Protected by Copyscape Website Copyright Protection

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bagawan's Majesty in Stone and Metal

Two days back I had been to Tiruvarur and I stumbled upon the Government museum. Thank God, though it was located inside the temple, unlike the temple timings - the Museum was open from Morning to evening.

Initially we had a doubt whether to go inside or to leave... then some intuition (as usual) pushed me inside. I just peeped in and got convinced.

The Museum holds ancient items, images, stone idols and  sculptures. Though there was no huge  numbers, there was a decent collection of the antiques and images in the museum.

Apart from the stone work, there are bronze sculptures. The metal sculptures of the Chola dynasty and Nayak dynasty, the idols of Hindu god and goddess give the visitors a feel of the religious background of the by gone days.

The idols and the old sculptures from the age old temples, dilapidated stone idols and Panchaloga idols excavated from ponds and Barren lands, even Vigrahams seized from Theft case etc are displayed here.

Now coming to my subject, As usual there was substantial collection of Sastha idols. And as usual that was enough for me.

A Sitting pose Sastha (Ayyanar) with Chendu and Veera Pattam of 10th Century was the very first idol which caught my attention.  Typical Sastha Vigraham of 2,5 feet high and the most important thing is- the idol was intact even after 1000 years.

While moving further - my eyes got stuck in one damaged vigraham. Probably 14-15th Century Idol. Initially I had a doubt whether it may be dakshina moorthy. But soon got it clarified. A Classic Sastha vigraham with a Lotus - something similar to Enkodi Kandan Sastha of Nagercoil.  The idol is so beautiful and Lively. It has been excavated from a temple pond and had a binna (the left hand was broken completely.) If something can be done to correct this binna - nothing can match its beauty.

The next one was a Panchaloga Vigraham with a captivating beauty. It was a 15th Century Idol from Kodavasal... This beautiful intricately detailed statue of Lord Sastha seated on a Elephant. Bagawan's Majesty was something beyond explanation. The ornaments, sitting pose, the Gambeeram, His face, even the mahout who was at the backside - it was perfect. I was literally taken way with this idol. If there was an auction - I would have been the first person to get it. I can challenge no sculptor today can even reproduce 60% of this beauty. No words to explain !

Another vigraham which surprised me was Madhurai Veeran. It can easily be dated to 16th century. This one supports my argument that Veeranar found in many Ayyanar temples need not be the Warrior Hero Madurai Veeran always. This Veeranar predates Madurai Veeran who was a contemporary to 17th Century Tirumalai Naicker. Interestingly there is no moustache to this Veeran - not only here, but i remember seeing such idols in many age old temples too.

Another most interesting Idol was a 16th Century idol.. With the standing pose and Chendu in his hand and with Two devi idols on both sides, I had a strong doubt it may be Sundra Moorthy Nayanar. But the caretaker of the Museum strongly said its Ayyanar only. So far Ive seen hardly 9-10 Standing Moorthis of Sastha/ Ayyanar. If it is Ayyanar idol with Poorna Pushkala- it will be a great breakthrough and the dhyana slokas and Morthi lakshanams of Ayyanar need to be reoworked. I still keep my fingers crossed - yet to come to any conclusion.

When I came out I had one feeling - what ive researched in all these 21 years is just as big as the size of sand in my palm. Katradhu Kai Man Alavu.

I feel Bagawan Sastha, however, has something more for me to do. Let me wait...

Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa
Aravind Subramanyam