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Vedic Deities

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 5:26 AM 0 comments
Although at about the time of the successive waves of Aryan conquest the Indus Valley civilization retreated, with remnants only in villages by 1700 B.c., the changes that took place with the Aryan invasions should not be exaggerated. The transition may have been gradual rather than cataclysmic. Though it is true that the Aryans conquered with bronze weapons, bronze was known at Harappa, and the so-called copper-hoard culture in which copper tools were used existed in northern Indian village-based agricultural settlements in such areas as Madhya Pradesh from the second millennium B.C. Its connection with the Indus Valley civilisation and its successors is still unknown. It was the use of iron tools, however, that was decisive for the supremacy of the Aryans in northern India. Iron was introduced about 1370-1050 B.C. and it coincided with the Aryans' spread into the Jumna and Upper Ganges valleys. Their settlements there were to develop into cities by about Goo B.C. These cities were surrounded by massive fortifications and became the nucleus of empires centred in Magadha (modern Bihar).

At the time of their arrival in India, however, the Aryans had no know-ledge of city life; indeed their chief god, Indra, was vaunted as 'destroyer of cities'. They were a warrior people of relatively low culture who in previous migrations had spread from the west, probably the Urals, into the Central Asian steppes. They remained illiterate for several centuries after reaching India, and the lack of extant works of art (they used wood rather than stone) further impoverishes our record of them. But we know they were light-skinned, hard-drinking folk, whose mastery of horses and chariots and whose use of sword brought them swift victory over tilt Dravidians, whom they accordingly despised as `Dasyus', or dark. skinned.

The Aryans brought with them their own religion, which for sonte seven centuries dominated the nord. Indian scene. Aryan beliefs and mythology were far from static, however gradually adapting to Indian conditions, absorbing native cultural traditions, and ultimately evolving into Hinduism. Unlike the conquered Dravidians, the Aryans had never previously settled for long; their godt were connected less with the soil or which they lived than with the universal elements. Our direct knowledge of these gods stems from the Vedas, collections of hymns which seem to have been completed by about the tenth century B.C. By thittime, however, the Aryan pantheon had acquired considerably more sophistication, despite its retention of the earlier elements, and the accom panying mythology reflected moral preoccupations and a divine hierarchy.


Varuna Relatively few Vedic hymns are addressed to Varuna, though he is the guardian of the cosmic law and the universal monarch, the object of greater veneration than the more ob. viously Aryan deities. Vanilla is the Prime Mover of the universe. He is pictured first as creating the universe. Standing in the air, he exercises his creative will, or maya, and using the sun as his instrument he measures out and so gives form to the three worlds: the heavens, the earth, and the air between them.

Vanilla's creative activity is also continuing: again by exercise of his maya, hecauses rain to fall and rivers to flow and thus sustains his creatures. His breath is the wind. In a sense he is embodied in his creation, or at least omnipresent in it, for he surveys it continuously with the sun as his eye, and he himself props up the heavens. Alternatively he is thought to be seated majestically in his thousand-columned, thousand-doored gold palace in the sky surrounded by his ever-watchful spies, one of whom is the sun itself which daily rises to Varuna's mansion at the zenith and reports on what it sees. Varuna's function is thus moral even more than it is creative: his maya is equally the principle of truth or justice and the god thus has the priest-like function of judging his creatures. He evaluates their actions against rta, laws unknowable to human beings. Varuna nevertheless punishes people who transgress these laws, and for this purpose he carries a rope with which to tie them up, symbolic of the sins with which they fetter themselves in their ignorance. Humans cannot know how they come to find them-selves guilty, for Varuna's ordinances are inscrutable; they have to fall back on fear, the hope of forgiveness, and extreme circumspection in all their dealings with the god.

Varuna kept his elevated position for a relatively short time; one by one the attributes for which the great 'universal encompasser' was revered passed to other gods. Two distinct stages of this development had already occurred by the close of the Vedic age. The first change was introduced when Varuna became one of what was perhaps the first of India's long series of divine triads. This triad was composed of Varuna, Mitra and Aryaman. Mitra was in most ways similar to Vanilla and like him could bind humans with their sins, petitions to the two gods being the sole hope of forgiveness; but Varuna's realm of jurisdiction was split, Mitra be-coming guardian of the day, while Varuna's part was reduced to the guardianship of the night. Aryaman's functions are ill-defined but he must also have been a god of the heavens for the triad was known as the Adityas, or Celestial Deities, who, like Varuna alone, were credited with being the source of all heavenly gifts, the regulators of sun and moon, winds and waters, and of the seasons. Mitra in particular was therefore considered as a corn god or fertility god.

The second change in Varuna's status came when the Adityas, until then known as the asuras (like the Iranian ahuras) were joined by three or by nine other gods, who ranked among the devas, of whom Indra was to be-come leader. (Another branch of the Aryans reached Iran about 1000 B.C., where their gods developed along different lines.) The changed member-ship of the group brought a change in function, and the Adityas became no more than minor gods representing the sun in its twelve annual phases. Meanwhile the idea of a divine triad was perpetuated with figures from the Aryan pantheon: Vayu (wind), Agni (fire) and Surya (the sun); or Indra, Agni and Surya.

Prithivi and Dyaus

Prithivi, the earth, and Dyaus, the sky or heaven, were symbolised as cow and bull. They were early deities, worshipped as fertility gods and thought to have engendered all the other gods and men. Their importance diminished, however, and though they survived into later pantheons their progeny was much reduced. Ushas, the dawn, was their daughter and Agni, fire, their son. But their greatest claim to fame is through Indra. Prithivi was the 'heroic female' and Dyaus the 'vigorous god' who were Indra's parents. At the time of lndra's birth from Prithivi's side the heavens, earth and mountains began to shake and all the gods were afraid. Prithivi herself was fearful and hid her son and gave him no attention. None of the gods would come to the infant's aid for they all felt, as was indeed the case, that this child was the herald of great changes in the divine order and possibly of their own doom. As we shall see, he lost no time in justifying their fears.


