Showing posts with label Andhra Pradesh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Andhra Pradesh. Show all posts

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Bhringi – The Story of Devotion and Curse

Parangi (The Wanderer), a sage was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. His Bhakti for the Lord knew no bounds. Every morning he offered prayers to Lord Shiva earnestly at Mount Kailash. He exclusively worshipped Lord Shiva, ignoring goddess Parvathi.  The goddess, who failed to get any attention of any kind from Parangi grew jealous and complained to Lord Shiva. The next day, goddess Parvathi was seen seated on the lap of Lord Shiva by Maharishi Parangi who had then come to offer prayers to the Lord. Parangi was dumbstruck at this situation and using his yogic powers transformed into a snake (some accounts mention this form also as a rat) to circumambulate only the Lord in the gap between him and the goddess, in order to avoid the goddess.
Ardhanareshwara - Badami Cave
Bhringi - Shri Kedareshwara Temple, Nagalapura
 Goddess Parvathi was very hurt at his behavior and complained to Lord Shiva as follows, “When you and I are one, then why should Rishi Parangi ignore me and offer prayers only to you”? The Lord smiled and replied, “His (Parangi’s) behavior should not bother you”. However, to please his beloved, Lord Shiva unites with his goddess to form Ardhanareshwara” (a composite form of Lord Shiva and Parvathi). On seeing this form of the Lord, Rishi Parangi again used his yogic powers and this time turned into a beetle (some accounts mention this form as a bee) to bore hole through the navel of Ardhanareshwara and go around Lord Shiva’s half only, avoiding the goddess again. Thus he gets the name Bhringi, meaning bee/beetle.  Parangi’s devotion only towards Lord Shiva and ignorant attitude towards her added to the goddess’s agony, who was now enraged enough to curse him.  She cursed him to lose the parts of his body received from his mother. According to our Puranic beliefs, the bones and nerves come from the father and blood and muscles come from the mother. Though this may not be completely true as per genetics, it signifies the importance of both parents equally contributing to their child’s physical characteristics. Due to this curse of goddess Parvathi, Parangi (Bhringi) loses all his muscles and blood and falls down at the feet of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva then blesses his ardent devotee with a third leg to provide support to his body, similar to a tripod.
Monkey Faced Bhringi
Lord Nataraja with Nandi, Shri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, Gangadevanahalli
 Bhringi is usually seen with folded hands, in full devotion standing besides Lord Ardhanareshwara, which is beautifully depicted at Cave No.2 of Badami. Bhringi is also considered as the ‘Dance Master of the Gods‘and is associated with many nritya murtis of Lord Shiva. One such beautiful depiction can be seen at the Natya mandapa of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple of Lepakshi.  He is also said to have a monkey’s face, owing to the curse of goddess Parvathi. Bhringi is also classified as a form of Lord Bhairava; the same is depicted on the outer wall of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple at Gangadevanahalli. Also, Bhringi is one among the 8 Commanders/Ganas of Lord Shiva, along with Devi, Chandesha, Mahakala, Vrishabha, Nandi, Ganesha and Murugan. He was also entrusted with the administration of Lord Shiva’s troops. He along with Lord Nandi guard the doors of Lord Shiva’s residence at Kailash. 
Dance Master Bhringi, Lepakshi
Nataraja Panel, Mandapeshwar Caves, Mumbai
Master "Dance Master"  -Bhringi
There are many such beautiful stories of devotion/bhakti.

1. Pratima Kosha - A book 
2. Iconography of Shiva - T A Gopinath Rao  

Related Posts
1. The Great Destroyer - Samharamurtis
2. The Divine beggar - Bhkshatanamurti 
3. Lepakshi Chitra Katha

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Forms of Lord Shiva, The Great Destroyer - Samharamurtis

