MARKANDEYA: Markandeya was the son of Mrkandu and Niyati who was born as a reward for their severe penance. The choice was to either have a wicked son who was long lived or a virtuous son who was short lived. The parents chose the latter.

Lord Shiva granted the boon saying their son would live for only sixteen years. The boy reached the age of sixteen when he was absorbed in meditating upon Lord Shiva when Yama (the lord of death) arrived with his rope to extract the soul out of Markendaya. Lord Shiva was infuriated and emerged to chase away Yama. Markandeya was also blessed that he would ever be sixteen years old. In this form Lord Shiva is also called Kala-samhara Murthi or Mruthyunjaya.

This print by the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicts Markandeya as a young boy meditating and embracing the Shiva-linga. Yama has arrived and has encircled the youth with his rope. Lord Shiva, emerges violently, his third eye flaming, brandishing his weapons against Yama. Yama can be seen withdrawing in acknowledgment of Lord Shiva’s dictate.


  • Title: Markendaya
  • Creator: Ravi Varma Press
  • Date Created: Circa 1920
  • Physical Dimensions: 35x50 cms
  • Provenance: The Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy Collection, Bengaluru.
  • Subject Keywords: Raja Ravi Varma, Hinduism, Shiva, Raja Ravi Varma
  • Rights: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru.

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