Indra is a storm god, wielder of the thunderbolt, Vajra, a weapon which he carries in his right hand. Like an Aryan warrior-king, he is fair complexioned with ruddy or golden skin and rides a horse, or alternatively rides in a golden chariot drawn by two tawny horses with flowing manes and tails. He has a violent nature, an insatiable thirst for soma, an intoxicating drink which gives him his strength, and is a firm defender of gods and humans against Vritra, a demon who typifies the harsh aspect of nature, especially drought. As bringer of rain to a parched Indian countryside Indra was the most frequently invoked of the Vedic gods and the deity on which most of the early myths centred. The stories about his birth and his exploits as an infant make this devotion clear and explain in mythological terms Indra's rivalry to Varuna (which may be understood in terms of rivalry between the Brahmin priest caste and the Kshatriya warrior caste), his gradual assumption of many of Varuna's functions and virtues, and his eventual ousting of Varuna as chief of the gods.

Prithivi's attempts to conceal the birth of her son were ill-fated, for immediately the golden child Indra began to display that energy and impulsiveness which characterise him.

At the time of his birth humans were imploring the gods to come to their aid against the demon Vritra who had imprisoned the cloud-cattle, thus reducing them to starvation through drought. Hearing people crying out, 'Who will come to our aid?', Indra seized from Tvashtri the soma which they were offering to the gods and drank a huge quantity of it, worth a hundred cows. This drink fortified him to such an extent that he filled the two worlds. Seizing the thunder-bolt that had belonged to his father,Indra set off in a chariot drawn two horses to do battle against Vein accompanied by attendants and followers. Vritra roared as Indra  proached, heaven shook and the god retreated. Prithivi grew fearful forint son; but Indra was inspired by the great draught of soma and by the hymns of the priests on earth and we strengthened by the sacrifices; aim all he possessed the thunderbolt Vajra. He stormed and took Vritrir ninety-nine fortresses and then Mai the demon himself. Though Vritu thought himself invulnerable, lark soon discovered his weak points and laid him low with the thunderbolt Therewith the cloud-cattle were released and torrents of water flowal down to earth. According to sort versions lndra repeats this heroic ac at the end of every summer drough and thus re-establishes his strength in the eyes of mortals and gods.

But Indra hardly paused to hear that praises of the priests and of hi fellow-gods. Scarcely born, he has seized the initiative as bringer of rain In this act he had supplanted Varunt though it must be admitted thatly required much more effort to supP water than did Varuna. One in terpretation of this shift of power rolates to rivalry between Brahmin priests and Kshatriya warriors. H3 next act was to turn on his lathe, (who is sometimes identified with Varuna). Seizing him by the ankle, he dashed him to the ground and killed him. His mother's plaints were of avail: Indra had achieved his victo with the aid of his father's weapon that in a sense his father performd the deed through him. But by Dyaus Indra set the seal on his inde pendence and full stature as a god his murder of his father establishen his succession to him, just as his de-feat of Vritra in part established he right of succession to Varuna's position of supremacy.

NavagrahaBy his first heroic acts Indra became king of the three worlds. Haring acquired the air of life and that strength of soma, he gave them to others. He thus stands for the power of personal intervention, for the activity of the warrior, whereas Varune stands for the inevitability of the cosmic order. While Varuna's strength is based on law and magic power, the source of lndra's strength is quite clear: it depends on the might of the god, supported by the offerings of mortals. Humans cannot under-stand the ways of Varuna, but by transferring allegiance to Indra they can hope to affect or even to direct the flow of divine benefits.

lndra is tireless in his opposition to demons. He repeatedly subdues Vritra, under whose leadership the Danavas were able to upset the eternal equipoise established between gods and demons, devas and asuras, good and evil, light and dark, and forces the Danavas to retreat to the ocean darkness. He also defends people and animals against the machinations of other demons. As bringer of rain, Indra already had some claim to worship as god of fertility; the following myth explains how he definitively captured that function from the other gods. At one point during the long struggle with the gods, the demons, counting on the fact that the gods derived much of their strength from people's sacrifices, decided to debilitate the gods by using poison and magic spells to defile the plants used by humans and beasts. They were so successful that people ceased to eat and beasts stopped grazing, and famine brought them near death. But the gods were equal to this challenge; they offered sacrifices and succeeded in ridding the plants of the poison. A great ceremony was held to celebrate this victory, at which offerings were to be made of the first plants to grow after the poison had been dispersed. However, a dispute arose as to which of the gods should be the first to receive this offering. It was decided that the matter should be settled by running a race. Indra and Agni won the race, and ever after Indra was regarded as a source of fertility a role for which his parents, a bull and a cow, well fitted him.

Indra gradually took over some of Varuna's other functions, and his role as fertility god extended to a new role as creator god. Like other Indian conceptions of the creator, however, Indra did not form the universe from the void but rather rearranged it, after taking possession. Thus, like Varuna, he used the sun as his instrument and measured out space; the six broad spaces which he noted included every existing thing. He then proceeded to build the universe like a house: he set up four corner posts and between them built the walls of the world; he thatched the house with the cloudy sky. The house had two large doors: the eastern was opened wide every morning to admit the sun; the western briefly every evening so that lndra could fling the sun out into the surrounding darkness. These doors were also used by the gods when they came to partake of sacrifices and libations. Indra maintained his creation by 'propping up the heavens, by maintaining the two worlds and the atmosphere, and by holding up the earth and stretching it. He was also the source of the major rivers.

Fortified with soma, Indra has the energy to regulate the heavens and the days, the months and the seasons. His love for and dependence upon soma are increasingly dwelt upon in the Vedas, but it is not until much later that this is regarded in any way as a weakness. In the Vedic age Indra is unquestionably the greatest of the gods, even though he may not be the object of such awe or fear as Varuna inspired at the time of his former glory. In the latter part of the Vedic period Indra became a more dignified, less active sovereign. He is pictured reigning in his heaven, Swarga, flanked by his queen, Indrani, and his advisers, the Vasus. Though still accompanied by a hunting dog (the dog was later to become an unclean animal), he has given up his horses, and his mount is a great white elephant called Airavata, which has four tusks and whose huge snowy bulk is likened to Mount Kailasa, where Shiva's heaven was to be.

The Maruts The Maruts, the spirits of tempest and thunder, were the sons of Rudra, and the constant companions of Indra. They were handsome young men, vigorous and courageous, who, according to the Rig Veda, numbered either twenty-seven or one hundred and eighty. They wore golden helmets and golden breastplates and they draped bright skins on their shoulders; they loved to scrub each other clean and to adorn their arms and ankles with golden bracelets. When they rode forth they 'rode on the whirlwind and directed the storm', and were conveyed on a golden-wheeled chariot sparkling in the lightning and drawn by three fleet-footed deer. They were strongly armed with bows and arrows and axes, and especially with gleaming spears: With these weapons they shattered the cloud-cattle and cleft cloud-rocks, so that torrents of rain fell to earth and the eye of the sun was covered. Like Indra, their leader, the Maruts were alternately gay youths and fearsome warriors and they were valuable allies to Indra when he attacked the demon Vritra, frightening his followers with their warcries and adept at harrying the cloud-cattle. In the singular, Marut or Maruta refers to Vayu.