Gajasurasamharamurti - Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple
"Samharamurtis" are one among the five classes of representation of Lord Shiva’s various aspects, the others being the Anugraha-murtis (or boon-conferring aspects), the Nritta-murtis (or dancing aspects), the Dakshina-murtis (or the yogic, musical and philosophic aspects), and other minor aspects. Samharamurtis portray the destructive or terrific aspects of Lord Shiva. Each form or image of Lord Shiva under this aspect is indicative of the destruction of a particular maleficent and troublesome being. The various forms comprised in Samharamurtis are Kamantakamurti, Gajasuramsamharamurti, Kalarimurti, Tripurantakamurti, Sarabhesamurti, Brahmasiraschchhedakamurti, Veerabhadramurti, Jalandharavadhamurti, Mallarishivamurti, Andhakasuravadhamurti, Aghoramurti, and Mahakala.
The ‘Kamantakamurtiillustrates Lord Shiva burning down and destroying Kama/Manmatha, the god of love by opening his third eye and emitting flames of fire which reduced Kama to ashes. Lord Shiva is portrayed in yogasana, with three eyes and four-arms.  Kama lies standing before him accompanied by Devbhaga while his consort Rati stands nearby along with Vasantha. Kamantaka’s mudras are pataka and suchi; his emblems are a drum and trident.
Kamantakamurti - Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Basaralu
The ‘Gajasurasamharamurti depicts the destruction of the elephant demon Gajasura by Lord Shiva, who is depicted in a terrific form dancing vigorously on the elephant’s head with the animal’s hide arranged behind him like a prabhamandala (aureole). The right leg of Lord Shiva is planted firmly on the elephant's head while the left is bent and lifted up towards the knee of the other leg. He may hold a tusk, club, dhatura flowers, alms-bowl, bell, drum, sword, skull-topped staff, antelope, snake and spear.
Gajasurasamharamurti - Sri Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu
The ‘Kalarimurti depicts the legend of Lord Shiva punishing the god of death, Kala/Yama for attempting to kill Markandeya who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is seen as four armed, issuing from the linga in front of which is the boy Markandeya kneeling with his arms folded on his bent knees. One of the right and left hands of Lord Shiva grasp a stout handled sharp trident aimed at Yama’s abdomen. The other right hand rests on the hip (katyalambita hasta) and the left hand is held in vismaya pose. The right leg of Shiva is buried up to the knee in the linga and the left leg is represented as kicking Kala. Kalari’s emblems are a skull-cap, sword, shield, antelope, axe, snake, noose, trident and vajra.
Kalarimurti - Dasavatara Cave, Ellora
The ‘Tripurantakamurti depicts Lord Shiva destroying the three asuras (demons) Vidyunmlali, Tarakaksha and Kamalaksha (sons of demon Tarakasura) who dwelt in three forts constructed of metals and caused great damage to the suras and the rishis (sages). Lord Shiva stands in a chariot with his left leg kept forward and the right one behind; the body of Shiva is turned away form the objects aimed at, but his face and arms are turned in the direction of the three castles which he is about to destroy. He seems to have had ten arms; those that still remain unbroken are seen carrying the sword, shield, arrow string in the bow-string and a bent bow. Lord Brahma is driving the chariot which is yoked to two horses.
Tripurantakamurti - Dasavatara Cave, Ellora
Tripurantakamurti - Sri Kailashnath Temple, Ellora
The ‘Sarabhesamurti depicts the slaying of Lord Narasimha by Lord Shiva in a fierce form, part man, beast and bird, when Lord Vishnu refuses to abate his terrific attitude after killing the demon Hiranyaksha (an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva) which was causing damage to the inhabitants of the world. Sarabha is described as having eight lion-like legs with sharp claws, a long tail and two wings of resplendent beauty; the body above the loins should be that of a human being but having the face of a lion which should be wearing a kirita-makuta upon its head.
Sarabhesamurti - Sri Airavateshwara temple, Darasuram
The ‘Brahmasiraschchhedakamurti depicts the form Lord Shiva assumes while cutting off the fifth head of Lord Brahma with his left thumb-nail. Shiva is portrayed as three-eyed and four-armed with a jatamakuta on the head, and wearing a makarakundala in the left ear and patrakundala in the right. In his left hand are the shula (trident) and Brahma’s skull and the right hand are a vajra (thunderbolt) and parasu (axe).
Brahmasiraschchhedakamurti - Srikanteshwara Swamy Temple, Nanjanagud
The ‘Veerabhadramurti depicts the form Lord Shiva assumed at the time of the destruction of the yagna (or sacrifice) of Daksha. Lord Veerabhadra is depicted as three-eyed, four-armed, and with tusks protruding from his mouth. He wears sandals and a jatamakuta, and is decked with garlands of skulls, bells, scorpions and other ornaments, a yagnopavita (scared  thread) of snake, and adorned with beautiful anklets. He is seen carrying a khadga (sword), khetaka (shield), dhanush (bow) and bana (arrow). In the below photograph is seen an unusual and rare depiction of Lord Veerabhadra having 5 faces and 12 arms, with Daksha Mahaprabhu standing besides him.
Panchamukhi Veerabhadra Swamy, Kurugodu
The Jalandharavadhamurti illustrates the destruction of the demon Jalandhara by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is depicted as three-eyed and two-armed; holding an umbrella in his right hand and a kamandalu or a water-vessel in his left. He is adorned with kundalas (earrings) in the ears, haaras (necklaces) on the neck, anklets on his legs, with his feet resting on a pair of sandals. The posture of Lord Shiva is indicative of his desire to move quickly.
Jalandharavadhamurti - Srikanteshwara Swamy Temple, Nanjanagud 
The ‘Andhakasuravadhamurti depicts the destruction of the demon Andhakasura by Lord Shiva. He carries a trishula (trident) at the end of which is pinned the body of Andhakasura and from it blood drops down into a cup held by the goddess Yogeshwari (Kali). In the below picture, he is seen with 14 arms with Lord Nandi on his right. He may hold a drum, rosary, chisel, trident, spear, staff with a pierced head, bow, arrow, noose, and a thunderbolt.
Andhakasuravadhamurti - Sri Hoysaleshwara Temple, Halebeedu

