Shankar Bhilly

The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation

The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation

This is a work of Lord Shiva and Parvati, disguised as tribals (hunters), purely to test the essence of Arjuna's penance. In deep meditation of Shiva to obtain the most destructive, the most powerful weapon -- the Pashupatastra -- Arjuna is unshakeable in his determination. Shiva decides to test his resolve and takes the guise of a hunter and just then a demon in the form of a boar attacks Arjuna. Both Arjuna and Shiva fire their arrows killing the animal (demon) instantly: while Arjuna fires from the front, Shiva hits the animal from the back. In some stories, it's said Arjuna mocks Shiva for doing so, little realising who he is talking to. Legend has it that they decide to fight each other to settle the argument and at one point, Arjuna grabs the hunter's feet in a bid to topple him which proves enough for Shiva to present himself in his true form. A shocked Arjuna instantly prostrates before the lord and Parvati and is blessed with the weapon that he so desired.

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  • Title: Shankar Bhilly
  • Location Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Physical Dimensions: 35 x 50 cm
  • Type: Reproduction
  • Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru
  • Labels and Inscriptions: Ravi Varma Press, Karli, Bombay
  • About the Artist: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), India’s foremost artist, who took art to the masses, hailed from Kilimanoor, in the erstwhile state of Travancore. From a very young age, Ravi Varma, was drawn towards art, imbibing techniques from his uncle and mentor Raja Raja Varma and his mother, Umayamba Bayi, a poet in her own right. Varma was much sought after by the Royals and owing to his popularity and reputation, his spectacular and richly-textured works were prolific. His realistic portrayals of contemporary figures and interpretations of religious and mythological figures fetched him instant and enduring success, lifting his standing in the art world. If the Royals and his countrymen were in awe of this great talent, the international world was spellbound by his imagination and creativity. He ensured that art would be accessible to all, through reproductions of his paintings which were made available, and affordable to everyone.