UshaVayu is the god of air or wind, and is sometimes said to have been born from the breath of Purusha. Though infrequently invoked in the Vedas, he was an important early god, a member of one of the first triads together with Agni and Surya, being sup-planted in this triad by Indra after his rise. Despite lndra's ascendancy, Vayu maintained his individuality and survives to the present day. He is sometimes thought to be the father of the Maruts, and like them rides in a chariot drawn by deer. At other times he more closely resembles Indra, riding a chariot drawn by two red horses or, more often, riding with Indra as charioteer in a chariot made of gold which touches the sky and which is drawn by a thousand horses. Vayu's role is not only that of a nature deity: his breath gives life to all the gods and to humans. Vayu became the son-in-law of the artisan god Tvashtri.

Writer – Veronica Ions

Kakatiya Emperor

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 1:43 AM 0 comments

Kakatiya Emperor
The Kakatiyas of Warangal were originally feudatories of the Western Chalukya. Later they became independent rulers, but followed the art tradition of the late Western Chalukyas of Kalyani. Their great interest in art and their supreme devotion to Siva clearly explain the origin of their several temples dedicated to this deity all over their realm. The famous Kakatiya temples are from Warangal, Palampet, Anamkonda, Tripurantakam, Macherla and other places.

No less effective than Kakatiya sculpture is their painting. The entire surface of the mandapa and cell in the large temple on the hill at Tripurantakam is painted. This temple is among the most important Kakatiya monuments for a study of the painting of this period. Similarly, there are Kakatiya paintings in the temple at Pillalamarri.

A painting here represents the famous arnritamanthana scene, with the devas on one side and the asuras on the other, holding Vasuki, as a string wound round the mountain Mandara, that acted as the churristick, when the milky ocean was churned to obtain the elixir of life. This noble theme as an auspicious background for presenting the goddess of prosperity right on the door lintel appears as a favourite motif in the Gupta period at Udayagiri neat Bhilsa in the cave temple there. 

Kakatiya PaintingThis is continued by the Western Chalukyas, as there is a frequent repetition of aniritantanthana at Badami. It is exattly in the same manner as in the Chalukya monuments that this arnritamanthana scene is represented in the late Chalukya as well as in the Kakatiya monuments. At Macherla, a sculptural rendering of this theme occurs in the local Kakatiya temple. The special importance of painting at Pillalamarri is that it is one of the rare Kakatiya paintings preserved and is also a representation in colour of this theme.

The vast treasure-house of Kakatiya painting at Tripurantakam still awaits detailed study as also do the other temples of the period.

Writer – C. Sivaramamurti 

The Cultural Background

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 3:50 AM 0 comments
 Madhu - Madhvi Ragini
To understand any great art, one has to view it as an organism with its own soul, forms of expression and conventions. Art is the symbol of the culture to which it belongs, acquiring its style of expression in relation to it. Every culture has thus its own style of art, and one must know the culture to understand its phases of development. This is also true of Kangra art.

All great art is inspired by religion. The paintings and sculpture of Ajanta and the great monument of Borobudur in Java we their origin to the inspiration of Buddhism. Christianity inspired paintings of sublime quality in medieval Italy and Spain. The Hindu painting of Rajasthan and the Punjab hills, known as Rajput painting, because the patrons were Rajput princes, was inspired by the Vaishnava faith.

The 11th century witnessed the rise of Vaishnavism as the creed of the Hindus. In the field of literature, Prakrits and later regional languages replaced Sanskrit. The heralds of the dawn were Ramanuja and Jayadeva. Ramanuja (A.D. 1017-1137) was born in the village of Sriperumbudur, south-east of Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu. He mastered the Vedas and the sacred books, and wrote commentaries on the Vedanta, the Sutras, and the Bhagavad-Gita. As a pilgrim he travelled widely over India, visiting Jagannath, Kasi, Badrinath in the Himalayas, and other places. His earthly journey came to an end at Sriranganatha in A.D. 1137.

Ramanuja popularised the worship of Vishnu as the Supreme Being and Creator of all things. According to Vaishnava doctrine, Vishnu pervades all creation, Lakshmi supplying His energy. When sins multiply, He becomes incarnate to rid the earth of its burden. The followers of Ramanuja venerate (iligreima, the ammonite stone, and the tulasi plant as symbols of Vishnu and Lakshmi.

Jayadeva was born at Kenduli in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal, and in course of time became one of the five court poets of Raja Lakshmana Sen, who ruled Bengal about A.D. 1170. In his early years he was a wandering ascetic. In the course of his travels, he visited the holy shrine of Jagannath and there a strange event changed the course of his life. Padmavati, a beautiful Brahmin girl, was to be dedicated as a temple-girl to Lord Jagannath, but it is said that the image ordered her father to bestow the girl upon the saint Jayadeva. Much against his wishes, Jayadeva accepted her, and she attended on him like his shadow. Inspired by her beauty, he composed the immortal poem, Gita Govinda, the Song of the Divine Cowherd, in which he describes the love of Krishna and Radha. The poem won wide popularity and is still chanted in Bengal and the Karnatak.

The Gita Govinda is a symbolical love song based on the poet's spiritual experience. Krishna is the human soul attached to earthly pleasures and Radha, the heroine, is Divine Wisdom. The milkmaids who tempt Krishna from Radha are the five senses of smell, sight, touch, taste and hearing, and the return of Krishna to Radha, his first love, is regarded as the return of the repentant sinner to God.

Ramanand, born at Melkot in A.D. 1398, was another great religious teacher. He settled at Varanasi, where he attracted a large number of devotees. He popularised the worship of Rama and Sita as incarnations of Vishnu and Lakshmi.

 Sohni, Across The River Another factor which promoted Vaishnavism was the emergence of Islam. From the 12th century onwards India was ravaged by Islamic hordes from the north. The monotheism of Islam and particularly the cult of Sufism had an influence on the Hindu religious thought which was already showing dissatisfaction with cold intellectualism, sterile philosophies and arid speculations of Buddhism. Islam declared that One Great God was the supporter of the world and helped the virtuous. The Hindu masses also keenly felt the spiritual need of a loving personal God. Thus developed the Krishna cult.