1. Elements of Hindu Iconography Vol II Part I – T.A.Gopinath
2. The Illustrated dictionary of Hindu Iconography – Margaret Stutley

Related Posts:


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Gooty Fort, Anantapur - Oldest Fort in Andhra Pradesh

Gooty Fort, Oldest Fort in Andhra Pradesh
Gooty Fort, Oldest Fort in Andhra Pradesh
'Gooty Fort', also known as 'Gutti Fort' is considered to be one of the earliest surviving forts of Andhra Pradesh. Gooty Fort was always on our list of must visit places, but never happened until last year. It was during our day one of road trip to Madhya Pradesh, while driving from Bangalore towards Hyderabad that we decided to stop by Gooty Fort in order to break the monotony of driving. It was afternoon and the weather was quite hot to explore this fort, but we decided to go ahead with the ascent. This hill fort is also known as Ravadurga and is spread across 3 hills located to the North of the current village of Gooty.
British Cemetery, Gooty
British Cemetery, Gooty
Gooty Fort
Climb to the Mighty Fort of Gooty
History of Gooty: The earliest inscription found in Gooty can be dated to the 8th century belonging to the Badami Chalukyas dynasty. Later in 10th century,  the Nolambas took over this place and  built the hill fort. The Kalyani Chalukyas then strengthened this fort in the 11th century and made this a very important part of their kingdom. Later the Vijayanagara kings ruled here and further strengthened this fort and developed Gooty. Post the down fall of the Vijayanagara empire, it was occupied by Qutb Shahi of Golconda. Subsequently, the Marathas under Murari Rao captured it after which it fell into the hands of Hyder Ali, until finally being captured by the British post the death of Tippu Sultan. There are 16 Kannada inscriptions found in Gooty/Gutti, of which the earliest one belongs to the Badami Chalukyas dating back to the 8th century AD. This inscription is a dual language inscription with a mix of sanskrit and kannada. It mentions of  'Srivallabha Yuvaraja', probably the king during whose reign the images of Goddess Mahishasura Mardini and Lord Ganesha were carved. The second kannada inscription found here belongs to the Nolamba dynasty and can be dated to the 10th century. It mentions of king Dandanayaka Chavundamayya and the construction of Lord Narasimha, Rameshwara and Bhagavatidevi temples here. 10 out of the 16 Kannada inscriptions found here belong to the Kalyana Chalukyas falling between 11 -13th centuries. Nine of them mention about the various grants given by king Tribhuvanamalladeva (Vikramaditya VI) towards development of Gooty fort and temples here. Thus making this fort one of the earliest forts in Andhra Pradesh. The current structure standing here is an improvised form built by the Vijayanagara kings with later modifications  by the Marathas, British and Hyder Ali.
Gooty Fort
Fortification of Gooty
Gooty Fort
View of the Top Tier of Gooty Fort
British Colony, Gooty Fort
Inside British Colony
British Colony, Gooty Fort
British Colony, Gooty Fort
Gooty Fort
The Strong and Complicated Fortification of Gooty
Gooty Fort
Fort Walls Snaking Through the Hills of Gooty
Gooty Fort - Places to visit in Andhra Pradesh
One of Many Water Ponds Here
