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Viśvarūpa

Chapter 3


THE ŚAMALĀJī Viśvarūpa

A Major Contribution to the Development of Multiple Iconography in Western India

 

Another Viśvarūpa type of sculpture was invented in western India at a date which is still disputed but which must, to judge by the iconography, be very close to that of the Mathura fragments. There remain four pieces of sculptural evidence, all in the same style, of this type.1 They are said by the institutions and individuals who own them to come from ŚamalāJī2 and adjacent Devni Mori, in Gujarat. For reasons of space, I shall here deal only with the most nearly complete sculpture (Plate 57), which has recently been reconsecrated, with a new identity, in a modern shrine at Śamalājī.3

The main figure has three human heads, the trirekha on the single throat, eight arms, and is seated in a near-squatting position, with knees apart and feet turned outward, upon a simple low bench, This seated posture (Plate 58) is derived partly from kuṣāṇa royal portrait statuary4 and partly from images of Viṣṇu riding Garuḍa of the same period.5 Gupta sculpture at Mathura also copied this position: there are at least two squatting Viṣṇu images in the Mathura Museum, one single-headed6 and another which has one remaining side-head on the left representing the Varāha. As I have shown above (pp. 123-24), the latter is the only Gupta image of Viṣṇu with an animal side-head growing from the god upon its own neck. Both these examples of the posture in Gupta art are rendered in relief upon nearly square plaques, complete images in themselves; they are not fragments of larger, multiform compositions of the Śamalājī type. Whether the Mathura and Śamalājī sculptors each derived this posture independently from kuṣāṇa iconography, or the latter copied it from the former, remains an open question; but the imitation at Śamalājī of Gupta iconography and anatomical form in the image under discussion in this chapter suggests that Mathura was the source. Referring to the plinth figure holding a blossom to his chest (Vijaya?), in this sculpture (Plate 59), U. P. Shah remarks: 'in the Śamalājī Mahā-Vishṇu, a number of smaller figures show beautiful modelling known to Gupta art, especially the standing male figure at the left end of the sculpture is a beautiful specimen of the Gupta idea of male form ....' 7

The god is naked but for a lower garment, the central folds of which fall to a point between his feet. A very narrow fold of the top of this garment is turned down over the waistband below the navel. This minor detail is perhaps significant in dating the image, for as Harle notes:

The only element which can be said to be common to these figures [i.e. a number of sculptures representing Śiva, the Mātṛkās and Skanda in addition to the torso to be mentioned below, a Viṣṇu image and a head from Kutch] and those of the Madhyadeśa is the little roll down of the dhoti below the navel, seen in the Unchdih and Jhusi figures.8

The latter are two Viṣṇu images from Allahabad District dated by Harle to the mid-fifth and early or mid-fifth centuries respectively.9

The girdle is intricately rolled and a loop of it hangs between the god's thighs. His body ornaments consist only of a single-strand necklace and a triple-wound keyūras. An almost identical Śamalājī torso, standing with the same trirekha, necklace: waistband and lower garment, is dated by Harle to the 'fourth or early fifth century', but this appears to be qualified by the following statement:

The three folds around the neck, however, the way the pleats of the dhoti are shown, and particularly the way in which a central loop falls down from the rolled girdle are all identical none the less, except that the girdle is thicker, to the Śamalājī sculpture of a later date.10

 

This 'later date', Harle suggests, is the sixth century at the earliest.11

Shah, on the other hand, believes that the Śamalājī Viśvarūpa sculptures in the village itself and at the Baroda Museum 'should date from an age not later than the sixth century A.DA D.'12. The three Viśvarūpa -type sculptures and one associated fragment from the Śamalājī area13 belong, in my opinion, to different periods. The image we are discussing I believe to be the earliest and so similar in style to the standing torso mentioned above that I accept a late fifth-century date for it, thus almost reconciling the views of the two scholars cited.

Beneath the god's feet are the intertwined serpentine bodies of two nāgas which have human torsos with heads barked by a triple cobra-hood. They rise beside the legs of the god with their faces turned upward in adoration (Plate 59). Their hands, now lost, were probably joined in the namaskāramudrā. These human torsos rise in an elegant continuation of the sinuous curves of their snake-bodies; and there is a line double line marking the junction of human and serpentine forms, like a lip, giving the impression that the personifications are emerging from a sloughed snakeskin.

