Desi World Image of the Day – Vishnu Vishwarupa

Vishnu Vishvarupa - the Hindu deity Vishnu as the Cosmos.

Vishnu Vishvarupa – the Hindu deity Vishnu as the Cosmos.


Vishnu Vishwarupa: Sun & Moon Eyes, Blazing Mouth

Can one image encapsulate the essence of the entire universe? Check out this small masterpiece and discover the indiscoverable, the Cosmic Body. Vishnu Vishvarupa is an opaque watercolor and gold on paper, just 38.5 x 28 cm. It is from Jaipur, Rajasthan, ca. 1800-1820. It has traveled from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London to the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian in DC, for ‘Yoga: The Art of Transformation’.

Examine this delicate work with a magnifying glass and you see the gorgeous details, the worlds within worlds.

“Among the Gita’s multiple, metaphorical and poetic descriptions of Vishvarupa are the sun and moon eyes and blazing mouth seen in a small but powerful image from Jaipur, a Rajput kingdom in present day Rajasthan. With four arms holding discus, conch, mace and lotus, and the multiple headed serpent Sesha as a footrest, the painting represents the Hindu deity Vishnu as the cosmos. Deities cluster in his upper torso, the phenomenal worlds are target-like circles at his waist, and seven demonic netherworlds are located along his legs.”

(- Yoga: The Art of Transformation)


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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!