I worship Kameshwari in my heart. She is as delicate and beautiful as the
Kameshwari, another aspect of the primordial female energy, combines in her
form the oneness of Shiva and Shakti, that is, matter and energy and is the
giver of form, fame, bliss and victory. She is the upholder of good and at
times the destroyer of enemies. She is revered as the mother of the world,
embodiment of truth and consciousness. Burnt gold-like is her complexion and
of the sun, moon and fire consist her eyes.
Kameshwari is the spouse and the half of Kameswar Shiva and is hence endowed
with many of Shiva's attributes and half of Shiva's form. It is said that
pleased by the severe austerities of Parvati and the ardor of her
sacrifices, which she performed for attaining him as her husband, Lord Shiva
offered Parvati the left half of his body. Thus, the spirit, the purusha who
was Shiva, united with energy, the prakriti which was Parvati and the form
that evolved was a comprehensive existence wherein energy and matter
combined. In artistic innovations, as here in this painting, there evolved a
deity form which combined half male and half female, obviously the right
side that of Shiva and the left of Parvati. This is what is known in art as
the likeness of Kameshwari. In Tantrika worship Kameshwari is re-named as
Bhairavi capable of fulfilling all desires. This deity form embodies the
principle of the union of matter and energy which can overcome all obstacles
and achieve all desired ends.
Kameshwari occupies here a large magnificent throne and holds in her four
hands a bow, a dart, a noose and a goad. Her right half, which relates to
Shiva, has been defined by a snake around it and the tiger-skin wrapped on
its lower part. Her other side is wrapped in a sari richly laid with gold
work. The artist seems to have kept in his mind even the minutest details.
The earrings in the right and left ears vary from each other. Her two palms
are painted in feminine manner, while the other two are plain. The leg
representing Shiva is exposed to view but the other one is fully covered.
Even her breasts and bodice have been variedly cast. The faces of devotee
figures too have been enlivened with great devotional serenity.
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.
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