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 Mythological figures and Madhubani art

In the Indian religion of Hinduism, there are hundreds of gods and goddess. The themes of Madhubani paintings are primarily religious and mythological, with a focus on Hindu gods and goddesses, scenes from epic scriptures like the Ramayana and Mahabharat, and stories of devotion and love. Also include social events, festivals, and scenes from everyday life. The flora, fauna, and elements of nature such as birds, animals’ trees found in the region also significantly influence the art. Thus, each painting becomes a celebration of the spirituality and vibrant biodiversity that surrounds them. The vivid colors used in Madhubani painting also hold significant cultural and religious meanings -red symbolizes strength and purity, green represents prosperity and harmony, while yellow signifies auspiciousness and spirituality. Besides the different motif and pattern in the paintings also carry symbolic meanings deeply rooted in Hindu mythology for example, peacock, a recurring element in Madhubani art, symbolizes love, and immortality, while the fish represents fertility and prosperity.

Ganesha- the elephant God

Ganesha, also known as Ganapati, is the Hindu god of beginnings, prosperity, and good fortune. His name means "Lord of the people" or "Lord of the ganas" (common people). In Hinduism before beginning anything new or auspicious, Lord Ganesha is invoked since it is believed that he brings luck and removes obstacle. Ganesha has a big elephant head and a potbellied body. While the large elephant head symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and a discriminating intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life; the potbellied body symbolizes the limitless space; it can digest all good and bad in life. It is frequently portrayed as having four arms (which can range from two to sixteen) each of which is holding a pasam (a type of noose (a triple twine weapon), an elephant axe (a goad), a pot of rice, or his preferred sweet, laddus. The combination of elephant and mouse represents the removal of all obstacles of any size. Ganesha is the son of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, and his consort, the goddess Parvathi. A ten-day festival honoring Lord Ganesha's birthday-Ganesh Chaturthi, is held in the late summer every year.

Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha

(“I offer my obeisances to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.”)

Krishna: the God of love

Krishna, also known as Govinda, is the God of protection, compassion, tenderness, and love. His name means “dark" or dark-blue". He is one of the most well-known and highly revered Hindu deities. Krishna is always pictured with a crown of peacock feathers, playing the flute. The name of Krishna's flute is Venu, Veena, or Murali. In the spiritual world, Krishna was raised as a cow herder, so cows and him have always been together. Krishna is also known as Govinda and Gopala, which are Sanskrit names that indicate, respectively, "friend and protector of cows." He is God Vishnu's ninth avatar. Krishna is celebrated during many Hindu festivals such as Janmashtami celebrates the birth of Krishna or Gita Jayanti, celebrates the day Krishna spoke the words of the Bhagavadgita during Mahabharata.

“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama,

Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”

Goddess Durga- the protective mother

The warrior goddess Durga, also referred to as Shakti or Devi, is named after the Sanskrit word “Durg” meaning "fort" or "a place that is difficult to overtake." A divine female energy in Hindu religion, Goddess Durga stands for the power of the highest being who upholds righteousness and morality in creation. She is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction, and wars. She is pictured or portrayed as a warrior woman with eight arms carrying weapons, wearing a red sari, and riding a lion or tiger. Conch, chakra, lotus, sword, bow and arrow, trishul, mace, and thunderbolt are the eight weapons. Each of these weapons/ items, has a symbolic meaning for example conch represents joy; the chakra, a stunning discus-shaped object that rotates around the index finger; bow and arrow symbolizes energy; and thurderbolt represents firmness and solidarity of purpose. The Hindu deity Durga is also known to as Triyambake (the three-eyed goddess), like her husband Shiva. Her left eye represents desire, symbolized by the moon; her right eye represents action, symbolized by the sun; and her middle eye stands for knowledge, symbolized by fire. Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta, and Siddhidatri are the nine names or manifestations of Durga (referred as Navadurga together) that she takes when she manifests as herself. Like other Gods, goddesses Durga also have multiple incarnations namely Kali, Bhagvati, Bhavani, Ambika, Lalita, Gauri, Kandalini, Java, and Rajeswari. Durga Puja, which is held in her honor every year, is one of the most widely celebrated festival in northeastern India.

"Durga dugati nashini"

(Will end all misfortunes of the devotee)

© Lalima Srivastava
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