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KRISHNA IN HIS COSMIC FORM
Rajasthan
18th-19th centuries
Gouache on paper
Size: 74.5 by 50.5 cms

An image of Krishna as Supreme Person ( Purusottama ) inside the cosmic egg (brahmanda). Of all the Indian deities, Krishna is definitely one of the most popular and the archetype of the god of love and devotion ( bhakti ).
The god is seen in the cosmic egg, with the serpent Sesa at the bottom. The lower worlds of Patala are shown on the god’s legs. Beside the god’s right leg the Pandavas armies can bee seen, with Arjuna’s charriot and his charrioter, Krishna. On the god’s left is the Kaurava army, This episode is widely known from the Bhagavad- Gita, and constitutes one of the first appearences of Krishna in Indian literatura. It is in the Gita where Krishna appears in his most complete divine form.
Above the Pandavas army, after a line of bovides, is Vishnu Narayana, reclining on the cosmic serpent with Lakhmi at his feet. Opposite is the cavern where Shiva and Parvati dwell. The abdomen is portrayed as a Jambudvipa: the representation of the earth and its temples, Dvarka (Gujarat), Rameshvar (Tamil Nadu) and Jaganath (Puri, Orissa), surrounded by seven seas. The four white elephants indicate the tour cardinal directions or points. King Gora is on the left and Queen Musha on the right. In the centre is the land of Gokula, witn Lord Krishna dancing with the cow girls (gopis). Completing the circle is the temple of Badrinatha.
Behind and forming the trunk of the body is Mount Merhu, with Brama on the peak. On the right shoulder can be seen Kuberloka, the paradise of the god Kubera. On the left shoulder is Indraloka, the paradise of the god Indra. The crown consists of Bramaloka, the paradise of god Brama, topped by the domes of a palace. The heavens can be seen behind.
The five profusely bejewelled right arms are holding, from top to bottom: the mace, in this case in the form of a lotus flower (posible for reasons of aesthetic simmetry), with the thumb of his hand in the shape of a horse’s head; the thumb of the next hand is shaped like a camel’s head; the next a bull’s head; the next hand is holding a rosary, and the thumb on the bottom hand is shaped like an elephant’s head. The upper left hand is holding a lotus and the thumbs on the following hands are in the shape of the same animal’s heads as on the right; the fourth hand is holding a conch.
Outside the mandorla that contains the god and the different mythological scenes are Vishnu’s mountain, Mount Vaikunta, and Shiva’s mountain Mount Kailasa.
Above them are four figures dressed in yellow, with monkey’s heads, from the left to right: Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda and Atharva-Veda.
Between them is another cosmic egg with Krishna and Rada in the centre. Crowning the whole Picture is a representation of the Rama Vaikunta, the higher heaven, divided by the celestial Ganges River, where Krishna appears once more dancingwith the gopis.
In India the desire for God takes the form of the longing to “see” (darsana) the God.
In the words of Geoffrey Parrinder, chapter XI of the Bhagavad-Gita is perhaps “the most detailed vision of God in all religious literature”. The warrior Arjuna wants to “see” the divine body of his strange charrioteer. To enable him to do so, Krishna bestows him with divine eyes so that the brilliance of the Divine Person (purisottama) does not blind him. The dazzling vision of the Cosmic Being (visvarupa-darsana) is a vision of trascendence rather than immanence. The whole pantheon of gods appears to Arjuna in the body of Krishna.

PROVENANCE
Robert Clark collection 1980
PUBLISHED
Arte Sagrado de las Tradiciones Indicas. Casa Asia, Barcelona 2005