A pair of human figures stands at each end of the plinth, behind the nāgas. One detail is of particular interest because of its originality, which is often a mark of true inventiveness: I believe this sculpture to be the earliest of the three remaining and that the other two are copies of later date. The detail concerned is the stance of the inner figure of the pair on the proper right-the tip of the snake-body of the nāga on the left side whips across his left foot, which he is evidently attempting to free by straining away from the serpent with his bent right leg. The resulting posture is that termed pratyālāḍha14 which is repeated in the depiction of certain figures higher on the stele who similarly, but with less obvious effort, disengage them-selves from the central vertical axis of the main composition. This figure, although it has no wings, may well he a personification of Garuḍa, archenemy of snakes and conventionally the vāhana of seated Viṣṇu, here held in captive attendance only by the great tail of the serpent. The reason for this small but deliberately sculpted detail is, in my view, to emphasize the significance of the nāgas' support of Viṣṇu in his Viśvarūpa role and the consequent displacement of Garuḍa. This minor drama being enacted beneath the god's feet, though concerned with explaining a minor reorganization of conventional symbolism, assumes the form of an iconographical witticism.

On the opposite side of the plinth, the female figure in the corresponding position-untouched by the other serpent's tail-is presumably the consort of Viṣṇu, Śrī Lakṣmī. Unlike the trapped Garuḍa, she stands casually with her weight on her left leg, right foot pointing forward, her figure turned slightly toward the god. She wears a lower garment and a long shawl is draped carelessly behind her shoulders. Like those of Viṣṇu, her ornaments are simple: a girdle, nūpuras, keyūras and a single-strand necklace. In her left hand she holds an object that seems to be a blossom with no stalk. Her face is smashed but the elongation of the broken area suggests that her hair was piled high on top of her head. The god is thus flanked by his consort on his left and his usual vāhana (rather unwillingly) on his right.

The figures at the two extremities of the curved plinth, both male and turned away from the god, are well preserved. Both are dressed in a fashion similar to Viṣṇu (including the turned-down fold of the lower garment below the navel) hut have no crowns, wearing instead the curly 'Gupta wig'.15 The figure on the proper left of the god holds a quatrefoil to his heart, the other hand resting on the low-slung horizontal folds of his lower garment; that on the right holds in his right hand a large fruit. There is a broken piece of sculpture above both their heads which may have been a śiraścakra. Viṣṇu is known to have had two dvārapālas named Jaya and Vijaya.16 Flanking his throne and facing outward, these figures might represent them, although they have not the alert attitude of guards, nor are they armed.

The body of the god has four pairs of arms, which might suggest that a fourth head is to he imagined at the bark. All the arms are broken off at or near the elbow except the uppermost left, the hand of which holds the disc of Viṣṇu, the cakra. Although the face of the disc and most of the hand supporting it are smashed, the index finger survives, curled around the rim. Above the stump of the corresponding right arm, the remains of an almost vertical sword-blade can be seen. The mace (gadā) might be thought more appropriate here in normal iconographical terms, but three of the chief Vaiṣṇava attributes-saṅkha, cakra and gadā are held by the almost undamaged figure of the Varāha avatāra in the nimbus above (see figure AL in Figure 3.1). The shape of the mace as depicted by the Śamalājī sculpture is clearly seen there to thicken towards the top, which is square and has projections, whereas the sword in the right hand of Viṣṇu narrows slightly to a rounded end. It might be suggested, conversely, that the round object in the left hand is a shield, to balance the sword. But this circular object was, to judge from the position of the remaining index finger, held in the same grip as that in which the Varāha figure mentioned (AL) holds the spoked disc, namely balanced upright on the upturned palm with the index curved around the rim and the other fingers curled across the front of the weapon, the thumb being presumably at the back. Only the cakra-certainly) not a shield--would be held in this fashion: it is a grip from which the weapon can be hurled, spinning, either upright with an overarm or underarm motion, or else horizontally with a forehanded or backhanded movement. The nature of the correspondence between these two objects held in the uppermost hands seems, therefore, to be that they are both cutting weapons.  

