in his right

and wearing various ornaments. The Palur Garuda


is

one

of the finest

Malabar country

specimens
it is

less

of

than two centuries

It is seen carrying in the right

Supratika, one of whose legs


talons of Garuda.

In the

be seen the tortoise


this
is

image

of

Garuda

carved so as to be

wood-carving of the

left

old.

hand the elephant


is

hand

Vibhavasu

between the

held

of

Garuda

the

left

is

to

wing

of

The Palur Garuda


hung on the ceiling by means
lost.

is

of a chain.

The various weapons and emblems, such


vajra,
triiiila,

saktl,

dantla, kJiadga, pdsa,

padma,

generally

cJiakra

as

aiihuka, gada,

and dhvaja,

which are

found in the hands of the images of

Vishnu, Siva, and the other gods, are personified


287

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
under the name of Ayudha-purushas and are also
Ayudha-puru^^^^'

Concretised

them

some

females

Vajra, the

the AnJaisa, the Pasa, the

Khadga and

a personified

the

Padma

Ayudha

Danda

gada

is

males,

as

For

in-

the

and

The

as eunuchs.

sex

however determined

is

Thus, the gender

Sula,

as males

merely with reference to the gender


Sanskrit.

of

and the Gada are worked out as

the GhaJira and the


of

represented

are

Some

images.

and some as eunuchs.

as females

stance, the 8aJiti

as

of the

of its

name

in

words saMi and

the feminine, hence the Ayudha-purushas

representing

them

words chaJcra and

are to be females

padma

similarly, the

are in the neuter gender,

and the weapons denoted by them are consequently


represented as eunuchs.

In the same way vajra

and the other words mentioned above are

in the

masculine gender and the corresponding Ayudha-

purushas are sculptured as males.

It is required

that the Ayudha-purushas should be

made

ing to the ashta-tala measure,

accord-

that they should

each have only one face with a pair of eyes,


the head should be

that

adorned with the Jcaranda-

viahuta and that each of them should have only

two hands held over the chest

When
cular

their

in the anjali

pose.

hands are in the anjali pose the

parti-

emblem

or

weapon which each


288

of

them

is

PLATE LXXXY.

J3

'2

-t^.

[To face page 288.]

GARUDA AND AYUDHA-PURUSHAS.


intended to represent,

on the head

shown over the crown worn

is

weapon

otherwise, the

emblem

or

is

placed between the hands.

The Sakti has


a female figure
ed

male

should be of red colour and seat-

it

upon a vrtha

to be, as has already been stated

The Danda

or wolf.

to

is

be a

with red eyes and a fearful

of black colour,

The Khadga should be a male figure of dark


The Paka should be
complexion and angry look.
male
snake
sculptured as a
with seven hoods. The

look.

Dhvaja should be a sturdy looking male


complexion with the mouth wide open.
should be a female
large glutials

she must
ed

of yellow

The Gada

yellow colour with

figure of

the Vislinitdhanndttara

says

have a slender waist, and be adorn-

with various ornaments

vhamara

her

hands.

hand

of

Vishnu should be made

head

of

in

The

Gada.

be

made

The

right

she should

to carry

Trishla

has

to

touch the

to be

looking black complexioned male, with

The ^ahkha should

brows.

like

the

the hatchet
sling

The Bana has

to

t)e

for

is

a good-

handsome

be lepresented as a

white male figure with pretty eyes.

weapon
Bhindi

that

The Heti

female, while the

throwing stones,

is

a male.

a male figure with a red body

and with good looking eyes; the Vaihhaitasagama


states that the

Bana

is

napiimsaka
289

37

eunuch

HINDU ICONOGEAPHY.
and should be

of black

complexion with three eyes,

should be draped in white clothes and capable of


of

the sea.

or vehicle of this personified

weapon

producing the fearful noise

Vaiju,

and

its

banner

an actual arrow on

Bana, whatever

it

is

the feather.

means,

is

It

The

head.

its

The

valiana

the wind,

must carry

birth star of

given as the Sata-

is

month Mdgha and its


to be sa. The personified Dlianiis
carrying a stringed bow on her

bhishang-nalsJiatra in the
hijahsliara is said
is

a female figure

head

her complexion should have the red colour

Chohra

of the lotus.

is

described in the Vishnu-

liJtarinditara as a

male figure with round eyes and

a drooping belly

this

image

of

Ghahra should be

adorned with various ornaments and should carry


a eliaviara.

that

oriito

Vishnu

made

It

it

is

should be sculptured so as to indievincing a desire to

and the

to rest

left

hand

upon the head

is

found in

all

Vishnu should be

of the CliaJiva-imrusha.