Kabir (A.D. 1398-1516) was a disciple of Ramanand. This great mystic denounced the pretences both of the Brahmin priests and Muslim mullcis of Banaras, but had followers both among the Hindus and the Muslims. His writings, which form the cornerstone of Hindi literature, were compiled by a certain Dharam Das. Dharam Das and his son, Kamal, are often shown with Kabir in Kangra paintings.

It was Eastern India, the provinces of Bihar and Bengal, which became the home of the Radha-Krishna cult. Vidyapati (fl.A.D. 1400-70), the poet of Bihar, wrote in the Maithili dialect on the Radha and Krishna theme. He was the most famous of the Vaishnava poets of Eastern India. He was inspired by the beauty of Lacchima Devi, queen of his great patron, Raja Sib Singh. Sib Singh was summoned by Akbar to Delhi for some offence, and Vidyapati obtained his patron's release by an exhibition of clairvoyance. The incident is thus described by Grierson. "The emperor locked him up in a wooden box, and sent a number of courtesans of the town to bathe in the river. When all was over he released him and asked him to describe what had occurred, when Vidyapati immediately recited impromptu one of the most charming of his sonnets, which has come down to us, describing a beautiful girl at her bath. Astonished at his power, the emperor granted his petition to release Sib Singh."' In the love-sonnets of the great master-singer of Mithila we find sacredness wedded to sensuous joy. There are vivid word-pictures of the love of Radha and Krishna painted in musical language. Coming direct from the heart they remind us that there is nothing so beautiful and touching as simplicity.

A contemporary of Vidyapati was Chandi Das (fl.A.D. 1420) who lived at Nannur in Birbhum district of West Bengal. "Representing the glow and ardour of impassioned love", says Dinesh Chandra Sen, "he became the harbinger of a new age which soon after dawned on our moral and spiritual life and charged it with the white heat of its emotional bliss." Chandi Das had fallen in love with a washer-woman, Rami by name, and in describing the physical charm of the heroine of his poetry he was drawing upon his own experience. In the poems of Chandi Das, sensuous emotions are sublimated into spiritual delight and the pleasures of the senses find an outlet in mystic ecstasy.

 The Lady Toilet
Chaitanya (A.D. 1486-1533) was the prophet of Vaishnavism in Bengal. Nimai, as his original name was, belonged to a Brahmin family of Nadia. While still a young man he felt the urge for renunciation of worldly ties and left his home and young wife. He reached Puri, and Prataparudradeva, the Raja of Orissa, became his disciple. From there he wandered into South India where he discoursed to people in Tamil. Far more impressive than his discourses were his mystic trances. Tears flowed from his eyes, and as he lay on the ground the very sight of him sanctified men. Scholars groaning under the weight of learning and philosophers weary of old and heartless intellectualism felt humble in his presence and experienced a strange emotion which cured the sickness of the soul. Here was a teacher who was not teaching intricate philosophies, but the strange power of love, which they could themselves experience. This emotional religion, which believed in sensitising of emotions and sublimating them, rejected reasoning and subtleties of the intellect. His life was a living poem, and his spiritual force had a mesmerising effect on the people. The very sight of the dark-blue clouds, the ocean or the river re-minded him of his God, Krishna, and he fell into a trance. As Dinesh Chandra Sen describes: "He fainted at the sight of the lightning which he mistook for the bright purple robe of the Lord. The chirp of the birds was continually mistaken for the sound of the flute, and he thought that Some One called him to his embrace by the sweet music. The cranes flew in the dark-blue sky in flocks looking small from a distance and Chaitanya thought them to be a string of pearls decorating the breast of his dark-blue God. At the sight of every hillock he fell into a trance, reminded of the Govardhan hills where Krishna had sported, and every river showed him the ripples of the Yamuna on the banks of which the pastoral Ciod had played with his fellow cowherdu. 'I he nowert: reminded 1iiiiof the braid of the Krishna's eyes and he wept when he touched them, reminded of the Divine touch, soft and sweet. Miami Mien I he smell Of tloweru emanating from the Puri temple kept him tied to the spot like a MOM; he thought that his Krishna was approaching and the seent of a thousand flowers announced his approach, and he trembled in deep emotion with tearful eyes and passed into a trance."

The religious revival also stimulated literary activity. The cults of Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha were the source of inspiration to many poets who wrote in Sanskrit and Hindi. Jayadeva, Ramanand and Kabir are among the most prominent. Malik Muhammad Jayasi completed Pachmivat, his well-known romance, in A.D. 1540 and Keshav Das, the court poet of Indrajit Shah of Orchha, wrote his famous love poem Rasikapriyd in A.D. 1591. Tulsi Das, one of the greatest of Hindi poets, was born in A.D. 1532. His Rdmayana is the most popular book in the villages of Avadh, and it is the basis of the moral and religious life of millions of people.

Bihari Lal, who lived in Mathura, the home of the Braj-Bhasa dialect, completed his Sat Sal, or 700 couplets on the Krishna legend, in A.D. 1662. These little poems are gems of Hindi literature and have won much fame for their author.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the way was thus being prepared for the emergence of a new form of art born of the rapidly spreading Vaishnava cult in which spiritual experience was symbolised by the relations of the Lover and the Beloved.

In this art the worlds of spiritual purity and sensuous delight are interwoven, religion and aesthetics moving hand in hand in quest of Reality. The Gita Govinda and the Rameiyana have been illustrated both in the Basoldi and Kangra styles. Padmavati, whose story is sung by Jayasi, is the subject of a number of paintings. The eight Ardyikais and Bcircimeisti are favourite themes alike with Kangra painters and the Hindi poets Keshav Das, Matiram, Bansidhar, Ramguni and Gang, and numerous paintings which illustrate their works are extant. Another important source of inspiration to the Kangra artists is the culture of the Punjab. 

This source has not been adequately considered by art critics, who usually have little knowledge of the province, its people and culture. In Kangra paintings, particularly those of Nurpur and Guler, which' were close to the plains, the dress of the women is typically Punjabi; they are usually shown as wearing suthhatz that resembles breeches, kamiz, and dupaltd. The popular love tales of the Punjab Hir Ranjha, Mirza-Sahiban and Sohni-Mahinwal are often illustrated by the Kangra artists. Reference may now be made to the great Sikh movement in the plains of the Punjab. Nanak (A.D. 1469-1538), the first Sikh Guru, freed the Punjabi mind from superstition and ritualism, and called upon people to break through the barriers of institutionalised priestly religion. Guru Nanak made extensive use of the local language, and Angad, his successor, devised the Punjabi alphabet, based mainly on Takri. Arjan (A.D. 1581-1606), the fifth Guru, compiled the Guru Granth, in which he incorporated Nanak's Japji, as well as the religious poetry of Kabir, Jayadeva, Namdev, Dhanna, Pipa, the Gurus Amar Das and Ram Das and other bhaktas.