KEY

A   - Hayagrīva

D - Balarāma/Saṅkarṣaṇa

K - brāhmaṇa

B   - Brahmā           

E -Kṛṣṇa

L - Bhīma

C   - Śiva     

F - Pradyumna

M - Arjuna

AR - Nṛsiṃha           

G -Aniruddha           

N - Lakṣmaṇa

AL -Varāha

H -Sāmba

0 - Rāma

BR - Sūrya

I  - ṛṣi

P - Varuṇa

BL - Candra

J - brāhmaṇa

Q -Agni

Fig. 3.1 Śamalājī nimbus. Free-hand sketch. Not to scale

The substitution of the sword for the mace, which was more conventionally held in the upper right hand of four-armed north Indian Viṣṇu images (from times onward at Mathura), might be seen as a mistake in copying northern prototypes at Śamalājī, but this seems most unlikely in view of the accuracy of iconographic detail evident in the smaller figures in the nimbus. The Śamalājī sculptors appear to have been fully versed in the iconographical formulae of the northern sculpture centre-so much so that they felt free to experiment with them. The three (standing for four) human heads of Viṣṇu, for example, is innovatory, while the entire composition is a further development and coalescence of Kuṣāṇa multiple iconography, representing sculptures of Types A and B, which was almost certainly conceived and most fluently realized at Mathura. The sword-for-mace substitution must therefore be considered to have been deliberate: a reason for it is suggested in my stage-by-stage analysis, below, of the whole image.

The upright, forehanded grip on the cakra is to be seen at its best, perhaps, in certain relief sculptures of Viṣṇu -seated upon the serpent above the doorway and mounted on Garuḍa in the Gajendramokṣa panel-on the Deogarh temple of about A.D. 600. It can there be seen to be very much an 'in action' grip, differing completely from the static display of the disc as an emblem rather than as a weapon which dominated north Indian individual cult-icons of Viṣṇu to such an extent that the object became personified by another standing figure (the rotund Cakrapuruṣa), as did the mace (in the graceful form of Gadādevī). The Śamalājī image, although an individual cult-icon, is far from being a still-life. It is a portrayal of Viṣṇu in action: not as a warrior-he has abandoned his aerial equivalent of a battle chariot, Garuḍa. for a bench with a footstool of writhing nāgas-but as the growing and expanding universe. The action is conveyed in such anatomical details as the tension of the bent legs, the mass of extended arms and the multiplicity of faces. The life-like wielding of the sword and brandishing of the disc add to the impression of a god seething with life and suppressed energy seeking an outlet, which indeed it finds in the emission  (sṛṣṭi, which does not, properly speaking, mean 'creation'17) of manifold life-forms into the upper half of the stele above him.

The central face of the god is completely destroyed but from the staring profiles of the heads to left and right of it, facing away at right angles over the quadruple shoulders on each side, I infer that its eyes were wide open. The deity, though seated, was intended to appear awake and alert, regarding the four quarters of the horizon simultaneously like caturmukha Brahmā. The pierced and elongated ears of the main face conceal those of the (Source no. 9A) smaller side-heads which emerge without necks of their own. A tall cylindrical crown, slightly wider at the top than at the rim and densely ornamented, is worn by each of the heads.

From the mouth of each of the god's side-heads emerges a vidyādhara carrying what appears to be a sword in the right hand while the left holds on to his streaming robe. These figures are represented in the full flying position, the toes of the backward-pointing foot of the trailing leg in each case being just clear of the god's gently smiling lips. Vidyādharas being airborne creatures, I assume that part of their significance here is to convey the idea that air (as prāṇa, the breath-of-life) is the breath of God. They might also be seen as heralds of the particular Vaiṣṇava doctrine (vāda) declared by the god-his vidyā or wisdom-which is symbolized by the multiplicity of figures above them. Artistically, they mark the upper limit of antarīkṣa, which is vertically connected to the aquatic nether-world of the nāgas by the body of the god and horizontally pervaded by his eight arms. Above them, the heaven-world teems with divine figures, covering the greater part of the relief.

 I should point out here what seems to me to be a clear parallel between the organization of the main composition of the image and the form of a tree, which first appeared on the reverse of Kuṣāṇa multiple sculptures of Type B. Rooted underground in water where the god's feet rest upon the nāgas (a tree is pāda-pa, 'drinking through its feet'), the 'trunk' rises in the form of the body of the god, his arms branching in the eight horizontal directions of spacc.1818 to proliferate in a mass of 'foliage' consisting of the divinities spreading around and above the heads of the god.19 

This celestial area is depicted upon a semi-oval, a shape technically derived from the enlarged and populated prabhā-maṇḍala of the type otherwise exemplified only once in surviving Gupta statuary, at Mathura (Plate 49). In the Śamalājī images, the massive nimbus was vertically elongated and not closed at its base above the shoulders of Viṣṇu, as at Mathura, but simply cut off by the horizontal flight of the vidyādharas, below which the edges of the backslab were cut straight down to the plinth. The entire work is thus a round-topped stele cut in deep relief, whereas the Mathura example seems to have been a free-standing image.

