Title : Padma Lokshana - The goddess that sees all
Size : 1m x76cm
By Visithra Manikam
When this idea came into my mind, the innitial idea was to symbolise memories. but while I was sketching her, i decided to draw a lotus as her head and the whole idea changed. Suddenly i had an image that i wasn't sure what off.
So while I was painting her I started researching the lotus symbolism beyond my own knowledge as a sacred symbol in Hinduism. The Lotus symbolises knowledge, abundance, wealth, sexuality and sprituality. Eyes are often refered to as padma lokshana - or the lotus shaped eyes.
Yesterday morning I woke up to find her glowing, she was nearly completed and I could feel her soul to be precise and so I decided to search for the term lotus head goddess.
Turns out I had envisioned and painted a combination of two goddess. The funny thing is, I have never seen or read about either goddess before I painted her. While I have always had a connection to the goddess since I pray to her, I think painting has opened me up to receive different images of Devi or Kali.
Lajja Gauri or Adya Shakti is an ancient form of the goddess from the rig veda that represents fertility and sexuality and is portrayed with a lotus head, nude and promptly displaying the yoni as she symbolises the life giving mother.
The second goddess is Satakshi devi who is described in the Devi Mahatmayam where the goddess created numerous eyes on her body so that the earth which was suffering from a terrible drought will be covered in her tears that eventually turned into rivers to give life on earth.
One of the reasons I keep painting nude plus size women is to normalise the female body and to stop the mentality that nudity or certain clothes have no place in our religion. Truthfully you have much to learn about Hinduism and many need to relearn how blouses, the concept of modesty, the shaming of the female body was introduced into the religion by Muslims and the British.
Hinduism celebrates reproduction as it symbolises the creation of life and hence why our temple idols and walls are covered with sexual acts and symbols. One of the reasons I travel to differents parts of India so much is to understand the ancient symbols of Hinduism. I spend a lot of time studying sculptures on temple walls and musuems.
Flip through to see actual idol of Lajja Gauri and you will be shocked but her symbol began vanishing with the invasion of the Mughals and the british. However her temples still exist, such as the Kamakhya temple and in the folklore of rural india.
Statements such as this is not our culture or traditions or religion really needs to stop coz you really don't understand your own religion. And your ignorance is really deafening.
To me her lotus head symbolises knowledge and its partial bloomed state represents the need for us to continuosly learn and question our ideas and thoughts to reach divinity. The fully bloomed lotus she holds symbolises the need to embrace our bodies and feminity and to blossom to our full potential. The eyes represent how knowledge and acceptance opens us to better understand ourselves in our journey to Mokhsa.