Shyambarna Devi Durga

Shyambarna Devi Durga

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Her skin is the colour of twilight. The red and gold-bordered saree She is clad in brings out the glamour of Her rare complexion. The wife of Lord Shiva, She is the ashtabhujadhari (eight-armed) Devi Mahishasuramardini. She is astride Her golden-maned lion (simhavahana), in unison with whom She has slayed (‘mardini’ is Sanskrt for ‘slayeress’) the great buffalo-demon, Mahishasura (‘mahisha’ is Sanskrt for ‘buffalo’; ‘asura’, for ‘demon’).

Note the balance of ferocity and serenity in the Deviroopa. The trishool in Her right anteriormost hand is piercing into Mahishasura’s flesh, while with one foot She is pushing Him down. From the angle of Her torso to Her hips, She is clearly putting Her entire weight and strength on His vanquished body. Yet Her composure of countenance is one of calm and maternal benevolence - from those large, long-lashed eyes to the lotus-like mouth, complete with traditional bindi and nosering shringar. The lifelike fiery halo and the sliver of the moon are indicative of Her husband’s perennial presence around Her. From Her unusual complexion to the severed heads dangling from Her torso, there is a hint of Devi Kali in this Devi Durga painting.

The demon’s vahana, the dark grey buffalo, lies helplessly beneath its master with the head severed. Note how the victorious simha’s tail flourishes in the air.

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Item Code: HO95
Water Color Painting on Paper
Artist: Kailash Raj
7.60 inch X 10.00 inch
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