India Crafters | Artistic - Unique - Carved

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Religious Sculptures

Figurines are beautiful and religious sculptures even more so, as they are crafted with special care to exude a kind of divinity that you relate to the gods or goddesses. For instance, Buddha statues normally have him in the meditative position with calmness on his face that is unparalleled to any other. Buddha’s teachings have reached far corners of the world today. Many non-Buddhists also have his sculptures at homes or offices for the kind of emotions and peace they evoke in those who see it. These statues are used as decorative centre pieces or even to enhance the beauty of landscaped gardens. While, there is no doubt that this enlightened master has made a difference in millions of lives through his teachings, many stories about him are still unknown. Read on for two of his subtle teachings that can be implementing in our day to day lives.

The Master mostly walked barefoot, and in his long journeys passed many dwellings. Once he was passing through a village. A man approached him and offered some water to drink. Buddha sat under a tree nearby and as he drank the cool water in the summer heat, the village man saw that there were many thorn wounds on the Master’s feet. He asked why he is walking barefoot. The master kept silent with a smile on his face. He then asked Buddha, “Doesn’t it hurt? The wounds do give you pain when you walk, don’t they?” Buddha replied in affirmative, but added, “But even though they do hurt sometimes, I do not suffer. While the hurt is inevitable sometimes, the suffering is by choice.” Upon hearing these deep words the man realized that he was dealing with an enlightened being.

Another story that can be relevant in today’s world is that of Buddha and a hater. It goes something like this:
Buddha was once passing through a village and a man came in front of him and started abusing him. He claimed that the Master’s teachings were useless and that he should stop all this ideas he has about changing the world because he can’t. He told Buddha that he was not welcome and said many other cruel things. All throughout this episode the Master didn’t say anything but intently listened to every word with a serene smile on his face. This irritated the hater even more so, and after saying a lot more he finally stopped talking. Once he was silent Buddha simply asked him if he was finished and whether he could leave and be on his way. The man was taken by surprise. He was stunned and said, “Didn’t you feel bad about all that I said? How can you be so cool and want to just carry on without so much as a word in anger?” To this the Master replied, “In the last village I visited, many people from the village came to meet me with flowers, garlands and other offerings. I simply did not accept them, so they just had to take them back.” The man quickly realized what the Master meant and fell to his feet in remorse.

Religious sculptures like that of Buddha can be quite enriching, if you remember the various teachings when you lay eyes on them.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Religious Statues

What is the difference between religious statues and any other? Well, every religious statue is about a deity or saint and is symbolic of the teachings. In the sometimes fickle world we live in today, such statues remind us of virtues like righteousness, honesty, wisdom, justice, and many more. One of the recent saints, whose teachings have spread in all corners of the world today, is Saibaba of Shirdi. Revered as one of the greatest saints of all time and worshipped by millions as a God incarnate, Saibaba was a mysterious Fakir who enriched the lives of each person he met in his lifetime. Regardless of religion or creed the enlightened saint blessed all who came to him in myriad ways and preached that there is just one god (Sabka Malik Ek).

Often saying, “my miracles are inscrutable”, Saibaba had demonstrated many miracles in his lifetime. Some of these stories are carried by devotees far and wide. For instance, Saibaba was very fond of burning lamps in the Masjid where he often stayed and other temples in Shirdi and needed oil for the little earthenware lamps he lit. Being a Fakir, he depended on the generosity of the grocers to donate it from time to time, as he lit those lamps every night. There came a time when all the village grocers felt it was unprofitable to give free oil to the saint and one day all of them refused to oblige him saying they were out of fresh stock.

The Fakir returned to his Masjid empty handed, but without a word of protest. He simply poured water into the earthen lamps and lit the wicks. To everyone’s disbelief, the wicks were lit and the lamps burned deep into the night. The news of this miracle seen by many soon reached the grocers’ ears and they all felt profusely sorry about refusing the divine saint. They rushed to his feet and apologized. Saibaba pardoned them but warned them never to lie again. He told them that they could have plainly refused without the untrue excuse that they all made. But, of course by then they all knew that he didn’t need their charity for his task.

The fascinating thing about Saibaba and many of his stories that you can find online or in books, is that they talk of him telling things to particular people and many of these people’s families still reside in Shirdi. His many other wonderous stories have been carried forward through generations. Like that of Babu Kirwandikar’s daughter who often told people she was Saibaba’s sister. Even the godly saint was extremely fond of the child. Once she fell in a well. The villagers rushed to help her and found her suspended mid-air as if some invisible hand was holding her up. The people quickly pulled her out and praised Saibaba for her extended life. Hence, religious statues of Saibaba can be found in every house in Shirdi.

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Hindu Deity Statues

When looking for Hindu deity statues, especially of goddess Saraswati you must make sure that the statue is beautiful and has the grace that the goddess embodies. After all, according to the Matsya Purana, goddess Saraswati is said to be so enchanting that even the god from whom she evolved fell under her spell and pursued her. The Purana says that the goddess rose from lord Brahma’s mouth and once she realized his intentions, she fled in many different directions. It is said that in whatever directions she ran, the lord developed a head. This is the reason lord Brahma has five heads. The moon and lotus flower associated with goddess Saraswati are considered as eternal symbols of womanhood in Hinduism; hence it is most important that you choose a statue that is feminine and exquisitely crafted.

