indian art - miniatures - archecticture - vedic philosophy

Classical - Mewari - Gita-Govinda - Series One
Plate 17 - "Bhrupallava... Radha re sarira re visemelpa hein."  


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In four preceding verses the poet addressed the god of love and Radha separately. In this verse he comingles them. Now the limbs of Radha are the implements of the god of love. Her arched brow is his bow, her twinkling glances his arrows, her earlobes his bowstring. His weapons are guarded by her, who is the living goddess of love's triumph. The three realms of the universe are vanquished by her.
This involved poetry is translated into pictorial terms in a challenging manner. The figure of Radha is not repeated. Kama is seen instead as many as five times in the painting. Radha and her sakhi are seen as the pictorial refrain. Radha is seen a second time with Kama. He is as if handing over all his weapons to her. A lotus is prominently featured thus establishing her form. Below, Krsna sits in the arched bower with another Kama standing before Him with folded hands. Dense foliage of trees surrounds the bower.
In the next spatial area on the left are seen the three realms which are vanquished through the arrows of love. Kama shoots at the world of sense perception - at the animals and men on terrestrial space and celestial space above, where souls who have attained salvation are afloat in boats. The serpentine Jamuna connects the different worlds. Once again, the mystical nuance, rather than sensuous imagery is underpinned. We are here, truly in the realm of spirit rather than that of the senses.
The paintings inspired by the verses of this prabandha are clear proof of the artist's ability to employ the world of sense perception for the very purpose of transcending the physical. We are transported to the realm of the spirit. It is comparatively less difficult to sustain this conception through words. To sustain it in pictorial terms is a challenging task. The artist is equal to this task and deploys all the vocabulary of formal technique at his command.