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The Devi: Shakta Cult

by Onkar Rahi

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The Devi Mahatamya in pictorial details in this volume is a study of Devi Shakti – the supreme feminine deity. She is Dashamahavidya of the Bhairavas, and also Katyayini, Kalaratri and Mahagauri. As Shiva’s Adishakti, she is Gayatri, the goddess of all science and knowledge. She finds origin in Vedas as Gayatri mata. She is the supreme power of Markandeya Purana. She is mind and matter both.

First known as Rudrapatni, she acquires the epithets of Arya, Bhagavati, Deva-Samskriti, Mahakali, Mahayogini and Mangama of our meditation and acquires her philosophical aspect. Upanishads respect her as Uma Hemavati and Durga. She is benign, terrible, vigorous, generous and also amalgamated as Yogamaya of Vasudeva. As controller of the universe, she is the energy being the female principle of Maheshwara.

Pahari miniature paintings represent Indian spirit and are impulsive towards the transcendental and supernatural. Elaborate ornamentation, idealization and naturalistic representation in line and colour bring these works closer to life. The mythological and historical scenes are related to unexpected glimpse of the figures in these miniatures leaving nothing to illusiveness because the artistic details give glimpse of a great cultural age.

We find an air of greater naturalism because of the colours used symbolically. Pahari style of painting has a sense of reality, unique freedom of expression, cultural perspective and influence of local colour. Art in these miniatures is sensitive, reticent and tender. Self control, serenity, passion, delicacy and refinement enrich the delightful rhythms where music flows in each strain of colour in harmony of technique, subject and portrayal.

This volume for the first time, presents 36 handwritten pages of Markandeya Purana dated A.D. 1574-75 in addition to the paintings of Basohli, Chamba, Guler Kangra, Jammu and Kulu versions from the 18th century to early 20th century from various museums and private collections in this unique collection in colours, lyrical and dramatic where the synthesis of various Pahari idioms appears in self consciously attempted paintings based on manuscripts.

Pahari paintings of Markandeya Purana sing the Devi Mahatamya in line and colour where imagination is refinement of reasoning is reality of our life.





Detailed Product Info:

Title: The Devi: Shakta Cult
Author(s): Onkar Rahi
ISBN: 9788121405959
Language: English
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