Painting from a Devi Mahatmya depicting Vishnu sleeping on the serpent Ananta.? ?
The blue-skinned god wearing a yellow dhoti and long garland is reclining with one arm slung behind his head, two hands in his lap, his attributes laid beside him, with Lakshmi wearing an orange lengha and gold choli-dupatta seated with one knee raised and massaging her husband's foot. The couple is resting upon the multi-headed serpent Ananta (Shesha) in the cosmic ocean, with Brahma seated on a lotus flower springing from Vishnu’s navel and multi-headed and armed Durga above, the demons Madhu and Kaitabha arising from the right and the heads of sea creatures emerging from the swirling waves. Verso extensively inscribed in devanagari script within a yellow floral border.?
Punjab hills, Pahari school of Guler, circa 1840 AD
American private collection, Tennessee
For a related example, see V. Dehejia, Devi, the Great Goddess: Female Divinity in South Asian Art, Washington D.C., Ahmedabad, Cologne: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Mapin Publishing, Prestel Verlag, 1999: p. 42, fig. 2.
The first story of the Devi Mahatmya depicts Devi in her universal form as Shakti. Here Devi is central and key to the creation; she is the power that induces Narayana's deep slumber on the waters of the cosmic ocean prior to the manifestation of the Universe which is a continuous cycle of manifestation, destruction and re-manifestation. Vishnu manifests from all pervading Narayan and goes into deep slumber on Adi Sesha. Two demons arise as thoughtforms from Vishnu's sleeping body and endeavor to vanquish Brahma who is preparing to create the next cycle of the Universe. Brahma sings to the Great Goddess, asking her to withdraw from Vishnu so he may awaken and slay the demons. Devi agrees to withdraw and Vishnu awakens and vanquishes the demons. Here Devi serves as the agent who allows the cosmic order to be restored.
1 900 €