Gobind Singh (A.D. 1675-1708), the tenth Guru, chose Anandpur, a village at the foothills of the Shivaliks for his residence. He was a champion of the downtrodden and constantly fought the Mughal armies and the Hill Chiefs from Anandpur on the Sutlej to Paunta on the Yamuna. He was not only a soldier, but a poet and a scholar well versed in Persian, Hindi and Sanskrit.

 Radha's Toilet He translated the legends of Rama and Krishna. His Chodi-ki-weir, which deals with the exploits of Durga, is written in powerful language. Besides being a poet himself, the Guru kept fifty-two bards permanently in his employ. Their compositions, which must have been considerable, were lost during the wars against the Mughal Emperor and the Hill Chiefs.

The ten Sikh Gurus have been painted by the court artists of Guler and Kangra. From 1810 the Kangra Valley was under the rule of the great Ranjit Singh, and Sikh influence is apparent in Kangra paintings of this period. From 1830 onwards, we find long flowing beards and splendid turbans instead of beards trimmed in the Muslim style.

Thus, Karigra art is the visual expression of a cultural movement with roots in a great spiritual upsurge. Kangra painting is not a sudden development unrelated to the life of Northern India, but is the culmination of a spiritual and literary revival of Hinduism. Dr. Coomaraswamy rightly observes that "these works are an immediate expression of the Hindu view of life. Here is that distinct, sharp and wiry bounding line which Blake, most Indian of modern Western minds, regarded as the golden rule of art and life. A line so deliberate, so self-confident, so full of wonder at the beauty of the world, especially the beauty of women, and at the same time so austere, could not be a sudden achievement, nor depend on the brilliance of a single personality. It is the product of a whole civilization."

Writer – M.S. Randhawa

On Initaion

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 2:04 AM 0 comments
articleimage tantraBy the Hindu or Buddhist devotees, the pattern of intentional language is viscerally understood; though none but the scholars among them could or would hazard speculations about the origins of intentional language, it is, as it were, unconsciously operational with them. The same, of course, holds for mantra. In a critical study like ours, therefore, it was necessary to establish the status of mantra and of intentional language, before proceeding to the fundamental routine of the Tantric devotees' career, diksa or initiation.

The word diksa is defined as 'preparation or consecration for a religious ceremony, undertaking religious observances for a particular purpose and the observances themselves (Atharvaveda and other Vedic passages); dedication, initiation (personified as the wife of Soma in ggveda); any serious preparation as for battle; self-devotion to a person or god, complete resignation or restriction to, exclusive occupation with. The underlying root is diksa to 'consecrate, dedicate', and it may be a rare desiderative of diksa to grow, to increase, to be able, to be strong'.

The word diksa" is used in all Indian vernaculars and is one of common though slightly sophisticated religious parlance every-where, but it retains its connotation as 'spiritual initiation' only, in the modern languages, the other meanings being no longer covered by the word in any of the languages.

The dictionary omits the most important aspect of diksa, how-ever, i.e. that its content must be a mantra of some sort, or that a mantra must be part of its content. A person may be initiated into the use, say, of a manclala, a yantra, or into the performance of a yajila (ritualistic sacrifice), but along with it a mantra is invariably imparted. Herein lies an important difference between diksa and abhisekha 'anointment' for the latter never requires the conferring of a mantra on the neophyte.

The notion and the practice of diksa is common to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism alike; tribal groups who were listed as 'animists' and do not belong to any of the three high religions also employ a sort of diksa, probably in emulation of their Hindu surroundings; the Todas of the Nilgiris in south India impart a regular mantra to their sons, in analogy to the upanayana (investiture with the sacred thread) ceremony of the twice-born Hindus; instead of the Gayatri, a mantra commencing with 'UM' is given to the boy, in the Toda language.

Prabhupada Initiation
In the state of Mysore (Chikmaghlur District), there is a shrine on top of a mountain, called `Dattatreyapitha', i.e. 'mound of the sage Dattatreya', who was, of course, a Hindu seer, connected with the worship of the Trimurti (Brahma, Vispu, Maheivara). The local story goes that due to some quarrels among the officiating priests, a Muslim sufi, Baba Qalandar Shah, was asked to look after the mound; the tradition was then kept alive, and a Muslim mahant (abbot) has been in charge of the Pitha up to this day. He is chosen by his predecessor and trained by him; he gives him diksa after the training is completed and although I did not succeed in recording the mantra used by the present Muslim mahant, it was quite clearly a mixture of garbled Sanskris and Arabic. Also, the devotees visiting the shrine arc blessed by the mahant, with an invocation containing elements of both the languages there is `0M' and Tismilliihr in the lengthy mantra. Along with it, the mahantgives `prasaa' in exactly the same manner as Hindu priests do.

The notion of diksa provides us, as a semantic by-product so to speak, with a definition of a guru for a guru is one who has received diksa from one or more gurus, is capable of conferring, and has actually conferred diksa on another person or persons. All other qualifications spiritual maturity, age, renown, learning, etc. are marginal to guru-hood. lithe question 'who is a guru?' is put to any practising Hindu, he will usually say 'one who gives diksa '. As we shall see a bit further down, the formal conferring of diksa is not always regarded as prerequisite of guru-hood yet it is implicit even when there is no formal act.

The types of diksa correlate with the adhikdra or 'specific entitlement' of the conferee. A person receives the diksa of the divine form or principle which he is fit to worship or approach. One and the same mantra may be used in various diksas, according to the spiritual adhikara of the adept and to the purpose of the initiation. Thus, the Mrtymijaya-mantra is used for initiation into the worship of iva-Paiupati; into the worship of Ardhandrigvara, i.e. the hermaphrodite form of iva; into the worship of the goddess as in the Mahanirvana Tantra; for removing illnesses (or, rather, for initiating a person who wants to achieve the capacity to cure illnesses); among the Viraiaivites of Mysore, to initiate a jangama, a Viragaivite monk, into the Order of Lingiyats; and to initiate a person into miscellaneous aivite and; -ikta rituals.

