I devoutly pray to Bhuvaneshi
has radiance like that of the rising sun
has a moon diadem
has elevated breasts
has three eyes
has a smiling face
has (in her hands) goad and noose
(and the other two are in the stances of)
boon-conferring and protection.
Bhuvaneshi fulfils the four objects of human life
is entire, enjoys Brahmananda (bliss),
is the queen of the universe
is the aggregate of the three powers (will, action and knowledge),
is beyond birth and death,
is served by Vishnu, Brahma and Indra.
The wisdom of yore reminds us time and again that 'every rise hath a fall', and so also 'evil growing out of all proportions is wiped out in the natural course'. Thus, whenever troubles arise due to the misadventure of the wicked, some force is born to restore order and peace. On such occasions, we find the terrorized and the downtrodden singing hymns to Devi as Bhuvaneshi or Bhuvaneshwari, the ruling queen of this universe, consisting of fourteen bhuvanas, or worlds, namely, Bhu, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah and Satya which are above the earth and Atala, Sutala, Vitala, Gabhastimuta, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala, all of which are below the earth. The poet describes her as having a face as radiant as the rising sun and the artist suggests this by the use of soft orange tones for her skin. She is clad in bright yellow which along with the golden halo adds to the impression of luminosity.
Devi here presents an enchanting spectacle of a beautiful woman gorgeously decorated with anklets, bangles, armlets, necklaces, elaborate earrings, nose ring and a sheer scarf etched with a silver pallav (border) through the transparent folds of which we get a glimpse of her jet-black tresses. The tasseled pillow covered with silver brocade against which she rests also deserves special notice. Indeed, each visible object has been painstakingly rendered. The spread of the tree is suggestive of infinity, like human hands stretching towards perfection, towards infinity of achievement. The depiction of the clouds is very slight, perhaps hinting at the idea that the part played by the elements is not always explicit, not always assumed. The queen of the universe Bhuvaneshi carries a goad and a noose in two hands, while the other two are in the varada and abhaya mudras. The reference to her elevated breasts is a reminder that she is the Divine Mother who nurtures and cares for her bhaktas (devotees). The smiling face shows her delight when she is extolled in gratitude by her devotees for removing all afflictions in life:
Goddess who gives rise to unfettered happiness
in the devotees,
Mother, give the form, give the victory, give the fame,
kill the enemies.
Devi's face is as luminous as the rising sun; her whole body appears to be glittering with divine light; her ornaments and garments present a bewitching spectacle; in a happy mood, Devi is looking like a young woman, with tender and fickle side-glances. The stance of her hands and her loose hair make her beauty more prominent. The artist has painted the tree in its real form as if the details had been observed before drawing it. The glow of the tree in the background is very charming. A clear demarcation of the sky and the earth has been brought out through the light-and-shade effect of colours. A deep study of colours and situations is indicated in this painting.
Each visible object has been very beautifully reproduced. Even the floor-sheet, studded and bedecked with pearls, is adorning the painting through its colour-synthesis.
Of Related Interest:
Women and Jewelry - The Spiritual Dimensions of Ornamentation
Every Woman a Goddess - The Ideals of Indian Art
Parvati the Love Goddess - Tales of Marriage and Devotion in Art and Mythology
Durga - Narrative Art of an 'Independent' Warrior Goddess
Lakshmi and Saraswati - Tales in Mythology and Art
Mother Goddess as Kali - The Feminine Force in Indian Art
Wisdom Goddesses - Mahavidyas and the Assertion of Femininity in Indian Thought
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