Another characteristic
which

of

gaze upon

form

of

the

Clial'ra

important Vishnu temples

In

Sudarsana-cliah'u-

called

the

known

as Chalnxittalrar.

This

is

Tamil

it

is
is

occasionally set

up as a main image

in a shrine attached to certain

Vaishnava temples.

It is in outline a chal-ra of the

ordinary non-personified form with a fearful figure


of

Vishnu with eight hands


290

in a

standing posture

GARL'DA AND AYUDHA-PURUSHAS.


occupying the interior of a shat-kona-chakra consisting of

two interlacing

the reverse there


seated on

tri-kona-rhakra,

On

equilateral triangles.

the figure of a Yoga-Narasiihha,

is

that

an

on

is.

equilateral triangle with its apex pointing to the

(See

fig. 2,

PI.

description

of

top.

The

Silpamtna

as

is

LXXXV

and

PI.

LXXXVI.)

Sudarsana as given in the


follows

Vishnu* should have

: " The

Chakra-rupi

hands the

in his

cliakra, the

gada, the iiraga (a snake), the padma, the musala,

He

the travisa, the pasa and the ankiisa.

should

have his hair standing out in twenty jatas or plaits

which are

the flames of the flaming god of

like

His hody should be resplendent as the sun

fire.

and

should

universe.

enlighten

He

the

all

should have a

should have clearly

face

visible
of

the

of

and the

terrific look,

According to another description


obverse should exhibit the

quarters

curved

tusks.

Sudarsana, the

Vishnu,

terrific figure of

with sixteen hands, holding the weapons cliakra,


'

The Ahirbudhnya-samhita

ne:ss of

the Sudarsana-chakra

the original
accord,

of

the

in

it

Sudarsana

thought of Para-brahman

conceived the idea

thus bringing

deals largely with the great-

into

Supreme Being

expanding

of

existence

when

the

which

Sudarsana.

291

is

universe,

defined as

is

it,

of its

into

space and

This

indestructible

own

thought
is

called

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
sankJia, dhanus, parasu, asi* (a sword), bana, sula,

paia, ahkuka, agni, khadga,

He

gada and hunta.

and

on

the hair

Tthetalta,

hala, musala,

should have fearful tusks

head

his

should

sented as shining and highly towering.


possess

three

be

repre-

He

should

eyes and have a golden

coloured

body, resting on the back of a shat-hona-chaJcra.

On

the

Nrisimha

should be the figure of

there

reverse

in the yoga attitude, with his

hands resting upon the knees, the bent


In the back pair

crossed in front.

of

two front
legs being

hands he

should be holding the chahra,

and the

He

and be surround-

should be bright like the

ed by streams of flames.
kasipu should

fire

This

killer of

have brightly

sahJeha.

Hiranya-

resplendent

nails.

His three eyes are the sun, the moon and the
he should have a

brilliant

tongue and also very

bright tusks which strike terror into the

the wicked

and

fire

his hair should be like

mind

of

flaming

fire.

This Sudarsana-chakra
troyer of the

is

praised as the des-

enemies

life of all

ripu-jana prana-

The weapons described above


a symbolic meaning underlying them.

samhara-chah'a'm.

have

all

* Vajra

according

to

the

appears to be correct.

292

Pancharatrdgama

which

GARUDA AND AYUDHA-PURUSHAS.