The study of adhikara-bheda is part of the daily schedule in almost all monastic training institutions in India. What the students learn are chiefly the laksanas or 'signs' by which to recognize what person is capable for a particular rite, as also what kind of meditation, etc., is likely to yield proper results for a particular aspirant.

I shall now list some important categories of diksa.

yabyumThe distinction made by some Indian author between 'group' and 'individual' initiation is not really functional, because diksa is strictly a one-to-one interpersonal process between one guru and one disciple. The fact that several persons are frequently initiated at a time does not mean that a 'group' diksa is involved; it is usually done for convenience's sake, especially if the guru is a famous and well-sought-after teacher who consents to give diksa to hundreds of people every year. What actually happens in such cases is that he assembles those whom he regards as having the same adhikara; he then gives them the common instruction jointly; but, subsequently, each of the aspirants comes up to him separately and he whispers the latter's particular mantra into his ear; but this is no 'group' diksa. The Hindu and the Buddhist alike distinguish very sharply, though perhaps not in a formulated manner, between group instructions, individual instructions, and diksa, which is always a one-to-one affair. Group and individual instruction (upadda) may seem, to the outsider, very similar to a formal ; but it is never the same. Upadeia does not have the spiritual power of diksa nor has it any charismatic function. In the whole history of diksa, there has actually been only one known case where something like a genuine group diksa took place. That was when the medieval founder of the Visistadvaita School, Sri Ramanuja, proclaimed the man from NAMO NARAYANAYA' to all the peope assembled at the riraligarn shrine, flouting the injunction of his own guru to keep the mantra secret and to impart it only to deserving and well-tested individuals. The Sthalapurana then says 'the ciairya thus gave diksa to all the hundreds, all the hundreds were thus initiated at once'. Similar stories are told about Ramanuja's Bengali counter-part ri Caitanya Deva, the famous Vaisnava reformer. The Caitanya Caritiimrtal narrates how the saint initiated thousands at the threshold of the jagannaha Temple in Puri (Orissa); but the narrative is a complete analogy to the Rima-nuja episode and it seems almost beyond doubt that it is a copy, whatever the authenticity of the former story had been. Learned Hindu opinion rejects any such possibility, for individual conferring of diksa is felt to be part of its definition. What has been said about mantra" holds, mutatis mutandis, for diksa as well.

Writer – Agehananda Bharti

Chola Emperor Ninth to Thirteenth Century A.D.

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 4:17 AM 0 comments
Chola Art
In the ninth century, the Cholas regained power, when Vijayalaya established himself in the area round about Tanjavur. Aditya and Parantaka, the son and grandson of Vijayalaya, were great temple-builders. Parantaka was specially devoted to Siva at Chidambaram and covered the temple with gold. The widowed queen of the pious king, Gandaraditya, son of Parantaka, is one of the most important queens in Chola history for the generous tradition of building and endowing temples. The most imposing monu-ment of the Chola period is the Rajarajesvara temple at Tanjavur, also known as the Brihadisvara temple. Rajaraja was undoubtedly the greatest ruler in the Chola line, great in military triumph, in organisation of the empire, patron-age of art and literature, and in religious tolerance. In the twenty-fifth year of his reign, a great and magnificent temple of Siva, named after the king, Rajarajesvaramudayar, was completed. Rajaraja was so intensely devoted to Siva that he was known by the epithet Sivapadasekhara. His taste for art is reflected in the title Nit yavinoda. Rajaraja's glory was partially eclipsed by that of his greater son Rajendra, who was a remarkable military genius. Rajendra, on his return from a successful campaign in the Gangetic area, created a huge tank, symbolic of a liquid pillar of victory, in his own new capital, Gangaikondacholapuram, and a gigantic temple, resembling the Brihadisvara at Tanjavur, to celebrate his triumph and the bringing home of the Ganges water as the only tribute he sought from the vanquished sovereigns of the North.

Kulottunga II, the son of Vikramachola, made elaborate additions to the Chidambaram temple. This interest was sustained in the reign of his son Rajaraja H whose biruda, Rajagambhira, is recorded in the lovely rnandapa of the temple at Darasuram, built during his time. Kulottunga III was the last of the great Chola emperors to add to the Chola edifices, not only by building temples like the Kampaharesvara at Tribhuvanam, but also by renovations and additions as at Kanchi, Madurai, Chidambaram, Tiruvarur, Tiruvidaimarudur and Darasuram.

Chola history
There are fragments of very early Chola paintings at Narthamalai, Malayadipatti and other places. However, it is the Brihadisvara temple at Tanjavur that is a real great treasure-house of the art of the early Chola painter. The contemporary classics describe the glory of the paintings in the South by referring to chit ramandapas, chitrasalas, oviyanilayams in temples and palaces. The Paripadal men-tions the paintings on temple walls in the early Chola capital, Kaveripumpattinam. The actual remains of this period are, however, yet to be discovered. In the Vijayalayacholisvaram temple on the hill at Narthamalai, there are traces of paintings on the walls showing the dancing figure of Kali and Gandharvas on the ceiling of the antechamber.

S.K. Govindaswami's discovery of paintings in the dark circumambulatory passage around the central shrine in the Brihadisvara temple at Tanjavur revealed a new phase of South Indian painting, a regular picture gallery of early Chola art. There are two layers, one of the Nayak period on top, which, wherever it has fallen, has revealed an earlier Chola one below, richly laden with painting.

chola paintings
The entire wall and the ceiling were originally deco-rated with exquisite paintings of the time of Rajaraja, but later renovation and additions made during the centuries account for additional layers that have covered up the earlier one. These Chola paintings that form an important link in the series help a better study of the earlier Pallava phase and the later Vijayanagara. The Chola paintings so far exposed are mainly on the western and northern walls. On the western side, the entire wall space consists of a huge panel with Siva as Yoga-Dakshinamurti, seated on a tiger-skin in a yogic pose, with the yogapatta or paryankabandha across his waist and right knee, calmly watching the dance of two apsaras. A dwarf gana and Vishnu play the drum and keep time, while other celestials in a row sound the drum, the hand drum and the cymbals, as they fly in the air, to approach this grand spectacle, which is witnessed by a few principal figures seated in the foreground. Saint Sundara and Cheraman are shown below hurrying thither on a horse and an elephant, respectively. A little away is a typical early Chola temple enshrining Nataraja with princely devotees seated in its vicinity.