There are twenty-one figures in the oval maṇḍala'.20 The organization is impressive. It was clearly part of the intention of the designer that there should be three vertical rows of three overlapping figures, fanning slightly outward from a central vertical row of three. There is another pattern within this design, revealed by the physical interconnections between the central row and the upper two figures of the flanking rows. These connections are made by the trailing leg of the pratyālīḍha posture in which most of the figures appear: this leg emerges from behind a particular figure near it. There is almost certainly a deliberately implied relationship between images conjoined in this way. I have pointed out the probable relationship between Garuḍa and the nāga on the plinth of this sculpture, where the trailing leg is the connection. It is certainly the link between multiple forms of Śiva in the slightly later, almost certainly derivative sculpture at Parel (Chapter 4).

In extension, as it were, of the 'trunk' of the tree-like form of the image, three overlapping figures rise (Source no. 2A) above the central crown of Viṣṇu. The first, his legs up to the thighs still concealed within or behind the crown (Source no. 3B), is Hayagrīva. The outline of the long equine face-its features are worn away-with pricked ears and a flaring mane, is set upon a powerful human body dressed in the same kind of lower garment as that worn by Viṣṇu. The hands rest upon the ample hips.

Above and partly behind Hayagrīva rises Brahmā, seated upon a double lotus in a way that suggests that his ankles (hidden by the horse-head) are crossed; he is not depicted locked in the lull meditation posture (padmāsana). A wide band, almost eroded, crosses his ample figure from left shoulder to right hip; this may have been a yogapaṭṭa, such as can be seen worn by Brahms in the Nara-Nārāyana panel on the Gupta-period temple at Deogarh (Plate 36). Only the rolled waistband of his lower garment can be seen, curving under his rotund belly; he wears keyūras and a simple necklace like those of Viṣṇu. His three heads, by convention standing for his traditional four, are represented in the same way as those of Viṣṇu the two side-heads are slightly smaller than the central face and are turned away from it at right angles. As in the Viṣṇu figure, too, the neck of the central head supports all three and its pendulous ears overlap those of the two profiles. The jaṭās of the central head hang sideways to left and right, falling upon the side-heads so that the latter appear to have upward sweeping locks, thus uniting the hair-styles. The central crown of Viṣṇu is shared, by multiplication, with the profiles on either side, creating a similar impression of identity between the several heads. These similarities suggest that the heads of the Viṣṇu figure were carved according to the Brahms sculptural tradition and were similarly intended to represent four. From this I infer that the multiheaded image of Viṣṇu in the Śamalājī region was derived, sculpturally and probably ideologically, from that of Brahms the creator, whereas the Mathura type, as I have shown in Chapter 2, was a syncretistic coalescence of the god with two of his animal avatāras, developed from earlier vyūha iconography invented in the Kuṣāṇa period.

Seated on a lotus in the same position above and behind Brahmā is Śiva, third in this vertical register, and apex of the whole sculpture. This image is badly damaged, but the following identificatory details can be seen. The remains of long, coiled braids of hair hang down the side of the obliterated face, suggesting jaṭābhāra. A trident with damaged prongs is held upright in the rear right hand and an object which may have been a khaṭvāṅga in the rear left. The front right hand makes the abhayamudrā, while the front left hand, resting upon the raised left knee, holds an object which is either an aṅkuśa or an axe. This figure was intended to appear ithyphallic: there is a projection above the waistband below the navel, whereas the other images in this series have a knot tied in the lower garment under the waistband, covering the groin.

The sequence of figures in the central axis of the whole sculpture is thus, from the horizontal basis of intertwined nāgas upward:

 

4.  Śiva
|
3. Brahmā
|
2. Hayagrīva
|
1. Viṣṇu  

|

|


(nāgas)

The branching pattern of figures mentioned previously, its interconnections made by the trailing leg of the 'pratyālīḍha' position, joins four figures to the second and third (Hayagrīva and Brahmā) of this sequence.