Another story that comes to mind is of how the goddess saved the world from Lord Shiva’s third eye and complete destruction of life. The tale goes something like this: Lord Shiva was once awakened from his deep meditation. When he looked around, he discovered that the world was on the brink of corruption and people had started being unsalvageable. He was angered and decided it was time to destroy the world and wipe the slate clean. He opened his world destroying third eye and out came a great fire that was so enormous and destructive that it threatened all existence. Everybody, including the gods in heaven started to panic but goddess Saraswati kept her calm. She proclaimed that the lord’s fire can burn only that which is impure and corrupt, and took the form of a colossal river. She then picked up the dreaded fire from the lord’s third eye with her pure waters and within the folds of the river carried it far away from the earth to the bottom of the ocean. Here the fire transformed into a fire breathing mare called Badavagni, the beast that will bring doom to the world. She then wisely foretold that “So long as the world is pure and the man is wise, the terrible Badavagni will remain on the bottom of the sea, far from the world. But when wisdom is abandoned and man corrupts the world, this creature will come out of its resting place and destroy the universe”.

Hence, when buying Hindu deity statues of goddess Saraswati, look for an idol that embodies beauty, wisdom and grace. Also look for symbols that depict the goddess. For instance, it may be wise to look for an idol carrying the musical instrument ‘veena’ in her hands, or sitting on a lotus flower. In some idols the goddess may also be sitting on a peacock.

Thursday 26 January 2012

Indian Gods Statues

Indian gods’ statues can be easily procured online, but for those of you who do not belong to India or are not Hindus, this can be quite a task considering the fact that there are over a thousand prominent deities worshipped in the religion. A few well-known gods and goddesses are Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Nataraj, and Goddess Durga. Reading up on these gods can give you a much better idea of what they stand for and their significance in this ancient religion. While, you will find that many statues or pictures of the same deity differ from one another in many ways, there are always some similarities that a trained eye can point out. For example, Lord Krishna will always have a peacock feather in his crown.

The peacock feather has more than seven colours within it and it is believed that all these colours signify the lord being the universe itself. The black stands for night, blue for the skies in daylight, gold for the sun, and so on. While, this may be fascinating there is an interesting story of how lord Krishna came to wear peacock feathers on his head. The mythical tale goes something like this.

When one day Krishna woke first from a rest in the forest with his cowherd friends, he decided to wake everyone and call the cows grazing at a distance by playing his flute. Since, the lord was a great flute player, the second his lips touched the wooden instrument, a melodious sound that had a soothing deep rhythm came rushing out of its end. The beautiful music enchanted the peacocks living in and around the hills, and they began to dance and rejoice in the sound of the lord’s melody. The king of the peacocks then came to the lord and thanked him for the divine gesture by touching his feet. Lord Krishna was so pleased with the sight of dancing peacocks and their gratefulness that he too started dancing amongst them. The spectacle was extremely splendid when seen from the top of the Govardhan hills, the heaven and even the netherland. This went on for many days and when all grew tired and eventually stopped, the peacock king came to the lord and said, “You have created a festival of bliss for which we remain eternally indebted. I request you to accept our only opulence, our plumage as a gift. Wear them on your crown as decoration" and dropped many feathers. The lord lovingly accepted the humble offering and wore a few on his crown and continued wearing them since then.

There are many other stories about Lord Krishna and other gods and goddesses. If you are looking for Indian gods’ statues, it may helpful to go through a few to help you decide which statue you want to buy.

Friday 30 December 2011

Religious Idols

These days there are many of us who have Indian friends and colleagues that we wish to gift something special to, but have no idea what will be appreciated. Knowing of their religious standing or practices is not enough to go out and buy a religious gift, at least for a Hindu. After all, there are more than a 100 million gods that are worshipped in the religion. You might be better off casually asking the recipient what his favorite religious idols are. Chances are you will come across names like Ganpati or Ganesh, Krishna, Saraswati, Shiva, Vishnu, Rama Sita, Natraj, Lakshami, Kali, Bal Gopal, and Balaji. An ideal gift would be to find a beautiful statue and present it on the special occasion. Most religious Hindus love being gifted gods’ idols and statues, to keep in their prayer room or at focus places within the house for decorative purposes.