We had to travel through a few narrow lanes of Gooty to reach the fort area. Many people had gathered as a part of a local fair that was being held, creating chaos with regards to parking. After finding a safe place to park our vehicle, we moved ahead towards the hill base where we were welcomed by the British Cemetery of administrator Thomas Munro who died of Cholera and was buried here. To the right of the cemetery is the path to reach the top of this hill fort. After a short climb we reached a darga, probably built during the rule of Hyder Ali. We continued climbing further and as we entered the third gateway, we found remains of British colony with many structures. There were a few structures outside this colony, most of which were in ruins. The fourth gateway carries a depiction of Goddess Gajalakshmi on the center of its lintel. The pillars here are a typical of Vijayanagara style of architecture. Sadly most of the carvings on them have been vandalized. The next gateway is quite simple and seems to have been built in an Indo-Islamic style of architecture.
Gooty Fort - Places to visit in Andhra Pradesh
Pillars of the Gateway Belonging to Vijayanagara Period
Gooty Fort - Places to visit in Anantapura
Gooty Fort
Gooty Fort - Places to visit in Anantapura
Fort Walls
Gooty Fort  and Badami Chalukyas
Carvings of Goddess Mahishasura Mardini and Lord Ganesha Belonging to Badami Chalukyas
Gooty Fort
6th Gateway
Gooty Fort  and Kalyana Chalukyas
Pillar of the Gateway Belonging to Kalyana Chalukya Style of Architecture
Kote Anjaneya, Gooty
Lord Kote Anjaneya
History of Gooty Fort
Top Tier of Gooty Fort
Close to the 6th gateway is a small temple which sadly looks damaged or destroyed post its reconstruction. The temple has the carvings of Goddess Mahishasura Maradhini and Lord Vinayaka, and can be dated to 8th century based on the inscriptions. The pillars of the 6th gateway seem to belong to the Kalyana Chalukyas/Nolamba period. A little further from here is a beautiful carving of Lord Anjaneya belonging to the same period. Hereon we entered the 7th gateway and found many ruins, mostly related to the Royal family. There are many wells inside the fort that served as sources of water which today are in a state of sheer neglect. There is a place known as Murari Rao's Seat, where the Maratha King sat in a swing with his queen and enjoyed watching the panoramic views of Gooty. From atop the hill fort, one can have a clear view of fortifications spread across various hills. Overall, this fort is in a fairly good shape with much of its fortification intact, though in need of minor restoration work.  The wonderful Gooty fort has a great potential of becoming a prospective tourist spot of Ananthapur, with the only flip side being its very hot weather throughout the year. Winter mornings would be ideal to climb this hill.
History of Gooty Fort
Water Pond
Royal Enclosure of Gooty Fort
Royal Enclosure of Gooty Fort
Kings and Queens Palace, Gooty Fort
Palace of the Kings and Queens, Gooty Fort  
Murari Rao's Seat, Gooty
King Murari Rao's Seat and View From Here
Gooty Fort
A Discarded Yet Beautiful Kalyani at the Hill Base 
How to reach Gooty:  Gooty town is located off AH44 that connects Bangalore to Hyderabad. It is about 275 km from Bangalore and 300 km from Hyderabad.
Places to Visit Around:  Guntkal, Bellary, Tadpatri, Madakashira, Lepakshi, Belum Caves, Yaganti, Gandikota, Alampura, Gudibande, Ratnagiri, Rayadurga, Kalyandurga and many such.

1. Kannada Inscriptions of Andhra Pradesh, A Book Edited By Dr.C.S.Vasudeva
2. Indian Vagabond
3. Shodhganga

1. Udayagiri Fort, Nellore
2. Krishnagiri Fort
3. Channarayyana Durga Fort