This meaning

described in several

variously

is

For instance, the Vishnu-purana

Sanskrit works.

says that thegada represents the

ahahkaia viewed

relation

in

(in

the material

aspect)

(mind) and

its

changeability

is

chakra, which

is

besides an

symbolises

bd7ia

the

The

jnanendriyas.

it

is

emblem

khadga

represents

kept

sonally bodiless assumes a

is

ously to

denote

that the

the

emblematic
scabbard

the

of

in-

though per-

and

for the sake

idea intended

powers

nature are in fact the powers of

Lord

and

auidtja (ignorance).

body

The

The

of power.

lord of the indriijas, Hrishikesa,

benefit of his creatures.

the niana-s

haiimndiiyaa

asi or

bliTita-

represented by the

vldya (spiritual wisdom) while

which

the

to

tanmatras

The

principle

buddhi and the sahkha indicates the prin-

called
ciple

Sahkhya

is

obvi-

of prakrifi

God who

is

or

the

of Nature.

The Kamikagavia and

following

the other Saivagamas attach

it,

some

of

the following signi-

ficance to the various ayudJias of ^iva

the trikula

indicates the three giinas of prakriti respectively


called safca, rajan

sents Siva's divine strength

khadga, his valour


iakti or

power

the vahni

is

The parasu

and tamas.

and power

the vahni

of destruction

(fire)

{akti), the

his

samMra-

this last one,

further conceived to destroy


293

repre-

namely,
all

pdsaa

HINDU ICONOGRAPHY.
and attachments, and

or bonds

emblematic
after the

of

bonds

and sorrow are broken

of sin

The nagas serving

body show the fortitude

his

the

also

which comes

enlightenment

the

under and destroyed.

ments on

consequently

is

inviolability

mandments and

laws.

of

viclhi,

or

The pMa, which

as-

as orna-

of Siva as

com-

his

a three-

is

fold cord or rope, indicates the threefold

bondage

maya and
of work, delusion and impurity. The
is the symbol of sound looked upon

of incarnated life consisting of Tcarma,

mala, that

ghanta

is,

(bell)

and

is

indicative

which

is

his mystic

as the original cause of creation,


of the

mantra-svampa

The

sound-form.

of Siva,

ankiisa stands for the selective

what

atman
In the Saivagamas the weapons and
as soul.
emblems of Siva are made to convey the same
faculty in choosing

is

fundamental conception

emblems

of

Vishnu do

enjoyable for the

the

as
in

weapons

namely, that Siva, as the Lord of Nature,


wielder of his

own powers

and

the Vaishnavagamas,

as well as of the

is

the

powers

of Prakriti.

Bhaskararaya in his commentary on the Lalitasahasranama, explains in his own way the symbolic

meaning underlying the pdsa, the ankusa

and other weapons and emblems which are usually


carried by the goddess Sakti^
294

who

herself

symbo-

GARL'DA AND AYUDHA-PURUSHAS.


Uses Nature or prah-iU as
Sanskrit.

He

course

of

they would say in

quotes

authorities

favour of the

explanation he gives

what we are

led to see is that these

in

and even here

weapons and

emblems symbolise the powers of Nature and


also of this goddess as the Supreme ^listress of
Nature.

The Varaha-pumna

says that the sanhha

is

the destroyer of aridija or ignorance, the Ihadga


is

is

the sunderer of ajnana or unwisdom, the chnh-a


the wheel of time, and lastly the gada

destroyer of

worthy
be

adharma

interpretations to

ethical than in

see

various weapons and

is

images

symbolism

which we have

Thus we may
of the

or unrighteousness.

of note that here the

more markedly

is

is

It

is

made

to

the previous

referred.

that, in relation to these

emblems found

hands

in the

Hindu gods and goddesses

of

the

there

a consensus of opinion showing that the early

Hindus had probably a systematised symbolism


appertaining to their iconoclastic art in
cation to religion.

evidently

The key

to this

and cannot be

lost

its appli-

symbology if

easily recovered.

Yet, even here, research need not despair

the earnest investigator nothing


asset than his

hopefulness.

as

is

and

to

more valuable

unabated optimism and untiring

Till

this

lost

29J

key

is

recovered and

HINDU lOONOGBAPHY.
established to be the
scientific canons,

true key according

to strict

nothing more than making mere

guesses in the dark regarding the meaning and

moral aim

However,

of

it is

Hindu

icons

is

really

possible.

worth remembering that even such

guesses have their value to those


to find out the truth

who

and proclaim

discovered.

2tf6

earnestly try
it

after it is