Thursday, September 15, 2016

Our Treasure - III

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I wonder how I forgot to continue the series 'Our Treasure' after writing Part I and Part II!

Well...my friend, Shail, did a post on Thiruonam/Onam festival which triggered my memories.  I told her that we had seen a beautiful sculpture of Trivikrama/Vamana at Ellora(!).  During our road trip we had covered Ajanta, Ellora, Badami, Aihole and Pattada kallu at a stretch.  Now, it is more than one and a half years and I am getting confused! This Trivikrama sculpture is at the Badami Caves.  All the three of us, I, my husband and son were so overwhelmed when we saw the minute design of this sculpture, we spent more than half an hour, in front of this unique display of the talent of our ancestors.  Even now, as soon as I saw this, I felt breathless.  Have a look at it now and you too will feel like me!

Trivikrama, a sculpture at the Badami Caves (Karnataka). Notice the fingers, toes, the posture of King Mahabali's subjects pleading with Vishnu/Trivikrama...the Devas are on top...
Another angle!

The whole sculpture is here!
Click on the image and notice the hand holding a sword (on the right side). Such minute details can be seen here.  So many are there.
The story of the sculpture goes like this:

King Mahabali was a powerful, good King, though he was described as asura (demon).  His subjects loved and respected him.  He brought nearly the entire world under his kingdom.  He conquered Indra, the King of the Devas and occupied Indralokha.  He wanted to rule Indraloka permanently.  As per his Guru Shukracharya's advice, he conducted Ashwamedha yaga...a pooja to be the King of Indraloka.  He had done 99 yagas and had started doing the 100th, when Indra's mother Adhiti pleaded with Vishnu to help her son retain the Indraloka.  Vishnu assured her that he would do the needful.

He reincarnated as a Brahmin dwarf boy (Vaamana) and came to the Yagashala, the place where the yaga was taking place.  Seeing him, Mahabali asked him what he wanted, since it was the practice to give anything (daana, it is said) the Brahmins asked during the yaga time.  Vaamana praised Mahabali for his good and peaceful ruling of the kingdom. He reminded Mahabali that his great grandfather Prahlada was a great Vishnu devotee and also praised Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada's father, for his power and determination. 

Finally Vaamana said that he will need just three steps of land which he himself would measure.  Mahabali told him that he is not happy to give such a small amount of daana/gift and asked him to ask for more.  But Vaamana said the 3 steps of land would do.

The King's minister/adviser Shukracharya sensed that Vaamana was Vishnu and asked Mahabali to refuse giving the gift.  But Mahabali was adamant on giving the daana Vaamana had asked.  Mahabali did the sankalpa (sort of promise with tulsi water) and agreed to the 3 steps of land which Vaamana had asked. 

Next minute, the short image of Vaamana grew up in size, so huge that it was impossible to describe in words (which was called as Trivikrama Roopa).  The sculpture shows how the other images dwarfed in front of him.

His first step covered the earth, second covered the sky and when asked where to keep his third step, Mahabali offered his head.  Vishnu did that and Mahabali went into Pataal loka, below the earth.  

Before going down Vishnu gave Mahabali a boon as per the wish of his subjects, he will rule his country for one day a year as their king, every year.  This day is celebrated as Balipadya in Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra after Deepawali and as Thiruvonam/Vonam in Kerala (Thiruvona nakshathram/star in the Malayalam month of Chingam...Aug/Sept.).  Onam is celebrated in Kerala (for nearly 10 days, welcoming their King!) with feast, art festivals etc. 

I think I will be writing more about our treasures for a long time!

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8 comments :

SG said...

Beautiful narration. Happy Onam.

Destination Infinity said...

I was somewhat familiar with this story, but I didn't know the association of Onam festival and the other festival in Karnataka, with it. Good to know :)

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

SG: Thank you, SG for the first comment! No, we don't celebrate Onam at home. Feel like doing the pookkalam some year! I follow Tamil festivals!


DESTINATION INFINITY: Thank you, Rajesh!


Jeevan said...

I have heard this story before said by someone I can’t remember... but if u hadn’t narrated now, I would have been blank about the sculpture that displays magnificence! Truly remarkable

Nice reference on festivals related to it the subject

KParthasarathi said...

Thanks to you I could see the wonderful sculptures through your pictures.Poor Sukracharya not only dissuaded Mahabali in making the dhaanam but even went to the extent of turning himself into a beetle and blocking the water coming thro the nozzle of the vessel that contained the water.Trivikrama inserted a thin wood to remove the blockage and making the acharya lose one eye in the process!

Sandhya said...

JEEVAN: Thank you, Jeevan!


KPARTHASARATHY: Oh, how did I forget this interesting story? Thanks a lot, Partha Sir for reminding the more interesting story here! I have got some 11 pictures of this sculpture taken in different angles!Many many sculptures based on our mythological stories were there!

Onkar said...

Very impressive and very imposing

Bikramjit Singh Mann said...

Wow .. beautiful sculptures and that you for all the info..

Bikram's

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