Soaring away from the axis, the trailing leg rising at a forty-degree angle from behind the left shoulder of Hayagrīva, is the Varāha avatāra. The upward thrusting, elongated boar's head is unmistakable, set upon a vigorous human frame. The boar has four arms. The front right hand holds a mace, the rear right is raised above the head and turned palm upward in an elevated tripatākā-mudrā. The front left hand holds a conch upon the raised left thigh, and the rear left wields an eight-spoked disc. Apart from the overhead gesture, this incarnation holds the standard attributes of Viṣṇu. Its counterpart on the right, emanating from Hayagrīva at the same angle and in the same determined attitude (Source no. 3A) is the Nṛsiṃha avatāra. The right hands hold a sword and make the tripatākā-mudrā, but the two left hands are broken off. These two avatāras are depicted rising- from Hayagrīva to flank Brahmā (Source no. 3A-C) for two reasons. Firstly, they are of course incarnations of Viṣṇu (not of Brahms) and Hayagrīva is shown emanating directly from that god. Secondly, they are evidently cast in the role of warriors, armed with the weapons of Viṣṇu, protecting- the unarmed Brahmā who creates the material and living universe (a parallel to the vulnerability of Viṣṇu asleep prior to creation when his personified weapons defend him from disruptive forces in the shape of demons21). As mythological saviours of the creation from the Veda-based Viṣṇudharma on the other, interpreted in the sculpture as guardians of Brahmā, they cannot emanate from the demiurge as part of his creation, but are sent from the source, that is from Viṣṇu (in this case via Hayagrīva) to save the world of man. They are therefore seen rising fully armed from Logos, the Word of God incarnate, represented by Hayagrīva, Knower and keeper of the Veda which is the orthodox core of Dharma, to occupy forward defensive positions flanking the main central thrust of the next evolutionary phase personified by Brahmā.

      Above these two incarnations, rising at parallel angles from behind the shoulders of Brahmā, are Candra, the Moon, on the left, and Sūrya, the Sun, on the right.  Both figures have two arms and with their hands hold up their flowing robes in a gesture similar to that of the left hands of the vidyādharas at the base of the nimbus.  The lunar god has a crescent, horns upward, enclosing the base of his halo. The sun-god has a plain prabhāmaṇḍala with an incised inner rim. Haloes seem to have been included in this sculpture only were they serve a definite symbolic function: a disc with a crescent identifies the moon, a plain disc, the sun. None of the other figures is nimbate, with the notable exception of Śiva, seated between Candra and Sūrya. Sun and moon thus stand to the right and left of Śiva respectively, appearing at a slightly lower level and springing from Brahmā.

          Although different in execution and in the identity of the figures  (excepting the apical Śiva) this connected pattern of seven figures above the central head of Viṣṇu is exactly the same in conception as that of the seven-fold Śaiva image at Parel (Plate 61) and the Pradhānapuruṣeśvara relief at Musānagar, the closest Śaiva parallel (Plate 17). If, in the latter relief, the sun disc and lunar crescent held in the right and left hands of the apical figure were personified, an iconographical relationship between the upper part of the Kuṣāṇa image and the three figures at the apex of this Śamalājī sculpture would be apparent. In the Śamalājī image, the juxtaposition of Śiva and Sūrya and Candra, all three nimbate, evidently derives from the same type of Śaiva cult iconography in which Śiva as Kālarudra controls the passage of time represented by sun and moon, and, as Kālāntaka, may put an end to it.  In this potentially destructive role, however, at the end of the vertical sequence of figures which forms the evolutionary time-axis of a Vaiṣṇava composition, Śiva cannot also be regarded as creator of the two luminaries. They therefore spring from Brahmā, creator of the phenomenal universe, and thence, as both products and symbols of the temporal creation, rise into Śiva's sphere of influence.


1  There is evidence of three later copies of the  Śamalājī sculpture which is to be discussed here: two are in the Baroda Museum (no.2.550 and a fragment, no.2.372) and the third, probably of the early 8th century A.D., has been moved from a private collection in Ahmedabad to the National Museum, Delhi.  A pillar relief at Mandasor clearly imitates the Śamalājī images, representing the easternmost direct influence of this Western Indian sculpture.  The Mandasor pillar is dated to the late 6th or early 7th century by J. Williams, 'The Sculpture of Mandasor', AAA26, 1972-73,pp.61ff. I have dealt with this material separately: see T.S. Maxwell,  'The Evidence for a Viśvarūpa Iconographic Tradition in Western India, 6th-9th Centuries A.D.', Artibus Asiae XLIV.2/3,1983,pp.213-34 and Plates 1-20. For a more recent appraisal, see S.L. Schastock, The Śamalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India, Leiden 1985; I have not yet read this work thoroughly, but Dr. Schastok's view of the developmental sequence of Viśvarūpa sculptures from Śamalājī clearly differs from mine, and readers might care to compare the two studies for further debate in the future.