All the gods and goddesses in Hinduism have legends and stories about them that have been passed down from generation to generation. In fact, if you search the internet, you can find quite a few interesting stories about each of the names mentioned above. One of the most common stories told is about Lord Vishnu and the mighty demon King Bali that made all the gods in heaven apprehensive of the universe’s future. The story goes something like this:

There was once a Demon King named Bali. The king was said to be a true devotee of Lord Vishnu and spent many hours a day in prayer. The Lord was once so pleased with his devotion that he had made him invincible in the battle field as a reward. The King had realized the boon he had been given and started taking undue advantage of this by defeating all gods in battle. All the gods in heaven worried about his growing strength and wondered how he could be distracted or controlled. At last Lord Vishnu came to the rescue, by disguising himself as a common human being in the form of a dwarf Vamana. King Bali was always known as a generous king and prided himself for being so. Hence, when the dwarf asked the mighty king for space which could be covered in three steps, he gladly agreed to oblige against the warning given by his Guru Sukracharya. Soon Vamana grew so large that in one foot he touched the entire Earth, another foot touched the heavens and then King Bali did not have a third foot to provide so he bowed his head to Vamana who then put his third foot on King Bali’s head. However, being worshipped by Mahabali and his ancestor Prahláda, he conceded to them the sovereignty of Patala (netherworld).

Such stories make the various Hindu religious idols all the more appealing. Plus, once you take a look around at the many varieties of statues available in the market, you will be tempted to pick up an idol or two for your own home.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Hindu Deity Statues

Hindu deity statues are widely available for sale online. All you have to do is find the one that you desire. Since Hinduism is a vast religion and there are millions of recognized deities that are worshipped, this may be a challenging task. The first question you need to ask yourself is regarding the purpose of this buy. If you are looking to procure a deity statue for decorative purposes, you may want to look for beautiful Radha Krishna statues, Ganesh statues, Natraj statues, and the like, which can be found with intricate detailing to make them an ideal center piece for any home. On the other hand, if you are looking for specific gods or goddess for your praying rooms then form of the deity is of crucial importance. For example, there are various forms of Krishna found for sale. These may be Bal Krishna, Krishna as a young man playing his flute, Krishna with Radha by his side, or lord Krishna on a chariot with Arjun.

Lord Krishna is one of the avatars of lord Vishnu. Being the central character in the epic Mahabharata, his life stories are a favorite among children and adults alike. His personality and being was so enchanting and fascinating that even today many believe him to be one of the most complex and intriguing characters among all the Hindu gods. There are many tales of his amorous acts and adventures starting from the time he was born, a young boy killing the great snake Kaliya, a young man flirting with all the young women of the village, to being the king of Dwarka and eventually being a great preacher by quoting the Bhagvad Gita.

One of the best known stories about the lord is about him and a large serpent named Kaliya. It is said that Kaliya and his many snake-wives left their home Ramanaka Dwipa and came to Vrindawan and started dwelling in the river Yamuna. Lord Krishna and his friends were once playing by the river and the ball they were playing with fell into the water. Krishna quickly jumped into the river to retrieve it but the great serpent was disturbed and rose up with his hundred and ten hoods to kill the young boy. On seeing this, Lord Krishna took an even larger form and climbed up to the serpent’s head and started stomping it and dancing on it. Kaliya then started to vomit poison and began to die. Upon seeing this Kaliya’s many wives came near and started pleading Krishna to forgive him and pardon his life. Even Kaliya realized that this was not just any boy, but a form of the Almighty himself, and surrendered, promising to go back home and never return to harm anyone again.

You can even look for Hindu deity statues depicting some interesting story, such as this to grace your home.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Elephant Statues

Elephant statues are a common sight in many households across different countries of the world. One of the reasons for this may be that there are plenty of similar beliefs associated with the presence of such statues at home or in the workplace. In a majority of cultures it is believed that elephant statues that have the animal’s trunk pointing upwards bring good luck to the home or place where it is kept. Elephants in general have been considered to be mystical and legendary. Considered as a symbol of wisdom, prosperity and power, these sacred and majestic creatures have had their dominance in many Eastern tales and ancient stories.

Today people place elephant statues in their houses as decorative pieces. Beautiful and attractive, elephant statues are loved by children and elders alike. A part of this fondness lies in the many stories one has heard growing up. An old Indian fable, which was later popularized by the celebrated American poet John Godfrey Saxe is one such story many of us have heard. The story is called Six Blind Men and an Elephant.

Once there were six blind Indian men who went to see an elephant. And while each of them was blind, they wanted to touch the elephant and figure out what kind of creature it is. The first man happened to touch the elephant’s side and thought it to be a wall. The second touched only his tusk and concluded that the animal is just like a spear. The third blind man felt the elephant’s trunk and claimed that it was just like a snake, while the fourth man touched the knee and confirmed that the elephant was exactly like a tree. The fifth happened to touch the creature’s ear and concluded that it was like a fan, and the last blind man touched its swinging tail and felt it to be just like a rope. And since each one of them had felt and come to a conclusion, started arguing about their opinion of the animal being accurate, but while they all were partly right they were all wrong.

Another old Indian tale teaches children the evils of being too proud. There was once an elephant swimming in the water. The elephant was very proud of his enormous size and status in the jungle. Seeing his feet dangle beneath the water, an alligator caught his limb and started pulling him into the depths. The elephant then realized that his size was of no use and started to pray to the almighty to help him escape. God then appeared and set him free of the alligator’s clasp.

Such colourful tales and all the other myths and beliefs associated with elephant statues, make them very popular with people even today.