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Interpreted in Tantrika way the fragmented female figure : head enshrining a triangle, which in Tantrika system is symbolic of ‘yoni’ – vulva, as also houses her disjointed breasts and another form of ‘yoni’, buttocks and legs squeezed bundle-like so that from below them the ‘ling’ – phallus, gets in touch with the ‘yoni’ and coitus goes on uninterrupted, and two detached hands flanking on either side, the right holding a bunch of lotuses, and the left, held in a posture which seems to impart ‘abhaya’, is obviously the representation of Shakti. The isolated ‘ling’, reaching the female figure’s ‘yoni’, though not modeled like a votive Shiva-ling, is obviously a representation of Shiva in the ‘ling’-form.
The background consists of a blend of many tones of saffron suggestive of fire, and correspondingly, of the heat of creative passion, blazing low and high. Corresponding to the heat of creative passion forms dissolve and what sustain are only the relevant or the meaningful parts, and these too, fully diffused like smoke taking to various shapes and forms : the hands without arms, face with neck but without shoulders to support them, disjointed breasts without a chest part, and as disjointed vulva held suspending on these breasts. Whether the figure’s hair or garments, all float and surge along the rise and fall of the passion swelling within. The representation has a lotus at its root, and another – a multi-petalled, at the apex – over the figure’s head, one symbolising the base, and other, the achievable ultimate, and in Tantrika way through ‘yoni’ the ‘ling’ accomplishes the journey from the base to the apex.
It is by kindling ‘Kundalini’ – inherent dormant energies lying coiled in the body like a serpent, that the journey from the base to the apex is accomplished. Kundalini-sadhana, by which dormant energies are kindled, is the essence of all Tantrika systems. Such dormant energies are multi-million times more potent than body’s known energies. Even the modern sciences now talk of activating vast dormant areas of brain which, they contend, would release incalculable neurological capacities which a man has but knows not. In Tantrika realms the body is perceived as comprising six ‘chakras’, the dynamic elemental – Tattvika, centres, namely, ‘Muladhara’, ‘Svadhisthana’, ‘Mani-pura’, ‘Anahata’, ‘Vishuddha’, and ‘Ajna’. Over all them is situated ‘Sahasrara-padma’ – the thousand-petalled lotus.
‘Muladhara’, an inverted triangular space in the midmost region of the body, is like a young girl’s vagina as also like a red lotus with four petals and the ‘ling’ penetrating into it. These petals symbolise four forms of bliss. At the base of the ‘ling’ is the Brahma-dvara – divine door, where Kundalini lies asleep. This is also the seat of creative desire. When itself awakened, this creative desire pricks Kundalini to awake. The painting seems to alternate the serpent-like coiled form of Kundalini with a bulbous round. Alike, instead of four-petalled lotus it represents ‘ling’ straightway pricking the triangle which is vagina. This act of ‘ling’ pricking vagina – copulation, marks in the Tantrika way the beginning of the process of the awakening Kundalini. Around the navel just above ‘Muladhara’ is situated ‘Svadhisthana’, perceived as a six-petalled lotus manifesting six qualities or states of being. The painting continues with the vagina-form for defining this second ‘chakra’ too, and actually also the ten-petalled Manipur, the third, by so delineating this form of vagina that on one hand it reflects a six-petalled lotus, and on other, ten-petalled, besides its own form.
The journey towards ‘Sahasrara-padma’ begins with fourth ‘chakra’, ‘Anahata’ – a lotus with twelve petals, situated in the region of heart. Its element is air and here ‘jivatma’ – self, appears like the flame of a lamp. The painting has visualised it with a form which is both, a lotus bud as also a flame rising over a pair of leaves. The folds of the neck seem to define Vishuddha ‘chakra’, the fifth, conceived as situated at throat level. The sixth, Ajna, is situated in between the eye-brows, that is, on the mid-forehead, marked in the painting with a circular form. In Vishuddha ‘chakra’ the ‘sadhaka’ – practiser, is in direct touch and contact of godly glory. As in the painting, the ‘jivatma’ sheds its colours and transcending beyond the material existence and with all forms dissolved, merges with Parmatman – perceived in Tantrism, and in the painting, as Sahasrara-padma. It is the state of ‘samadhi’ –complete transcendence.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.