Lower down is the narration of the story of Sundara, how Siva came in the guise of an old man, with a document, to prove his right and claim the beautiful bridegroom to take him away on the very day of his marriage to his abode at Tiruvennainallur. Below this is the scene of marriage festivity. On the wall beyond, there is a large figure of Nataraja, dancing in the hall at Chidambaram, with priests and devotees on one side and a prince, obviously Rajaraja and three of his queens, with a large retinue adoring the lord. Close by, on the walls opposite, are some charming miniature feminine figures. Beyond this, on the wall opposite the northern one, are five heads peeping out of a partially exposed Chola layer.

The whole space on the northern wall has for its theme the fight of Tripurantaka. The gigantic figure of Siva is on a chariot driven by Brahma. Tripurantaka is shown in the alidha pose of a warrior, with eight arms fully equipped with weapons, using his mighty bow to overcome the asuras, a host of whom the painter has depicted opposite Siva, with the fierce indomitable spirit clearly portrayed in their attitude, fierce eyes, flaming hair and upraised weapons, daunted by nothing, little caring for the fears or tears of their women as they cling to them in fear and despair. Less as aids and more as companions of Siva are shown Kartikeya on his peacock, Ganesa on his mouse and Kali, the war-goddess, on her lion. Nandi is shown complacently quiet in front of his chariot. This is a great masterpiece of Chola art. This figure of Tripurantaka in the alidha pose in the Pallava tradition is seated and is a remarkable specimen continuing the earlier mode.

The paintings in the Brihadisvara temple constitute the most valuable document on the state of the painter's art during the time of the early Cholas, all the grace of classical painting observed at Sittannavasa, Panamalai and Kanchipuram being continued in this fine series.

The Chola paintings reveal to us the life, the grandeur and the culture of the Chola times. The special stress on Nataraja in his sabha hall as a favourite deity of the Cholas and the military visions and ideals of the Cholas in general, and of Rajaraja in particular, are almost symbolically ex-pressed in the great masterpiece of Tripurantaka.

chola paintingsThe colours are soft and subdued, the lines firm and sinewy, the expression true to life and, above all, there is an ease in the contours of these figures which have a charm of their own.

If expression is to be taken as the criterion by which a great painter has to be judged, it is here in abundance in these Chola paintings. The sentiment of heroism, virarasa, is clearly seen in Tripurantaka's face and form. The vigorous attitude of the Rakshasas determined to fight Siva and the wailing tear-stained faces of their women clinging to them in despair suggest an emotion of pity, karuna and raudra. Siva as Dakshinamurti seated calm and serene is a mirror of peace, santa. The hands in the vismaya of the dancer suggests the spirit of wonder, adbhuta; the grotesque dwarf ganas in funny attitudes playing the drum and keeping time represent hasya; the commingling of emotion is complete in the large Tripurantaka panel which is a jumble of vira, raudra and karuna.

Writer – C. Shivarammurti 

The Doctraine of Sabda

Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 4:15 AM 0 comments
Beautiful Mirabai
In the beginning was the soul merged in the Lord and with the Lord. But since then aeons have passed and the soul has left its abode of peace, where it lay wrapped in bliss. The ignorance persisting for ages, and the association with the grosser elements of matter and ego have covered the subtler element to such an extent that the spirit has apparently become benumbed. In the innermost core it is still alive, but the covers that it has put on have made it insensible to the Call. It has lost its sensibilities, and has become insensate to the shafts of love. They cannot pierce the dense layers the soul has put on. But at times it so happens that, when they do pierce, the experience, howsoever shortlived gives a thrill; but this effect is soon masked by the external reactions. If this temporary selflessness is allowed to sustain itself a little longer, real love will spring forth. These temporary flashes are not of much value to a devotee, not very praiseworthy even. They cannot lead the pilgrim Home. The successful termination of the journey presumes sustained effort and consequent joy.

Once this Bhakti is aroused in this frame, it begins to respond to the Eternal; the soul then starts upwards to the real home.

The soul has since its departure from the eternal Home been enjoying itself with the mind and the body Like the proverbial spendthrift, it is sharing with these cheats the boon of its Home. Like an ignorant child, it has fallen into bad company and is every day descending lower and lower in search of new pleasures of a vulgar type, which makes its redemption impossible. But, before the final wreck comes, it makes amends to the Father, and is forgiven. It then begins its career afresh. It only takes time to rise to the old place once more. This often happens when it is reminded in its fallen condition of its glorious past and is assured of the forgiving nature of the Father. The innate goodness is then aroused in the child. Then it realizes that these thieves the body and the mind which were to all appearances its companions, were really enjoying at its cost, as the soul was the only life-giving element. The covers of depravity are removed, it repents and then the Lord appears and makes it conscious of its fallen condition and of His mighty forgiving nature. This realization is bound to come, as the connection of the soul is yet unbroken with the Lord. When such a stage is reached, the Guru makes His appearance. The Guru knows the secrets of the Divine Path, and understands the malady of the aspirant. He ministers to the ailment of his new patient. To the aspirant he describes his fall and points out to him the path, following which he can reach Home. This path is nothing else but the current of divine love that leads the individual towards the Eternal Soul. If this route were not extant, the individual soul would never experience the thrills from the Universal. The soul, when it lay in the Ocean of Divinity, was lying silent, calm and unruffled; but, when it started its journey downward, the loss of energy in the motion resulted in its depletion, and this process of fall produced sound. This sound is technically termed abda in Vedanta and Yoga. At the various stages in its descent the soul adopted the form and the colour of the centre through which it passed. In our world it assumed the form of `Manas' and `Maya'. If now the soul wants to return Home, it has to retrace its path; it has once more to draw together all the energy it had diffused and then to proceed backwards. Just as in the wilderness in this world the traveller is guided by the sound at a distance, so also the soul on its pilgrimage is guided by the Sabda. It is the open sesame of the Divine Home. 

MirabaiThe soul moves on and on in reponse to it. As the sound grows clearer with the soul's advance in its upward march, the speed also increases. Like the snake that gets spell-bound itself when it hears the music of the charmer's flute, the soul drinks deep of the eternal music that issues forth from itself. This music of the soul is also called by the Yogis as Anahata and by the St-ills as Saut-i-sarmadi, the music without a beginning and an end, which never stops. When the music of this world appeals to one so much, one can easily imagine what must be the condition of the soul when it hears this divine music all the time. This music the soul has brought with itself. It sustains it. It is under its influence that the devotee goes into trances. It is the password to reach Home. Mira called this Sabda NAMA'. Without Nama', she incessantly repeated, you cannot reach Him. It is, in fact, the realization by man of his divinity. But this, she repeated, could be possible only through the help of the Teacher. And the Teacher will come only when the aspirant lies ill, crying for the beatific vision. He gives the gift of NAMA', and the path becomes accessible to the recipient.

