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.