2 This place-name is here transliterated in accordance with the way in which it is pronounced locally.

3 It is now installed in a small shrine - not its original temple - above Viśrāmaghāṭ, on the east bank of the river Mesvo below a new dam; this shrine is dedicated to Śiva in the form of a Liṅga named Nīlakṇṭha Mahādeva, behind which the sculpture has been placed as its female counterpart.  The image is now known as Kalasī Chokrā ni Mā, 'Mother of Sixteen Children'. My photographs of it decked with flowers for pūjā being useless for iconographical analysis, I have relied upon those kindly supplied by Dr. U.P. Shah and the late Mrs Madhuri Desai, supplemented by my own notes made on the spot. Excellent photographs in Schastok, The Śamalājī Sculptures, Figs.34, 35-37.

4 Rowland, The Art and Architecture of India, Plates 43.

5 H. Hartel, Indische Skulpturen I, Berlin 1960, Plate 15. A similar posture was adopted by other Kuṣāṇa deities, mainly female, such as Hārītī and Lakṣmī(e.g. Mathura Museum nos. 17.1301 and C.30), but a suatting goddess is unlikely to have been the model for an image of Viṣṇu.

6 D.B. Disalkar, 'Some Brahmanical Sculptures in the Mathura Museum', JUPHS V., 1 January 1931,Plate 3 and pp. 23-4; Disalkar also notes an image of Viṣṇu (Plate 4) seated in a posture very similar to that of the Musānagar Śaiva relief.

7 U.P. Shah, 'Some Early Sculptures from Abu and Bhinmal', BMPGB 12, 1955-56, p. 55.

8 Harle, Gupta Sculpture, p. 25.

9 Ibid., Plates 61 and 62 and notes,p. 46.

10 Ibid., Plates 86 and notes, p. 48.

11 Ibid., pp. 25-6.

12 U.P. Shah, Sculpture from Śamalājī and Roda, BMPGB 13(Special Issue, 1960), p. 70.

13 Supra, Note 1.

14 The position may be ālīḍha; thia is a vaxed question. See J.C. Harle, 'Remarks on Ālīḍha', Mahāyānist Art after A.D.900, Colloquies on Art and Archaeology in Asia No.2, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, University of London 1971.

15 This may not have been a wig in reality, but it resembles one. See Harle, Gupta Sculpture,Plate 28 and note, p. 39.

16 T.S. Maxwell, 'Lākhamaṇḍal and Triloknāth: The Transformed Functions of Hindu Architecture in two Cross-Cultural Zones of the Western Himalaya', Art International XXIV.1-2 (September-October 1980), pp. 15-18 and note 5, Plates 4-7A.

17 See M. Monior-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, New Edition, Oxford 1989, p. 1245, the root sṛij and noun sṛishṭi Also A. Bharti, The Tantric Tradition, London 1965, p. 212: 'For 'creating' does not exist in Indian thought in any sense of 'creatio; i.e. 'ex nihilo': 'manifestation', 'emanation' or a similar tern should be agreed upon instead of 'creation' whenever Indian thought is under discussion'.

18 E.W. Hopkins, Epic Mythology, Strassburg, Berlin 1915,p.205, notes a Mahābhārata reference to Viṣṇu in this connection: 'It is as the embodiment of space with four or ten directions that he is called four and eight and even ten-armed.

19 This comparison is not fanciful on may part. See again Note 202 to Chapter 1.

20 A. Mookerjee, Tantra Āsana, A way to self-realization, Basel, Paris, New Delhi 1971, notes in a caption (p.47) that the  'golden cosmic egg... divides itself into two parts forming the twenty-one regions of the cosmos.'

21 As illustrated in the Śeṣaśāyyin in panel on the Gupta 'Daśāvatāra' temple at Deogarh, to take a roughly contemporary example.

 

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