The love for the Gum must be unadulterated, unselfish and spontaneous. The Guru is he who will open the gate that guards the entrance to the Divine Throne. There must be implicit faith in him. Divided affection is abhorred by him. An honest heart wins him over. How tenderly Mira loved her Guru and with what tenacity, is depicted by her in her beautiful lines, full of pathos and music and brimming with genuine feelings of affection and respect for the Teacher.

How many are those honest people that have the stern faith and hope in the Teacher? It is very nice to sit philosophizing that the world is a dream. But these are only pious thoughts. The poet is more honest (I say honest, not correct) when he says: 'Life is real' and 'not a dream'. Because he says what he sees But the Teacher will open the devotee's eyes and show him the hypocrisy of the world and its transient nature. It will be only then that in disgust he will turn his back from the world and realize that is was a dream. This hollowness will be shown to him as a stern reality as God was shown to Vivekananda by his Teacher, Swami Ramakrsna Paramahathsa, as a being that 'stood face to face with him and conversed with him.' But one who for ages has been enjoying the wine administered by the body and the mind can seldom get out of the stereotyped rut to breathe the pure fresh air.

The soul in this world has put on covers with which it enjoys when it dives deep into the quagmire of sensuality. It is difficult for it to shake them off. It is only after removing these covers of dirt that it can follow the path of love, so difficult and narrow many are prepared to follow this path with equilibrium and resolve maintained throughout. Although every-one is ready with his gospel and is up to deliver a sermon on the virtues of a devotee's life and the glories of the Path yet very few find the Teacher, still less obtain his favours. On whomsoever he showers his blessings, he takes him in his company, reveals to him the secrets of the Path and leads him Home. That is the beginning of real LOVE, the love that is synonymous with the Lord. The eye sees, with its senses intact, 'camels pass through the eye of the needle' and the 'seas drown in the boat.

To meet the Lord is easy, to discover His lover is difficult.' This is not a truism, but a truth. When the soul proceeds with implicit faith in the Teacher, this automatically happens when the Teacher shows to the devotee his real form, then it reaches Home and merges itself in divinity. Everything it sees there is its own. It dances in ecstasy when it sees its Lord. On one side stands the Teacher and on the other it witnesses the Lord in full effulgence. In a dilemma it finds itself.

And it falls on the feet of its Teacher, unable to understand its own action and decision. The Lord smiles and clasps the soul to His bosom. It feels the warmth of the embrace. It revives from its slumber and tastes of the eternal life. This is life immortal which it now gets. The way is through the Teacher, who is to impart the knowledge of the abda. There is no other way in this Kali age. Prepare for His arrival; for, sooner or later, He is bound to come. You are to be equipped, not with the riches and the wealth of the world, but with a poor man's heart, a heart that will burst forth into tears of joy at His name and in which the waves of love are constantly rising, leaving no space for any other love besides that for the Holy One.

The inception of love is the result of the ascent of the accumulated energy upwards. The way upwards is through the Guru.

Mira was imbued with similar feelings. She cried, "Take the torch of `Guru-Thana' and steer clear through the abysmal darkness of the world." What she said will be understood only by those who have passed through the path traversed by that great devotee. The fidelity required in this domain is too taxing, nay, boring at times, for the soul that has started suddenly and with great vigour at the very outset. It staggers at the first shock it receives, as it is yet raw in the sense of lacking in the support of the Guru. But, when the Guru is met, the watchword of the soul is "Always with the Guru." This is the sign of emancipation, and, sooner or later, every soul must crave for the divine support. Then redemption is not far off. Else, like the many, it also finds a place in some abyss. The onlookers have watched with careless eyes the wrecking of many boats, but they have never cared to diagnose the cause. The phantom of death, as the dear ones have been carried on the bier, has haunted them only for a moment. The realization has been short-lived. The attention is carried again to the wrangles of the world, and once again the soul is drowned in the sea of pain and pleasure, steeped in the desire of the world, in its joys and in its sorrows. The momentary flash does cross at least once everybody's life, and many a pious resolution is then arrived at, and solemn promise made thenceforth to follow a course that may lead Home. But their unstable position soon wrecks them on the rocks of worldliness. When once caught in its meshes, no amount of frowning or fawning will avail them. But even then, if he were to realize the greatness of the soul and follow its dictates to the last, there is every chance of redemption. The Teacher will give the devotee the strength to fight the blandishments and snares of Maya and Kala and ultimately tow his boat unperturbed through the gushing current. Few realize the boon the Teacher confers although everybody is familiar with the prevailing practice in big households. The entry there is regulated by permits. It is therefore not a matter for surprise that the divine preserves should be protected by these saints, who act as the repositories of divine secrets, mysteries and knowledge. If the Cela is ready, he whispers the password, and with its help the aspirant reaches the unexplored region.

MirabaiThe Guru tells how the descent began and the agonies of the soul commenced. He knows it, as he has the experience of that region. When the ingress into the region of darkness has been through doors of pain, the way back must surely likewise be decked with wreaths of tears, not burning tears this time, but the soothing draughts that quench the thirst of the soul. Seeing the wilderness in front and the uncertainty in the result of the espoused cause, the tiro does not grip the opportunity offered to him, but allows himself to be washed with the downward current into the region of abysmal darkness. The proverbial laziness in man, coupled with his love for pleasure does not permit him to steer through and beyond the rushes of Maya. He is afraid of being drowned and desires to come out unbruised. Thus, when a beginner finds after some time that the path is too difficult for him, he abandons it immediately. Thereupon the sparks of renunciation convert themselves into strong chains of worldliness, thus preparing the way to Hell. The solitary stars shine in the firmament of time; while some have persevered and others have sneered, the devotees have worn expectant looks. They have sat helpless and penitent, awaiting the motherly touch to come and take them up. And the mother has come. Their hopes have not been frustrated. The Teachers have come and opened the portals for them. There drinks the soul the nectar of bliss, unable to find words in which to express gratitude to the Teacher. In no words can it pay tribute to him, the repository of the GREAT MYSTERY, who unlocks the mysteries that lie unfathomed in the recesses of the heart.

Writer – Bankey Behari

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