This painting depicts the all-encompassing consciousness that is personified as the Shivaji Himself. The iconography is replete with traditional elements. Long dreadlocks, held in place by a skull and with a sliver of the moon wedged into it. A garland of skulls, a naga for a necklace, and a barely-there loincloth. Apart from the rudraksha on His torso and four arms, the solid gold kundalas on His ears are His only adornment. A pair of kharam grace His ascetic feet, set off by the super-toned musculature possible only for a yogi of the highest order.
While Lord Mahadeva is a favourite subject with devotee artisans in India, this oil stands apart from your run-of-the-mill Shiva compositions. Its most unique aspect is the veena the Lord holds in His anterior right arm, which reveals a side of the deva that is overshadowed by His destructive aspect. In truth, the annihilator is not distinct from the creator; and to the latter inspiration is crucial.